The Algarve is a must-see destination for any traveler to Portugal and October is the perfect time to visit. The crowds have thinned out, the weather is still warm, and the sea is at its most inviting. Our guide will help you plan your visit to this stunning region, from choosing the perfect beaches to explore, to finding the best local restaurants and activities. Don’t miss the opportunity to discover the hidden gems of the Algarve in October.
Discover the Algarve with the freedom and flexibility of a rental car. The roads in the Algarve are well-maintained and the scenery along national road N125 is picturesque. However, be familiar with local driving laws and habits, particularly the abundance of roundabouts. If you have specific destinations in mind, plan extra travel time based on the location and time of day. Alternately, convenient and cost-effective options include public transport such as trains and Uber, taking the train to the station and then using Uber to reach the center of towns such as Albufeira. Although, Keep in mind that Uber can be pricey and not recommended for traveling between towns in the Algarve. There also exist toll road A22, if you want to avoid heavy traffic. Choose the option that best fits your travel needs and preferences.
Finding parking in the Algarve can be a bit of a challenge, especially during peak hours. To avoid the rush, try to reach your destination before 9am. Each town in the Algarve offers a mix of public and street parking options, with some having more availability than others. Beach parking lots can also vary, with some offering plenty of spots and others filling up quickly. Our guide will give you an insight on how to navigate parking in the Algarve, including the best time to visit, where to look for spots, and how to make the most of the options available.
To get to the Algarve from Lisbon
Explore the Algarve with ease by travelling by car or train. On our trip, we chose to take the train from Lisbon to the Algarve and then rented a car for the remaining days of our stay (around 5 days). We purchased our train tickets in advance from railninja.com, which cost 10,50 euros per adult from Lisbon to Entrecampos and 13,50 euros from Lisboa to Sete Rios. There is a slight discount if you book in advance. The train ride was approximately 4 1/2 hours and was a comfortable experience, with clean bathrooms, comfortable seats and outlets available to charge our devices. We found the car rental to be an excellent option for exploring the Algarve in greater detail once we arrived. Our guide will provide you with all the information you need for travelling by car and train to the Algarve, including the best places to book your tickets and how to make the most of your trip.
What to pack
It’s always a good idea to be prepared for a range of temperatures and weather conditions when traveling to a new destination. The Algarve region of Portugal is known for mild temperatures. In October, temperatures can reach the high 80s Fahrenheit (26 degrees Celsius) during the day and can drop to the 50s Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) at night. I would recommend to bring a mix of lightweight, summery clothing for the day, such as shorts, dresses, and lightweight tops, as well as some warmer layers for the cooler evenings, such as jeans, cardigans, and a light jacket. Also bring a hat to protect yourself from the sun during the day and some sunscreen to prevent sunburn.
Places to stay
We stayed in Faro, our base, and explored other towns each day while we were in the Algarve. Our AirBnB in the Algarve was a bit small, however, it had everything we needed and was in the middle of the city center. This allowed us to walk to restaurants, stores, the marina, and sights. Depending on your budget, you can certainly choose other accommodations.
There’s no shortage of food options in the Algarve. You can pretty much get anything from acai bowl, sushi, sandwiches, or octopus plates depending on which town you visit. I don’t think I had any bad experience as far as food was concerned. I did notice that their pastries were much larger (i.e. croissants) in the Algarve compare to the mini pastries we got in the northern part of Portugal. I will do a separate post regarding food recommendations in the Algarve.
From kayaking to swimming to cave exploring, there are plenty of activities to enjoy. My suggestions include visiting Benagil Cave, exploring Albufeira, Tavira, Lagos, Faro and Vilamoura. Beaches are plentiful. Keep in mind, however, that seaweeds are likely to be present in the water, and currents are huge, so you will need to be careful which beaches are swimmable and which ones are not. Here are a few beach and spots to check out.
Praia da Marinha: The heart-shaped rock formation is one of the most notable features of Praia da Marinha. There are walking paths that offer views of the coastline from various viewpoints. Despite the large waves that make swimming impossible, the walking paths offer a beautiful view of the coastline that is worth seeing.
Praia Dona Ana: You will find lots of room to spread out at Donna Ana beach. However, you will also find a lot of seaweed and huge waves. Therefore, you must keep an eye on where you can swim safely. There is a restaurant right next to the pool, as well as a small coffee stand near the staircase, where there are also restrooms for a fee.
Praia dos Pescadores located in Albufeira has a beach just steps from the center of town. There is plenty of space to layout, the waters are calm, and it is close to the marina. This is one of the best places to swim in my opinion. Once you’re done with the beach you can walk to the city center and grab something to eat.
Praia de Vilamoura is another great place to swim. It is quieter in compare to other beach we saw. There’s a restaurant nearby, plenty of space on shore to swim and layout. It is also within walking distance to the city center.
Benagil Cave is one of the popular landmarks in the Algarve. It is a gigantic sea cave with various shades of yellow that can only be reached through kayaking or by boat. Although, you can’t swim in the cave area our guide allowed us to swim in the open water towards the end of our tour. You can also swim at the beach shore where you start your kayaking journey. As this is a major tourist attraction be prepared for crowds.