Where to stay in Algarve: Best places in Algarve compared (+ map)

Looking for advice on where to stay in Algarve? With so many beautiful Algarve towns and Algarve resorts to choose from, it can be hard to narrow down the best place to stay in Algarve. That’s where this guide comes in!

Out of all the popular places to visit in Portugal, the southern Algarve region maintains its reputation as one of the most beloved holiday destinations in Europe. Finding that perfect travel base not only depends on the Portugal itinerary of your choice but also on your personal interests.

This is the only guide you need to make an informed decision on where to stay in Algarve. In addition to helping you find the best places to stay in the Algarve, we include a hand-picked and carefully curated selection of accommodation suggestions. Whether you prefer stylish boutique hotels, blissful beach resorts, or the most unique vacation rentals in the Algarve, we’ve got you covered. The only thing left for you to do is to pack your bags for an unforgettable beach vacation.

Are you ready to discover the best places to stay in Algarve? Let’s dive in.


Affiliate links are sprinkled throughout the site content. Clicking on such a hyperlink and booking on the accommodation platform it refers to, may result in a commission for CosmopoliClan at no additional cost to you. As Amazon Associates, we also earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, visit the Disclaimer page.

Short on time?

Our top suggestions on the best places to stay in Algarve. Keep scrolling for a comprehensive overview of the best areas of the Algarve as well as a selection of the best Algarve hotels.

Best places to stay in Algarve on the map
Where to stay in Algarve by region

Best places to stay in Algarve for couples
Olhão and Tavira
Luxurious tree house: Conversas de Alpendre
Romantic rental: The Salt House

Best places to stay in Algarve for families
Vilamoura, Alvor and Lagos
Vale do Lobo rental: Family-friendly villa (pool)
Lagos family resort: Cascade Wellness Resort

Best place to stay in Algarve for active travelers
Costa Vicentina
Gorgeous resort: Monte da Vilarinha
Rental: Minimalistic house in Bordeira

Best places to stay in Algarve for nightlife
Albufeira, Praia da Rocha and Vilamoura
Albufeira rental: Cool houseboat in the marina

Best place to stay in Algarve for jet-setters
Vilamoura
Glamorous resort: Anantara Vilamoura
Chic apartment: Joy Style

Best places to stay in Algarve for sightseeing
Faro and Lagos
Faro rental: Stylish townhouse with pool
Lagos boutique hotel: Casa Mãe

Best places to stay in Algarve for beaches
Armação de Pêra and Vale do Lobo
Armação de Pêra resort: Vilalara Thalassa Resort
Vale de Lobo rental: Beach house

Best places to stay in Algarve for surfing
Sagres and the Costa Vicentina
Costa Vicentina villa: Arrifana beach villa

Best place to stay in Algarve for golfing
Vilamoura
Rental home: Lovely villa next to the golf course

Our favorite places to stay in Algarve
Lagos, Vilamoura and Costa Vicentina
Vilamoura resort: Anantara Vilamoura
Lagos villa: Beach view luxury villa
Costa Vicentina villa:
Biscuttela Vicentina

FAQ on where to stay in Algarve

There are so many gorgeous places to stay in the Algarve that you’ll be spoilt with choice. Then again, booking well in advance is crucial, especially if you plan to visit the Algarve during the high season.

Now, without further ado, here’s an in-depth guide on the best places to stay in Algarve as well as our hand-picked selection of amazing hotels and apartments for each.

Best places to stay in Algarve on the map

A layout of the city is essential to narrow down the best places in Algarve to stay. That’s why, for your convenience, we’ve created this interactive map that mentions all of the places in the Algarve that we’ll zoom in on further down in this article. Continue reading to discover every area in detail.

Where to stay in Algarve by region

The Algarve, Portugal’s southernmost region, covers an area of about 5,000 km2 (or 1,930 mi2) and boasts no less than 200 km (or 125 mi) of Atlantic coastline. The main resort towns in Algarve are divided into 3 categories.

Eastern Algarve

The Eastern Algarve is home to the cities of Olhão and Tavira. It’s also where you’ll find the Ria Formosa Natural Park. Think deserted islands, laid-back Algarve towns and a rural vibe.

Central Algarve

The Central Algarve is the region’s most popular stretch of coast and home to the cities of Faro and Albufeira. Other popular resort areas are the sophisticated Algarve towns of Vilamoura, Almancil, Vale do Lobo and Quinta do Lago which form the Golden Triangle.

The outstanding Benagil cave is just a short boat ride away.

The only international airport in southern Portugal is located in culture-packed Faro, making this charming Algarve town the gateway to this spectacular coastal region.

Western Algarve

In the Western Algarve, you’ll find the cities Lagos, Portimão, Alvor, Sagres, and Aljezur as well as charming fishing villages such as Ferragudo and Carvoeiro. It’s also home to the Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park and the Monchique mountains.

The Algarve beaches – some of the best beaches in Portugal – and the rock formations of its southern coastline are truly spectacular. The southwest coast or Vicentina Coast offers a completely different experience with colorful wildflowers, a variety of birds, and some of the coolest surfer towns in the Algarve.

Now that you know the lay of the land, it’s time to explore each of the Algarve towns mentioned in further detail. Here are our recommendations of the best places to stay in the Algarve by travel type and interest as well as our personal suggestions for accommodation in the Algarve.

Now that you know the lay of the land, it’s time to explore each of the Algarve towns mentioned in further detail. Here are our recommendations for the best places to stay in Algarve.  Find out what the atmosphere is like and what there is to see and do in every area.

Where to stay in Algarve for couples

Olhão and Tavira

The coastal Algarve towns of Olhão or Tavira are perfect for a tête-à-tête. Go for long beach walks in the Ria Formosa Natural Park, a romantic picnic on one of the Deserted Islands (Ilhas Desertas), a stroll through Olhão’s old medina barrio, or a scenic bike tour to the Moinhos da Rocha (Pego do Inferno) waterfall. No fancy resorts here but small and intimate retreats.

Explore the pristine environment. This area offers plenty of natural delights, from uninhabited islands to lagoons and marches in the Ria Formosa natural reserve. It’s an area that’s free of high-rise, instead dotted with warm and inviting small-scale retreats that are in line with the environment. Some well-hidden pure and natural retreats in a pristine environment.

The Tavira area is our suggestion on where to stay in Algarve for couples
Tavira and the Deserted Islands are one of the best places to stay in Algarve Portugal

Best places to stay in Olhão

Here’s our selection of the most wonderful places to stay in Algarve’s eastern corner:

  • Minimalist chique Grand House in Vila Real de Santo António.
  • Romantic townhouse with endless sea views at The Salt House in Olhão.
  • Agroturismo Quinta dos Perfumes amidst an orange grove, featuring a saltwater outdoor swimming pool and biological garden.
  • Ecological floating homes such as the well-equipped Barco Casa Fuzeta or Casas da Ria houseboats in the heart of the Ria Formosa Nature Park.
This tree house is one of the most unique places where to stay in Portugal
Image courtesy of Conversas de Alpendre

Our personal favorite? This romantic luxury tree house at the intimate Conversas de Alpendre in Vila Real de Santo António. Other accommodations include suites and a cabin with a private pool.

Boat anchored in the remote Ria Formosa location Algarve
Image courtesy of Mulubinba SeaHouse

Our personal pick would be the Mulubinba SeaHouse, anchored in paradise and bathed by the unique waters of Ria Formosa.

Carvoeiro and Ferragudo

These two enchanting towns are located in the livelier part of the Algarve. Spend the day exploring the fishing villages of Carvoeiro and Ferragudo, discovering the spectacular Benagil Cave, enjoying a scenic cliff hike to the Senhora da Rocha chapel, and watching the world go by from a shaded terrace in Portimão.

Picturesque Carvoeiro is also home to several picturesque Algarve beaches, tucked away between the towering cliffs of the Algarve.

With the many romantic hotels in the area, Carvoeiro and Ferragudo are some of the best Algarve towns for couples

Best places to stay in Carvoeiro and Ferragudo

These romantic Algarve hotels and resorts are perfectly located for you to alternate cocooning with sightseeing in the nearby cities:

  • Spacious setting of the Monte Santo Resort in Carvoeiro. This resort won the title of Europe’s Most Romantic Resort in the 2019 & 2020 World Travel Awards, making it the best resort in Portugal for couples.
Studio overlooking Carvoeiro beach
Image courtesy of Casa 4You

If you prefer the privacy of your own place, then this quaint studio might be exactly what you’re looking for. It overlooks Carvoeiro’s picturesque town center and is located within walking distance of the beach.

Where to stay in Algarve for families

Vilamoura, Alvor and Lagos

The Algarve is one of Europe’s most beloved family travel destinations. And with good reason, thanks to its sunny and mild climate, gorgeous beaches, convivial cities, welcoming locals, and… its excellent family-friendly resorts.

We stayed in the Algarve with our kids on several occasions and found Vilamoura, Alvor, and Lagos to offer the most child-friendly setting.

These towns are perfect thanks to their lively vibe and many amenities. You’ll find miniature golf, water parks, tourist trains, quaint ice-cream shops, and a wide selection of water activities.

Little girl with flower hat overlooking her Algarve accommodation with outdoor swimming pool

Best places to stay in Vilamoura, Alvor, and Lagos with kids

This rental villa with pool is the perfect retreat for holidays to the Algarve with kids
Image courtesy of Casa da Calma

Looking for a family-friendly house rental in the Algarve? Then check out this gorgeous family-friendly villa in Vale do Lobo. It’s set amidst a large garden, comes with a gorgeous private pool (which can be heated on request), and is located near the beach.

Castro Marim, Moncarapacho and Sagres

But the Algarve’s other, quieter regions have plenty to offer as well. Why not spend your family holidays away from the crowds, in a fabulous hotel that goes above and beyond for even the littlest of guests? Your family will feel right at home in the family-friendly Algarve resorts of these enchanting Algarve towns.

Little girls drinking a cocktail in the Pestana Blue hotel in Alvor, probably the best area to stay in Algarve for families

Best places to stay in Castro Marim, Moncarapacho, and Sagres with kids

One of the most picturesque hotels Algarve can be found in Olhao
Image courtesy of Conversas de Alpendre

Our pick would be Conversas de Alpendre. The stylish rural retreat operates as a small hotel and, in addition to the treehouse, also offers suites, a family apartment, and a gorgeous little cabin with its own private pool.

Why not Albufeira?

One place not to consider for your family vacation is Albufeira. We even regret heading there for what was supposed to be a lovely afternoon… which we ended up spending in Carvoeiro instead. Continue reading to find out why.

Best places to stay in Albufeira with kids

There is, however, one family-friendly resort that does give some luster to Albufeira and that’s the Epic Sana Algarve. Combine a stay in this hotel with some excursions in nearby fishing villages – close to Albufeira yet worlds apart in terms of atmosphere – and you’ll have an epic family holiday.

Beachfront terrace of an accommodation in Algarve Portugal
Image courtesy of Casa Pé na Areia

This gorgeous beachfront house could also work. An unbeatable location, airconditioning throughout and 3 bedrooms make this the perfect holiday home for families.

Where to stay in Algarve for active travelers

Costa Vicentina

Remember the Algarve’s wild side? The Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park offers a sublime setting for active travelers. No beach resorts here, but rather boutique retreats that blend in perfectly with the spectacular environment.

This area is known for its excellent surfing conditions, scenic hiking trails, deserted beaches, downhill mountain biking, colorful wildflowers, and unique wildlife.

The Natural Park stretches out from Sagres in the south and even crosses the Algarve – Alentejo border in the north. It’s home to several gorgeous white-washed villages such as Aljezur and Odeceixe.

The Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park is home to the Rota Vicentina network of trails. It’s a hikers’ paradise with unpaved roads, green hills, endless beaches, and plenty of wildflowers. And why not alternate you hiking adventures with other outdoor activities such as cycling or horse riding?

The Vicentina Coast is one of the Algarve best places to stay for active travelers

Best places to stay on the Costa Vicentina

  • Monte da Vilarinha is near the gorgeous Bordeira beach, where you’ll find pristine Portugal at its best.
  • Monte do Cardal near Odeceixe beach, another spectacular natural setting.
White modern villa with pool overlooking one of the best beaches in Algarve
Image courtesy of Biscuttela Vicentina

This luxurious Arrifana Beach Villa, with its private pool and jacuzzi, is located right next to one of the best surfing beaches in Portugal.

Quinta Alma glamping resort offers an amazing place to stay in Algarve
Image courtesy of Quina Alma

Glamping resort Quinta Alma where the luxurious tents come with a private bathroom. This vast site is home to a swimming lake and offers a delicious breakfast.

Where to stay in Algarve for jet-setters

The Golden Triangle

The Golden Triangle sounds like music to your ears? Then the area where you’ll want to stay evolves around the Algarve’s liveliest resort towns of Vilamoura and Almancil, including the renowned gated communities of Vale do Lobo and Quinta do Lago.

The Golden Triangle features palm-fringed lanes, sparkling yachts anchored in the Vilamoura marina, and the towering cliffs of Falesia beach. It’s dotted with luxury hotels, high-end villas, and four Michelin-starred Algarve restaurants (Gusto, Henrique Leis, São Gabriel, and Willie’s).

If you're wondering where to go in Algarve for some exclusivity then Vilamoura with its fancy marina is an excellent choice

Best places to stay in the Golden Triangle

Of the many luxury hotels and resorts in the Golden Triangle, here are our recommendations:

Luxury accommodation in Algarve in Vilamoura
Image courtesy of Villa Azul

Or how about this luxurious 5-bedroom villa with a private pool on the outskirts of Vilamoura? A tranquil setting yet at walking distance from the Marina and Falesia Beach.

Where to stay in Algarve for nightlife

Albufeira

No better place to dance the night away than Albufeira. Especially The Strip in the Montechoro district is a popular party scene. But, that’s about it. It was the only Algarve town that disappointed us when exploring southern Portugal.

We were aware of its reputation as the party capital of the Algarve but still expected to find some local charm during the day. Albufeira is home to some beautiful beaches nearby and enjoys a privileged location in the heart of the Algarve’s south coast, after all. So, setting-wise, this is a lovely Algarve city. But the overload of cheap souvenir shops, tacky bars, and daytime drunks kind of ruined the experience for us.

Then again, we’re not the city’s target audience either. If pub crawls, karaoke, and dance clubs are what you’re after, then you’ll find them in Albufeira. Just don’t expect the fanciest party scene.

Best places to stay in Albufeira

  • The only hotel in Albufeira we can recommend in the area is the Epic Sana Hotel Albufeira but it doesn’t fit the category of a party hotel.
Spend your Algarve Portugal holidays on a houseboat in Albufeira
Image courtesy of The Homeboat Company

Looking to stay as close as you can to the beaches and nightlife of Albufeira? Then check out this super-original and well-appointed houseboat.

Praia da Rocha & Vilamoura

If you’re looking for an alternative with a lively party scene that does have more to offer on the side, then Praia da Rocha is a good choice. Spot 3 and NoSoloÁgua are said to be the places to be. The Caniço Club near Alvor enjoys quite a reputation too.

And also Vilamoura offers plenty of nightlife options as well as a casino.

Best places to stay in Praia da Rocha and Vilamoura

  • The Tivoli Marina Hotel Vilamoura is home to Purobeach and a casino. In addition, it’s located at the marina where you’ll find plenty of bars.
Trendy apartment in Vilamoura Portugal Algarve
Image courtesy of Casa Joy Style by Elena

Looking for a classy apartment close to the action? This stylish hideout enjoys a location at the Vilamoura Marina with plenty of restaurants, cafes, and a gorgeous beach at your doorstep.

Where to stay in Algarve for sightseeing

Faro and Lagos

The two main cities in Algarve are Faro, the region’s capital, and Lagos, the region’s former capital. Both are incredibly charming and are home to some of the top tourist attractions in the Algarve. We dedicated an entire post to both Lagos and the Faro. Here’s where to stay in the Algarve’s main cities:

Best places to stay in Algarve for sightseeing

This beachfront villa with a pool is one of the top accommodations in Lagos Algarve
Image courtesy of Beach View Luxury Villa

This beachfront villa in Porto de Mós is what dreams are made of. The beach is just a 5-minute walk away.

Apartment in Lagos Portugal with views over the cobbled streets and cultural landmarks
Image courtesy of Rental Valley

Or how about this fabulous top-floor apartment? The terrace overlooking the Lagos rooftops is a wonderful place to spend the evening.

Where to stay in Algarve for beaches

Carvoeiro, Lagos and Costa Vicentina

With such a stretch of coastline, the region is home to some of the best beaches in Portugal. The – in our opinion – most interesting and picturesque Algarve beaches are located near Carvoeiro, Lagos, and in the Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park. These form the perfect travel base to go beach-hopping in the Algarve.

Carvoeiro and Lagos are where to stay in Algarve if you like beaches

Best places to stay in Algarve for beaches

Bright living room of a vacation rental just steps away from the sandy beaches of Vale do Lobo
Image courtesy of Villa V1 Vale do Lobo

Stylish villa in the Golden Triangle just steps away from Vale do Lobo beach, about halfway between Faro and Vilamoura.

Authentic Portuguese home for rent in Benagil
Image courtesy of Casa Gemeos

Cliff-perched bungalow Casa Gemeos with amazing authentic decor overlooking Benagil beach.

White rental home with garden west of Lagos Portugal
Image courtesy of Casa Oliveira

Tastefully appointed villa with plunge pool near Salema beach, about halfway between Lagos and Sagres.

Beachfront terrace of an accommodation in Algarve Portugal
Image courtesy of Casa Pé na Areia

This gorgeous beachfront house could also work. An unbeatable location, airconditioning throughout and 3 bedrooms make this the perfect holiday home for families.

White modern villa with pool overlooking one of the best beaches in Algarve
Image courtesy of Biscuttela Vicentina

This luxurious Arrifana Beach Villa, with its private pool and jacuzzi, is located right next to one of the best surfing beaches in Portugal.

Where to stay in Algarve for golfing

Golden Triangle and Lagos

The Algarve is one of Europe’s leading golf destinations and the courses are open year-round. Most renowned are the golf courses in the Golden Triangle, dominated by Dom Pedro Golf in Vilamoura with the Victoria, Old, Millennium, Laguna, and Pinhal golf courses. Also, Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo are a golfer’s paradise thanks to their ocean views.

Then there’s the Monte Rei Golf and Country Club, tucked away in the hills between Tavira and the Spanish border.

Other gems are located in the western Algarve, such as the Espiche golf course, the Sir Henry Thomas Cotton Championship Course (Penina), and the Onyria Palmares golf courses in the Lagos – Portimão area. Some of the best places to stay in the Algarve for golfers are:

The Golden Triangle is the best place to stay in Algarve Portugal for golfers
Source: Dom Pedro Hotels & Golf Collection (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Best places to stay in the Golden Triangle and Lagos

Terrace and garden views of a spacious Vilamoura villa with 4 rooms
Image courtesy of L’Orangerie by SAPvillas

Check out this wonderful 4-bedroom semi-detached villa L’Orangerie. It’s located right next to the Vitória and Laguna golf courses and within walking distance from Falésia Beach and the Vilamoura marina.

FAQ on where to stay in Algarve

Where is the nicest part of the Algarve?

All areas of the Algarve are nice in their own right. Some are pretty from an architectural point of view while others are idyllic thanks to their rock formation or golden beaches. 


Where should I go for the first time in the Algarve?

Lagos is the best place to stay in Algarve for first-time visitors. It has the best beaches, an enchanting historic center, intriguing rock formations, and offers easy reach to all other Algarve highlights.

Is it better to stay in Albufeira or Faro?

Faro is the better choice for travelers looking for culture, history, and a tranquil atmosphere but it’s not a beach destination. Albufeira is home to wonderful beaches and a bustling town center with plenty of options in terms of nightlife.

Is it better to stay in Lagos or Albufeira?

Both Lagos and Albufeira are lively Algarve towns that give access to several amazing beaches. Lagos, however, is better suited for families and those looking for culture and lazy days at the beach. Albufeira is known for its party scene.

Is it better to stay in Faro or Lagos?

Both Faro and Lagos are historical towns packed with must-sees and restaurants. The main difference is their situation: Faro doesn’t really have any city beaches, while Lagos is home to some of the best beaches in Portugal. Lagos is also the jumping-off point for many popular boat tours.

How many days is enough for Algarve?

A week in the Algarve is perfect to discover the region’s enchanting towns, experience the many things to do, and spend time at the beach. If your Algarve stay is part of a Portugal itinerary, you could focus on one Algarve region for a day or 3 to get a first impression.

Can you explore Algarve without a car?

Renting a car in the Algarve is advisable, especially if you plan on taking some day trips to explore the wider area. Rental cars come pretty cheap in Portugal, just do take into account that you’ll be paying toll when driving in Portugal.
Discover Cars is our go-to European car rental comparison site. The prices are highly competitive, the booking process is effortless and you can even select a pay later option that comes with free cancelation. Click here to get the best car rental deal.

Our favorite places to stay in Algarve

What we love about the Algarve is the diversity: beaches, green hills, small villages, lagoons, wildflowers… The ideal Algarve itinerary offers a bit of everything, making it hard to pick just one favorite place.

Our personal interests include sightseeing, easy hikes, beaches, and a hint of luxury. Therefore, to us, these Algarve destinations stand out as the perfect travel bases to explore the wider area.

Lagos

We love Lagos because it’s located in between the overwhelmingly beautiful natural park and the best beaches in the Algarve. We also found the historic center to be irresistibly charming and the Ponte da Piedade cliffs truly spectacular. It’s also perfectly based for day trips, such as a visit to Silves Castle, and the marina offers plenty of boat excursions.

The Golden Triangle

We also love the Golden Triangle because it’s located near the Ria Formosa Natural Park and therefore near the beautiful deserted islands and the sleepy village of Olhão. Yet, it’s ideally located to explore historic Faro and quaint Loulé in the morning and then enjoy the Algarve coastline from a chartered yacht in the afternoon. The vicinity of Faro Airport, the gateway to Algarve, is a bonus.

Not for us: Albufeira

Our least favorite would be Albufeira. We found it to be overly touristy and tacky. It’s not the kind of place where we would like to spend our Algarve holidays. Then again, we’re probably not the target audience of this swinging town in the Algarve either. But to us, Albufeira certainly lacks the luster that makes other Algarve towns and villages so charming and inviting.

Where will you stay in Algarve?

By now, you should have a good idea about where to stay in Algarve. And we’d love to hear all about your upcoming stay. If you’re still not sure which Algarve area is right for you, then let us know what piece of the puzzle is still missing from this article so we can perfect our Algarve travel advice. The comment box is all yours.

Where to stay in Algarve Portugal, town or beach

One comment

  1. Jacob Alexander

    I love the photos you posted, its amazing especially the valley. Thanks for sharing your travels and experience with everyone. Keep it up and continue sharing magnificent journey in Portugal.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.