A guide to the best Algarve resorts

We could go on for days about all the reasons why we’re so passionate about the Algarve here at Oliver’s Travels. The list would include everything from wonderful weather to delicious seafood, and at the very top you’d find our luxury holiday villas on the coast.

Our portfolio includes fabulous properties at all our best resorts in the Algarve, because we believe each one has something unique to offer, and this handy guide to the top resorts should help you decide which one is the right for you. For a full map highlighting the resorts, towns and best beaches, scroll to the bottom!

So take a closer look at what makes them so special, and don’t hesitate to get in touch with our concierge team if you want to learn more.

Albufeira

Villas in Albufeira

Albufeira is one of the Algarve’s top hotspots. It’s a charismatic beach town with an energetic and busy vibe where every type of holidaymaker can find something to enjoy. Not only is it family friendly and bursting with great activities for kids and teens, there is also a buzzing nightlife scene on the downtown strip for adults travelling on their own.

If you’re after something a bit more cultural, there is also a beautiful Old Town where all the best restaurants and historical sites can be found. For those looking to get a little bit extra out of their Albufeira stay, Vidamar Resort in the Salgados area offers all the perks of staying in a self-catered villa plus the amenities of a luxury resort.

Not far from there you’ll also come across the beachy Sao Rafael as well as Galé where the sandy stretches and deep blue waves will have you thinking you’re on the set of a photoshoot. Golf lovers might want to head to Amendoeira Golf Resort, located a quick fifteen minutes from Albufeira, which is perfect those who like a good game while still staying close to town. 

  • Type of Resort: Town/Village
  • Best for: Parties & Activities
  • Nearby towns: Gale, Sao Rafael, Guia & Olhos d’Agua
  • Best beaches: Praia dos Pescadores, Praia de São Rafael & Praia da Oura
  • Distance from Faro Airport: 45km (40min transfer)

Quinta do Lago

Villas in Quinta do Lago

Quinta do Lago has a well-earned five-star reputation thanks to the luxurious facilities, activities, sports and dining the resort keeps tucked away in the lush Ria Formosa nature reserve. In these surroundings, families can enjoy everything from biking to kayaking and fishing in the superb and sunny Algarve.

Quinta do Lago’s three golf courses are each award-winning and the on-site training facilities absolutely cutting edge. There is also plenty of seaside to be soaked up at Quinta do Lago, complete with sandy beaches and incredible self-catered luxury villas.

Once you’ve enjoyed all the sunshine the days have to offer, nearby Quinta shopping mall will see to all your retail therapy needs, as well as provide a blissful dining experience.

  • Type of Resort: Private Resort
  • Best for: Ultimate Luxury
  • Nearby towns: Almancil, Vilamoura & Vale do Lobo
  • Best beaches: Praia da Quinta do Lago, Pr. da Marinha & Pr. do Barril
  • Distance from Faro Airport: 20km (25min transfer)

Sagres

Villas in Sagres

Sagres sits at the southwestern tip of the beautiful Algarve coast, where it calls out to holidaymakers looking to get a little bit closer to nature. The town and its surroundings are perfectly tranquil, making this destination ideal for those travelling with children who best enjoy beach and outdoor fun.

The town is inviting and personable, but it’s certainly not the liveliest spot on the coast. Sagres mostly has its seaside location to thank for being a hub among avid surfers, who bring life to an otherwise sleepy village.

Barely a stone’s throw from its centre, you’ll come across plenty of lovely and sheltered beaches, where you can relax in the sun and soak in the stillness. Since the area is much less crowded than central Algarve, you couldn’t find a better place for that laid-back getaway you’ve been longing for. 

  • Type of Resort: Town/Village
  • Best for: Surf & Seaside
  • Nearby towns:  Vila do Bpo, Raposeira & Ingrina
  • Best beaches: Praia da Baleeira, Praia do Beliche & Praia da Mareta
  • Distance from Faro Airport: 116 km (1hr 20min transfer)

Carvoeiro

Villas in Carvoeiro

Carvoeiro has always been known for its beautiful coastline, adorned with cliffs, coves and incredible sandy beaches stretching all the way along to Albufeira. These days, however, there is a lot more going on in this charming town than just waves hitting the sand (although that’s certainly still a highlight).

In the past few years Carvoeiro has developed to accommodate for the growing number of tourists who are curious to see what the fuzz is all about, and the town continues to get livelier and livelier each summer. While it has kept its character and remains exquisitely peaceful, there are also plenty of modern amenities and loads of exciting activities in the area. The only thing Carvoeiro won’t provide is a good party, but there are other parts of the Algarve which are perfect for that. 

  • Type of Resort: Town/Village
  • Best for: Beaches
  • Nearby towns: Alvor, Portimao, Ferragudo & Lagoa
  • Best beaches: Praia da Marinha, Pr. de Carvoeiro & Pr. da Corredoura
  • Distance from Faro Airport: 65km (50min transfer)

Monte Rei Golf & Country Club

Villas in Monte Rei Golf & Country Club

Monte Rei Golf & Country Club is the crown atop the Algarve golf-kingdom. Its claim to fame is, of course, the brilliant Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course which is Portugal’s number one golf course with an absolutely unique layout and exceptional facilities.

The game at Monte Rai is truly unparalleled, but there is much more to discover here. In true Algarve fashion, golf and tennis go hand in hand at the resort, which offers excellent courses and lessons. Little visitors will also enjoy playing at the Kid’s Villa, as well as in the family-friendly swimming pools.

And during your time away from the tee, there are lovely dining experiences to be had (including sommelier wine tastings), and private dining can be arranged for the otherwise self-catered luxury villas. 

  • Type of Resort: Private Resort
  • Best for: Golf
  • Nearby towns: Tavira, Castro Marim & Altura
  • Best beaches: Praia de Calcela Velha, Praia de Cabanas & Praia do Barril
  • Distance from Faro Airport: 65km (50min transfer)

Martinhal Resort

Villas in Martinhal Resort

Martinhal Resort is a kid-friendly favourite located just north of Sagres. It’s one of the most popular villa resorts in the Algarve which sees families from all over the world return year after year.

At Martinhal, you can stay in an exclusive and private holiday villa with easy access to Sagres and nature’s own playground, all while enjoying the exceptional resort perks. These range from a selection of restaurants (each with a staffed kid’s corner) and kids clubs for youngsters of every age, to sport’s facilities and a lush spa.

Every aspect of Martinhal Resort caters to little ones and their parents, making the holiday experience as simple and fun filled as possible while keeping elegance and luxury at heart. 

  • Type of Resort: Private Resort
  • Best for: Kids
  • Nearby towns: Sagres, Vila do Bpo, Raposeira, Ingrina & Salema
  • Best beaches: Praia de Martinhal, Praia da Cordoama & Praia da Ingrina
  • Distance from Faro Airport: 112 km (1hr 25min transfer)

Vilamoura

Vilamoura has been a glamorous town ever since Roman time. Its rich history is still palpable as you walk its streets, coming upon Roman Baths and ancient murals all around town.

These days, Vilamoura is still a high-class destination although it has certainly kept up with the times. Yachts dock at the large marina and travellers galavant the seaside strip hopping between bars, restaurants and the dazzling casino. The local championship courses naturally attract a crowd of golf enthusiasts as well, and there is a large selection of other sports to enjoy in the area (including those best played out in the water).

There is certainly no need to ever be bored in Vilamoura, but if it’s ultimate relaxation you’re after you won’t be disappointed. The town is alluringly close to Praia da Marina and Praia de Falesia, where the golden sand and hot Mediterranean sun is just about never-ending.  

  • Type of Resort: Town/Village
  • Best for: Old School Glamour
  • Nearby towns: Olhos d’Agua, Boliqueime, Almancil, Vale do Lobo 
  • Best beaches: Praia de Vilamoura, Pr. de Quarteria & Pr. do Almargem
  • Distance from Faro Airport: 25km (30min transfer)

Villas in Vilamoura


Pine Cliffs Resort

Pine Cliffs Resort is an award-winning family and luxury resort, and one of Olhos d’Agua’s prime gems. It’s known as one of the best resorts in Europe, with five-star services, great sports facilities and self-catered luxury villas of unrivalled quality.

Pine Cliffs is also an absolute paradise for kids who want to spend their holiday having fun in the sun. It lies right on Falésia Beach, which Condé Nast Traveller has named one of the top three beaches in Portugal and Spain, and even has a private area reserved for guests.

Pine Cliffs is also home to Europe’s best wellness spa – Serenity – and a range of unique restaurants for those days when you want to treat yourself and dine out. Just across from the resort’s main entrance you’ll also find some of the best restaurants in the village as well as the whole of Olhos d’Agua, ripe for exploring.

  • Type of Resort: Private Resort
  • Best for: Wellness
  • Nearby towns: Albufeira, Vilamoura & Boliqueime
  • Best beaches: Praia da Falésia, Olheiros de Agua Doce
  • Distance from Faro Airport: 35km (35 min transfer)

Villas in Pine Cliffs Resort


Vale do Lobo

Vale do Lobo is an expansive, one-of-a-kind resort where all holidaymakers, from couples and friends to families with children, can enjoy the luxury experience of a self-catered holiday villa year-round.

As a guest of the resort you’ll have access to its tow-kilometre private strip of beach where life is always lush, but there is no shortage of other fun and indulgent activities for both kids and adults. You might choose to enjoy the excellent spa facilities or head down to the Praca, Vale do Lobo’s central seaside hub of luxury boutiques, bars and clubs.

This resort also boasts two championship golf courses as well as a private tennis academy, attracting guests who are as passionate about sports as they are about having a world-class holiday. 

  • Type of Resort: Private Resort
  • Best for: Year-Round Holidays 
  • Nearby towns: Almancil, Vilamoura & Quinta do Lago
  • Best beaches: Praia de Vale do Lobo, Pr. do Trafal & Pr. do Forte Novo
  • Distance from Faro Airport: 20km (25 min transfer)

Villas in Vale do Lobo


Salema

Salema and its picturesque surroundings are full of hidden gems and old school charm, making it the perfect coastal escape from your busy everyday life. This endlessly charming little fishing village in western Algarve has it all: locally sourced seafood, kid-friendly beaches and a fabulous location just outside the National Park of Southwest Alentejo, in an area of unspoilt natural beauty completely different from that on the other end of the coast.

In the marina you can still spot local fishermen taking out their colourful little boats in the morning, and wandering around town you’ll come across great and homely restaurants where you can feast on their catch.

After a few long afternoons lounging on the secluded beaches, swimming in the sea and trying your windsurfing skills, you’ll learn that there isn’t much to do in Salema but taking it easy, and that’s just the way we like it. 

  • Type of Resort: Town/Village
  • Best for: Atmosphere
  • Nearby towns: Budens, Figueira, Raposeira & Ingrina  
  • Best beaches: Praia da Salema, Praia do Zavial & Praia do Burgau
  • Distance from Faro Airport: 103km (1hr 15min transfer)

Villas in Salema


Olhos d’Agua

Olhos d’Agua offers the best of both worlds when it comes to holidaying in the Algarve. This low-key little fishing village has the all charm and relaxing vibes of a sleepy town by the seaside combined with the lively buzz of its neighbouring resort towns like Albufeira.

Olhos d’Agua is first and foremost ideal for a holiday on the sunny beach, and you’ll surely spend most of your time here either stretched out on the sand or playing around in the water. Walking the cobbles streets of the village, you’ll encounter quaint seafood restaurants and bars but there’s not much of a nightlife. This is why Olhos d’Agua is the perfect destination for a chilled-out family break. As is Boliqueime, a quaint little village with a historical feel just a short drive from Olhos d’Agua where you can retreat in absolute stillness and make day trips to surrounding towns and attractions. 

  • Type of Resort: Town/Village
  • Best for: Relaxing
  • Nearby towns: Albufeira, Vilamoura & Boliqueime
  • Best beaches: Praia da Falésia, Praia dos Olhos de Agua & Praia do Barranco das Belharucas
  • Distance from Faro Airport: 35km (35min transfer)

Villas in Olhos d’Agua


Estoi

Estoi is a fascinating little town hidden away a few kilometres from the Algarve coastline. It makes for a perfect home base while exploring the region, although there is not much going on in the village itself.

Estoi is simple and picturesque, with cobbled streets, whitewashed houses and terracotta roofs. You can begin your exploration of the region’s history right here with the Palácio de Estoi, an exquisite rose-coloured rococo palace which is open to the public and nowadays run as a hotel.

Close by there are also the ruins of a Roman villa dating all the way back to the 2nd century AD. But most of what you’ll be doing in the village of Estoi is relaxing and looking on as local life goes around you, as well as travelling to explore the Algarve on your own terms.

  • Type of Resort: Town/Village
  • Best for: Exploring the region
  • Nearby towns: Faro, Loule & Almancil
  • Best beaches: Pr. da Armona, Pr. da Ilha da Culatra & Pr. da Ilha de Faro
  • Distance from Faro Airport: 15km (20min transfer)

Villas in Estoi

The Algarve Resorts Mapped: