12 Things To Do In The Algarve On Your Golf Holiday

Caves of Benagil

Table of Contents

The Algarve stands out as the premier destination in Portugal for golf enthusiasts, boasting an impressive array of more than 30 golf courses. While many of these courses are concentrated around Faro and Vilamoura, some are positioned further east towards the Spanish border.

The fine weather and impressive courses draw more than 450,000 golf enthusiasts each year. But while The Algarve is renowned for its stunning golf courses, there is so much more to explore beyond the fairways and bunkers.

In this article, we have highlighted 12 things for you to see and do on your Algarve golfing holiday as you venture away from the golf course.

Vila Real De Santo António

Vila Real de Santo António, is a picturesque town nestled along the border of Portugal and Spain. Its charm radiates from its leafy squares, bustling marina filled with colourful boats, and its well-preserved 18th-century architecture.

A visit to this town is like taking a step back in time, where you’ll encounter elegant Pombaline buildings and the striking 19th-century obelisk gracing Marquês de Pombal Square. Immerse yourself in the local gastronomy at waterfront eateries and cafes, adding a flavourful touch to your visit.

Vila Real De Santo António

For a delightful shopping spree, wander through the town’s quaint boutiques and explore the vibrant daily market. Finish your visit with a leisurely stroll along the Guadiana River, offering captivating views of neighbouring Spain.

Even though Vila Real de Santo António is only a small town, there is a surprising amount to see. But why not include crossing the Rio Guadiana to visit the Spanish town Ayamonte, or visit the town of Castro Marim with its two heavily fortified castles?

Please note: Your passport is required to cross the Portugal-Spanish border.

Ruínas Romanas de Milreu (Roman Ruins)

The Algarve stands as a testament to the rich Roman heritage of the region. This archaeological site offers visitors a captivating journey back in time, where they can explore the remarkably well-preserved remains of a Roman villa dating back to the 1st century AD.

Among the highlights are the intricate mosaic floors, adorned with vibrant patterns and motifs, showcasing the artistic prowess of ancient craftsmen. As visitors wander through the ruins, they can envision the grandeur of the villa’s past, from its opulent baths to the ornate temple dedicated to the goddess Cybele.

Ruinas Romanas de Milreu

Beyond the architectural marvels, the Ruínas Romanas de Milreu provide insight into the daily life and customs of the ancient Romans who once inhabited this site. Interpretive panels and guided tours offer glimpses into the various functions of the villa, from its agricultural activities to its religious ceremonies. Visitors can immerse themselves in the history and culture of the Roman era as they explore the remains of this fascinating archaeological site, making it a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and cultural travellers alike in the Algarve.

Visit The Benagil Caves

The Cave of Benagil, situated along the stunning coastline of the Algarve, is a natural wonder that has captured the hearts of visitors from around the world. Accessible only by boat or kayak, this mesmerising sea cave is renowned for its striking rock formations, golden sands, and crystal-clear waters. As visitors glide through the azure waters, they are greeted by the cave’s impressive cathedral-like dome, formed over centuries by the relentless forces of nature. The cave’s interior is adorned with intricate patterns carved into the limestone walls, illuminated by sunlight streaming through the natural skylight above, creating a magical ambiance that enchants all who enter.

Caves of Benagil

Exploring the Cave of Benagil offers a unique opportunity to witness the raw beauty of the Algarve’s coastal landscape from a perspective unlike any other. Visitors can enjoy the light filtering through the cave, listen to the waves, and feel awe at nature’s beauty. Whether from a boat or inside the cave, a visit promises an unforgettable experience in one of Portugal’s most captivating natural wonders.

Visit Castro Marim & Spa Salino Água Mãe

Step back in time with a visit to the charming historic town of Castro Marim, nestled in the southeastern corner of the Algarve, bordering Spain. The landscape is adorned with salt ponds, wetlands, a 13th-century medieval castle, and a 17th-century fortress, offering a glimpse into centuries of history.

As you wander through the town, you’ll encounter whitewashed houses, castle ramparts, narrow cobblestone streets, and picturesque squares, adding to its quaint charm. Amidst these captivating landscapes and historic structures lies another hidden gem: the Spa Salino Água Mãe.

Castro Marim Spa Salino Agua Mae

Dating back 5,000 years, salt production has been a longstanding tradition in the salt pans of Castro Marim, renowned today for their exceptionally pure salt crystals. The salt pans also offer a unique mud spa experience, allowing visitors to float in mineral-rich waters, indulge in saline clay treatments, or partake in therapeutic massages. Immerse yourself in the centuries-old salt production process while enjoying relaxation and rejuvenation at this remarkable spa.

Boat Trip Through The Ria Formosa Natural Park

Explore the enchanting expanse of Ria Formosa Natural Park (Parque Natural da Ria Formosa), a captivating maze of lagoons, marshes, and barrier islands stretching 60 km along the Algarve coast, from the outskirts of Faro to beyond Olhão. This extraordinary natural sanctuary teems with diverse wildlife, making it a paradise for birdwatchers, who can spot hundreds of different species year-round.

Parque Natural da Ria Formosa

At the heart of the park lie five barrier islands—Barreta, Culatra, Armona, Tavira, and Cabanas—forming a protective barrier around a vast lagoon system. Accessible only by boat, these islands boast pristine beaches and charming fishing villages, each with its own unique allure. Explore this natural wonderland and discover the hidden treasures of each island, from secluded beaches to traditional coastal communities.

Sip a craft beer at Dos Santos

Located a brief drive east of Portimão, one of the Algarve’s premier microbreweries offers liquid perfection from its brewery and vineyard. Dos Santos crafts a delectable assortment of beers, including pilsners, lagers, IPAs, and stouts, all meticulously brewed with top-tier ingredients.

Following the esteemed Reinheitsgebot, or German Purity Law, brewers at Dos Santos adhere to a strict standard, ensuring that their beers contain no additives or chemicals, utilising only four essential ingredients: water, hops, yeast, and malted barley. Visitors can gain further insight into the brewing process while enjoying tastings in the taproom, complete with a terrace overlooking the sun-kissed vineyard.

Visit Faro

Many visitors go no closer to Faro than the airport. But the capital city of the Algarve region has so much to offer with its unique blend of history, culture, and coastal charm. Nestled along the southern coast, Faro boasts a picturesque Old Town, enclosed within ancient Moorish walls, where narrow cobblestone streets wind their way past historic buildings and quaint cafes. Visitors can immerse themselves in Faro’s rich past by exploring landmarks such as the 13th-century Cathedral of Faro, with its intricate Gothic architecture, or the nearby Bishop’s Palace, a grandiose mansion adorned with elegant gardens and ornate fountains.

Faro, Algarve, Portugal

Beyond its historic centre, Faro offers access to the stunning Ria Formosa Natural Park, a sprawling network of lagoons, marshes, and barrier islands teeming with diverse wildlife. Nature enthusiasts can embark on boat tours to observe flamingos, dolphins, and other indigenous species in their natural habitat, or simply unwind on the pristine beaches of nearby islands like Ilha Deserta or Ilha da Culatra.

With its rich cultural heritage, scenic landscapes, and vibrant atmosphere, Faro promises an unforgettable experience for travellers seeking to explore the Algarve’s coastal delights.

Spot dolphins

Off the coast of Portimão lies a deep underwater canyon that brings nutrient-rich waters to the surface, drawing countless pods of dolphins. Embark on a dolphin-watching boat excursion and be prepared to spot these friendly creatures; with numerous pods frequenting the area, your chances of a sighting are high. Alongside common and bottlenose dolphins, the waters off the Ria Formosa’s barrier islands are home to a variety of marine life, including sea turtles, sunfish, sharks, and occasionally, minke whales. Keep your eyes peeled for these fascinating creatures as you cruise through the sparkling seas.

Dolphins swimming under the sea

Mina Sal-Gema rock salt mine

Loulé, a classic Algarve town, boasts a blend of traditional charm with notable landmarks such as a Moorish indoor market, a quaint castle, and several historic churches. Yet, beneath its familiar exterior lies a hidden surprise, the Mina Sal-Gema rock salt mine.

The salt mine offers a unique and fascinating journey into the region’s geological and industrial history. Descending 230 metres underground via an open cage lift, you are transported to a subterranean world of intricate tunnels and corridors. Guided tours provide insight into the historical and current production processes of salt extraction, shedding light on the industry’s evolution over time.

As you navigate through the mine’s labyrinthine pathways, you encounter geological formations that date back an astounding 230 million years, offering a glimpse into the earth’s ancient past. From towering salt walls to intricate crystal formations, the mine’s interior showcases the remarkable natural beauty that lies beneath the surface. The tour provides a memorable and educational experience for visitors of all ages, offering a deeper understanding of the significance of salt production in the Algarve region.

VILA VITA Parc Cave do Vinhos

Explore the underground world of wine in the Algarve, where several exceptional wineries await your visit. Among these, the VILA VITA Parc Cave do Vinhos offers a truly distinctive experience. Located 9 metres below ground, this hidden gem unveils a secret realm of wine, where brick walls conceal alcoves filled with an impressive array of bottles.

With over 11,000 wines to choose from, guests can indulge in wine tastings paired with delectable tapas or even arrange for a private, romantic dinner within the cellar’s intimate ambiance.

Explore Cave do Vinhos on guided tours to learn about winemaking from start to finish. Led by expert sommeliers, enjoy tastings of premium wines and stories that deepen your appreciation for Algarve’s diverse flavours. Whether you’re a wine lover or simply seeking a luxurious experience, a visit to VILA VITA Parc’s Cave do Vinhos promises a memorable time on the beautiful Algarve coast.

Advance booking is required.

Albufeira Old Town Square

Surrounded by bars, galleries, and shops, Albufeira Old Town Square (Jardim Público de Albufeira) serves as the bustling heart of the historic centre. This shaded plaza offers a delightful array of dining, entertainment, and shopping experiences, making it an ideal starting point for exploring the treasures of Albufeira.

From fresh seafood brought in from the marina to refreshing beverages like coffee, cold beer, or port, the outdoor seating areas of the square’s establishments provide a perfect vantage point for soaking in the lively atmosphere. Families and friends gather beneath the palm trees, while street performers and musicians add to the vibrant ambiance throughout the day.

Albufeira old town square

Browse through shops offering beach toys, branded T-shirts, and local souvenirs like Portuguese liqueur or port. Take a moment to appreciate art exhibitions at the Galeria de Arte Pintor Samora Barros, housed in a former power station. Explore cobblestone streets adorned with mosaic patterns, guiding you to independent boutiques, charming architecture, and lively nightlife spots.

Don’t miss nearby landmarks such as the Albufeira Igreja Matriz, Church of Sant’Ana, and the Museum of Sacred Art housed within the Church of San Sebastian. Accessible by a 15-minute drive or public transportation from the train station, Albufeira Old Town Square offers an unforgettable taste of the city’s cultural and recreational offerings.

Vilamoura Marina

Vilamoura Marina stands as a bustling hub in the heart of the town, offering hundreds of berths for boats of all sizes. Adorned with yachts and cruisers, this picturesque harbour is lined with restaurants, bars, and clubs, creating a vibrant atmosphere along its charming waterways.

Surrounded by luxury hotels and apartment complexes, the marina boasts stylish dining options, including restaurants serving local delicacies like conquilhas clams harvested from nearby beaches. After a satisfying meal, take a leisurely stroll along the pier admiring the array of speed boats and yachts. Capture the colourful fishing boats lining the adjacent river, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean.

Vilamoura Marina from above

From the marina, embark on boat trips to nearby destinations such as Lagos, offering opportunities for big-game fishing or dolphin spotting excursions. Watersport enthusiasts can arrange thrilling activities like parasailing, scuba diving, and waterskiing through tour operators nearby. Head south along the marina to Vilamoura Beach, or west to Rocha Baixinha Nascente Beach, where you will find a surf school and seaside restaurants.

Vilamoura Marina, situated at the southern end of town where a river meets the ocean, is easily accessible from Faro with a 40-minute drive.

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