Our Algarve honeymoon guide lays out the top 5 reasons why newlywed couples should visit this seemingly unspoiled region of southern Portugal.
OVERVIEW OF THE ALGARVE
Situated in the absolute south-west of the European continent, and only a few hours from many other European capitals, the Algarve attracts visitors from all over the world. It is no wonder, with over 3,000 hours of sunshine per year, along with hundreds of miles of spectacular sandy coast line, and a temperate climate, a honeymoon in Portugal is our idea of honeymoon heaven all year round.
Stunning and varied landscapes, leisure activities, history, culture, and a country that holds the oldest borders in Europe, Portugal has a little something to offer any couple.
If you really want to see the Algarve, the locals say that you can’t just visit the bigger cities, or remain glued to your poolside tanning chair for that matter! Travel off the beaten path in the Algarve and you are likely to find romance in the form of:
- picturesque strands of sandy beaches tucked beneath tower rock cliff faces
- meandering rivers plied by small cruise boats
- aromas of freshly grilled fish
- peaceful strolls along quaint historic cobblestone village streets, and
- a light-hearted atmosphere that fills the Moorish alleys
Did we mention the plentiful wine country? Portugal could quite possibly be the last bastion of undiscovered wine regions in the world. Affordable wine that tastes like it should be much more expensive, can still be had for only a few dollars a bottle.
THINGS TO DO IN THE ALGARVE ON A HONEYMOON
- Soak up the sun on one of the Algarve’s many magical beaches (aka de praia in Portuguese)
- Take a laid-back hike, or better yet on horseback, through the olive and cork forests of Alentejo or Estremadura’s remote hills
- Take a cooking class and grill up the catch of the day
- Meander through medieval towns (like Silves)
- Visit Cape Saint Vincent, the most westerly point in Europe
- Sip wine in the rustic quintas around the vineyards of Alentejo wine region
- Spend your nights relaxing in a historical pousadas, luxurious hotel, or castle
- Explore the Algarve by car and get lost in its rolling countryside
- Tackle one of the many outstanding golf courses in the region
- Pack a picnic lunch and dine with your beloved on the beach
WHY HONEYMOON IN THE ALGARVE?
Portugal is a perfect destination for honeymooners who love history, food, wine, and beautiful scenery. An added benefit: your dollar will stretch a little further than other European honeymoon hot spots.
As one of Europe’s oldest nations dating back to the 12th century, Portugal is rich with culture, beautiful cities, medieval buildings, palaces, and endless places to explore.
Known predominantly for its fortified port wine, Portugal is sprinkled with wineries and vineyards. Unsurprisingly, wine-tourism had become a sought after activity. Many wineries have opened their doors to allow curious wine lovers to get dirty and take part in the grape harvest, wine tasting, and wine cellar tours. In the Algarve, the Alentejo region is one of the best producers.
Shrimp, clams, fish, or octopus – the Portuguese adore their seafood and prepare it like nowhere else in the world. You will have never tasted the bounty of the sea quite like this before. But the feast doesn’t stop there! Portuguese food includes wonderful potato and vegetable dishes, passion fruit, and (my favorite) specialty desserts called Pastel de nata. You will just have to try one of yourself to understand my new obsession!
Surrounded by miles of coastline with some of the best beaches in Europe, and the world for that matter, Portugal makes for a great honeymoon destination for both surf and sand seekers. With no two beaches being alike, you will be pleasantly surprised by the individual beauty of each. White sandy beaches with a tranquil waters edge, a dramatic coast line with some of the best surfing, or black sands with specks of emerald green. Whatever your preference, you will most definitely fall in love with the Algarve’s beaches.
From only $10 a night you can choose to stay in a self catering apartment. Or, splurge and stay in a luxurious beachfront 5 star resort. No matter how big or small your budget, the Algarve has you covered for accommodation. For a unique experience, look into the Pousadas. You will find Pousadas located all over Portugal offering unique stays in former castles, palaces, convents and monasteries. They are known for a high level of personalized service and will most likely be a highlight of your trip.
ALGARVE HONEYMOON ITINERARIES
ALGARVE TRAVEL TIPS
The Algarve has a very temperate climate, with mild winters and hot summers. No matter when you are planning your honeymoon, you are bound to have decent weather. In fact, as we write this guide in early December, the temperature is a decent 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
The average temperature in the Algarve varies between 74°F (July) and 54°F (January), with the most daily sunshine hours at 12 in August. For the country as a whole you will find the temperature is cooler in the north and hotter in the south.
The most beautiful time to visit Portugal is during the spring, when the landscape is at its most vibrant. The fall season is still warm, but the summer crowds have all gone home.
Keep in mind, if you plan to vacation in the off season, you will find that a lot of tourist shops, tours, and some restaurants will be closed over the winter and even early spring or late fall. The Algarve region does attract sun worshipers from Europe and North America, even in the winter season, so its not like you will be totally alone!
- Train – The train system is cheap and reliable for getting around the Algarve from one end to the other. You can read about our experience taking the train from Faro to Portimao.
- Fly – The regional airport hub is called Faro. It is serviced by several international carriers as well as discount airlines such as Ryan Air.
- Taxi – We can only speak from personal experience about using taxis to get from the Faro airport to our hotel (a very short distance), as well as from our hotel to the train station (another very short distance). We would have walked the 25 minutes from the hotel to the train station had it not been so early in the morning. On both occasions, the meter read no more than €5. We were quoted €7.80 for one trip and €8 for the other. Our suggestion: don’t tip.
We were told tipping is not expected in Portugal, so perhaps that is just a tourist tax or built in tip for the taxi drivers. In any event, be warned that taxi meters may be running, but not entirely accurate in Faro.
ALGARVE HONEYMOON BUDGET
Although not as well known as France or Italy as a honeymoon destination, Portugal is an amazing alternative for those honeymooners searching for a reasonably priced European adventure.
Steeped in culture & history, with good wine and tasty food, and an endless selection of activities to suit all sorts, the Algarve is a wonderful option for couples who want a romantic honeymoon without mortgaging the house.
Certainly, traveling to Europe from North America is generally not cheap – airfare alone will average $1,000 per person round trip. However, once you land in Portugal we find your dollar will stretch a lot further than other honeymoon destinations.
ALGARVE QUICK FACTS
Well, there you have it. I hope you have found our honeymoon guide to the Algarve helpful.
If the Algarve isn’t the honeymoon spot for you and you want to see other honeymoon destination options then head over to our Honeymoon Destination Travel Guide section.