Interactive Map of the Algarve

Algarve map

  • Where to buy on the Algarve?

    The Algarve has three outstanding qualities: authenticity, accessibility and affordability.

    Despite the summertime crowds, most of the Algarve isn't overdeveloped and hasn't sold its soul to tourism. It's warm all year, never seeing frost, yet with a stunning Atlantic coast that comes complete with storms, tides and big, big waves. It's just more interesting than the Mediterranean.

    The British make up the largest group of property owners, drawn by a genuine welcome that includes golf courses and restaurants that open all year, a three hour flight away and in the same time zone.

    After seven consecutive years of price falls, the property market turned the corner in 2014/15 and prices across the whole Algarve began to rise, according to a survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

    To see more detail about the most popular places in the Algarve just click on the town of your choice on the map above

  • Lagos

    Lagos (pronounced “lar-gosh”) is one of Portugal's most historic towns. The country's greatest seafarers and explorers set off from here to find new worlds in the Age of Discovery.

    It's now popular for families, due to the quality of its sandy beaches, especially Meia Praia, and for Europe's back-packers looking for an affordable and relaxed beach vibe. For anyone who want a more upmarket resort, Onyria Palmares Beach and Golf Resort is a few kilometres out towards the Portimao side on the east.

    What makes it different?

    Lagos is a more authentically Portuguese experience than Albufeira and Vilamoura. It is a reminder of the country's empire-building past (good and bad, it was the centre of the slave trade too). It's fun, informal, a little bit crazy and relatively affordable.

    Who will love Lagos?

    If you like a more alternative, energetic lifestyle with a more authentic Portuguese flavour, head to Lagos. Surfers will love the top quality surfing beaches just a few miles west and it's popular for mountain bikers too.

    Although the distance of Lagos from the airport keeps the mass of package tourists away, there is a strong and enthusiastic expat network providing everything from beach-bars to surf shops to mountain-bike hire.

    House prices:

    Two-bed apartment on holiday complex: €160,000

    Townhouse: €230,000

    Villa with pool: €395,000

    Getting there:

    Flying: 90km from Faro airport and 257km from Lisbon airport

    By train: See Albufeira, then add 90 minutes from there to Lagos.

  • Monchique

    The village of Monchique is a rural option, but it's not backward. It is in the hills 25 kilometres from the large town of Portimao amidst forests, lakes and mountain streams. Famous for spas and walking, it is an interesting option for rural tourism as it aims to encourage year-round visitors as part of Portimao's Bacia do Arade marketing promotion.

    What makes it different?

    Monchique has a population over 4,000, which means it's large enough to support a good choice of shops, restaurants, schools and health centres, but within a slower, more lush and tranquil setting.

    Who will love Monchique?

    There is something healthy and outdoorsy about Monchique. It's for people who enjoy a country walk even without taking a golf club. The spas aren't just for pampering, the thermal treatment centres are fed by natural springs and claim serious health benefits.

    It has become popular with wealthy international buyers looking to escape the bustle and crowds of the coast in summer, and has many old farmhouses just waiting for someone to renovate them. Someone like you?

    Getting there

    Flying: Faro Airport is 85km away, which is just possible to drive in under an hour on a good day.

    Train: There is no train station at Monchique, but you can take the train to Portimao then get a local bus.

    Driving: From the Channel ports/tunnel is just over 2,000km, or from the ferry ports in northern Spain is 1,000km

    Property prices

    Two-bed apartment: €110,000

    Farmhouse: €200,000

    Villa with pool: €450,000

  • Portimao

    Portimao is a large town by Portuguese standards and its 55,000 residents are swelled each summer by tens of thousands of tourists. It is effectively the capital of the Western Algarve (“BarlaventoAlgarvio”) and while seen as generally more bohemian and arty than Albufeira, it is well equipped with shopping and holiday entertainment.

    What makes it different?

    Portimao feels like a Portuguese version of Miami. It's buzzy and modern, almost surrounded by water, sitting on the western side the Arade River as it flows into the Atlantic. There's a wide sandy beach, colourful new marina and swathes of blindingly white new apartment buildings.

    Although busy in summer, Portimao is trying to attract year-round visitors. Its Bacia do Arade marketing campaign highlights the benefits of relocating your business here, and the opportunities for year-round golf, surfing and hill-walking. Sounds like a good time to get in early!

    Who will love Portimao?

    Portimao is a family resort with the western Algarve's best tourist facilities, including a 37 metre ferris wheel, and clean, well-kept beaches. If you like shops and entertainment close at hand, Portimao has new shopping malls, a cinema multiplex and the giant Portimao Arena that holds exhibitions and sporting events. Another plus point, many of its attractions are open all year.

    Getting there

    Flying: Faro Airport is 70km away, easily driven in an hour even in high summer, or 80 minutes by direct train

    Train: With its own station, Portimao is easy to reach from Lisbon in around three hours and Albufeira in 43 minutes.

    Driving: From the Channel ports/tunnel is just over 2,000km, or from the ferry ports in northern Spain is 1,000km.

    Property prices

    Two-bed apartment on holiday complex: €160,000

    Townhouse: €200,000

    Villa with pool: €350,000

  • Carvoeiro

    Carvoeiro is a breathtaking seaside village and a glory of the Algarve. Breaking through between golden cliffs, the bustling centre and white-washed Moorish buildings lead to a little beach of pale sand. Now linked with the inland village of Lagoa, it offers a cosy expat lifestyle with the convenience of big town Portimao nearby.

    What makes it different?

    Villages are nice to look at, but where do you buy? Fortunately, the hinterland behind Carvoeiro has plenty of new residential areas leading five kilometres or so inland to the Lagoa, (and now forming one parish Lagoa e Carvoeiro). Most local property is modern villas, with high rises largely kept out.

    Who will loveCarvoeiro?

    Apart from the 12 weeks of high summer, Lagoa e Carvoeiro offers a gentle and friendly suburban lifestyle. There's nightlife and beachside bars if you want them, while Portimao just 10km away has fantastic shopping and entertainment, but for a warm and relaxed lifestyle all year round, Carvoeiro is a wonderful choice.

    Getting there

    Flying: Faro Airport is 65km away, easily done in one hour even in the height of summer by car, or in 80 minutes by direct train

    Train: The railway curls around but avoids both Lagoa and Corvoeiro. The stations at Portimao and Estombar are just a 20 taxi-ride away, however, from where trains to Faro take an hour and to Lisbon in three.

    Driving: From the Channel ports/tunnel is just over 2,000km, or from the ferry ports in northern Spain is 1,000km

    Property prices

    Two-bed apartment on holiday complex: €165,000

    Townhouse: €235,000

    Villa with pool: €350,000

  • Albufeira

    The geographical and social hub of the Algarve's tourist industry is an attractive and historic Moorish town. Atlantic waves splash onto a picture-perfect sandy beach surrounded by goldencliffs. Beyond the old town are modern apartments and villas, but kept low-rise by strict planning laws.

    To the east is Montechoro, more built up, with hotels and waterparks. The marina is a highlight, with 500 berths and distinctive, funky architecture.

    What makes it different?

    Albufeira has all the attractions of a traditional tourist town, but on a human scale. It doesn't feel like a mega-resort and even here in the centre of the Algarve, drive a few miles inland you'll soon find a more peaceful and authentic Portugal. There are Roman and Moorish ruins and lovely villages like Paderne just a few north of Albufeira, with rural villas from €250,000.

    Albufeira doesn't entirely close up for the winter and the New Year celebrations are spectacular.

    Who will love Albufeira?

    Albufeira has enough tourist entertainment -beaches, water parks, zoos, nightlife and restaurants - to keep a young family happy for holiday after holiday after holiday.

    Getting there:

    Flying: EasyJet flies all year from many UK airports to Faro, from £25 to €100 each way. The distance from Faro Airport is 41km and from Lisbon Airport 257km.

    Train: London to Lisbon takes 24 hours and costs from €100 each way, via Eurostar to Paris, TGV to the Spanish-French border then the Sud-Express overnight to Lisbon. Lisbon to Albufeira takes 2.5 hours.

    Driving: From the Channel ports/tunnel is just over 2,000km, or from the ferry ports in northern Spain is 1,000km.

    House prices:

    Two-bed apartment on holiday complex: €150,000

    Townhouse: €250,000

    Villa with pool:€325,000

  • Vilamoura and the Golden Triangle

    Vilamoura and its surroundings are ahigh-end holiday paradise. It has many of Portugal's best and most expensive golf courses, restaurants, villas and marinas, providing a year-round party.

    With new owners and investment arriving, the best could be yet to come and that includes the possibility of capital growth. While Portuguese prices elsewhere are only starting to recover, luxury properties here have been powering ahead since 2012/13.

    What makes it different?

    Vilamoura is arguably the most exciting place in Portugal right now. The sale of the resort in September 2015 to US owners is the start of a US$1.1billion investment that promises to double the number of homes to 10,000 by 2020.

    A privately-owned resort town built around a small harbour, Vilamoura isthe westerly point of the Algarve's “golden triangle”. This wedge of wealth has the two celebrity-stacked golf resorts Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo at the eastern end and stretches 10km inland to Loulé.

    It has some seriously upmarket property. But while a Quinta do Lago villa can go for €6million, a nice villa in Vilamoura itself will cost a fraction of that.

    Who will love Vilamoura?

    This is Portugal for those who don't especially care that they're in Portugal; it's more about the vacation than the location. There are more Michelin-starred restaurants than anywhere else in Portugal, but only one of them has a Portuguese chef. As Portugal reaches out to Russian and Asian buyers via its golden visa and favourable tax-regime, Vilamoura is set to be a playground for the global super-rich.

    House prices:

    Two-bed apartment on holiday complex: €195,000

    Townhouse: €300,000

    Villa with pool: €420,000

    Getting there:

    Flying: 25km from Faro airport

  • Loulé

    Loulé is a city of 70,000 people in the hills, ten kilometres from the sea. It has an attractive combination of the old - imposing 13th century castle, art galleries, Arabian market, cobbled alleys leading into flower-bedecked squares - but with the infrastructure advantages of a substantial city (such as the 50metre indoor pool, which is open all year).

    What makes it different?

    Loulé is a traditional market town just like you would find throughout the country. It's just that this one is just outside one of the world's great holiday resorts; Algarve's ‘golden triangle’. So you can find affordable property just 15 minutes from some of the best beaches, golf courses, spas, restaurants and nightlife. It's also just a short hop from the airport.

    Who will love Loulé?

    If you want to relocate to somewhere in the world where you can find work, even without speaking Portuguese, enjoy year-round warmth, a varied landscape, with genuinely exciting things to do including a wild Brazilian-style carnival, all just a few hours travelling time from the UK, that's Loulé.

    Getting there

    Flying: Faro Airport is 17km away.

    Train: Loulé is on the main Algarve railway line, just nine minutes from Faro Airport and under three hours from Lisbon.

    Driving: From the Channel ports/tunnel is just over 2,000km, or from the ferry ports in northern Spain is 1,000km

    Property prices

    Two-bed apartment on holiday complex: €125,000

    Townhouse: €220,000

    Villa with pool: €280,000

  • Olhao

    The Algarve has many ex-fishing villages converted to resorts, but Olhao remains a busy port with 45,000 residents. After thriving on fishing and canning for centuries, the town mixes industrial buildings where the money is made and lovely old merchants' houses where it's spent. It has wide boulevards and narrow cobbled streets to seek your inexpensive apartment.

    What makes it different?

    It's less of a tourist hotspot, but don't let that put you off. There's lots to do all year and with cheaper property than in most of the Algarve, just ten minutes from the airport. The town is on the waterfront but protected from the ocean by barrier islands, which you can reach by ferry for a day's sunbathing and griddled sardines on the beach.

    Who will love Olhao?

    If you want your Algarve bolthole to feel more like a regular Portuguese town than a resort, Olhao is for you. It probably helps if you like fish. Olhao's pescadores sell their catch daily at two large markets, and the streets are thronged with independent restaurants. The clear waters of the barrier islands are excellent for scuba divers and snorkelers.

    Getting there

    Flying: Faro Airport is just 15km away.

    Train: Olhao is on the railway and takes just ten minutes from Faro Airport, 44 from Albufeira or three hours from Lisbon.

    Driving: From the Channel ports/tunnel is just over 2,000km, or from the ferry ports in northern Spain is 1,000km.

    Property prices

    Two-bed apartment: €120,000 [Nb holiday complexes not common here]

    Townhouse: €180,000

    Villa with pool: €400,000

  • Tavira

    The most attractive town in the eastern Algarve, Tavira sits either side of the Rio Gilao a kilometre or two inland. The old town is a maze of cobbled streets with attractive 18th century mansions and townhouses.

    From the city, ferries take you down the river to the beaches of Tavira Island for just €2 return. You can't buy property on Tavira Island, but there are townhouses in the old town and no shortage of affordable apartments and villas in the resorts set along the coast and the urbanisations a little inland.

    What makes it different?

    Tavira is more elegant than most towns in the Algarve. As one of the successful househunters on A Place in the Winter Sun told us, Tavira is “cultured, clean, tidy and cosmopolitan, but it's still distinctly Portuguese”.

    He thought his £150,000 budget would be too small for Tavira, but the TV programme found him just the kind of “quirky” home he wanted. The fishing villages extending along the coast are rougher around the edges, including Santa Luzia to the west, famous for its octopus restaurants.

    Who will love Tavira?

    Tavira is a properly authentic Portuguese town and community but within easy reach of the airport. It should appeal to retirees and euro-commuters who want to keep a foot in both the UK and Portugal, with property inexpensive enough for many Brits to split their capital between the two.

    House prices:

    Two-bed apartment on holiday complex: €140,000

    Townhouse: €185,000

    Villa with pool: €320,000

    Getting there:

    Flying: 42km from Faro airport

    Train: Tavira is on a railway line from Lagos to Faro.

  • Praia da Luz

    A few kilometres beyond Lagos, Praia da Luz (also known as Luz) is a fishing village now joined by holiday villages and resorts, set round a beautiful sandy beach. Development is low-rise and many of the resorts are within walking distance of the beach.

    What makes it different?

    With the history, culture and authenticity of Lagos on the doorstep, Praia da Luz is free to dedicate itself to pleasure and relaxation. It is a popular place for family holidays, with all the lunchtime cafes, bars and entertainment set along the waterfront.

    For a more upbeat nightlife and culture, just catch a bus into Lagos.

    Who will love Praia da Luz?

    Although unashamedly a tourist town, Praia da Luz has a settled population of nearly 4,000 and a significantexpat community the largest group of which is British. The benefits for expats include a cheaper way of living than the central Algarve and smart, new accommodation for those serving the tourist trade. It is a good spot for a holiday home, although the distance from the airport is a little uncomfortable for weekend trips.

    Getting there:

    Flying: 96km from Faro airport

    House prices:

    Two-bed apartment on holiday complex: €190,000

    Townhouse: €240,000

    Villa with pool: €395,000

Lagos Monchique Portimao Carvoeiro Albufeira Vilamoura Loulé Olhao Tavira