6 of the Best Algarve Food Tours & Experiences

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Last updated on February 5, 2024 | Est. Reading Time: 7 minutes

Famous for its stunning coastline and warm hospitality, the Algarve is also a paradise for food lovers, and there are several food tours where you can sample food from the Algarve and across Portugal.

As you embark on these tours, you’ll get the chance to dive deep into the unique blend of tastes that define Portuguese cooking, while also discovering the distinct touch that the Algarve brings to the table. 

From national favourites like the pastel de nata to more local dishes like piri-piri chicken and cataplana stews, food tours give you the chance to sample the best of traditional Portuguese cuisine. These food tours are more than just eating; they’re an opportunity to connect with the local culture, meet the people behind the dishes, and understand the region’s history through its food.

Classic Food Tour (Lagos/Faro)

Embark on an exhilarating journey through the flavours of the Algarve with the “Classic Food Tour”, designed to be a comprehensive “crash course” in Portuguese cuisine. 

Spanning approximately three hours, this tour offers both morning and evening options, catering to your convenience. You’ll visit four distinct restaurants and tavernas, each chosen for their authenticity and charm. Here, you’ll indulge in around 10 traditional Portuguese dishes, offering a true taste of the local cuisine.

The tour features dishes eaten throughout Portugal. Example dishes include: 

  • Bifana (pork sandwich)
  • Tinned Portuguese food (e.g. tinned sardines, typically served on toasted bread)
  • Chouriço assado (fire-roasted chouriço)
  • Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato (clams in garlic, coriander, and olive oil)
  • Gambas a la Aguillo (prawns in garlic)

The knowledgeable local guides will lead you on a captivating journey through the historical and ancient parts of the city. You’ll learn about the neighbourhoods, local history, architecture, and the vibrant city culture, making it a well-rounded experience.

Sardine Route

  • 4 pickup location options: Portimão, Alvor, Lagos, Carvoeiro

Explore the rich legacy of the canning industry in the picturesque settings of Portimão and the quaint fishing village of Ferragudo. This unique tour offers an insightful look into a significant part of the region’s history, intertwined with delightful culinary experiences.

Your adventure begins at Conserveira do Arade, which has adopted an artisanal approach, preserving sardines, tuna, and mackerel in glass jars instead of cans, and adding an innovative twist of flavours. You’ll get an up-close look at the production process and have the opportunity to taste these delicious preserved fish, accompanied by a glass of fine wine. 

Next, the tour takes you to the charming village of Ferragudo. This idyllic spot, with fishermen busily tending to their nets by the river, offers a glimpse into the everyday life of the local fishing community.

Continuing to Portimão, located just across the river, you’ll delve deeper into the canning industry’s history. The Portimão Museum, intriguingly housed in a former canning factory right next to the historic dock where fish was once unloaded, presents an engaging exhibition on the industry and the Algarve’s heritage.

The tour concludes in grand style at Maria do Mar, a gourmet shop and restaurant known for its exquisite tapas made with tinned fish.

Fado Night with 6- Course Algarvian Tapas Dishes

Experience the heart and soul of Algarve in an enchanting evening that beautifully intertwines traditional local cuisine with the soul-stirring melodies of live Fado music. This is the perfect opportunity to combine two aspects of Portuguese culture: food and fado.

During this food tour, you’ll get to sample several different dishes including:

  • Starters: Hot fresh bread with olive oil, or toast infused with olive oil and garlic.
  • 1st Course: Crab pate accompanied by mini toast.
  • 2nd Course: Skinned horse mackerel.
  • 3rd Course: Traditional Algarvian cockle served in corn porridge.
  • 4th Course: Roasted pork tenderloin seasoned with garlic, parsley, olive oil, and lemon.
  • 5th Course: Prawn presented in bread porridge.
  • 6th Course: Mini Dom Rodrigo – a traditional Algarvian dessert made from “angel hair” (fine strands of egg), cinnamon, and almond, known for its delicate sweetness.

Amidst this culinary adventure, live Fado performances add an extra layer of cultural richness to your evening. The melancholic yet beautiful melodies of Fado, a musical expression deeply rooted in Portuguese culture, create an ambiance that is both intimate and emotive.

Quinta Do Francês Wine Tasting

Embark on an enchanting voyage through the heart of the Algarve with an exclusive wine tasting adventure that promises more than just a sip of Portugal’s finest. This four-hour escapade invites you to immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Algarvian viticulture at Quinta Do Francês, a winery renowned for its passion and excellence in crafting exceptional local wines.

As you meander through the verdant landscapes that frame this picturesque winery, you’ll be treated to a curated tasting of three premium Algarvian wines. Each selection is thoughtfully paired with a delectable assortment of tapas, featuring artisanal cheeses and savoury local sausages, to enhance your tasting experience. Dive deeper into the soul of winemaking with an exclusive tour of the winery’s heartbeat—the production area and the aromatic wooden barrel room.

The journey continues beyond the winery, weaving through the Algarve’s stunning countryside. Marvel at the vibrant hues of Algarve oranges, the majestic stature of ancient cork trees, and the beauty of the region’s oldest villages. A highlight of the tour is the visit to the historic Moorish village of Silves.

  • If you need pickup from Lagos, book this tour
  • If you need pickup from Albufeira, book this tour.

(We have another more in-depth article on wine tours & experiences in the Algarve, which features several other options).

Tavira Olive Factory Tour

Dive into a world of flavors and traditions with a visit to Hélder Madeira – Indústria e Comércio de Azeitonas, Unipessoal Lda. This 1.5-hour tour is a celebration of the olive, offering a unique glimpse into the heart of local olive production paired with the exquisite experience of wine tasting.

Your journey begins with a warm welcome from the knowledgeable tour guides, available in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese, ensuring a personalized and accessible experience for everyone, including those requiring wheelchair access. As you step into the factory, you’re transported into the fascinating world of olive production. From the initial moment of the olives’ hand-picking through to their careful transformation and final packaging, you’ll gain insight into the dedication and craftsmanship that goes into every jar.

You’ll have the chance to taste an array of olive products, each bursting with flavor. From the rich, velvety olive oils to the spicy kick of chilli sauces, the sweet tang of orange marmalade, and the subtle sweetness of honey, there’s a taste for every palate. These flavours are designed to introduce you to the versatility and richness of the olive beyond its traditional form.

As the tour draws to a close, the experience culminates in a specially curated wine tasting session. Here, you’ll discover the perfect harmony between olives and wine, a pairing that elevates the tasting experience to new heights.

Cataplana Cookery Class

In the charming city of Loulé, a unique cooking class awaits, offering not just a lesson in preparing food but an immersion into Portuguese culture through the lens of its beloved cuisine.

Your journey begins with a vibrant tour of a local market, where Paula, a familiar face among the stalls, guides you through the bustling aisles. Having frequented this market since her childhood, Paula’s deep-rooted connections and knowledge transform the tour into a vibrant storytelling session. Here, you’ll handpick the freshest ingredients, each one a building block of the Algarve’s gastronomic identity.

With bags filled and spirits high, you’ll then venture to Paula’s home. Under her guidance, you’ll embark on preparing a traditional seafood soup known as seafood cataplana. This dish, a mixture of fresh seafood including lobster tails, mussels, clams, crayfish, and firm white fish like monkfish and grouper, encapsulates the essence of the region’s culinary heritage.

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James Cave is the founder of Portugalist and the author of the bestselling book, Moving to Portugal Made Simple. He has visited just about every part of Portugal, including Madeira and all nine islands of the Azores, and lived in several parts of Portugal including Lisbon, the Algarve, and Northern Portugal.