Things to do in the Algarve: 10 activities you can’t miss

There are 10 activities not to be missed when visiting the Algarve and this article will help you discover them all. Whether you want to admire the landscape from above, on the ground, or in the water, the Algarve region is simply unique. The south of Portugal with its colours, scents, wind and colourful beaches will win you over.

Besides listing places you absolutely must visit like the Benagil Cave by boat, kayak or sup and other activities not to be missed like surfing and skydiving, this article helps you organize your next Algarve holiday and book your favourite activities for a perfect and unforgettable summer.

There are over 40 points on the map. Enlarge the area you will be staying in on your next Algarve holiday and discover all the activities close to you.

Skydiving in the Algarve

The plane has the door open, the participant and his instructor are ready to skydive in the Algarve.
©Skydive Seven Algarve

Skydiving in the Algarve is the perfect activity to make a holiday or an important moment in your life simply unforgettable. With your heart in your throat and a bit of genuine fear, you can enjoy a highly adrenaline-filled freefall followed by a calmer, more panoramic parachute flight.

With jumps from 15,000, 12,000 and 10,000 ft, skydiving in the Algarve offers plenty of choice. Depending on the height from which you decide to jump, the duration of the freefall changes. If you jump from 10,000 ft, for example, the freefall will be about 30 seconds. If you decide to jump 12,000 ft, however, the freefall will be about 10 seconds longer.

The places you can skydive from in the Algarve are Avor and Portimão. From both of these locations you will be able to admire the beautiful Portuguese coast. Moreover, the skydiving providers in the Algarve want their customers to have a happy and carefree time on the day of the jump. Therefore, a pick up service is included in the offer.

Paragliding in the Algarve

During a paragliding flight in the Algarve, the participant makes a selfie where you see him, the pilot and the coast of Portugal.
©Flytrip

If you want to float up into the sky, but the idea of a free fall is something that keeps you awake at night, paragliding is the most suitable alternative for you. Paragliding allows for a much more relaxing and scenic flight and, thanks to lift-offs from strategically selected spots throughout the Algarve, all flights offer views of the beach and the cliffs. As such, tandem paragliding will allow you to experience overwhelming emotions and to enjoy Portugal from above.

Paragliding flights in the Algarve last between 20 and 30 minutes depending on the wind and typically land directly on the beach. An unforgettable experience that will become one of your most cherished memories.

Surfing in the Algarve

Five guys are surfing in the Algarve.
©Arrifana Surf School

The most widespread outdoor activity in Portugal is surfing. Surfers of all levels can be found along the coasts of the country. Surf schools in the Algarve are plentiful and, as such, it is very easy to find one close to your hotel that suits your needs.

The popularity of surfing in the Algarve is indisputable. In fact, the Algarve is one of the best spots in Europe for beginners, intermediates and advanced surfers. A place as versatile as this is not easy to find elsewhere. As it covers both the south and west coasts, it is always suitable for year-round surfing. Depending on the wind and peoples’ ability, the providers take their students either to the south coast or the west coast, always ensuring the best possible conditions. Group lessons often last all day long and, in some cases, lunch is included in the price.

Competitiveness between surf schools is very high, which guarantees excellent quality. Furthermore every surf school tries to stand out in one way or another. Arrifana Surf School, for example, is the only fixed surf station on the wonderful beach of Arrifana. Another example is Amado Surf School, where most of the instructors have the highest possible level of certification to teach people how to surf.

Boat trips in the Algarve

A boat that makes a boat tour in the Algarve can be admired from a cave.
©Dream Wave

Another popular activity that is suitable for everyone, is to go on boat trips in the Algarve. The south coast of the Algarve is the ideal place to take a boat trip. The high cliffs and numerous caves offer a varied and fascinating panorama.

There are two highly popular boat tours in the Algarve: the dolphin watching tour and the boat tour to the Benagil Cave. The Benagil Cave is an unmissable place if you are on holiday in the Algarve. This cave creates a sort of private beach. The entrance is through the two arches that overlook the sea and which, together with the large round hole at the top, create truly magical shades of light. The Benagil Cave is a distinctive symbol of the Algarve, photographed and loved by all tourists. The boat trips to the cave start from Albufeira, Portimao and Vilamoura, making them easily accessible to most visitors.

In addition, the boat tour with dolphin watching is also very famous in the region. These wonderful mammals are, in fact, quite common on the south coast of Portugal and can be admired as they swim and jump alongside the boat.

Kayak tours in the Algarve

Kayak Tour to Benagil Cave
©Seasiren Tours

A kayak tour is ideal if you want to visit more secluded places in the Algarve. By kayak, you can actually paddle into caves and narrow spaces that are impossible to access by boat. The excursion to the Grottoes Ponta da Piedade, for example, has an initial catamaran ride during which you can relax and enjoy the view of the famous beaches of Meia Praia, Batata, D.Ana. When you arrive near the caves, you will proceed by kayak with your guide. Admiring the surroundings, you can take a refreshing swim and return to the catamaran.

Another tour that combines a boat tour with a kayak excursion in the Algarve is the Benagil Cave tour. With this tour, you will enter the cave in a kayak and admire this wonderful natural structure with a whole new perspective.

SUP tours in the Algarve

A group of people are coming to a beach during a sup tour in the Algarve.
©Albufeira Surf & SUP

Just like kayaking, the sup (stand up paddling) allows you to explore much narrower spaces compared to a boat ride. For this reason, the typical SUP tours in the Algarve also take place in and around caves. In addition to numerous tours to the unmissable Benagli Cave, you can use the SUP to admire the coast and the cliffs as well. The tours last, on average, 2 hours and alternate between paddling and breaks for panoramic views and refreshing dives into the sea.

Another nice tour is the one that departs from Praia de São Rafael, which takes you to places that are more isolated and further away from the crowds, leading you along less well-known coastlines, cliffs and caves.

Snorkeling and scuba diving in the Algarve

3 divers are diving in the Algarve.
©Blue Ocean Divers Lagos

Exploring the seabed is another activity to try when on holiday in the Algarve.
If you have no scuba diving experience and want to spend about half a day exploring the underwater landscape, a guided snorkeling tour from Lagos is, without doubt, the best choice. The trip, which takes 2 and a half hours, allows you to discover the interesting marine flora and fauna that is found in the region. Under close supervision of a guide, even children from the age of 8 years can experience the thrill of snorkelling in the Algarve. Once the excursion is over, the fun does not end because you can spend the rest of the day at the provider’s pool bar.

If you prefer a scuba diving adventure, you can try the PADI scuba diving courses offered by the diving schools in Lagos. Between theory and practice, you will spend an unforgettable couple of days exploring the Portuguese sea and, at the end, after an exam, you will be officially certified.

Parasailing and Jet ski in the Algarve

Two people enjoy driving a jet ski in the Algarve.
©Beach Hut Watersports

In the Algarve, renting a jet ski is a great way to have fun, experience a rush of adrenaline, and to admire the beautiful coastline. The choice is yours. Whether you are a more adventurous person or prefer the tranquility of a slower ride alone or as a couple, renting a jet ski allows you to mix things up during your day on the beach and enjoy some refreshing splashes of cold salt water.

After booking, you can show up 10 minutes before the start of your rental. The provider will explain how to drive in complete safety and will answer all your questions. After a few minutes, you will be ready to set off and speed across the waves.

Another enjoyable and refreshing way to get a great view is by parasailing. In Albufeira, you can experience this perfect mix of water sports and paragliding, during which you can not only admire the view from above, but also from below, as you take the boat along the coast.

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Elisa di CheckYeti

Born in South Tyrol, I love mountains and nature in general. Whether it’s 30 degrees or -10 degrees, my motto is “always find new challenges and new emotions in the nature”.

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