Tours are the best way to explore a new destination!
You have the opportunity to discover extraordinary points of interest, learn about the place that you’re visiting, experience different activities, develop new skills, make friends, create memories that will last forever and yet have a lot of fun.
Whether you’re an adventure-seeker, history lover, foodie or want to practice a new sport, you can do it all in the Algarve.
But with a plethora of options, it can be hard to decide which Algarve tours, activities and excursions you should choose.
I’ve been going to the “Golden Coast” regularly since 2008 and it’s the reason I decided to write this post to help you have an unforgettable Algarve trip.
From cruising inside hidden caves to kayaking along beaches and grottoes, dolphin watching, flyboarding, coasteering, ziplining between two countries and taking exciting day trips, here are the 15 best Algarve tours, excursions, and activities.
* Affiliate disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning I earn a small fee if you click through and make a purchase. There is never any additional cost to you, and I use some of these earnings for my monthly charitable donations.
15 Best Algarve Tours, Activities & Excursions
1 – Dolphin Watching and Caves Cruise
Dolphins are constantly seen in the Atlantic Ocean and one of the greatest Algarve tours to take is dolphin watching and caves cruise.
These adorable and playful creatures are some of the most liked marine animals and nothing is better than seeing them in their natural habitat, swimming and jumping in front of you.
Dolphin tours are offered in Algarve from March to November, although the best months to spot dolphins are from June to September.
A tour costs an average of €35 and takes between 1 and 3 hours. Children pay a lower price.
I took a Dolphin Watching and Caves Cruise Tour in Albufeira with Dream Wave and I loved it! Apart from spotting many dolphins, we went exploring some caves and passing by famous Algarvian beaches.
2 – Benagil Cave Tour: One of the Best Algarve Tours
Located in the little fishing village of Benagil, in the municipality of Lagoa, Algar de Benagil is a stunning cave just around the corner to the left side of Benagil Beach.
Considered one of the “The World’s Most Breathtaking Caves” by Huffington Post, Benagil Cave is one of the most seek points of interest in the Algarve and draws lots of tourists.
There’re many Benagil Cave Tours departing from different Algarvian cities. But before booking your tour, it’s important to know that:
- Big boats cannot get into the cave;
- Small boats can sail inside the cave, but they aren’t allowed to drop off/pick up passengers;
- When joining a kayak or SUP tour, you have free time to spend in the cave.
I took a Benagil Essential Tour with Trident Boat Trips and it was brilliant. The highlight was obviously Benagil Cave, but we sailed along stunning beaches and went inside hidden grottoes and small caves that big boats can’t access.
It was one of the most surprising Algarve tours that I’ve ever taken!
Book your Benagil Essential Tour here.
3 – Ponta da Piedade Grottoes & Beaches
The boat takes you on a memorable journey along the breathtaking coastline and you can get an amazing perspective of renowned beaches such as Dona Ana and Praia do Camilo, until you get to the spectacular rock formations of Ponta da Piedade.
On this 75min thrilling adventure, you will sail through sea caves, hidden grottos with crystal-clear water and incredible sandstone cliffs.
It’s a trip for the whole family and the price is very reasonable, around 20 euros per person.
If you prefer kayak tours instead of boat trips, when kayaking to Ponta da Piedade (no previous experience needed), you’re able to enter some caves and grottoes that boats can’t access and have free time to go swimming and relax on a calm beach.
Pro tip: There’re plenty of Lagos boat tours, but I recommend this one that has excellent reviews.
4 – Day trip to Vicentina Coast
There’re several Algarve excursions that you can take during your trip, but my favourite is to Costa Vicentina, an unspoiled paradise on the western coast of the Algarve.
Stretching from Odeceixe to Burgau, near Lagos, the area is a protected Natural Park with 74,000 hectares of rolling hills, marshland, imposing cliffs, rocky coves and pristine beaches.
Costa Vicentina is very different from the beach resorts between Lagos and Albufeira and it’s the reason you should take a day trip to get a better sense of the Algarve coast.
On this small-group tour, you’ll visit Lagos and Sagres, including the picturesque Cape of Saint Vicent, the southwestern end of Europe. If you’re more into off the beaten destinations, my suggestion is to take this day trip instead.
5 – Algarve Countryside & Villages Jeep Safari: One of the Most Popular Algarve Tours
Jeep safari is the perfect opportunity to explore the Algarvian countryside and see a world apart from the beach resorts that the Algarve is famous for.
There’re several Jeep Safari tours, but my recommendation is to take this one to Silves and Monchique.
Silves, one of the oldest cities in Portugal and the ancient capital of the Kingdom of the Algarve, is a delightful fortified town with an imposing red brick Moorish castle.
Leaving Silves and driving through the foothills of Monchique Mountains you’ll cross old villages, taste some regional products, discover interesting handcrafts and venture out to the highest peak in the Algarve, Mount Fóia, at 902m.
Breathtaking views and lunch are included, such as pick up and drop off.
Throughout the day you’ll be entertained by your driver with fascinating historical information.
I adored Silves and Monchique!
6 – Parasailing: One of My Favorite Algarve Activities
Have you ever thought about getting a bird’s-eye view of the beautiful Algarve coast?
Going on a parasailing adventure you can reach up to 80 meters, feel the adrenaline rush as you fly above the ocean, and take in the extraordinary panoramic views of Portugal’s southern coastline.
The overall boat ride lasts up to 1.5 hours depending on the number of guests and each person has the chance to fly for around 10min.
Parasailing is one of the most exciting Algarve adventure activities to do with family and friends.
Feeling the wind in your face while flying over the water, and enjoying the stunning Algarvian scenery from a bird’s-eye view is an unforgettable experience.
We felt completely safe and I highly recommend this activity. Book your parasailing experience in Albufeira here.
7 – Off-Road Quad Bike Tour
When was the last time that you did something for the first time?
During my latest visit to the Algarve, I rode an ATV for the very first time.
I took an off-road quad bike tour with Yellowfish Adventure that departs from Albufeira and ventures out along roads and dirt tracks of the Algarvian countryside.
We visited typical Portuguese villages and places of historical and cultural interest, such as Paderne Castle, enjoyed picturesque bucolic landscapes dotted with vineyards and orchards, and took a refreshing dip in the natural pools of Alte.
I had so much fun on this tour!! In the beginning, I was a bit scared, but in the end, I was even standing up on the ATV.
I finished the tour entirely covered with dust and overwhelmingly delighted.
8 – Flyboard Experience
You may not be familiar with the word flyboard, but you might have seen pictures and videos of people flying over the sea on a powered board connected to a jet ski by a hose.
Flyboard was created in 2012 and the design allows riders to climb out the water and be stable in the air by underfoot propulsion and hand stabilization.
I always wanted to try flyboard, so I partnered with Moments Watersports, located in Armação de Pera, to do it.
After some instructions, few attempts and several fallings, I was flyboarding over the azure waters of the Algarve. It was amazing! I felt extremely happy and accomplished.
It was one of the most memorable moments of my all Algarve trips!
There’re a few places in the world that offer flyboarding experiences, so don’t miss the chance to do it in the Algarve! Book yours here.
9 – Zip-line from Spain to Portugal: the Most Unique Algarve Adventure
Never in your wildest dream you thought that you could cross a border on a zip-line, have you?
While in the Algarve you have the chance to do the only zip-line in the world between two countries.
During this unique Algarve adventure offered by Limite Zero, you whizz along 720m over the River Guadiana at speeds between 70 and 80Km/h.
Zip-lining over the River Guadiana provides incredible views of the landscape between Spain and Portugal and the two frontier cities.
You literally fly through time and gain one hour because of the time zone change between both countries.
It was exhilarating and I loved it!
Pro-tip: I recommend doing this activity in the morning because of the heat. You should also make a stop in Vila Real de Santo António, a lovely Algarvian town.
10 – Coasteering Algarve
If you’re looking for exceptional Algarve adventures, you should try Coasteering.
This activity encompasses movement along the seashore of a rocky coastline combining adventure swimming with climbing, scrambling, sea level traversing, jumping and diving.
I did Coasteering with Coastline Algarve in one of the most beautiful and untouched areas of the Algarve, the Costa Vicentina Natural Park, located between Sagres and Lagos.
We went exploring the coastline, discovering hidden beaches, jumping from cliffs and learning about the marine environment and some local traditions. It was fantastic!
If you are an adrenaline-junkie you should definitely do Coasteering while in the Algarve. Check prices and availability here.
11 – Ria Formosa and its Islands
Ria Formosa, one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Portugal, is a maze of canals, freshwater lagoons, marshes and barrier islands that stretches 60Km along the Algarve coast through the municipalities of Loulé, Faro, Olhão, Tavira and Vila Real de Santo António.
These natural islands with pristine beaches and crystal-clear water have some of the best beaches in the Algarve.
If you’re looking for relaxing and unusual things to do in Algarve, you should take a Ria Formosa Tour.
Booking this 4 Islands Tour departing from Faro, you’ll board on a comfortable Catamaran, take in the fauna and flora of the Natural Park of Ria Formosa, swim at Deserta Island and discover Farol Island’s lighthouse.
You’ll also sail to Hangares to see the culture of oysters and the military reserve and spend 1.5 hours exploring Culatra Island’s traditional fishing village.
12 – Catamaran Cruise
There is no better way to explore the stunning Algarvian coast than by boat!
You’ll explore the southwestern Algarve on a 4h round-trip cruise from Lagos to Cabanas Velhas. You’ll pass magnificent beaches of golden sand, cliffs of staggering rock formations, the sea caves of Ponta da Piedade and the iconic black rock of Praia da Luz.
The catamaran will drop anchor in a secluded bay near the fishing village of Burgau where you can enjoy a complimentary meal.
You can jump into the inviting water for a swim and a snorkel among the marine life, sip a cocktail on the deck or grab a paddleboard for a little adventure.
13 – 3-Hour Food & Historical Center Tour
Are you a history lover and have the curiosity to try local and different dishes? What about putting these two passions on a single tour?
This food tour through Loulé is an excellent opportunity to taste the varied cuisine of the city, as well as traditional Algarvian and Portuguese dishes.
It’ll begin with a walk through the historical centre of Loulé, a traditional Portuguese market town, where you can admire the architecture of its palatial buildings, as well as of the more commonplace street commerce area and its squares, monuments, and gardens.
You’ll stop at three restaurants and taverns, which are famous among locals, taste nine different tapas accompanied by tasty Portuguese wine. To conclude the experience, you’ll visit an old cafe to taste a celebrated regional sweet.
Another tour that I recommend is this Lagos 3h Algarve Classic Food Tour, in which you’ll visit 5 restaurants and taverns, and taste around 12 of the most traditional Portuguese dishes, with a drink in each stop.
14 – Lagos Walking Tour with a Local Historian
Lagos, one of the best places to visit in the Algarve, has a fascinating history and some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
This ancient marine town, whose history stretches back more than 2000 years, was occupied by the Phoenicians, Romans, Visigoths, Byzantines and Moors, who in the 8th century fortified and walled the city and built a medieval castle that can still be seen today.
After the Christian Reconquista of the Iberian Peninsula in 1189, Lagos played an important role in Portuguese discoveries due to its strategic harbor position.
On this very informative and interesting Walking Tour, a historian will reveal you the history, stories, myths, economy and society of Lagos.
You’ll also see the urban evolution of the area and learn about the importance of this town in World history.
15 – Excursion to Olhão, Tavira and Faro
If you want to discover the lovely towns of the eastern Algarve, the best way is to take this full-day minivan tour to Faro, Tavira and Olhão.
You’ll pay a morning visit to the bustling market in Olhão and get to know the biggest fishing community in the Algarve. Enjoy a guided tour and taste the fresh produce sold here including fruit, regional products, and meat.
You’ll visit the pretty town of Tavira to look at the typical houses and Roman bridge that connects the banks of the River Gilão and taste the regional food at lunch in nearby Santa Luzia.
The tour will end in the capital city, where you can choose to explore the historic city centre on foot to discover the amazing Faro Cathedral or cruise around the barrier islands of the Ria Formosa for an hour.
This is a small-group excursion with no more than 8 people. Booking in advance is highly recommended.
These are the 15 best activities, excursions and tours in the Algarve.
I can guarantee that if you follow my recommendations, you’ll have an unforgettable trip!
Safe travels and have fun in Portugal.
More posts about the Algarve that might interest you:
- Algarve Itinerary: 3, 5 and 7 Days – Must-see Beaches and Towns
- Beaches in Algarve: 7 Best and Most Beautiful Ones (With a Map)
- 15 Best Things to Do in Faro, The Adorable Algarve Capital
- 10 Best Things to Do in Algarve with Kids
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Tips to Enjoy the Best Algarve Tours
Where is Algarve located?
Algarve is southernmost region of Portugal (check map here).
Best time to visit the Algarve?
Definitely during the summer and specially July and August. But if you don’t like crowds and heat, you should go June, September or even until the middle of October.
How to get there?
There is an international airport in Faro, but the most popular is the one in Lisbon.
From Lisbon you can take a bus or a train to the Algarve. The prices are basically the same and they take around 2h and half to get there.
Some of the companies that fly to Faro are: Easyjet, British Airways, Ryanair and TAP.
You can book your flights with Skyscanner, which is the website that I use and trust.
How to Get Around?
I really recommend that you hire a car while in the Algarve, because the public transport isn’t good.
You can rent a car with Rental Cars here with no extra costs for you.
To use public transport, here are some important links:
- For the train schedule between Lisboa and the Algarve visit Rail Europe webpage.
- For the bus schedule between Lisbon and the Algarve visit Rede Expressos website.
- For the bus company to Praia da Marinha visit EVA website.
Where to stay in Algarve?
Some Algarve hotels that I recommend:
- Budget: Apartamentos Turísticos Novochoro, Água Viva and Albufeira Beach Hotel.
- Great Value for Money: Hotel Topázio, Rocamar Exclusive Hotel & Spa and Grande Real Santa Eulalia Resort & Hotel Spa.
- Luxury: Salgados Dunas Suites, Pine Cliffs Residence a Luxury Collection Resort and Aqua Pedra dos Bicos.
- Budget: Guest House Casa Sousa, Olive Hostel Lagos and Bela Vista Guest House.
- Great Value for Money: Lagos Uptown Bed & Breakfast, Don Manuel I Charming Residence and Baluarte Da Vila Apartments.
- Luxury: Villas Don Dinis, Cascade Wellness & Lifestyle Resort and Belmar Spa & Beach Resort.
- Book Your Flight Find deals on airlines on my favorite search engine: Skyscanner. Be sure to read my How to find cheap flights article.
- Rent A Car Rental Cars is a great site for comparing car prices to find the best deal.
- Book Accommodation Booking.com is my favorite hotel search engine. But Hotels.com and Hilton Hotels have very interesting reward programs. If you prefer to rent locals’ apartment, the best option is undoubtedly Airbnb. Here is US$ 30 credit towards your fist booking.
- Protect Your Trip Don’t forget travel insurance! I always use World Nomads for short-term trips and SafetyWing for long-term ones. Find out why Travel Insurance: Much More Than a Precaution, a Necessity.
- Book Tours in Advance Book unforgettable experiences and skip-the-line tickets with GetYourGuide or Viator .
- Book Ground Transportation BookaWay offers a stress-free experience with secure payments and no hidden fees. You pay online and receive your itinerary by email.
- Luggage Solutions Rent your luggage with Cargo or if you need to drop off your own luggage and enjoy your time without dragging it all over a city, find a LuggageHero shop here.
- Get a Travel Card Revolut Card is a pre-paid debit card that enables cash machine withdrawals in 120 countries. I’ve been using my Revolut Card for over a year and never paid foreign-transaction fees again. Get your Revolut Card with free shipping here.
- Packing Guide Check out my How to Pack a Carry-on Luggage For a Five-month Trip to help you start packing for your trip. Don’t forget your camera, chargers and other useful travel accessories.