My Algarve Insider Tips

A while ago I thought it was a great idea if I did a series of posts on my favourite spots in the Algarve. There were grand plans to do more posts in the series. And yet, I forgot about it. That silly thing called life (and watching too many films and TV shows) got in the way.

Well, I’m back on it now. And this time I wanted to share with you my favourite photographic places in the Algarve. I’m no professional photographer. I’m barely an amateur. But I love taking photos while I’m over there. There are several places I go back to time and again as they always inspire me. So I thought I’d share those places with you.

These are my tips for tourists visiting the Algarve who want to go out there armed with their cameras and capture something beautiful.

The beaches of Armacao de Pera

When anyone thinks of the Algarve the first things that come to mind are either beaches or golfing. For me, it’s definitely more beaches than golfing. In particular, the beach in Armacao de Pera. A huge, wide sandy beach with some expansive sand dunes as a precursor to the actual beach.

It’s a popular place for locals and tourists. Unlike many beaches, whenever you go, you’ll almost always find a spot. But forget going in summer. If you’re in the region in autumn/winter/spring time, head to this beach to get some really rather lovely photos.

The beaches are almost empty, save for some other walkers and you can capture one of the best beaches the Algarve has to offer. Here are some shots I took in December while I was there:

Armacao de Pera

The vast sand dunes that back the beautiful beach. It’s a bit of a walk to the beach, but it’s a great photo opportunity.

Armacao de Pera

Just look out towards the sea, along the coast of the Algarve.

Armacao de Pera

Looks completely deserted. A perfect photo op.

The cliffs near Carvoeiro

Sticking to the coastline, another highlight of the Algarve’s stunning coastal scenery are the stunning cliff formations. I’m sure you can visit any of the rocky cliff sides to get some beautiful views and photos. But my favourite place is near the town of Carvoeiro.

You’ll need to head in and out-of-town and head towards the Rocha Brava complex. Keep going and follow signs for Club Atlantico. Park up on the side of the road and head towards the cliffs.

Algarvian Cliffs

Coastal cliffs of the Algarve in the near in between Carvoeiro and Benagil.

Algarvian cliffs

The colour of the sea contrasts amazingly with the colours of the cliffs.

Algarvian cliffs

And there are plenty of sea birds around if you like taking photos of something at tad more lively.

Another great spot for photos of the cliffs in the area is Algar Seco. This is nearer the town of Carvoeiro and has some excellent views.

Portimao

Sticking along the coastline but moving west, one of my favourite towns to photograph is Portimao. More specifically, the marina. It’s a mix of old and new with crumbling buildings, graffitti covered buildings and some amazing yachts parked up in the marina itself. It’s also a great place to people watch and get some candid photos of said people. (Unfortunately whenever I go the place is a bit bereft of people!).

Here are some of my photos of the marina area:

Portimao

You’ll never be far from some horribly graffiti covered buildings in Portimao. But they do make for a half decent photography subject.

Portimao

Another winter time shot. With a lack of both tourists and local people, you get can take some photos which look like they’re from a completely different place.

Santa Clara

Moving away from the coastline but sticking with the water theme is one of my favourite places to not just take photos, but just to sit in relative tranquillity. Now, this place isn’t in the Algarve. But I didn’t want to leave it out of this post.

Santa Clara is in the Alentejo region. Probably just a couple of hours from the coastline not only is the destination worth it but the drive up there. You’ll get to see some amazing vistas whichever season you’re visiting in.

At Santa Clara is a huge baragem – a dam. This is my photo spot of choice. Take a look at some of the photos I’ve taken there:

Santa Clara

A panoramic view of the dam and the lake.

Santa Clara

A panoramic view of the lake and beyond.

Santa Clara

The lake itself is used for recreation. Though, it’s never what anyone would call busy. You’ll be lucky to see the odd boat floating around on it!

Santa Clara

The other side of the dam reveals the altitude you’re actually at. The valley below looks like a very long way down.

Malhao

While you’re on the other side of the border of the Algarve, keep driving for another hour or so up north and go to a small town called Malhao. There’s not really much of massive note here. Oh well, except a Buddhist temple and views that you will not see in the Algarve.

See, Malhao is the highest point in the Serra do Caldeirão. Meaning from all the way up there you can see to the coastline on a clear day. The couple of times I’ve been to the town to take some photos, it’s been the height of summer. Down at sea level the temperature is at least 30 degrees. As the altitude goes up the temperature drops. Once it dropped all the way down to about 21 degrees C. For summer, that’s a hell of a drop!

Malhao

Seeing all the way to the sea. From miles and miles away.

Malhao

The Buddhist temple at the very centre of this town.

More than just beaches and golf

There is so much to do in the Algarve. Heck, I’ve been going there my whole life and I still find new places to visit and take photos of. Hopefully this has given you some inspiration if you’re heading out that way or if you’re going on holiday anywhere in the world and just want some ideas.

18 comments

    • It’s a small region in the south of Portugal. Lovely area. Sometimes a bit touristy, but there are some beautiful little hidden spots.

  1. Love the “completely deserted” one. Great leading lines with the pillars and coast. And very majestic photos of the lighthouse on the cliffs! Cool rock formations. I pinned it. Hope you get to practice your street photography in Portimao one day!

    • Thanks for the pin, Lisa! Really appreciate it.

      Some of the cliffs along the coastline are epic. Just amazing. And yes, one day I’ll pluck up the courage and find people to take photos of in Portimao. One day!

  2. Breathtaking photos, Jaina. My goodness, the cliffs near Carvoeiro is beautifuuul… I’ve always had a thing for lighthouses :)

  3. Nice post. We used to go to the Algarve a lot but it’s been a few years now… We loved the wild West coast beaches. Super surf!

  4. Hey Jaina lovely blog post and photos :) I’m looking to fly out there next month to Faro and i’m hoping to stay in the Algarve area, i cant drive but do you have any tips for things to do? I’m quite adventurous and am hoping to see the caves and go scuba diving! Any information would be so appreciated, thanks in advance xxx

    • Hi Sylviee! Thanks for dropping by :) if you’re going to be in Faro, the best beach you could go to is Praia de Faro, which is literally next to the airport. You’ll probably see it as you’re coming in to land! It is a stunning beach though. One of my favourites.

      There are some excellent cave trips you can go on. Definitely do that! If you can get further inland, there are a few horse riding trips you can do through the hills, which is always a fun thing to do.

      Oh and this might sound childish, but it’s not, the water slide parks there are so much fun! My personal favourite is Slide and Splash in Lagoa. Aqualand is very popular too, but I’m a Slide and Splash fan :D

      Depending on the time of year and what’s going on, there are usually all sorts of local fairs and festivals going on which are sometimes worth a look.

      Eat local food! The original peri peri chicken, sardines, all sorts of seafood. There’s a pork dish that’s called black pork which is super delicious. Local cafes will tend to serve that.

      There’s a huge shopping centre called Algarve Shopping in Guia which has everything you’d need from a massive supermarket to all the usual clothes shops and cinema.

      At the airport there’s a tourist information desk, as soon as you go through the baggage pick-up bit, on the left near a coffee shop. There’s loads of leaflets you can pick up from there which should help too.

      Hope this has helped a little and have fun on your holiday!

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