9 Best Things to Do in the Algarve In Winter

The Algarve is the southernmost region in Portugal and one of Europe’s most popular winter holiday destinations.

Even in mid-winter, the temperatures remain mild and comfortable. In the daytime, you can expect highs of around 20°C in the sunlight.

Of course, daylight hours are shorter than in the summer, but the all-round conditions are still perfect for exploring this beautiful part of the world.

The tourist crowds are also much smaller during the winter months, so it’s a more peaceful and quiet experience at this time of year.

As a leader in activities and boat trips in Faro and Ria Formosa, we have all the recommendations you need for an unforgettable trip to the place we call home.

Keep scrolling down to find our tips for the best things to do in the Algarve in winter.

If you have any questions about activities and tours in Faro and Ria Formosa in the meantime, please feel free to get in touch.

Enjoy a Relaxing Boat Tour in Ria Formosa

Ria Formosa is a natural park and a wetland of international importance stretching along the Algarve coast for 60km. 

It’s a lagoon system with a maze of canals, marshes, islands, and barrier islands, all of which come together to create a unique ecosystem that is home to a wide range of flora and fauna. 

A boat tour is undoubtedly the best way to see everything this spectacular area has to offer.

Our own tours, including boat trips to Deserta and Farol Islands, take you on a journey through the heart of the lagoon. 

You can observe the many species of birds that migrate to the region during winter, take in the stunning coastal landscapes, and relax on or beside the crystal-clear ocean waters.

Make the Most of Ria Formosa’s Outstanding Birdwatching Opportunities

With such a diverse range of bird species, both migratory and sedentary, Ria Formosa is a birdwatcher’s paradise.

Of course, it’s only possible to see some of these migratory birds during the winter.

On our dedicated birdwatching tours in the Algarve, you can observe birds in their natural habitat. This is also an excellent opportunity to take some fantastic photographs.

During the winter, we often see wader species as well as the Sandwich Tern (Sterna sandvicensis) and the Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus).

Rent a Bike and Explore the Beautiful Faro Area

Exploring Faro and the surrounding area on a bike is a fantastic way to enjoy the region’s natural beauty. 

Our bike rentals in Faro allow you to explore the Ria Formosa Natural Park and the surrounding countryside on land at your own pace. 

You can take a leisurely ride along the coastline, stop off at small fishing villages, and visit some of the area’s historic landmarks.

For an even more comfortable adventure, we also offer electric bike rentals in Faro too.

Visit the Algarve’s Beaches

The Algarve is famous for its stunning beaches. And while your mind may not immediately think of visiting the beach in winter, this is actually a great time of year to do exactly that.

The beaches are less crowded during the winter months, and you can enjoy a peaceful stroll along the sand or even take a dip in the ocean. 

Praia do Vau and Praia da Rocha are two beautiful beaches well worth a visit, both of which are around an hour’s drive from Faro.
But there are plenty of gorgeous sand beaches much closer to Faro. You can find our favourites in our previous blog, the 5 Best Beaches in Faro.

Ilha Deserta ou da Barreta

Explore the Caves of Lagos

Lagos, in the west of the Algarve region, is rich in incredible caves and cliffs. The formations on display are some of the most impressive in the Algarve.

For many visitors and locals alike, the star attraction is the Benagil Cave (Algar de Benagil in Portuguese).

It’s important to note that this cave isn’t accessible on foot. And swimming there is a highly dangerous option.

As such, the only way to reach the caves safely is on a boat tour, SUP, or in a kayak.

However you get there, you’ll be blown away by the stunning rock formations that the sea has shaped over thousands of years. 

What’s more, Benagil Cave is even more impressive during the winter when the light is lower, creating an atmospheric and unforgettable experience.

Visit the Historic Town of Tavira

Tavira is a charming town located in the eastern Algarve. It’s around a 35-minute drive from Faro.

Tavira is known for its well-preserved historic centre, which is home to some beautiful churches and traditional Portuguese architecture. 

You can take a leisurely stroll around the town, stop off at a cafe for a coffee, or visit some of the area’s museums and galleries.
If you need ideas of what to do after you return to Faro after visiting Tavira or any other day trip, read our suggestions for the best things to do in Faro at night.

Take a Trip to Sagres

Sagres is located on the western tip of the Algarve and is home to some of the most dramatic landscapes in the region. 

You can take a walk along the cliffs and enjoy the stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, visit the historic Fortaleza de Sagres, or take a trip to Cabo de Sao Vicente, the southwesternmost point in Europe.

Driving from Faro to Sagres takes a little under an hour and a half, so this would make a fantastic day trip.

Explore the Moorish Castle in Silves

The Moorish castle in Silves is one of the most important historic landmarks in the Algarve.

It is an impressive example of Islamic architecture and offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

This red sandstone structure was built by the Moors who held the Algarve (or Al-Gharb) between the 8th and 13th centuries.

The castle sits on high ground overlooking Silves, dominating the town.

As one of Portugal’s best-preserved Moorish fortifications, the Castle of Silves became a national monument in 1910.

Visit Faro’s Old Town 

While there are always adventures to be found across the Algarve, sometimes you can’t beat a slower day exploring Faro’s Old Town.

It’s easy to while away hours as you stroll around this charming, historic district.

Its cobbled streets are lined with beautiful, whitewashed buildings, and there are plenty of bars, restaurants, and cafes to enjoy. 

The old town is also home to most of Faro’s top attractions, including the 13th-century cathedral and the Museum of Faro.
Find even more inspiration for making the most of your time in the place we call home by reading our recommendations for the best things to do in Faro.

Find an Authentic Algarve Experience with Our Tours and Activities in Faro

We hope this blog has shown you just how much there is to see and do in the Algarve during the winter.

And remember, you can rely on Formosamar for all your activities and boat trips in Faro and Ria Formosa.

We love providing everything you need for a holiday you’ll never forget!

For more information about our Faro and Ria Formosa activities and tours, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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