Long days filled by lounging on a beach with the sea breeze on your skin followed by a romantic evening stroll along the sandy shoreline are some of the simple things that many couples love to do in the Algarve that don’t cost a thing.

Sunset dinners, beach picnics, long lazy lunches with your loved one are all wonderful ways to enjoy some quality time together. All being simple to arrange and can be as cheap or expensive as you like.

Then there are special moments that need a bit of planning and money to make them happen. We’ve thought of a few things that are perfect for two; some offer good value with others being bucket-list opportunities. Baring in mind we all have different ideas and budgets, this list is varied and hopefully gives you some inspiration to surprise your other half. Being away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life allows us the luxury to spend time together, creating precious memories to look back on.

The Algarve is a highly diverse region with gorgeous restaurants looking out to sea, romantic hideaways, country retreats and fabulous weather to compliment it all. Spoil yourself and take home more than a suntan.

Marinha coastal caves at sunset

The coast and caves around Benagil at sunset

Dolphin, Benagil and Sea Caves Boat Tour

Watching Dolphins frolicking in their natural environment is a magical experience, and we have plenty of them, usually not too far off the coast. This 2.5-hour cruise from Albufeira is packed with bucket list items to tick off. The hugely famous Benagil caves are a must-see when visiting the Algarve and you’ll be surprised to see that there are many more, arguably more impressive caves along the way too.

The small boat is the right size to be able to get inside the caves for the best views, and the local knowledge of the Skipper and Marine Biologist crew is invaluable to make the most of your time at sea.

Alte Off-Road Quad Bike Tour

With a good nights sleep behind you, meet your guide at 9.30 am for a thrilling, adrenaline-fuelled Quad Bike Tour of the internal Algarve.

Spend a little time getting used to the fully automatic quads before heading for the hills and soaking up some beautiful scenery along the way. Once you hit the gravel paths and begin to cross through streams, you’ll be well into the swing of it. Climbing high up into the hills where you can take a moment to enjoy the views.

You’ll discover the historic village of Alte and its serene surroundings dotted with whitewashed houses before heading into the countryside. Passing fountains, springs and local communities along the way while soaking up some culture. On first glance, this might not seem one of the things to do for couples in the Algarve, but if you love adventure, trust us on this one!

Alte village ducks at fountain

The quaint village of Alte surrounded by nature

Morgado do Quintão Estate Lunch and Wine Tasting

Visiting one of the oldest vineyards of the Algarve, Morgado do Quintão is set into the countryside of Silves. This family estate is proud to share their knowledge, and welcome guests to explore the history, get a feel for the production and enjoy the fruits of their labour.

Following the tour, you’ll head to the shade of the 2,000-year-old tree surrounded by the native Algarve Negra Mole vines and take your seat for lunch. During the lunch, you’ll sample 3-4 wines and have the opportunity to chat and find out more about the estate and romantic Algarve wine culture.

Portimao Arade River and Silves Cruise Tour

Join the crew on their comfortable solar-powered pleasure tour from the historical port of Portimao where they will slowly cruise into the Arade River taking you to places you would never otherwise reach. The scenery is really something else, and you could be forgiven for thinking you were not in the Algarve.

The tour cruises steadily towards the old Moorish capital, Silves where you have 1.5 hours to explore this charming old town, enough time to visit the castle, museum or even grab a bit to eat. Back on board the boat, you can enjoy a leisurely ride back to Portimao with a cold beer from the friendly captain.

Silves village with a river

Silves medieval village is a must visit!

Hot Air Balloon Ride

Up, up and away…The views are out of this world, and it’s a once in a life-time experience that is perfect for couples in the Algarve! With the sky as your limit, the team at Algarve Balloons have been in the business for many years. The experienced Pilot will glide the balloon over valleys, following the warm breezes towards the rolling hills.

This is a unique sensation and can be elevated even further by including a Champagne picnic and even a proposal if the mood should take you. Stunning scenery, tranquillity and a once in a life-time experience await, perfect for birthdays, special occasions and romantic moments away from the crowds.

Best of Vilamoura 3-Hour Guided Bike Tour

Hop on your bike at Vilamoura Marina where the tour begins. You’ll explore Dunes, Quarteira, the countryside, an old village, fish and fruit markets and of course Vilamoura. During the trip, your guide will give you some invaluable local, insider tips on where you can eat and drink like a local while staying in the area.

Cycling allows you to appreciate the smells, sounds and nature around you without whizzing past as we usually do. Marvel at the sights as you peddle past some fabulous points of interest and scenic beaches while enjoying being outdoors and getting some light exercise.

Beautiful white sand islands seen from above

The beautiful islands along the Faro coastline

EDITORS PICK

Deserta Island and Farol Island Boat Trip

Jump aboard this open deck style lounge boat and sail slowly through the clear watered channels of the Ria Formosa. You’re quite likely to see indigenous birds like the Grey Heron and White Stork among others along the way. The first stop on this tour is the Culatra Islands where you’ll observe the local Oyster and Clam farms. With no roads or vehicles on Culatra, it’s like stepping back in time, and the romance of the Algarve comes alive. Then onto Farol, enjoying a stroll through this small, friendly island and head to the end where you’ll find a stunning white sand beach.

Now heading to Barreta Island the most southern point of Portugal – Santa Maria Cape for a spot of swimming or sunbathing.

Jeep Safari and Boat Tour

Let’s head off the beaten track, this 4×4 Land Rover tour takes you up into the Algarvian Mountains and has the perfect remedy to finish a hot day in the country, a sea  tour.

The team have selected a range of carefully chosen locations and activities that cater for all tastes and ages. You will come across traditional, hidden places, gorgeous scenery and a slower way of life.

Your guide will tell you about cork oaks, let you taste fruit from the trees and take a dip in a crystal clear spring. There’s a chance to sample the local “firewater” and some other local products. Then it’s back to the coast for the boat tour where you’ll venture into the magnificent grottoes and sea caves. This is a low impact activity, suitable for all.

Road trip in a VW Camper

There’s nothing quite like hitting the open road with your loved one, and enjoying the freedom and romance of the Algarve! Indeed, the freedom of jumping in a campervan and heading off into the wilderness is something rather magical. Siesta Campers have a great fleet of VW Campers for rent that can be collected straight from Faro airport. The Algarve is stunning and the West Coast is breathtakingly beautiful.

The interior countryside is packed with traditional villages, dams and vineyards. The world is your oyster and where better to fulfil that lifelong itch to travel in a VW Camper and live a little. From your starting point in Faro, head east and enjoy your first night in Tavira where you’ll get an excellent feel for the local culture. We would then head west and see what takes your fancy. There’s so much to see and do, a tiny bit of planning would be advisable.

Finding the perfect hotel will make your holiday in the Algarve one to remember. As you’ll be aware, we are indeed blessed with fabulous weather in this part of the world and so much accommodation that it can be hard to choose where to stay.

We’ve explored many of the 52 luxury five-star hotels and selected our top ten based on a few factors.

High standards in comfort, service and facilities are essential along with the setting, most five-star properties have a sea view in the Algarve, and some even have Michelin star restaurants to add to their exclusivity. While prices in high season can be on par with city prices, there are always off-season bargains to be had, and many hotels and resorts run wellness retreats in the slower months.

The spas are world-class with brands such as L’Occitane and Sisley providing gorgeous products to enhance the experience. Fine cotton linen, plush pillows, luxurious toiletries, bonbons and little surprises in your suite make all the difference. The service has to be flawless, and a feeling of wellbeing should be almost instant when walking into the reception area. With that in mind, here’s our pick of the best. Enjoy and sweet dreams in the Algarve!

Vila Vita Parc

Vila Vita is so much more than a hotel or resort, located in Armacao de Pera, Central Algarve.

It’s a unique oasis of sea-inspired rooms, suites and villas with ocean views and some of the best dining outlets in the area. The clifftop location has 54 acres of subtropical gardens, a Morrocan garden, fountains, pools, a private beach and their own yacht. A wine cellar that’s 8 metres underground with dining options, Misu Japanese restaurant, Ocean their Michelin star restaurant and many more besides. The Sisley Spa, Vila Vita shopping area and bars dotted around, should keep guests entertained. They also have a Bavarian Bier Garten, beach restaurants and a beach club in the local area along with their own vineyard in the Alentejo.

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Photography supplied by Bela Vista Palace

Photography supplied by Bela Vista Palace

Bela Vista Hotel & Spa – Relais & Chateaux

A magnificent, historical building in the unlikely yet privileged location on the cliffs of Praia da Rocha. This is a boutique hotel with an eclectic and flamboyant style with some of the best views around. Direct beach access, a large pool and decked dining area are some of the outdoor features worth mentioning.

Spread over three areas, each with totally unique nautical design features and mostly facing the stunning panoramic sea views. The Vistas restaurant has a Michelin star and is worth a visit. We love the L’Occtiane Spa for a spot of pampering, and there are many restaurants and bars within walking distance – an ideal luxury hotel in the Algarve.

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Photography supplied by Tivoli Carvoeiro

Photography supplied by Tivoli Carvoeiro

Tivoli Carvoeiro

In the picturesque, old fishing town of Carvoeiro, perched inside the face of a cliff lays the breathtaking Tivoli Carvoeiro. From the hotel lobby, the eye is instantly drawn to the view at the back of the hotel, which is simply stunning. The recent refurbishment has seen the addition of a Sky Bar, The One fine dining restaurant, spa with gym and many large suites to accommodate more families. The design is light, bright and elegant, taking elements from the ocean and nature.

There is a lobby bar and two further, more informal restaurants along with a kids club and conference facilities. This is a very popular wedding venue too because of the excellent view and walking distance to the village and beaches.

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EDITORS PICK

© Epic SANA

© Epic SANA

EPIC SANA Algarve Hotel

Located in the Falesia area of Albufeira, in a highly privileged cliff top position framed with perfectly manicured gardens you’ll find this haven. With a selection of sea-view and resorts view hotel rooms, studios and apartments in the residences with a children’s club, and then there are the gorgeous sea-view, garden suites. This is one of the best dreamy Algarve luxury hotels you can book. Every room has an oversized bath and rain shower with delightful toiletries, robes and slippers.

With direct access to the award-winning Falesia beach, there are two large outdoor pools, next to the Open Deck restaurant serving delicious Portuguese dishes in a relaxed atmosphere. The SAYANNA Spa is divine and definitely worth a visit, while their Al Quimia Gourmet restaurant is a must-visit for lovers of excellent food and wines.

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Conrad Algarve

World-class service, gourmet dining, brunches, fabulous events and an infinity pool are a few things worth mentioning about the luxury 5-star Conrad Algarve. Set in the golden circles’, Quinta do Lago where the rich and famous hang out.

The elegant rooms have contemporary notes of grey in the design features and balconies overlooking the palms or the pool.
Luxurious toiletries make having a soak in the marble bathroom all the better.

Dining at the Conrad Algarve is a marvellous experience, and the Michelin star Gusto by Heinz Beck is the best they have. More casual dining is available downstairs or poolside, and the cocktail bar is a real treat. The spa has some fantastic water features that can be used before treatments or for a fee.

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Pine Cliffs

Surrounded by mature pine trees in the stunning cliffs of Falesia, The five-star Pine Cliffs is a luxury, award-winning family resort managed by the Marriott International group. With many styles of accommodation with Pine Cliffs Terraces, Pine Cliffs Deluxe Villas, Pine Cliffs Ocean Suites, Pine Cliffs Residence and Pine Cliffs Townhouses.

Only 800 m from the Atlantic beaches with private access, the 9-hole golf course, Serenity Spa, two swimming pools, the Anabel Croft Tennis academy. They have many dining venues including a private beach bar, Portuguese steak house and Japanese restaurant making this a perfect Luxury Algarve resort for those who enjoy the finer things in life and traditional hospitality.

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Lake Resort Luxury Hotel Algarve

Lake Resort Luxury Hotel Algarve

The Lake Resort

A luxurious resort with a natural, sandy beach pool and a floating restaurant that’s only 300 m from Falésia Beach. Balconies reach out from the rooms and have stunning views of the surrounding lake and sea.

A Moorish-style dome welcomes guests at the reception. Spacious, comfortable rooms with luxurious linens and bathroom treats put you in the mood to slow down and relax.

The resort has three restaurants, two bars and a library full of books and magazines but is also not far from Vilamoura Marina or Thai Beach Club for those who like to get out and about. There’s a spa area, Koala Kids Club, three pools and plenty of outdoor space to enjoy.

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Grand House

This beautiful, old school, grand house is Belle Époque hotel and the only 5-star hotel in the most eastern town of Vila Real de Santo António. On the bank of the Guadiana River, you can enjoy views of the harbour and Spanish town of Ayamonte at the other side of the river from one of the 30 rooms or suites.

The decor is traditional and features many antiques, mouldings and opulent design details. Fine dining, a rooftop terrace and bar are available to guests as is a complimentary transfer to the hotels’ beach club with its infinity pool – check-in and relax in the ultimate Algarvian luxury!

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The beach at Carvoeiro Tivoli

The beach at Carvoeiro Tivoli

Longevity Health and Wellness Hotel

This new hotel is built into a secluded hillside by the fishing village of Alvor and enjoys views out to the bay and the countryside. As a wellness hotel, the focus is on facilities such as their infinity rooftop outdoor swimming pool along with a heated indoor pool.

Contemporary, naturally inspired décor is evident throughout. All rooms have a balcony and all the amenities that you would expect from a five-star hotel.

The breakfast buffet is served at the Rooftop Pure Cafe by Longevity, which has beautiful panoramic sea views. There’s a spa and wellness centre, with a wide range of treatments and massages and state of the art fitness studio.

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Salgados by Vidamar Hotel

Salgados by Vidamar Hotel

Salgados by Vidamar Hotel

A variety of interestingly sculpted outdoor swimming pools, outdoor and indoor bars and landscaped gardens along with a good selection of dining options create the mood here in the Salgados area of Albufeira.

Designer rooms and suites come in a range of pool, garden and sea views with large balconies and great amenities. Interconnecting family rooms are also available.

This five-star resort after the Marina of Albufeira, set in a tranquil location, perfect for a week or so to recharge your batteries in luxurious surroundings. The surrounding area has many of the Algarves’ best restaurants and pristine beaches. It’s also a great springboard to explore other areas as it’s very central.

There’s a kid’s club for the children along with room service to add to your comfort, as the parents can just enjoy the Algarve in luxury, you know you deserve it!

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