Hit the road with this self-drive tour along the West Algarve! A route designed by locals, to show you the best bits of the region.
Contemplate the horizon from the Vicentina Coast’s dramatic cliffs; visit the green hills of Monchique; check must-see places, like Ponta da Piedade; enjoy the nature in Ria de Alvor; relish with the fresh seafood and the fine Portuguese wines!
The tour is based in Lagos, a historical and cosmopolitan coastal city.
Walking in Lagos centre. The historic centre of Lagos overlooking the harbour and the estuary.
The old town is filled with small boutiques, restaurants, and a wealth of heritage and cultural sites. A beautiful wall and a Fort border the waterfront, facing a large bay and the Meia Praia Beach’s delicate sands.
From Lagos, you’ll get to visit the Vicentina Coast, Sagres, and the cliffs of Cape S. Vicent, the most south-westerly point in Portugal and in Europe. The cliffs are a vertiginous 60 meters high, dropping down into the furious spray of the waves.
On your way, a highlight for the unique scenery of Ponta da Piedade, a true postcard picture of your memorable holidays.
Stunning view from the top of the cliff Lagos. Ponta da Piedade, beautiful seas and golden cliffs.
The beaches of Arrifana and Odeceixe hide endless dunes, surrounded by tiny wildflowers, where the only sounds come from the waves, the seagulls, and the salty winds singing.
Visit Monchique, nestled in the folds of the hills. Nearby is the highest peak of the Algarve, Fóia, from where you have a view up to Alentejo.
To complete your experience, make sure you don’t miss the exquisite regional dishes, from the sea and from the land, accompanied by excellent Portuguese wines.
Let us show you the West Algarve, you’ll bring home a different side of this welcoming region, with a generous culture and impressive natural beauty!
Day 1 – Arrival
Individual arrival to Faro Airport and rent-a-car vehicle pick up. Drive to Lagos.
Lagos historical centre. Unlike many other resorts in the Algarve, Lagos is a city that is steeped in history and has a variety of historical monuments.
Day 2 – On the Way to Sagres
We suggest starting the week with the discovery of the southwestern end of the Iberian Peninsula, once believed to be the end of the world.
In Sagres take the time to explore this relaxed place and enjoy the fabulous views around. There’s much to see here, from the famous Fortress of Sagres, one of the symbols of the Portuguese Discoveries – with the enigmatic rosa-dos-ventos (wind rose) carved in the paving stones of the fortress – to Cape S. Vincent, with its imposing lighthouse.
As you drive inland, we invite to experience Barão de S. Miguel and Barão de S. João. These sister inland villages, share a rural charm of the traditional home architecture and are both located on the edge of a national forest.
Just a small drive away from Lagos, is Ponta da Piedade. Here, where the cliffs begin and provide an amazing view of the bay, colourful sailing boats slowly approach the marina and contrast with the see-through blue waters that gently move amongst the cliffs.
From here, take the road to Boca do Rio, and continue to Salema, a traditional fishing village that still remains true to its nature.
As you drive along with the EN 125 that crosses the whole Algarve, there are secrets to be uncovered. After a bend in the road, you come across the small Chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This is where seafarers prayed before setting off to the mercy of the waves in their ships and caravels.
Day 3 – A Day in the Hills
Monchique, The many charms of Monchique extend an invitation to visit the municipality.
Today will be dedicated to the views over the beautiful hills, north of Lagos. Start the day driving towards Alvor, a small paradise bordered by the sea on one side and the vast estuary of the river on the other, separated by an extensive dune. This is a place of total tranquillity, with significant importance for the natural ecosystem, an excellent spot for birdwatching and nature observation.
As you drive northwards, the landscape changes. The small house clusters like in the village of Senhora do Verde, stand alongside a mountain road surrounded by spectacular cork-oaks and cultivated valleys. Olive and carob trees alternate with aromatic plants. Together with this impressive plant diversity, there is abundant wildlife.
When you reach Fóia, at the viewing point 902 meters above sea level, you’ll have one of the finest panoramas in the south of the country, stretching from the coastline to the hills of the Alentejo. On a clear day, you can see from Sagres to Faro in the south, and the Serra da Arrábida in the north.
The landscape, unfolding in terraces with moving springs, is different from the rest of the Algarve. At this height, an eternal spring flows constantly both in winter and in summer. With a constant temperature of 14ºC, it gives the illusion of coolness on hot days and of warmth in the most wintry of weather.
Day 4 – A Day to Discover the Costa Vicentina
Odeceixe beach. The Atlantic coast beach of Praia de Odeceixe in the border between the Algarve and Alentejo regions of Portugal.
Of all the different landscapes that compose the Algarve, none is as striking as the west coast. Here you will have a chance to observe the flight of numerous marine birds: eagles, goshawks, and sparrow hawks watching from above and gliding on the wind. Storks nest on the edges of rugged, darkened cliffs.
On beaches like Arrifana, Carriagem or Amoreira, the ocean presents itself in darker colours, teeming with minerals and fish.
The west coast is a tapestry of small villages, all unique in their own way. In Rogil, it is worth visiting the recently-restored mill of Arregata. If you’re hungry ask for sweet potato patties or baked sweet potato, or perhaps a sandwich with a fried moray eel. If the tide is good, it’ll be the catch of the day.
On your drive to Odeceixe, the roads are lined with leafy trees. The town is located in a narrow valley and there is a clear symbiosis between the countryside and the beach.
There are majestic pines and eucalyptus trees. Above, is a rebuilt mill, with a fine view of the village.
It is four kilometres from here to the mouth of the river Odeceixe, with a beach on either bank. On the southern side, there is a magnificent viewing point over this fabulous area!
Day 5 – Individual departure or extra days
Carvi Beach Hotel
Carvi Beach Hotel
Carvi Beach Hotel (3***) or similar
Located in one of Europe’s most popular destinations for an idyllic beach vacation – Praia D. Ana in Lagos. Carvi Beach Hotel Algarve is a smart choice for travellers who want an incredible holiday experience.
Each room feature a balcony so fresh air is just stepped away; some with garden views and most with lateral or full sea views. The rooms are equipped with quiet air conditioning systems and blackout drapes.
You must be adequately insured to join our Portugal Guided holidays and Portugal self-drive holidays. We do not insist that you insure with us but we require that you are adequately insured for the nature of your holiday.
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Please consult our Travel Insurance page, where you’ll be able to get more detailed info about insurance requirements and an immediate quote for your trip.