The Algarve, in addition to its natural beauties, is also widely known for being a luxury destination, attracting discerning travelers in search of exclusive and sophisticated experiences. And there are many novelties that we are going to reveal, from the most secret charming hotels to the restaurants that this year won stars in the Michelin constellation. To ensure you don’t get lost in the myriad of itineraries, here are the ones that we found most stunning.
Exclusive and heavenly stays
For a relaxing and revitalizing sleep, we have chosen places full of charm, where luxury is ever-present. To begin with, we decided to go to Tavira, where Hospedaria Alvisquer welcomes visitors, between the mountains and the sea, in the heart of the Algarve Barrocal, where the smell of figs and the memory of the famous Cumeada dances live on. This place made for resting has six suites, decorated with inspired-by-nature color palettes, where private terraces offer maximum coziness. The first meal of the day is prepared with local products and we know it is divine, there are also carefully prepared snacks for those who want to discover the wild trails where secrets and mysteries unfold. In the afternoon or evening it is possible to taste typical cocktails in the old tavern, where the walls still echo the laughter of old travelers. Hospedaria Alvisquer, owned by Pensão Agrícola Group, has been remodeled, but most of the pieces that fill the place have many stories to tell, having been recovered with immense dedication to be integrated in this peaceful place where a couple of donkeys delight visitors.
Very close to Tavira is Quinta de Cima, where tradition and the future have merged to create an agricultural resort full of charm, just a short walk from the beach. This luxurious treasure is located in the quiet village of Cancela Velha, where the houses tell old stories and are surrounded by fields of olive trees, vineyards, orange trees and almond trees. The walls, which have lived through many stories, whisper secrets, while the flowery gardens embrace the soul of the visitors and evoke sighs of delight. This little wonder, owned by the Ramirez family since 1925, has been renovated to offer maximum comfort in all its nine small houses, each with its own garden and breakfast included. Among the many experiences available to visitors are invigorating horseback rides to the village, where you can relax and enjoy fresh oysters. The serene tones of the interior call for quietness but also for lively conversation in the evenings. Outside, the picturesque houses stretch along a private street.
A little above Faro is Loulé, an Algarve treasure of magical corners revealed in the narrow streets that hold secrets from many centuries ago. In the colorful market, which is a must-see, the aromas of spices and fresh fruit fill the air. And there are unique products that allow to have this piece of land at home all year round, just to relive memories. In this village of eternal poetry, near Vilamoura with its immense beaches, is the eco-friendly resort Casa Brava. Nestled at the end of a lost road in the heights of Loulé is a 19th century house with three independent suites and private patios. This accommodation enraptures visitors with its unique and original narrative, inspired by the lifestyle of times gone by, intended for resting. It is surprising how the essence that surrounds everything reminds us of tranquility, offering an authentic and genuine experience, vital to immerse yourself in a serene rhythm, where every detail has been carefully thought out for an unforgettable stay. Casa Brava is a destination thought for the communion with nature, incorporated into a holistic approach to life. The organic vegetable garden is the pride of the house and, together with the natural cosmetics produced by the owners, raises well-being to the highest level. Here, a slow-paced life pulsates intensely in search of a sustainable future, in an alternative narrative where past and present meet, crossing paths that honor nature and cultivate a more promising tomorrow.
Gastronomy served with stars
In the Algarve’s impeccable flavors, haute cuisine has earned new Michelin stars. Fresh and local ingredients dance in harmony in creative dishes. Made with delicacies from the sea and land, each dish is a symphony of flavors. The creations of the chefs, true artists in the kitchen, awaken the senses and transport us to a world of unparalleled gastronomic pleasure. Since tasting new gastronomic compositions is always a moment of happiness as a couple or in a group, this Algarve itinerary outlines the best restaurants we have found along the way. In Tavira, within the walls of the old Moorish castle, stands a refuge designed with passion, as a tribute to the city of 37 churches and its rich history. Masterfully managed by chef Luís Brito and sommelier Claúdia Abrantes, A Ver Tavira, awarded a Michelin star, offers two menus, one for lunch, with contemporary traditionality, and another one for dinner, more sophisticated and not to be missed. The terrace overlooking this enchanted city is an irresistible invitation. In Tavira you can also find À Mesa, which has been awarded a Bib Gourmand by the Michelin Guide. Here, in every dish, flavors are blended into a harmonious symphony, and the table becomes the stage for unforgettable gastronomic experiences. Close your eyes and think of food with flavors that take you straight back to your childhood… now look around and you will realize that you’ll find them all in this unique restaurant that brings all these memories to the table.
In Vila Nova de Cancela, a bit away from the coast, you will find the Vistas Rui Silvestre restaurant, awarded a Michelin star in 2023. A unique place where classic elegance is remarkably combined with the flavors of the Algarve. In this unique place, overlooking the immense Monte Rei Golf & Country Club, the young chef Rui Silvestre leads us in a journey of discovery into glorious gastronomy, balancing excellence and softness. Each dish that arrives on the table of the Passeio Marítimo menu, inspired exclusively by the sea and the Portuguese coast, reveals the splendor of nature and the Atlantic Ocean. If the harmonious symphony of flavors is reason enough to visit this place, the plating is something memories are made of, all the ingredients are placed so that nothing disturbs the elegance.
Roughly halfway along the Algarve coast is Almancil, a jewel embraced by the sun, where citrus scents mingle in the air. Here, Gusto restaurant, in the luxurious Conrad Algarve Hotel, offers a unique gastronomic experience, conceived by the three-Michelin-starred chef Heinz Beck. The majestically decorated room reveals an open kitchen that allows you to see all the culinary artistry that goes on there. Not to be missed are the Gusto by Heinz Beck menus, prepared with the best Portuguese and international ingredients in a Mediterranean style of high quality, and the seasonal À Carta, with famous signature dishes.
If the caves, cliffs and beaches of Lagoa aren’t reason enough to visit this picturesque town, whether it’s late morning or late afternoon, the flavors of the BonBon restaurant certainly are. Located in a typical Algarvian house, octagonal in shape, overlooking the Monchique mountains, this place offers unique moments conceived by chef José Lopes. His gastronomic philosophy includes support for the local producers who help to bring to the table genuine products that have almost lost to time. Boldly and innovatively, the ingredients produced are placed on the table of the visitor, creating a traditional cuisine with contemporary flavors that feeds the body and uplifts the soul.
Lifestyle and fun, Algarve style
Quinta do Lago is one of the best resorts in the Algarve. Located in Almancil, over the years it has helped to create unique memories of holidays or leisure trips. This is a place where nature has opened up to luxury and serenity, creating an idyllic atmosphere. In this itinerary we will not reveal the places for an unforgettable stay or a more intimate restaurant. Instead, we’ll let you in on a secret: the activities at Quinta do Lago are many and varied, for the family or just for two. You can listen to timeless songs over a cocktail at Umami, only on Wednesdays until the end of September. While you’re there, you can dine on excellent Asian cuisine. Casa do Lago also has live music on Sundays in the late afternoon, and you can also eat there if you don’t want to move. If you are in Almancil, facing the sea, and decide to move a little to your right, you’ll find vibrant Albufeira, where we recommend Sal Rosa. This bar is ideal for relaxing after the beach or before dinner; the cocktails here are beyond anything you’ve ever tasted or imagined, all with views of the Atlantic. If you want to go left, you’ll find Faro, an intense district capital with plenty of bars and small restaurants, all within the walls of the old town. There are dozens of rooftop parties with all kinds of music. But Tavira also has a lively atmosphere that can be enjoyed almost until daylight.
When the sun hits the sand
There are many beaches along the Algarve coast, but then there are those special ones that everyone talks about and that are almost deserted from the end of August. Here are three suggestions so you don’t waste any time and enjoy the sun to the full. In the south of Lagos, Dona Ana beach is a heavenly treasure. Hidden in the cliffs of Ponta da Piedade, it reveals a heavenly show, where golden cliffs sculpted by time embrace the turquoise waters, while the soft sand invites you to rest. This stunning setting is matched by the service of the restaurants that dot this picturesque beach. Also in Lagos is the unspoiled Carvalho beach. Located on the jagged cliffs of the coast, this small and intimate beach is surrounded by ochre-colored cliffs worn by time. An imposing rock, almost touching the sky, divides the beach, creating a dramatic view of the horizon. Access to Carvalho beach is made through a tunnel carved by hand in the rock, where you can see marine fossils. The well-placed restaurant offers visitors gastronomic wonders, while the adjacent ravine is surrounded by lush vegetation, where juniper, mastic and dwarf palms stand out. On the coast of Lagoa, in the stunning setting of Caramujeira, lies Marinha Beach, the largest and best-guarded secret of the Algarve, chosen as one of the ten most stunning beaches in Europe and one of the top one hundred most beautiful in the world by the Michelin Guide. It also received the prestigious title of Golden Beach from the Ministry of the Environment in 1998, in recognition of its unique values. Marinha beach is famous not only for its majestic cliffs, but also for its crystal clear waters, which offer a unique view of the seabed and are ideal for snorkeling. This coastal sanctuary is a gift from nature and offers the best sunsets on the Algarve coast. So take a picnic basket, a Moroccan blanket or a simple beach towel, spread it out on the sand and get ready to find magic in the relaxing golden sand. Breathe in the salt of the sea and do nothing but watch.
Also in Lagoa you’ll find Sand City, the largest exhibition of sand sculptures in the world. There are more than 120 works of art, skillfully sculpted by more than sixty national and international artists, depicting everyday life, famous personalities and fascinating curiosities. Between green spaces and resting areas, come and discover this open-air space that delights everyone, from 10 am to 11 pm until the end of September.
To explore the entire Algarve coast without rushing, since everything is close by, there are excursions by sailboat or motorboat, rented to those who have a sailing license or with all included, with a skipper. These trips, which can be arranged by Skipper Portugal Yacht Charters, located in Vilamoura Marina, offer a private chef to prepare delicious delicacies or just a trip to watch dolphins, among other experiences, tailored to the wishes of each visitor. The capacity ranges from two to eighteen people and is an excellent way to observe all the beaches and dive into the warm, crystal clear waters as if everything was just yours.
The Algarve is a Portuguese gem that has no expiration date for making us return time and time again. In this enchanted place, where the sun embraces the sea and the golden sand stretches to the horizon, the soul is awakened by secret melodies whispered in the wind. The imposing cliffs with their unique beauty, keep a watchful eye on the secrets of the tides, while the picturesque villages reveal ancient memories through the cobbled streets and white houses, intertwined with stories and legends. And time seems to be suspended in a gentle and welcoming rhythm.