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Affinity Villas Blog

Five of The Best but Mostly Unknown Places to Visit in the Algarve

There are several towns and resorts in the Algarve that attract countless tourists on a daily basis. However, the best places to visit in the area are relatively unknown, yet still close to popular tourist destinations. We hope you find our selection of places to visit useful should you be travelling to the Algarve.

1. Alcoutim

The Algarve is home to several barely populated villages. They offer some of the best places to visit if you're interested in a quick peek at what the Algarve used to be like many years ago. Even the rural drive to Alcoutim feels completely different to the rest of the Algarve’s main roads and yet it is incredibly beautiful thanks to the nearby Guadiana River.

Alcoutim is an exceptional find if you love historic tourism and culture. The town was originally used by Greeks, Romans, and Arabs. It is still populated with ancient architecture, including a castle built during the 14th century. Conversely if you're a thrill seeker, you can take a zip line across the river from Portugal to Spain. It's the only zip line in the world that crosses country borders, a large river and time zones.

2. Vila Real De Santo Antonio

This hidden village is very near to Alcoutim and is worth visiting if you are already in the area. It also happens to be extremely close to Spain. There are as almost as many residents here who speak Spanish as those who speak Portuguese.

There are several interesting tourist attractions worth visiting. They include the Praca Marques de Pombal and the Arquivo Historico Municipal. You can also hop on a ferry and visit the nearby Spanish village of Ayamonte. The ferry ride is about twenty minutes across the Guadiana River, which is a fun experience by itself.

3. Sagres

Sagres is one of the most beautiful hidden gems in all of Algarve as well as the rest of Portugal. Where other towns in the area are known for their rich and diverse histories, Sagres is known for its sparsely populated beaches and relaxed atmosphere. It's an ideal place to visit if you want to enjoy the surf, but without bumping into too many tourists.

This stunning town is also home to three large beaches that are all within a short walking distance of the village. Of the three beaches, the most popular is Praia da Mareta because it offers shelter from strong winds while still providing medium-to-large surfing waves. If you are interested in the more secluded beaches, then the nearby Praia da Baleeira may be more your style.

Aside from the beaches and the village itself, there is one other tourist attraction that is worth exploring while in Sagres. It is the Fortaleza de Sagres, an old Fort with only a single defensive wall. The other sides of the Fort are guarded by the cliffs themselves. Most people wouldn't visit Sagres for the Fort alone, however, it’s a welcome distraction from the beach for those interested in local history.

4. Serra De Monchique

Many of the best spots in the Algarve are known for their nearby beaches or rivers, but not Serra de Monchique. Instead, the area is filled with a mountain range that offers some of the best views in all of Portugal. There are several trails that adventurous tourists can hike. One trail reaches 900 meters, which is the highest point in all of the Algarve. You can even see Sagres on some days if the weather is clear.

For those who like exploring, you can make the small village of Monchique your resting point before branching out to visit the surrounding areas. Given the location, it’s a quiet town but nonetheless has several cafes, restaurants and even a spa to relax in.

5. Portimao

The final hidden gem in the Algarve is Portimao. This town has a combination of all the things that make a great tourist village. It has history, several great attractions and it is surrounded by beautiful water. Unlike previous villages mentioned in the Algarve, Portimao offers a more urban atmosphere.

While in Portimao you can visit a historical theatre or spend time in a museum that has won several awards. Its popularity is proven by the arrival of several cruise ships that regularly visit the town in the height of summer sending an influx of tourists for a few hours at a time. There's also a nearby artificial reef that is perfect for fans of diving.

Do you prefer to surf on secluded beaches? What about hiking through mountain trails that overlook much of the region? If visiting the Algarve’s historic and cultural attractions more to your taste? These largely unspoilt destinations in the Algarve have a lot to offer and you won't have to worry about bumping into many other tourists.