Where to Stay in Algarve

Algarve hotels guide with the best areas and towns to stay and hotel booking tips

Vilalara Thalassa Resort, Algarve

Algarve has accommodation for all budgets. You can stay at modern hostels at affordable prices, at all-inclusive hotels, luxury resorts or apartments, and will find good deals if you book early. In fact, booking well in advance for stays in July and August is a must, as everything is sold out months before.

Which Town is Best to Stay in Algarve?

Where you stay in Algarve depends on what kind of experience you’d like to have -- a family holiday, a romantic getaway, experiencing the local culture, a few days in the sun, surfing or naturism... The region is quite different from one end to the other: the central area, where the airport is, is the most developed and most visited, with low-cost and luxury resorts, former fishing villages, and many of the more famous beaches with caves and cliffs that attract European families and the younger crowds (Albufeira, Armação de Pêra, Faro, Portimão, Alvor, Carvoeiro, Quarteira, Quinta do Lago, Vale do Lobo, Vilamoura); the eastern part goes from Faro to the Spanish border, and instead of cliffs it has a coastline of dunes, lagoons and sandy islands with the region’s most spacious beaches and a few charming small towns (Tavira, Cacela Velha, Olhão), while the western part is all about soaring cliffs and rock formations, breathtakingly wild scenery and remote beaches for couples, naturists, and surfers (Lagos, Sagres, Costa Vicentina).

Booking Hotels in Algarve and Hotel Prices

Algarve remains a good value, when compared to other beach destinations in Europe. You can stay at a 5-star hotel or resort for a fraction of what you’d pay in Greece, Italy, Spain or France. Backpackers and mid-market tourists can also stay just steps from the beach at reasonable prices. The most expensive accommodation is found in the central region, to the west of Faro, especially in Quinta do Lago, Vale do Lobo, Vilamoura and Albufeira. The least expensive destinations are Quarteira, Armação de Pêra, Monte Gordo, and the west coast (Sagres and Costa Vicentina). In the summer, double rooms can cost between 125 and 250 euros, depending on the hotel’s category, the size of the rooms and the views. Superior rooms, especially at top-end hotels, can be much more than that, while a small room at a guesthouse or hostel is often less than 100 euros. Prices increase when demand does. That means that to guarantee the best rates (and availability) for stays between June and October, you should book early in the year, between January and March! Most hotels offer free cancellation and breakfast, but always check that information when booking. Authorities are strict, so even budget accommodation is clean and with good facilities. No matter how much you’re willing to pay, you’ll find a place that suits your needs.

Star ratings vary from country to country, and in Portugal there really aren’t any 1-star hotels, for example. Those would be equivalent to hostels, with basic equipment and access to a bathroom, which may or may not be in the room, private or shared. A 2-star hotel needs to have a reception with staff that speaks Portuguese and English in addition to basic rooms. At a 3-star hotel you can expect to have a reception open for at least 16 hours and wifi. At a 4-star hotel, you’ll have air conditioning in all public areas, and well-equipped rooms with daily cleaning service. Finally, a 5-star hotel must provide 24-hour reception, 24-hour room service, and rooms with a safe box. These are just the legal requirements, so you can expect much more in any category. For example, it’s now common to have wifi at any hotel, no matter the star rating.

Places with the Best Beachfront Hotels: Praia da Falésia (Albufeira), Albufeira's Old Town, Vilamoura, Praia da Rocha (Portimão)

Where to Stay with Children: Albufeira, Praia da Rocha (Portimão), Praia da Luz (Lagos)

Where to Stay for Nightlife: Albufeira (especially Praia da Oura), Lagos, Praia da Rocha (Portimão), Vilamoura

Where to Stay for Surfing: Sagres, Costa Vicentina

Where to Stay for Golfing: Praia dos Salgados (Albufeira), Quinta do Lago, Vale do Lobo

Where to Stay for a Romantic Holiday: Quinta do Lago, Vale do Lobo, Lagos, Tavira

Where to Stay for Low-Cost Accommodation: Quarteira, Armação de Pêra, Monte Gordo

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