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I've looked at the Algarve region and each town looks splendid, but I wanted to get some opinions on the best one to stay in. Thanks!
Faro: It's a cute little town with a nice vibe. I don't know when you're planning on going in Algarve, but I recommand you to go there at the start of May (that's what I did). The temperature is hot, but not to much like in summer (about 24 degrees Celcius) and most of all, it is not full of tourists. The little downtown is really cute and nice to do a bit of shopping or taking a coffee. I recommand you to go to the littles islands that are between the sea and the town. We did a boat trip with a guide for 30 euros and it was worth it, we saw 4 of the islands. Some are populated with like 100 people and some are not. If you can, you could rent a little motorboat to go in the islands as you wish. The one I prefered is called Desertas - Imobiliaria Turistica, Lda. and it is basically just sand and an amazing view on the sea. You can walk, tan or swim. It's very small and when we went there, there was just 2 other people, so we almost had the island for ourselves. Finally, if you go to Faro, do it at the start of your trip, because it is beautiful, but not "spectacular" like other parts of Algarve, like there's no cliffs and stuff, so you might be disappointed if you've already seen other places. But I still loved it.
Lagos: Awesome place! You can walk along the cliffs and find the spot that you link the most to go to the beach. There's a lot of activities to do like kayaking in caves. There's more action in the nightlife compared to Faro. We discovered nice bars and awesome people!
Monchique: Not far from Lagos in public transport. A very small town with not much to do, but there's a lot of trails around it for walks.
Albufeira: It really depends on what you're looking for, but we didn't go there because everyone told us it was not the prettiest place, but the one with the big nightclubs etc. There is supposedly a loooot of tourists, which can be a bit annoying.
Hope it helped! I really loved my trip there, it was relaxing and very nice! :)
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'Best' is purely a matter of personal preference.
Off the top of my head:
If you're into partying, clubbing, easily accessible beaches and water sports then Albufeira, with its vibrant centre and 'strip', is certainly a good choice.
If you want a smaller centre but still with lots of places to eat, drink etc as well as accessible beaches & water sports then Lagos is worth thinking about.
If you aren't too bothered about nearby beaches but want a bit more historical interest and a less-visitor-oriented feeling maybe Faro might fit?
If you're not thinking of hiring a car then do explore public transport options before you make a decision There's no point booking accomm somewhere which is going to cost you a fortune in taxi fares! :-)
I would either suggest Lagos or Tavira Lagos if you like a lively place with a good cafe and shopping scene, but still with some good local flavour. And Tavira if you like things to be more quiet and laid back. Algarve has a lot more to offer than just golf courses and beaches. I wrote this little blogpost about some of the alternative Algarve that you might find interesting too: https://travellingclaus.com/algarve-is-more/
I would add Carvoeiro to Mary's list. Located in western Algarve, Carvoeiro is ideal if you like small and family-friendly towns. Though small, the town offers plenty of dining options. You'll find cafes, restaurants, and bars, all within walking distance in the town center.
Carvoeiro was a fishing village before it became a popular resort town. These days the local fishermen run boat trips along the coasts and to the caves. Besides a sheltered bay area where you can sunbathe and enjoy watersports, Carvoeiro also offers great views from the cliff tops, and it is just a short distance from neighboring towns like Lagos, Ferragudo , Silves, and Portimao.
For inexpensive and convenient transportation, check out Rota das Falesias - a hop-on-hop-off minibus linking Carvoeiro, Lagos, Ferragudo and hotels/beaches along the route. Also go to http://www.algarve-tourist.com/carvoeiro-portugal-algarve.html for photos and more things to do.
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