Best time to visit Algarve

April-October finds the Algarve stripped off to short sleeves and sandals with strong Atlantic winds requiring the utmost respect and possibly a cardigan.
July and August can be a bit of a nightmare what with the heat and the crowds but if you’re based at a country farmhouse, complete with pool and shaded woodland, then long, hot summer days are yours to treasure. April -June is the best time to visit the Algarve if you’re planning on walking or cycling, whilst September and October still find temperatures at 18-20°C. Finally, Sagres is the last strategic point for birds migrating to Africa and the festival in early October lets twitchers wave bon voyage to feathered friends disappearing into blue skies over the Atlantic.

Algarve Weather Chart

RAIN (mm)

Things to do in the Algarve…

Get creative with family days out. The Algarve’s gorgeous beaches, and numerous water and amusement parks, all naturally appeal to families, but there’s a lot of other great escapes open to you that are usually far less crowded. Consider taking the ferry from Olhão to one of the car-free islands in the Ria Formosa Natural Park, for instance, or a day walk on the Costa Vicentina accompanied by a donkey from a sanctuary.They say a game of golf is a good walk spoiled which is why ditching the clubs in favour of sun hat and satchel is much more advisable, especially if you’re hoping to explore the Algarve on foot. The Rota Vicentina, Via Algarviana and Serra de Monchique, the wooded mountains that divide the Algarve from Alentejo, are all ideal for hikers. There are many routes leading from one inland or coastal village to the next with no more than 15km – 25kms in between. The variety of landscapes in the Algarve may surprise you, and it's also very easy to avoid the main roads if you're planning on cycling in the area. The countryside is dotted with tiny cafes and affordable restaurants that do much of their main trade over lunch which means that cyclists rarely need to take anything other than plenty of water and perhaps a towel, if cycling to the beach. Roads are usually in very good condition too.

Things not to do in the Algarve…

Waste water The Algarve experienced severe drought during 2022, to the point where irrigation of public parks and golf courses was suspended. The tourism industry has a massive water consumption problem, and many resorts and hotels now encourage their guests to save water wherever possible. Two of the biggest ways you can make a difference are by reusing towels, and taking just the one, short, shower each day.
Ignore the flags at the beach. Many of the beaches on the southwest coast of the Algarve are practically deserted outside of the summer months and you can stroll for hours with no one else around other than seagulls, surfers and the occasional fisherman. Lifeguards are also rarely spotted outside of July and August and you’re risking your life if you decide to ignore signs and swim where there might be fierce tidal rips and strong currents, especially where rivers enter the ocean.
Rule out Alentejo. There’s much to be said for combining the Algarve with the adjacent region of Alentejo and if you’re planning on walking or cycling the 110km Rota Vicentina you’ll discover numerous white walled towns and villages offering authentic accommodation on both sides of the border. From thundering Atlantic high rollers to lone cork trees atop sun singed hill sides, if you’re hoping to explore a little further, Alentejo will undoubtedly expand horizons.
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Algarve or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.

Algarve travel advice

Cycling & walking tips

Ricardo, the manager our Algarve supplier Aventuractiva, shares his tips for exploring the Algarve on two wheels – or two feet:

“You can easily cycle the 12 sections of the Rota Vicentina in six days and discover some incredibly diverse landscapes where natural inland lagoons, salt water rivers and hillsides combine with single dirt tracks and fantastic views over the coast. The Fishermen’s Trail is a complement of the Historic Way and runs along the coastline, close to the cliffs and over sand dunes and other protected areas, so not suitable for cyclists but great for walkers.”
Bert Smeman, owner of our supplier Cycling Holidays Portugal:

“There's a fantastic six day cycling holiday ‘Terra de Caldas’, starting in Loule, going inland to Alte and Silves, then to the stunningly beautiful west coast at Carrapateira before finishing on the south coast.”

Eating out

Inge from our supplier Quinta Alfarrobeira recommends a few of her favourite local restaurants:

“In Odiaxere there is restaurant called Aquario that does a wonderful seafood rice (arroz do marisco), then there are several restaurants in Lagos like Sao Roque (on the beach), Alcaide (just outside central Lagos) or Bar Lota (in the harbour), all of which I'd recommend.”

The other side of the Algarve

Bert Smeman, owner of our supplier Cycling Holidays Portugal:

“There are still quite a lot of people that have the wrong impression of the Algarve and my one wish would be to have the idea that the Algarve is just beaches – dismantled. As soon as you arrive in the Algarve you’ll recognise the distinctly fresh smell and heading inland during spring combines the scent of orange blossom with the clean air. I still get this sensation every time I return even though I’ve lived here for almost 20 years.”

Tips from our customers

At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travellers are often... other travellers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do - and opinions about what not to.

We have selected some of the most useful Algarve travel tips that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your holiday - and the space inside your suitcase.
Cliff top walks are fantastic – we did Salema-Burgau and Benagil-Marinha, and the west coast beaches are beautiful and quiet. Try the local wines - excellent value and really good too.
– Richard Fowkes
“In March, be prepared for weather to be unpredictable. Bring a fairly heavy rain poncho and a warm hat that covers the ears - it can also get windy at the coast – or come in April when the sun is more common.” – Kathy House

"Explore the local villages in the hills especially Alte which is very pretty and has amazing views. Eat at small places where the locals are - food is cheap and delicious – the 6 euro plate of the day for lunch was always fantastic value.” – Anne Flemming

"The coast of the Western Algarve is absolutely beautiful and the self guided walks we had meant that we got the chance to see a lot of it - the beach at Odeceixe has to be one of the most beautiful we've ever seen, and the whole of the Parque Nacional is really worth a visit.” – Pam Barmby on a self guided walking holiday

"Definitely need a car to explore the region. Wonderful crashing surf beaches on the west coast with the finest sand underfoot at Praia do Amado. Best places to eat wonderful seafood, check out little restaurants tucked away from the harbourside in Ferragudo. – Sara Hellberg
Written by Chris Owen
Photo credits: [Page banner: amaianos] [Temp chart intro: Graeme Maclean] [Things to do: muffinn] [Tip - Walking: muffinn] [Tip - Cycling: Lucas Berg] [Tip - eating out: Manuel González Olaechea] [Tip - the other side: Nick Robinson] [Review intro: Jose A.] [Review1: muffinn]