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Portugal: 3 Must-See Algarve Towns—International Living Australia

March 29, 2019 Visit Europe No Comments Email Email

Portugal has fast become a much sought-after travel and retirement destination, offering a low cost, high-quality lifestyle. A new report from the editors at details three must-see towns in the Algarve region—Lagos, Tavira and Albufeira.


The Algarve—the southern stretch of the country running from craggy Sagres in the west to the low-lying Spanish border in the east—attracts most of Portugal’s sun-seekers.

It is a region of wild coastline interspersed with some of the best beaches in the world.

This area of Portugal has earned its reputation among expats by providing a resort feel, while at the same time maintaining the authenticity of this beautiful country.

Scores of golf courses, from easy to award-winning, stud the coastline. The dining scene ranges from simple, local food at small cafés in each town to the Michelin-starred Vila Joya in Albufeira. In fact, a total of seven restaurants in the region earned Michelin stars in 2018.

The report examines the towns of Lagos, Tavira and Albufeira.


Lagos is in the western Algarve, where the beautiful rock formations of Ponta da Piedade and inviting sands lure beach lovers, while a large number of bars, cafés and restaurants offer food and drink choices for all.

Expats can have a Portuguese breakfast at a local hangout across from the marina for a couple of dollars, with coffee and thick-sliced local bread toasted and dripping with butter.

Another plus is the professional healthcare. In addition to clinics, the Hospital São Gonçalo de Lagos has experienced medical staff offering inpatient and outpatient care, lab work, imaging and surgical services at affordable prices.


About an hour’s drive east of Lagos lies Albufeira, probably the best-known city in the Algarve, with around 24 kilometres of beaches.

This is a party town, framed in cobbled streets, winding alleys and Moorish-influenced architecture, with over 100 bars, cafés and restaurants in the old town alone.

The main square, Jardim Público (Public Garden), is any shopper’s fantasy. Lovely boutiques offer arts and crafts, fine jewellery, pottery, woollen goods and more.


Continuing east is Tavira, a pretty little city. The town straddles the Gilão River and features whitewashed buildings, Roman ruins and jacaranda and oleander blossoms everywhere. Touches like latticework doors with knockers in the shape of hands (a tradition passed on by the Moors) add to the charm.

One of the finest beaches in the Algarve can be reached from here by ferry, Ilha Tavira. Not only is it surrounded by charming cafés, but a number of good restaurants too.

Vendors sell handicrafts at tables on the way to the wooden boardwalk, which leads to a stretch of pristine sand.

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