The Algarve has plenty to offer couples: beautiful beaches, boutique hotels, and a wide selection of restaurants. But planning a couple’s trip to the Algarve can be hard. While a lot has been written about the Algarve for families, for older travelers, or even for stag dos, there’s a real lack of Algarve travel guides written for couples.
If you want to clubs, pubs, and cheap drinks then the choice is between three places: Albufeira, Praia da Rocha near Portimão, and Armação de Pêra. Albufeira, especially “The Strip,” is the rowdiest of the three, followed by Praia da Rocha. Armação de Pêra has its clubs, but it tends to attract a Portuguese rather than an English-speaking crowd.
But, if you’ve outgrown that scene, then where do you go? It depends on what you’re looking for. There are numerous towns and resorts across the Algarve, and each is suitable for a different type of couple.
- Nightclubs & Partying: Albufeira, Armação de Pêra, and Praia da Rocha
- Backpacker/Surfing Scene: Lagos
- Small city: Faro
- Upmarket Luxury: Vilamoura
- Pubs but no clubs: Carvoreiro, Lagos, & Alvor
- Quiet & Rural: Anywhere on the West Coast of the Algarve or Monchique
Algarve Hotels & accommodation for couples
- Ozadi Tavira Hotel, Tavira (From €75 per night) – Featuring an outdoor swimming pool and a fitness centre, this style small Tavira hotel offers afordable boutique accommodation for couples.
- Dom Manuel Hotel, Lagos (from €70 per night) – A charming boutique and adults-only guesthouse with an outdoor pool, steam room, and sauna. The hotel is situated within walking distance of Lagos town centre.
- Duas Quintas, Silves (from €75 per night) – Offers B&B accommodation near Silves in the Central Algarve. An ideal base from which to explore the whole of the Algarve.
- Memmo Baleeira Hotel, Sagres (from €85 per night) – Located on the rural Western Coast of the Algarve, this boutique hotel is perfect for couples that want to get away from it all. The hotel offers yoga classes, and can arrange surf lessons or suggest running routes.
- Herdade Quinta Natura, Aljezur (from €100 per night) – Located on the Western Coast of the Algarve, this rural bed and breakfast offers tranquil accommodation that’s within easy reach of the rugged beaches of the Western Algarve and the beautiful Alentejo countryside. If you do decide you need a bit more buzz, the town of Lagos is a 30-minute drive away.
- Vila Monte Farm House, Olhão (from €100 per night) – A rural design hotel with two swimming pools and restaurant. The front desk are able to arrange activities such as horse riding, hydro fitness classes, fishing trips, walking, and boat trips through the Ria Formosa.
- Pousada Palacio de Estoi, Faro (from €114 per night) – Situated in the town of Estoi, around 10 km from Faro, this boutique hotel is perfect for couples. Faro, the capital of the Algarve, is within driving distance, along with the natural beauty of the Ria Formosa.
- Conrad Algarve, Almancil (from €135 per night) – The Conrad Algarve offers 5-star accommodation near Vale do Lobo. Facilities at the hotel include an infinity pool, sauna, and golf courses.
- Anantara Vilamoura Algarve Resort, Vilamoura (from €150 per night) – One of the finest Vilamoura hotels, the Anantara offers 5-star luxury that includes 6 onsite restaurants. Other facilities include a floodlit tennis court, spa with yoga and tai chi sessions, and a pool bar.
- Fazenda Nova Country House, Tavira (from €200 per night) -Located in the Algarve countryside near Tavira on the Eastern Algarve, this upmarket boutique country house offers stylish tranquil accommodation that’s just a short drive from Faro Airport.
Things for couples to do in the Algarve
There are numerous beach all across the Algarve, but many just go to the beach that’s nearest them. If you’re staying in a coastal town like Carvoeiro or Albufeira, where the nearest beach is quite small, that means you’re going to be sunbathing elbow-to-elbow with hundreds of others. And, the odds are that your nearest beach isn’t the best of prettiest beach either.
Take the car and seek out the lesser-known beaches of the Algarve. You’ll have a much more relaxing and romantic time.
Go on a food tour
While younger couples and single travellers will join a bar crawl, food tours tend to be the vice of couples in their late twenties and thirties.
There are several food tours that happen across the Algarve, and doing them is a fantastic opportunity to try some of the best regional and national Portuguese dishes.
Learn to cook Portuguese food
The sister activity of food tours is a cookery class. Portuguese cuisine is relatively unknown of outside of Portugal, and taking a cookery class is a good way to learn about Portuguese cuisine and learn some recipes that you can take back home with you.
Visit the Algarve’s hidden caves
The Algarve coast contains hundreds and maybe even thousands of little caves that are inaccessible except via the sea. There are numerous boat tours that take you out to these caves, particularly around Ferragudo and Carvoeiro in the Central Algarve.
Learn to surf
The Algarve is one of the most popular surfing destinations in Europe, and a trip to the Algarve is an opportunity to try your hand at surfing. You can either book in for a week’s worth of lessons, and even stay at a surf camp, or you could just go for a single surf lesson to see if you like it.
Most of the surfing schools in the Algarve are located in and around Lagos, and the surf lessons usually take place on the West Coast between Sagres and Aljezur.
Other travel tips
Hire a Car
Unless you’re booking into a resort and not planning on leaving for the week, it’s definitely worth hiring a car when you visit the Algarve. It’ll give you a lot more freedom to explore the whole of the Algarve, and it’ll mean you won’t be limited to the beaches and restaurants in your immediate vicinity.
Skip July & August, if possible
Not only does this mean the Algarve is more expensive at this time of year, but it’s also considerably busier. If you can, consider coming in June or September instead. You’ll get much better value for money, and the restaurants, beaches, and pools will be much less crowded. May and October, although much cooler, are still pleasant time to visit, particularly for sightseeing and walking.