3 days in the Algarve | Travel itinerary to explore Southern Portugal

An ultimate travel plan: How to get the most out of 3 days in the Algarve

Nestled along the southern coast of Portugal, the Algarve is a picturesque region renowned for its golden beaches, rugged cliffs, and charming villages. Planning a three-day getaway to this coastal haven requires a thoughtful itinerary to make the most of your time. From historic sites to breathtaking landscapes, the Algarve has it all. Even though you can easily spend more time in the Algarve, you can see all the highlights within 3 days. This travel plan guides you on a perfect travel itinerary on how best to spend 3 days in the Algarve. Bear in mind that 3 days in the Algarve means a minimum of 4 nights so you have 3 full days available.

Where to stay in the algarve

The Algarve has plenty of great options to stay. Many parts of the region are classified as a good place to stay if you have a car available. You can stay for example around Albufeira, Lagos or Portimao or opt for a quieter beach location.
Some great options to stay are Casa Beny 1897 Guesthouse in Loule (~€75), Zenit Luxury Marina Village Apartment in Olhao (~€140 for 4 persons), Colina da Lapa & Villas near Carvoeiro (~€75 for 4 persons), Apartamentos Pinhao near Lagos (~€92), Velamar Boutique Hotel near Albufeira (~€65).

How many days in The Algarve, Portugal

Deciding on the ideal duration for your Algarve adventure depends on your interests and priorities. While a longer stay allows for a more relaxed exploration, three days provide a perfect snapshot of the region’s beauty. This concise timeframe enables you to experience the diverse landscapes, the seaside cliffs, lunches at beach clubs and soak up the vibrant culture. If your time allows, I would say 5 days in the Algarve is the perfect number of days, so you can include a beach day.

Note: when travelling to the Algarve with limited time, you should rent a car to be as flexible as possible. 

Best Time to travel to The ALgarve

The Algarve boasts a Mediterranean climate, making it a year-round destination. However, the best time to visit is during the spring (April to June) and fall (September to October) when temperatures are pleasant, and crowds are fewer. Avoid the peak summer months if you prefer a quieter experience, as the Algarve can become quite busy with tourists.

3 Days in the Algarve - A Travel Itinerary

3 days in the Algarve - A travel itinerary to southern Portugal

3 day Algarve Travel Plan

– Arrival & Travel Day –

Day 1 ||

Hike the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail and visit Praia Marinha, Praia de Benegil, Praia de Carvalho and have lunch at O Stop. Enjoy a relaxed afternoon at a beach or your hotel and end the night at No Aqua Solo for dinner.

Day 2 ||

Visit the famous Ponta da Piedade, tour along the coast and visit beaches such as Praia do Camilo and Praia Estudantes. Afterwards, stroll around Lagos and have lunch at Bahia beach bar. Spend the remainder of the day at one of the beaches or your hotel pool. 

Day3 ||

Embark on a boat tour along the shore, go canoeing and visit the famous Benegil caves. In the afternoon, head to Quinta dos Vales for a wine tasting.

– Departure –

Algarve travel map - Southern Portugal

This complete Algarve Travel Map gives an overview of the exact travel route for the 3 days in the Algarve. However, if you have more days available, it is worth it to explore some additional locations, for example in the far west. Therefore, next to an overview per day, there are some additional locations included to add to your Algarve itinerary when you have more time available.

Map courtesy of Wanderlog, the best trip planner app on iOS and Android

Your day-TO-day Travel Route for 3 days in the Algarve

Day 1 || Hike Along the coast

Hike the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail and visit Praia da Marinha, Praia de Benegil, Praia de Carvalho and have lunch at O Stop. Enjoy a relaxed afternoon at a beach or your hotel and end the night at No Aqua Solo for dinner.

The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail (read my full hiking guide) here) was my favourite thing to do in the Algarve. It is a great way to explore some of the most beautiful beaches in the Algarve including the beautiful rock formations, while staying fit. Due to the heat, it is advised to start early and take plenty of water. We started hiking around 8:30 / 9:00 am at Praia da Marinha, where we parked our car for the hike. From here, you hike along the cliffs to multiple other beaches. As the hike is only 6 kilometres, there is plenty of time to relax on the way and choose one of the beaches to stay at a little longer. We took around 4 hours in total before we arrived at the end of the hike at Praia de Vale Centianes where we had lunch at O Stop. 

After the hike, we took an Uber back to our car and drove to our hotel. Therewith, we were able to relax for 2 hours at our hotel pool before changing to have a drink at Faina Wine Bar and dinner at No Solo Aqua. 

Praia da Marinha, Hiking the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, 3 days in the Algarve
Praia da Marinha, Hiking the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, 3 days in the Algarve
3 days in the Algarve, a day to day travel route
Praia da Marinha, Hiking the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, 3 days in the Algarve
Praia da Marinha, Hiking the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, 3 days in the Algarve
Praia da Marinha, Hiking the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, 3 days in the Algarve
Praia da Marinha, Hiking the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, 3 days in the Algarve
3 days in the Algarve, a complete day-to-day travel plan
Praia da Marinha, Hiking the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, 3 days in the Algarve
Faina Wine Bar, Portimao
Dinner at NoSoloAqua in Portimao, 3 days in the Algarve
No Solo Aqua, Portimao

|| Day 2 in the Algarve

Visit the famous Ponta da Piedade, tour along the coast and visit beaches such as Praia do Camilo and Praia Estudantes. Afterwards, stroll around Lagos and have lunch at Bahia beach bar. Spend the remainder of the day at one of the beaches or your hotel pool.

On our second day in the Algarve, we visited some of the other best places to visit in the Algarve. We started in the early morning visiting Ponta da Piedade, one of the most beautiful rock formations in the Algarve. Afterwards, we had a coffee to start the day and explored some of the beaches in the area. You can pay a visit to Praia do Comilo, famous for the wooden stairs down to the beach. Alternatively, you can visit Praia Estudantes, famous for the arch. 

What I liked about our 3 days in the Algarve, is that most of the beaches have their special mark, making it worth visiting multiple beaches during your stay.

After or in between a visit to the beaches, you can stroll around Lagos, one of the main towns in the Algarve. Afterwards, you can choose to have lunch at a beautiful beach bar called Bahia. When on holiday, I always like to have lunch or dinner at the beach, so this is a perfect place to visit. Alternatively, you can opt for lunch in Lagos. After our late lunch, we headed back to the hotel for a relaxed afternoon at the pool, however,, you can also enjoy an afternoon at the beach.

Ponta da Piedade, 3 days in the Algarve, Portugal
Ponta da Piedade, 3 days in the Algarve, Portugal
Ponta da Piedade, 3 days in the Algarve, Portugal
Ponta da Piedade, 3 days in the Algarve, Portugal
Ponta da Piedade, 3 days in the Algarve, Portugal
The best beaches in the Algarve, Portugal
The best beaches in the Algarve, Portugal
Lagos, 3 days in the Algarve
Praia de Estudantes, Best Beaches in the Algarve
Bahia Beach Club, Lunch in the Algarve
Bahia Beach Club, Lunch in the Algarve

|| Day 3 in the Algarve

Embark on a boat tour along the shore, go canoeing and visit the famous Benegil caves. In the afternoon, head to Quinta dos Vales for a wine tasting.

On the final day of this 3-day Algarve, it is time to embark on a boat tour from Portimao. We booked ours at SeaSiren, at the last minute, upon arrival at the port. In 2024, the boat tour (2,5 hours) costs €42. Alternatively, you can also book a tour with Get Your Guide. 

After a quick shower at the hotel, we changed and headed to Quinta dos Vales for a tour of the winery and a wine tasting. A great way to taste some local wines and a unique experience. Highly recommended!

Canoe Trip around the Algarve to the Benagil Caves
Canoe Trip around the Algarve to the Benagil Caves
Canoe Trip around the Algarve to the Benagil Caves
Canoe Trip around the Algarve to the Benagil Caves
Benagil Caves in the Algarve, Portugal
Benagil Caves in the Algarve, Portugal

|| Extend your 3-day Algarve Itinerary: Additional Sights

In case you have more time to spend in the Algarve, it is possible to extend this Algarve travel route with some additional sights to explore even more of the Algarve’s beauty. 

Include for example the following beaches: Praia do Vau, Praia do Carvoeiro, Ferragudo, Praia do Amado, Bordeira’s Beach or Praia Dona Ana. 

Alternatively, you can pay a visit to the cities/villages of Sagres, Tavira, and Loule. Lastly, you can drive the E. de Praia, visit Cape Sint-Vincent or head to Rio Formosa.

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Algarve Travel Plan and Route, 3 days in Portugal