Algarve Top 10 Romantic Places
The seven arch bridge, in all its ancient glory, is incredibly evocative
As Valentine’s Day approaches our thoughts turn to love and romance, candlelight dinners and romantic getaways. Famous as a family holiday and golfing destination, the Algarve is also a fabulously romantic spot. Crafted by nature and by man, for young love or reaffirming your vows, asking “will you marry me?” or simply saying “I love you” here are our Top 10 romantic places in the Algarve
An iconic image, the Senhora da Rocha chapel, near Porches, is one of the most picturesque places in the Algarve. Day or night it is special, but it is perhaps most beautiful at dusk, as that fleeting blue light colours the sky and the sea. The simple whitewashed chapel is perched atop the cliffs above pristine cove beaches where seagulls hover and colourful fishing boats bob in the water. Exuding a timeless tranquility, the chapel is a popular venue for weddings, both with locals and visitors. Close by you have the chic and pretty Ristorante Belmondo for a romantic meal, while watching the silhouette of the chapel fade in the evening light.
The natural beauty of this stretch of the Algarve coastline will leave you breathless. Mother Nature exceeded herself in carving a dome-shaped sea cave from the cliffs. The sunlight streams though natural apertures, acting as spotlight on the constantly sea-cleaned fine golden sand. Only 150 metres from the beach at Benagil, near Carvoeiro, this cave is best accessed from the sea – at low tide! You can take a boat trip from Benagil to explore - the local captains know all the best spots.
Close to Benagil and Senhora da Rocha is the very lovely and very luxurious VILA VITA Parc Resort and Spa. Set in acres of lush gardens, Vila Vita is an amazing venue for a romantic getaway. Not only is the accommodation perfect, the resort has direct access to a secluded beach, a top-notch spa, a world-class wine cellar and it's signature gourmet restaurant, Ocean, has not one, but two Michelin stars. Tempting at any time of year, VILA VITA Parc is a perfectly romantic place to celebrate Valentine's Day.
For lovers and nature lovers, Sagres exerts an almost irresistible pull to the western tip of the Algarve. The vast horizons, the salty tang in the air, the powerful seas battering the cliffs and the ghosts of explorers past permeate the atmosphere. Memorable in many ways, it is this mix of elements at Sagres that make you feel a master of the universe and a puny human all at once. Perfect for romantic walks around the ancient fortress and watching the sun sink below the horizon, Sagres is also where you can enjoy some of the very best seafood in the Algarve, with freshly caught fish served up for your enjoyment at the local restaurants. For a fabulous view over Mareta beach and a fabulous meal, O Telheiro do Infante is an excellent option.
The town of Lagos is an historical beauty spot. Old Town walls, beautiful chapels, cobbled streets and lots of atmosphere. But once again, it is Mother Nature that provides the most romantic spot. Ponta da Piedade, about 3kms from Lagos is a fairytale landscape of sea caves and grottoes, cliffs and arches, and clear, clear water. You can visit Ponta da Piedade by land – 182 steps will take you from the cliff top to the bottom, with some stunning views on the way. Or you can explore by boat, the skilled boatmen taking you into the caves and through the arches. The play of sunlight on the incredibly clear water is magical. The perfect location for a romantic declaration.
The Conrad brand is synonymous with luxury and the Conrad Algarve is definitely luxurious. For a romantic break in the Algarve, the Conrad is hard to beat. Impeccable yet always discreet service; spacious suites packed with every gadget and comfort you could imagine; a Spa to refresh and rejuvenate. For the last word in luxurious romance, turn the Roof Garden Suite into your romantic haven. 300 square metres of splendor with private sauna and steam bath, private access to the resort Spa, your own butler and, oh yes….an infinity pool in the living room overlooking the resort gardens.
Absolutely unique, Caniço Restaurant and Bar, near Portimão is carved from the cliffs and overlooks the beautiful cove beaches at Prainha. Not content with being one of the most scenic spots in the Algarve, Caniço is also one of the best restaurants and bars for those magical summer evenings. Open during the summer only, getting to Caniço is an adventure in itself – you have to take an elevator through the cliffs, walking out through a tunnel carved in the rocks to the magical scenario that is Caniço. Perfect for lingering lunches and cocktails by moonlight.
The Queen of Algarve towns, Tavira oozes romance. It’s got just about everything required for romantic strolls – an ancient castle with beautiful views over the town and towards the Ria Formosa natural park, churches and chapels galore, narrow cobbled streets that open into pretty squares where you can while away some time in the sunlight and a beautiful arched Roman bridge crossing the Gilão River. The 7 arch bridge, in all its ancient glory, is incredibly evocative. If you listen hard, you would swear you can hear the footfalls of the Romans and Moors that have crossed this bridge before you.
Further East of Tavira, 20kms from the Spanish border, is the tiny hamlet of Cacela Velha. It is quintessentially Algarve. Small, unassuming, bathing in the sunlight and utterly charming. With a rich history showing Roman and Moorish occupation, Cacela Velha was once quite an important town and has the vestiges of its defensive ramparts to prove it. Today however, it is a sleepy hamlet with a small chapel and the remains of some fortified walls overlooking the Ria Formosa nature park, with beautiful lagoons and sandbanks at its feet.