From the barlavento to the sotavento, from Sagres Point to the Guadiana, the Algarve coast is a never-ending succession of bays, caves, steep cliffs, long sandy beaches, rivers, estuaries, fresh- and salt-water lakes, cities, tiny fishing villages, lighthouses, castles perched on hilltops and an array of other features that, when you are on dry land, you either see in a different light or don’t see at all. You can go for just a short boat trip along the coast or enjoy one of the full day coastal cruises that set off from Vilamoura Marina and include a stop on one of the quieter beaches for a grilled-sardine lunch and a dip in the sea. Or you might prefer a shorter trip to see the rare beauties of the Ria Formosa and the islands of Armona, Farol and Culatra, aboard a boat piloted by the experienced fishermen from Olhão.
At the end of the day, Vilamoura Marina is your setting-off point for other circuits, with on-board entertainment and a splendid view across the water to the twinkling lights of Quarteira, Faro and Olhão, for example. The morning, preferably very early, is the best time of day to set off from Tavira to Cacela Velha, taking the Quatro Águas route between the salt pans and flocks of flamingos. To explore one end of the coast to another, you also need to visit Lagos in the barlavento, where you can go on a trip to the caves that the sea has carved out in the cliffs at Ponta da Piedade. From Portimão to Mareta, which is close to Cape St Vincent, you will discover an array of white towns, golden beaches, craggy cliffs and large splashes of green indicative of pine forests.
Set off for a boat trip on the ocean and experience a unique and unforgettable thrill as you watch dolphins in their natural habitat. Species commonly found in the Algarve’s waters include bottle-nosed and short-beaked dolphins.
For those who enjoy the thrill of an adrenaline rush, the Algarve could be the setting-off point for unforgettable expeditions to the high seas. At the marinas in Lagos, Portimão and Vilamoura, you will find vessels kitted out for sport fishing. On your next visit to the Algarve, venture out on one of these boat trips so that you can become better acquainted with the region.