Where to Stay in Algarve in 2019/2020 – The Ultimate Guide

An Algarve Accommodation Guide on the best hotels and resorts for your holiday in Algarve, Portugal

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I know I might risk repeating myself, but Algarve is much more than only holiday packages and there is much more to do in Portugal´s beautiful south than only beach & sun vacations. Sure, there might be a slightly unflattering image of Algarve with tipsy budget-travellers and all-inclusive resorts.

But, thankfully, Algarve is much more than that! The golden, rocky coastline became a symbol for one of Europe’s most coveted travel destinations. Besides, Algarve offers many leisure options when it comes to birdwatching, golf, hiking, cycling or watersports.

After living in the Algarve for several weeks, I want to share with you the best places to stay in Algarve, according to the expectations of your holidays.

After visiting the Algarve several times (by backpack or during off-season), I frequently get asked what the best places are to stay in Algarve. I’d say that it largely depends on what kind of holiday person you are, what you’re planning to do during your trip to Algarve and of course on your budget. 

In order to give those queries a detailed answer, I decided to write this in-depth guide on where to stay in Algarve. Accommodation places are categorized by location and budget.

So before you head to the Algarve, first decide whether you prefer party holidays, quieter locations, amazing hiking trails, nature, golf, all-inclusive holidays in Algarve, city life or remote beaches. Or just a short stay.

Practical Travel Information for Algarve, Portugal

✈ Book cheap flights to Algarve (Faro airport) with Skyscanner or Kayak

🚌 Book buses and trains in Algarve with Omio.com

🏞 Best tours and activities in Algarve with GetYourGuide

🚗 Rent a car with the best discounts at RentalCars.com

🏔 The best discounted Outdoor Gear at REI.com – Outlet

✎ Never leave without travel insurance. I get mine at WorldNomads

⚘  Get a travel guide in order to prepare your trip. I recommend Lonely Planet Guide – Algarve (get -10% off with code “PAULINA10”)

The opinions of this post are based upon my professional experience in the tourism sector and upon my stay in Algarve during which I visited several hotels. In total, I traveled 3 times to Algarve. Altogether, I stayed for several weeks in Portugal’s beautiful south.

1. Best Time to Visit Algarve

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You may wonder what is the best time to visit Algarve? Well, it’s one of the few European destinations that has good weather all year round and offers fun activities throughout the year.

I have visited Algarve during the winter, summer and autumn months. During the winter, temperatures are mild (around 10-15°C). It’s thus perfect to escape the cold European winters and to enjoy the great outdoors of Algarve’s coast. Winter is also the perfect time for birdwatching in Rio Formosa! The sea might be cold at that time of the year, but even then, I saw several swimmers.

During the summer months, from May to September, temperatures can get really hot (+30°C). The good thing about Algarve is that there’s always a slight refreshing wind blowing. Temperatures can remain quite high, also in autumn (around 20°C).

In case you want an uninterrupted party and beach time, visit Algarve from June until September. Best time for hiking holidays is from October – March when temperatures are mild and nature is blossoming.

2. What To Do in Algarve, Portugal

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What to do in Algarve Portugal? Well, it’s rather what NOT to do in the Algarve! Because I can’t think of anything that you can’t do in Portugal’s golden south. Of course, there are the golden, sandy beaches and the dramatic cliffs of Ponta da Piedade that everybody knows from the postcards.

However, Algarve also offers countless activities for those who want to go beyond sea & sun. There is an extensive network of hiking and cycling trails, vast golf courts, ideal conditions for birdwatching, outstanding food, colorful traditions, wellness, and luxury resort.

The dramatic cliffs, parties, and sun can be rather found in the western part of the Algarve (Lagos, Albufeira or Praia da Rocha), whereas the east of Algarve is quieter and less excessive, thus perfect for families, outdoor lovers or luxury travelers. The east holds the hiking trails and some of the best golf courts in Europe.

I picked a selection of my favorite things to do in Algarve: You can get the best deals on activities and tours here.

3. Where To Stay in Algarve for Cliff Beaches

Lagos

Lagos is the best location if you want to be close to the most emblematic beaches of Algarve. Indeed, the town is only at a stone’s throw away from the scenic settings that you know from postcards… or Instagram!

Locations like Praia da Marinha, Praia Dona Ana or Praia do Camilo are often listed as the best beaches in Algarve. No wonder, the setting composed of golden sand and massive cliffs is unique in Europe. 

If you decide to stay in Lagos, one of the major tourist resorts in Algarve, count on buzzing nightlife, a beautiful historic center and countless activities for tourists like kayaking, sailing or dolphin watching tours.

Book here your activity in Lagos

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Best Places to Stay in Lagos

Budget

Solar de Mos***
Quinta dos Caracois ***
Carvi Beach Hotel ***
Dom Pedro Lagos ***

Mid-Range

Aldeia Azul Resort ****
Boavista Golf & Spa Resort ****
Tivoli Lagos ****
Hotel Marina Rio  ****

Luxury

Casa Mãe *****
Iberostar Selection Lagos Algarve *****

Onyria Palmares Beach House Hotel – Adults Only*****
Algarve Casino Hotel ***** 

4. Where To Stay in Algarve if you are a Party Animal

Praia da Rocha near Portimao

Praia da Rocha, the main beach of Portimao, was one of the first beach resorts in Algarve. Formerly consisting of villas for the rich and belle-epoque buildings that you can still spot on the cliffs above the beach, Praia da Rocha underwent a major development towards mass tourism in the 70s. Thus, expect many concrete buildings here!

The beach of Praia da Rocha is sandy and boasts some of the most beautiful golden cliffs of the Algarve.

At night, Praia da Rocha becomes a party hub for the young and rich. The avenue, Tomas Cabreira, is full of bars, restaurants, karaoke bars, clubs, and shops. The casino hosts shows every night.

Praia da Rocha is particularly busy in summer and thus perfect for travelers who want to enjoy an international, vibrant and buzzing atmosphere.

Discover here the best activities in Portimão

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Best Places to Stay in Praia da Rocha, Portimao

Budget

Hotel Santa Catarina Algarve ***
Clube Vilarosa ***
Apartamentos Turisticos Coral do Vau ***

Mid-Range

Hotel da Rocha ****
Hotel Oriental – Adults Only ****
Jupiter Algarve Hotel ****
Flor Da Rocha ****

Luxury

Bela Vista Hotel & Spa – Relais & Chateaux *****
Algarve Casino Hotel ***** 
Tivoli Carvoeiro *****

Albufeira

Albufeira is probably the liveliest and most energetic of all beach resorts in Algarve. The town does not only offer large beaches, but is also the perfect base to organize day trips to Loulé or Faro.

However, it’s the nightlife that attracts most visitors to Albufeira. The Strip, in the Montechoro area of Albufeira, is the heart of the town’s vibrant nightlife scene. Be ready to find tipsy Northern European tourists and good ol’ stag parties!

The bars of Albufeira include Irish pubs, sports bars, karaoke clubs and countless possibilities to dance the night away in dance clubs like Club Vida, Liberto’s Lounge Club,…

When in Albufeira, the Kadoc is a must! Be ready to dance all night long on its 5 dance floors and with international DJs.

Albufeira is well connected to the rest of the Algarve, which makes it a great base to go on a day trip or do excursions.

Book here your excursions from Albufeira

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Budget

Cerro Da Marina Hotel ***
Hotel Santa Eulalia Praia ***

Velamar Boutique Hotel ***
Hotel Baltum ***

Mid-Range

Falesia Hotel – Adults Only ****
Santa Eulalia Hotel & Spa ****

Vila Gale Collection Praia ****
Aqua Pedra Dos Bicos Design Beach Hotel – Adults Only ****

Family-friendly

PortoBay Falesia ****
Areias VillageBeach Suite Hotel ****
Jupiter Albufeira Hotel – Family & Fun *****

Luxury

Pine Cliffs Gardens *****
Grande Real Santa Eulalia Resort & Hotel Spa *****
Salgados Palace *****
Salgados Dunas Suites *****

5. Where To Stay in Algarve for Honeymoon or Luxury Holidays

Almancil

Almancil is located in the east of the Algarve and hosts some of the most expensive and luxurious hotels in Portugal. The most famous exclusive resorts are located in Vale do Lobo and Quinta do Lago.

The area is located at only a 15 minutes drive from Faro airport but is surrounded by the Natural Park of Ria Formosa. Thus large woods and untouched nature characterize the area. Ria Formosa is also one of the best places in Europe for birdwatching.

You may not find the dramatic cliffs of Algarve in this area, but be ready for long walks on empty and vast beaches.

Book here the best activities in Ria Formosa Natural Park

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Best Places to Stay in Almancil

Quinta do Lago:

Conrad Algarve *****
Hotel Quinta do Lago *****
Monte Da Quinta Resort *****
Pousada Palacio de Estoi – Small Luxury Hotels of the World *****

Vale do Lobo

The Lake Resort *****
Crowne Plaza Vilamoura *****
Ria Park Hotel & Spa *****
Dunas Douradas Beach Club *****

Vilamoura

Vilamoura is one of Portugal’s most stylish and exclusive beach resorts. Originally built for the golfing elite, it is now a sophisticated resort in Algarve offering first-class facilities and tranquility.

The marina, where you can spot all kinds of yachts, is the center of Vilamoura, as the area is sprinkled with classy restaurants and fine cocktail bars.

The pristine beaches of Praia da Falésia or Praia de Vilamoura are at only a stone’s throw from Vilamoura. If you are looking for a qualitative and refined holiday, Vilamoura will fulfill all your needs.

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Best Places to Stay in Vilamoura

Mid-Range

Hotel Parque das Laranjeiras ***
Mouraliz ***
Dom Pedro Marina ****
Vilamoura Garden Hotel ****

Family-Friendly

Anantara Vilamoura Algarve Resort *****
Tivoli Marina Vilamoura *****
Vila Gale Ampalius ****

Luxury

Pestana Vila Sol Golf & Resort Hotel *****
The Lake Resort *****
Anantara Vilamoura Algarve Resort *****
Crowne Plaza Vilamoura *****

6. Where To Stay in Algarve for Quiet Beach Holidays

Olhão

Maybe Olhao is not the prettiest town of the Algarve. However, it preserved its authentic Portuguese charm and it is the gateway to some of Algarve’s most beautiful islands: Farol, Armona and Culatra. All of them are just perfect to enjoy quiet and pristine beaches. They are just a short boat ride away!

Olhao is home to the largest fishing port in the Algarve and the narrow streets give the town a particularly quaint charm. The historic center of Olhao is still packed with numerous historical buildings.

Even though Olhao is not known as a luxury resort, you still have the Real Marina Hotel & Spa in case you want to get pampered.

The best way to enjoy the natural beauty of Olhao and its magical islands is by renting a vacation or holiday home. Indeed there are not so many hotels in this area and a holiday rental will be the best way to make the most of this quiet place. Book here holiday rentals in Olhao.

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Best Places to Stay in Olhão

Budget

Hotel Cidade de Olhão ***
Vacation and Holiday Rentals

Mid-Range

Quinta dos Poetas Nature Hotel & Apartments ****

Luxury

Real Marina Hotel & Spa ***** 
Pousada Palacio de Estoi – Small Luxury Hotels of the World *****

Alvor

You may be surprised that a village like Alvor, located between Portimao and Lagos, is well suited for quiet beach holidays in the Algarve. Well, yes! Alvor is mostly unspoiled, despite its centric location on the Portuguese coast.

The village maintained its original, historic charm and is much calmer than its neighboring resorts. The historic city center holds Manueline style churches and a castle. Perfect for the history buffs among you! The small-sized, traditional restaurants will do the rest to convince you that Alvor is the best place to spend relaxing beach holidays in Algarve.

Some of the top beaches near Alvor are Tres Irmaoes, with several caves and the vast Alvor beach, which will lure you with its golden sands. Alvor is also very close to the Ria de Alvor Nature Reserve which is perfect for long walks.

Alvor is also perfect for families with kids!

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Best Places to Stay in Alvor

Budget

AlvorMar Apartamentos Turisticos ***
Luna Alvor Bay ***
Clube Alvorférias ***
Cheerfulway Clube Brisamar ***

Mid-Range

Pestana D. João II Beach & Golf Resort ****
Pestana Alvor South Beach Premium Suite Hotel ****
Pestana Alvor Park Hotel Apartamento ****
Aguahotels Alvor Jardim ****

Luxury

Pestana Alvor Praia Premium Beach & Golf Resort *****
Onyria Palmares Beach House Hotel – Adults Only *****
Pestana Blue Alvor All Inclusive Beach & Golf Resort *****
Longevity Health & Wellness Hotel *****

Carvoeiro

Carvoeiro has a stunning setting on a golden cliff and is the perfect place to enjoy more relaxed holidays but being still close to the beach.

The Portuguese cultural heritage and lifestyle are well preserved in Carvoeiro. Thus, it is perfect for the culturally aware travelers among you. The relaxed atmosphere of the town will be perfect to unwind.

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Best Places to Stay in Carvoeiro

Budget

Hotel Carvoeiro Plaza ***
Carvoeiro Hotel ****

Mid-Range

Hotel Mirachoro Praia ****
Hotel Baia Cristal Beach & Spa Resort ****
Hello Villas ****

Luxury

Suites Alba Resort & Spa *****
Tivoli Carvoeiro *****
Vilalara Thalassa Resort *****

7. Where To Stay in Algarve for Hiking Holidays

Monchique

You are wondering what to do in Algarve Portugal for hikers? Yes, Algarve is a hiking destination! With warm temperatures and a large variety of landscapes, Algarve keeps attracting trekkers and hikers all year round.

Hiker’s heaven in Algarve can be found in Monchique. Nestled among pine and eucalyptus forest in the Serra (mountains) de Monchique close to Alentejo, Monchique is the ideal base to explore the mountains and the coastline alike.

The town is also home to the highest point of Algarve: Foia, 902 metres. Even though the town boasts several historic buildings, Monchique is mostly famous for its market day. Taking place on the second Monday in the month, you’ll find local crafts and the famously smoked sausages of Monchique. All in all, Monchique is the perfect mountain holiday destination.

Book here your hiking tours in Algarve

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Best Places to Stay in Monchique

Budget + country house

Quinta da Idalina
Hotel Termal – Monchique 

Quinta do Tempo Turismo Rural 

Mid-Range

Estalagem Abrigo da Montanha **** 
Hotel D.Carlos Regis – Monchique ****
Hotel Central – Monchique ****

Luxury

Monchique Resort- Activities Included *****

Sagres

Sagres is heaven for those who want to enjoy Algarve’s raw beauty. Being the most westerly point of Algarve, the surroundings of Sagres are dominated by spectacular cliffs and rather quiet beaches. The town is mostly unspoiled by tourism and particularly popular among surfers and campervan tourists.

The most emblematic sight of Sagres is the navigation school and fortress built by Henry the Navigator.

Most visitors ignore that Sagres might be one of the best places to enjoy hiking holidays in Algarve. Indeed, several trails depart from Sagres and take you to the most scenic points along the coastline.

Some of the most famous hiking trails departing in or close to Sagres (Vila do Bispo) are Telheiro Beach Trail and the Castelejo Trail along the Vicentine Coast Natural Park.

Book here your surf lesson in Sagres

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Best Places To Stay in Sagres

Budget

Don Tenorio Aparthotel ***
Hotel Mira Sagres ***
Aparthotel Navigator ***

Mid-Range

Memmo Baleeira – Design Hotels ****
Sagres Time Apartamentos ****

Pousada de Sagres ****

Luxury

Martinhal Sagres Beach Family Resort Hotel *****
Vila Valverde Design Country Hotel *****

8. Where To Stay in Algarve for City Life

Faro

Faro is one of Algarve’s largest cities and probably the only one that is not 100% dedicated to tourism. Fine dining options, several museums, and lively city vibes will await the visitor in Faro. Thanks to its airport, Faro became the gateway to Algarve.

However, Faro might be a great place to spend your holiday due to its cultural offer and closeness to Ria Formosa Natural Park.

Besides the valuable historical sites of Faro, you’ll thus enjoy unagitated, Portuguese daily grind at its finest.

The historic city center is encircled with old fortification walls and its quaint streets are perfect for shopping. During the day, the atmosphere is rather unagitated. However, Faro has a surprisingly lively nightlife thanks to its numerous students.

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Best Places to Stay in Faro

Budget

Hotel ibis Faro Algarve **
Hotel Sol Algarve By Kavia **
Best Western Hotel Dom Bernardo ***

Mid-Range

Eva Senses Hotel ****
Faro Boutique Hotel ***
Hotel Monaco ****

Luxury

Hotel Faro & Beach Club ****
Monte Da Quinta Resort *****
Real Marina Hotel & Spa ***** 

Tavira

For those who are seeking authentic experiences in Algarve and Moorish heritage, Tavira will be for you! The cityscape of the town is dominated by its massive Roman bridge, a medieval castle, former mosques and cobbled streets.

Located at the Gilão river, Tavira is perfect for those who are interested in culture and a more tranquil holiday. You’ll particularly enjoy the picturesque plazas with the lovely restaurants who serve the freshest fish. Tavira also has an interesting nightlife with locals celebrating together with tourists until the sun rises.

Tavira is close to Ilha de Tavira which is known for the most pristine beaches in Portugal. With only a short ferry ride, you’ll find yourself surrounded with almost untouched beaches.

Tavira is also very close to Ria Formosa Natural Park where cycling and trekking trails are awaiting you.

Book here your tour to the islands of Tavira

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Best Places to Stay in Tavira

Budget

Quinta do Morgado – Apartamentos Turisticos Monte Da Eira ***
Pedras Da Rainha ***

Mid-Range

Hotel Rural Quinta do Marco – Nature & Dining ****
Maria Nova Lounge Hotel – Adults Only ****
Vila Gale Tavira ****

Luxury

Pousada Convento de Tavira ****
OZADI Tavira Hotel ****
Vila Gale Albacora ****

9. Where To Stay in Algarve for Surfing

Sagres

Sagres is probably the best place for surfers to enjoy the beauty of Algarve. Located at the most southwestern point of Portugal, it lures surfers with consistent waves at the south and west coast.

Even though Portugal is becoming increasingly popular for surfers, Sagres, which has quite a lot of parties to offer as well, remains one of the hotspots. That’s mainly due to the fact that Sagres offers beaches and waves for beginners, intermediate and advanced surfers.

Some of the best beaches in Sagres for surfing are: Praia do Zavial, Praia do Tonel, Praia da Mareta and Beliche.

Book here your surf lesson in Sagres

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Best Places To Stay in Sagres

Budget

Don Tenorio Aparthotel ***
Hotel Mira Sagres ***
Aparthotel Navigator ***

Mid-Range

Memmo Baleeira – Design Hotels ****
Sagres Time Apartamentos ****

Pousada de Sagres ****

Luxury

Martinhal Sagres Beach Family Resort Hotel *****
Vila Valverde Design Country Hotel *****

Aljezur

Even though Aljezur might not have the fame of Sagres, the small town close to the western Atlantic coast is just another Mekka for surfers in Algarve. The village itself consists of whitewashed houses and narrow streets.

It is still unspoiled by tourism and thanks to its location in a fertile valley, it produces loads of fruits and vegetables. A majestic castle is towering on top of the village and offers breathtaking views (for free).

The best beaches for surfing in Aljezur are only a short drive away and offer surf fun for beginners, intermediate and advanced surfers alike. The most popular beaches are Praia da Arrifana, Praia da Bordeira and Praia do Castelejo.

Read more about what to do in Algarve, Portugal.

Best Places To Stay in  Aljezur

Budget

Hotel Vale Da Telha **
Hotel Alcatruz **

Mid-Range

Vicentina Hotel ****

10. Where To Stay in Algarve for Golf

Vilamoura

The Algarve is known all over Europe for its golf courts. Vilamoura is not only one of the most sophisticated resorts in Algarve but also boasts some of the best golf courts in Portugal. Even though the marina is the heart and soul of the Vilamoura area, the five golf courses are the place to be.

The golf courses are making efforts in their environmental commitment and provide the golfer a realistic contact with the nature of Algarve. Many lakes are populated with aquatic birds. The varied design of the courts makes Vilamoura enjoyable for beginners, intermediate and advanced golfers.

For those who are just starting, you can also just take a lesson in one of the numerous courts.

Besides being one of the best locations for a golfing holiday, Vilamoura resort area also boasts some of the finest restaurants in the area and several beautiful beaches.

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Best Places to Stay in Vilamoura

Mid-Range

Hotel Parque das Laranjeiras ***
Mouraliz ***
Dom Pedro Marina ****
Vilamoura Garden Hotel ****

Family-Friendly

Anantara Vilamoura Algarve Resort *****
Tivoli Marina Vilamoura *****
Vila Gale Ampalius ****

Luxury

Pestana Vila Sol Golf & Resort Hotel *****
The Lake Resort *****
Anantara Vilamoura Algarve Resorr*****
Crowne Plaza Vilamoura *****

Quinta do Lago

Quinta do Lago is, next to Vilamoura, the best place to spend a golfing holiday in Algarve. Located next to Ria Formosa Natural Park, Quinta do Lago does not only offer trekking and cycling trails, but also award-winning golf courses.

The three golf courses count among the best in Europe. Being elected as “Europe’s Best Golf Destination”, Quinta do Lago attracts beginners, intermediate and advanced golfers from all over the world.

There are several academies in the resort which allow you to take lessons and to improve your golfing skills.

The area of Quinta do Lago is sophisticated and tranquil thanks to the protected natural park Ria Formosa. It is thus perfect for golfers and nature lovers alike.

Book here your tour to Ria Formosa

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Best Places to Stay in Quinta do Lago

Mid-Range

Vilar Do Golf by Diamond Resort ****
Quinta do Lago Country Club ****

Luxury

Conrad Algarve *****
Monte Da Quinta Resort *****
Hotel Quinta do Lago *****

11. Where to stay in Algarve for All-Inclusive Holidays

Sometimes, all you need or want to do is DISCONNECT! If you are looking to completely unwind and to forget about the stress back home, I can only recommend Algarve for your next stress-free vacation.

The best way to completely relax is probably by not having to think about anything: you don’t want to scroll Tripdadvisor for the best restaurants, you don’t want to worry about excessive prices at your hotel… thus, you should definitely opt for an All-Inclusive resort in Algarve.

All-inclusive hotels in Algarve are spread-out throughout the entire area. Thus you can find an all-inclusive resort in the western and eastern part of Southern Portugal. Here a selection of the very best!

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Best All-Inclusive Hotels in Algarve

  1. Pestana Blue Alvor All Inclusive Beach & Golf Resort *****
  2. Yellow Alvor Garden – All Inclusive ****
  3. Adriana Beach Club Hotel Resort ****
  4. Muthu Clube Praia da Oura ****
  5. Be Live Family Palmeiras Village ****

12. Map for Accommodation in Algarve


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Discover my selection of hotels and where to stay in Algarve. Read more about the best hotels in Algarve, top accommodation in Algarve close to the beach and some of the finest resorts in Algarve. Let's explore the stunning beaches of Southern Portugal.
Discover my selection of hotels and where to stay in Algarve. Read more about the best hotels in Algarve, top accommodation in Algarve close to the beach and some of the finest resorts in Algarve. Let's explore the stunning beaches of Southern Portugal.

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