We're planning a 3-month tour of southern Europe, starting in mid-February, 2018, with almost a month in Portugal. We'd be in the Algarve about March 1st and could stay up to 10 days. We're retired, very active (like to bike, hike, kayak), and my husband is a talented amateur outdoor photographer. Suggestions on where to focus our stay (either all in one town or maybe two--we tend to Airbnb), places to visit, outdoor activities, and/or photographic must-sees? Thanks.
I haven't been to Portugal recently enough to give Algarve advice, but I want to be sure you realize that if you're subject to the Schengen Zone restrictions, as holders of US passports are, you are permitted to stay within the Schengen Zone only 90 days (not 3 months) within any 180-day period. And both your arrival day and your departure day count.
Lagos is my favorite place to stay in the Algarve. It’s big enough to have lots of restaurants and a nice old town with Mercado, but not a huge highrise city. And, Ponte da Piadade is right outside of town, which is spectacular. There are also a lot of hiking trails along the sea. You can also travel to Sagres easily.
If you want another town in te Eastern Algarve, Tavira is likely the best choice.
You can find lots of information on both these towns so help you decide.
We were going n the Algarve in February and it was horrible. Desolate, everything closed (what was open was ugly British shopping complexes), moldy airbnb, bad weather. We left early for Lisbon.
I would opt for Lagos and/or Tavira, the latter having more character IMO and been less developed. Tavira has a better rail service than Lagos, but Lagos is a good base for the west coast. You can do a day trip to Spain from Tavira.
March isn't the time for kayaking, but the hiking should be ok. Your weather is likely to be mixed at the start of March. Photo opportunities are better around Lisbon than the Algarve.
I spent the whole of last March in Cabanas near Tavira. It's mostly a modern resort built around the old traditional village, but there is plenty of accommodation available and it's a good base, being an easy walk/cycle into Tavira over the salt pans. I am going again next March.
Not a fan of the Algrave..But I was in Portugal March 2017. March 11 arrival and stayed for 2.5 weeks. I was walking along the Roto Vicetina which was an incredible experience. Perfect walking temperature and very affordable.
Thanks everyone for the help! We decided to do stay in Lagos.