Meetups, Clubs, & Societies: How to make friends on the Algarve

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James Cave / Last Updated: January 24, 2023 / Posted in: The Algarve

Meeting people and making new friends is never easy, but it’s an essential part of moving to a new place. Recently, there have been quite a few comments on Portugalist asking about expat meetup groups and how you go about meeting people on the Algarve.

The following is a list of just a few of the different meetup groups, societies, and clubs that I’ve been able to find on the Algarve. If you know of any more, please share them with me in the comments below. This isn’t an exhaustive list of ideas by any means, but (hopefully) as more people add suggestions it’ll become more and more extensive.

Note: There’s a sister article that covers making friends in Lisbon

General Meetups

Although there are a lot of specialised meetup groups, clubs, and societies, there are also a few more general groups that are aimed at those looking to make new friends on the Algarve. Portugal Friends regularly holds events throughout Portugal as does Internations. Often they both only seem to have events in Lisbon or Porto. If that’s the case, there’s nothing to stop you posting in the forums and seeing if anyone wants to meetup. Angloinfo, Expats Portugal, Expatica, and all of the other expat forums are worth looking at as well.

Couchsurfing (generally aimed at the 20 to 30-somethings) is another place to search for possible new friends. Although it’s a popular site in many other cities, the Algarve couchsurfing members are fairly inactive. It’s worth sending out a few messages, but don’t be surprised if you don’t get too many replies.

Naturally, expat forums and sites like Internations tend to be mainly made up of expats as opposed to locals. You’ll find a few Portuguese members, but if you want to meet local Portuguese people you’re better off getting involved in a hobby or sport (some ideas below).

Portuguese Language Classes

If you haven’t already started learning to speak Portuguese, there’s no better time than the present. Being able to speak Portuguese will not only help you integrate into Portuguese culture; taking Portuguese language classes is also a great way to meet other expats.

There are plenty of Portuguese language classes happening all over the Algarve. Some are run by the local council, others are run by language schools.

If you already speak Portuguese, you’ll also find classes for other languages like French, Spanish, and German.


If you don’t like classroom-based learning, another way to learn Portuguese and meet new people is to find a tandem-partner. This is a Portuguese-speaker who’s learning English who’d be willing to exchange his Portuguese for your English.

My Language Exchange and iTalki are two useful websites to look at. They tend to attract a slightly younger crowd than say the council-run language schools, which tend to attract older expats.

Cultural Meetups

Some people leave their home countries hoping to never run into their fellow countrymen ever again. Others love to spend time with people from the old country. If you’re in the latter group, then you’re in luck as there are several nationality-specific groups on the Algarve.

St. Andrews’s Society (Scots)

For more info contact Doug McAdam (935 577 362) or Treasurer Kathy Prentice (919 635 246).

St. Patrick’s Society (Irish)

For more info contact Membership Secretary Joanne Zive at [email protected] If you’re interested in joining them on one of their many walks around the Algarve, contact [email protected]

If you can’t find a meetup group for your nationality, get in touch with your embassy (usually in Lisbon) as they may have more details.

Fitness & Hobbies

If you’re looking to meet local Portuguese people, as opposed to expats, taking up a sport or a hobby is a great way to do it. In fact, a hobby or sport is probably one of the best ways to meet people overall. I find the general meetups more hit than miss when it comes to meeting people that I’m likely to become friends with. Meeting someone that you have at least one thing in common with (even if it’s a new hobby for you) makes things that little bit easier.

Throughout the Algarve you’ll find athletics clubs and running groups, football groups, golf societies, and tennis clubs. There are also quite a few book clubs, bridge clubs, motorbike groups, toastmaster meetups, and history societies.

If you like gardening, there’s the Mediterranean Gardening Association of Portugal. Although the group focuses on the whole of Portugal, a lot of their meetups, talks, and events take place in the Algarve.

If you’re not a majorly active person, consider joining a walking group. This is actually probably one of the easiest sports for chatting to other people, and so a good way to make friends.

The Algarve Wednesday Walkers have been meeting almost every Wednesday for more than 20 years. If you’d like to join them on future meetups, contact David Littlewood on  (+351) 937084979.

The Algarve Hash House Harriers (nothing to do with drugs) is a group for people who love running and drinking. If you prefer the drinking side of things, and are a bit of a wine buff, the Algarve Wine Society regularly hosts events such as dinners and trips to vineyards.

There are also a handful of duplicate bridge clubs on the Algarve. The oldest bridge club, First Algarve Duplicate Bridge Club, meet Mondays and Thursdays at 2 pm in Hotel Baía Cristal in Carvoeiro. Phone tel 282 357 953 or 282 357 657 for more information.

New Duplicate Bridge Club meet at the Lagoa Hotel on the EN 125 (next door to the O Casarào Restaurant) on Thursdays at 1.45 pm. Phone 282 352 022 or 969 174 130 for more information.

The Vale Del Rei bridge group meet on Wednesday and Friday afternoons at the The Vale Del Rei Resort Hotel. Phone 911561224 or 282 358885


Most people make the friends that they have through work and taking on a job, even just a part-time one, can be a great way to get to know other people. This is obviously a little more complex on the Algarve: there are few jobs to begin with, and many of the people reading this article will be retired or living on the Algarve because they run their own business.

If that’s you, then volunteering is another alternative.


Volunteering can be another great way to meet people, and do some good as well. There are plenty of groups in the Algarve looking for help from volunteers including pet shelters like SOS Animals and Gouldra Dog Sanctuary. There’s also Centre Algarve, a holiday centre for children with special needs.

Rotary clubs also get involved in community affairs. There are several Rotary Clubs on the Algarve including one in Silves, Albufeira, Almancil, and Porches.

Tech & Business

Although most of the digital nomads that Portugal has managed to attract are based in Lisbon, there are a few digital nomads based on the Algarve. There are occasional meetups, but your best bet is to join the Facebook group and organise one yourself. WordPress developers should also check out WP Portugal, a small but growing community of WordPress developers and fans.

Start your own meetup

If you can’t find a group you like, why not take the plunge and start one yourself? One option is to simply post in a local Facebook group or forum and see if anyone else is interested. Another is to create an official meetup on (starting from around $2.99 per month).


  1. Hello I have just moved to Ferragudo. I am 64 with a postive attitude.I am very sociable and would livd to meet new friends in the area

  2. Hi, Chris here from Ireland, currently living in Vilamoura, just moved and started a new job in the last 3 weeks, loving it all but it would be great to get involved with some group.

  3. I'm staying in Faro for a week 7 - 14 June 2022. I've travelled solo from the UK and it'd be great to meet people. I'm not one for nightlife as I don't drink lol, simply enjoy sightseeing. Also trying to practice Portuguese when I can haha.

    • Hi Louise,

      I just moved here a week ago from US and living in Lagos.
      Looking to meet other ex pats.
      I am a young 64 yr old woman.

      If interested, contact me.

      • My name is George I moved here a week ago from ( Bermuda) I live in lagoa carvoeiro ( vale centianes ) 64 years old ( keep fit walking golf & practice iyenger yoga , looking for something to do

      • Hi Gayle. Are you enjoying it there? I'm considering moving there in a few months. Is it hard to make friends there? I'm a similar age to you, but I'm afraid of loneliness!!

  4. I would love to join a walking club or bolwing club and also to share my biggish 2 bedrooms 2 bathrooms flat,swimming pool in complex ,with an other woman around 50/65
    years old.
    I speak french, english, italian.
    Tel +351 289 04 88 67
    tel +351 920 283 853

    • Hi Danielle

      O hope you are having a wonderful Saturday in the Algarve.

      I am coming over for 3-6 months on the 16 August to look for an apartment or villa.

      Are you still looking for a flat share?

      If so you can find out about me on my website and if you are interest I can set up a zoom call.

      Many thanks, Anne

    • Hi Danielle. I'd like to join a walking club too. I'm considering moving there in a few months. I'm sixty years old and I'd love to make friends there. Did you get many replies? I hope you did. Good luck!

  5. Hi, I have recently moved to Monte Francisco, and although I love the village, it is all older people that don't speak English. Does anyone know of any English speaking groups or events in my area?

    • I don’t have that problem most people speak English I am fortunate to speak Portuguese ( not so good ) improving, perhaps moving to another town ( best of luck)

  6. Hi,
    I have an apartment in Marina De Albufeira and looking to spend much more time here

    I enjoy yoga, Pilates and walking and the odd G & T

    Does anyone know of any classes in Albufeira I could join?


  7. Hiya, I’m a girl in my mid 20s and just become a resident in Portugal, living in the Carvoeiro area. I’m looking to make some friends, but it’s hard to meet anyone here my age or in my position. I’m from the UK and recently started Portuguese lessons but other than that, no luck. Do you have any ideas? Thanks 🙂

    • Hi Sen,

      Know how you feel. I've lived in the Algarve myself, and it can be difficult to find other 20-something or 30-something year olds to make friends with.

      What are you doing in Portugal?

      Language classes are definitely a good idea, but it can depend on the class. Some classes have a social element as well where everyone goes out for dinner or for a drink, and this can help to break the ice. Without something like this it can be hard to make friends.

      You could maybe try posting in one of the Algarve expat groups to see if there's anyone else in the same boat.

      Get the book Moving to Portugal Made Simple on Amazon now

    • Hi Sen
      Did you find anything to do or people to meet?..My 22 yr old son has just come home from London and I have no idea what he can do here (he has a lot of free time atm). We are close by in Silves. Anything you could recommend would be really appreciated. Thanks so much

  8. We'll be returning to the Algarve (renting at first then buying) in October and hopefully living in or around the Alcantarilha/Pera/Porches/Lagoa areas. I was wondering if there were any writing circles? I know there is one in Tavira (and I think a general ex-pat group that arranges all sorts of activities including language classes) but nothing farther west. Thanks for a brilliant website, by the way. It's so helpful for those of us beginning our new lives in the sun. Tracy

    • Hi Tracy

      I have just come across your posting and would also be interested in a writing circle.

      I am an ex-pat living in Guia which is close to where you planned to live.

      Any developments on a writing circle, or perhaps a book club ?


  9. Good info there. Any advice on specifically meeting up with people in 30-40 age range, and I don't mean to offend anyone.

    Basically, I've been trying to meet people in the Algarve but find that it's mostly older folks than myself. All good of course, but its hard to meet locals and expats in my age range between the droves of tourists at social places.

    Based in Porches

    • Hi Gary,

      It's definitely a challenge. Some activities e.g. tech meetups tend to draw a younger crowd, so it's a good idea to look out for those, but generally the expat scene is older on the Algarve. Maybe we need to create a Facebook group specifically for younger expats on the Algarve?

      Get the book Moving to Portugal Made Simple on Amazon now

  10. Hello. We are interested in house/ pet sitting in the Algarve. Would there be a call for it and how should we go about it?
    Joy and Dave Lane

    • Hi Joy,

      The main way to go about it would be to join some of the house sitting websites (e.g. Trusted Housesitters) and waiting to see when an opportunity comes up. You could also try posting in some of the Algarve expat groups on Facebook as well.

      There is a bit of a call for it, but with house sitting often you have to go with where the house sits are rather than saying I want to house sit somewhere specifically.

      Hope that helps.

      Get the book Moving to Portugal Made Simple on Amazon now

    • Hi Martha,

      Thank you for getting in touch.

      I've written a little about renting in the Algarve here, but it's due an update. There are a couple of websites on there that specialise in winter rentals in the Algarve, which are mentioned. Other people use Airbnb (and often haggle to bring the price down), Facebook groups for the Algarve, or just go into a real estate agent and ask them there.

      Get the book Moving to Portugal Made Simple on Amazon now

    • Hi Samuel,
      my name is John Sternberg from Australia and I am trying to find someone that could talk to a Company in Lisbon for me as I don't speak Portuguese unfortunately.
      Is it possible that you could help me here or suggest someone that could help?
      I would really appreciate any advice you could offer.
      Yours with kind regards,
      JTE Australia

  11. Hi, I spend quite a bit of time in carvoeiro, often alone... it would be nice to meet a walking group or language group to spend some time with. Can you recommend where I should start?
    Thank you

    • Hi Teresa,

      There's a walking group (with contact details) mentioned in the article. I'd recommend getting in touch with them and asking when their next walk is.

      Hopefully, someone else can chime in with details of a book group.

      Get the book Moving to Portugal Made Simple on Amazon now

        • Hi Janet,

          The only meetups I know about are the ones mentioned in the article, but I update the article whenever anyone emails me new ones.


    • Hi Teresa

      I am an expat living in Guia and would like to explore the possibility of joining or starting a book club. Do you have any suggestions please?


  12. Hi all, I have a lovely lab and wonder if there are any doggy play groups or group walks we can do? I am in Loule? Best wishes, Penny

    • Hi Elaine,

      There's a bridge club in Sáo Bras de Alportel near Faro ( ). Not sure about the Buddhist meetings, but maybe you could contact some of the retreats on the Algarve and see if they can help.


      Get the book Moving to Portugal Made Simple on Amazon now


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