The Algarve is a truly wonderful place to visit with many magical and unique features which are admired and enjoyed by many. As well as the beautiful coastal aspects that are more popular with visitors, we also have some stunning inland hotspots that quite often get overlooked.
At Nice Rent, we want our customers to have the best holiday experience possible and to make the most of the amazing features the Algarve has to offer. Therefore, we have put together an alternative inland tour that is sure to leave you with lifelong memories and stories to share with your friends and family.
The most important thing when embarking on a driving tour is to ensure you have a reliable and comfortable vehicle. At Nice Rent car hire in Faro, you can be sure that as well as being well-maintained, your hire car will also provide you with that comfort you would expect from a quality car hire company.
Once you have taken possession of your Nice Rent vehicle, you will be carefree and ready to start your Algarvian adventure.
We will kick-start this tour in the far west coast in Cabo de São Vicente - with some of the most stunning views you will ever see! Here you can experience the dramatic cliff views where the coast meets the Atlantic Ocean. When you stand on the cliff top, admiring the massive expanse of water, it is easy to understand why in Medieval times, this was believed to be ‘the end of the world’.
Apart from the lighthouse which projects a beam visible up to 50km out to sea, there is very little else in the way of manmade structures. However, this is part of the beauty and charm of this secluded must-see hotspot. Well worth a visit!
If you’re an experienced surfer and are up for a challenge, Praia do Telheiro is a stone’s throw away from here. However, this beach is often deserted so, unless you are really confident or accompanied by others, it is not advisable to tackle the waves solo.
Just over 6km away is Sagres where you have a mixture of rugged countryside and amazing sea views. Continuing with the surf theme, here you also have three good options. Tonel is easily accessible and offers good consistent surfing conditions or you can opt for Praia do Beliche where you will encounter waves of up to 3 metres in height and enjoy a buzzing ride!
On a calmer vein, if you are looking to simply take a walk along a long stretch of golden sand and maybe stop off at a bar or restaurant, Praia da Mareta is the place to be.
Before leaving this area, you must visit Fortaleza de Sagres - just south of Praia da Mareta. This fort dates back to the 15th century and is unique in the sense that it only contains one exterior wall as the rest of the defences at the time were provided by the surrounding cliffs.
We will now take you 45km north towards Aljezur, a town full of history and culture only 40 minutes along the EN268. If you like museums, the Museu Municipal is the first place you should visit. Here you can buy a ticket that not only gives you entry to this site, it also allows you entry to three others in the same town. This small but very interesting museum has three rooms full of intriguing artefacts and an archaeological collection downstairs.
Next you can visit the 18th century built Museu de Arte Sacra – a religious art museum that houses items donated by a locally born Monsignor. Museu Antoniano is the third museum with entry on this single ticket which is housed in a former 17th century chapel and displays paintings, books and coins.
The last in Aljezur’s museum tour is Casa Museu Pintor José Cercas – a quaint house belonging to the painter who left his home, collection of furniture, artwork and possessions to the town.
Other points of interest are the 10th century Moorish castle (located on the site of an iron age fort) and the Ruínas da Fortaleza de Arrifana. Here you will not only have the opportunity to take a look at the surviving remains of this wonderful building, you can also admire the magnificent views of the surrounding area with the aid of a coin operated telescope for close ups.
A 30km drive along the EN267 will take you to Monchique – Just 35 minutes inland. Upon arrival, you will immediately notice the scents of eucalyptus, cork oak and pine trees that adorn the hilltops. Travel up to the popular highlight of this area, Foia, which towers 902m above sea level and is the highest point in the Algarve. On a clear day, you should be able to enjoy unspoilt panoramic views from Vilamoura to Sagres and northwards as far out as the neighbouring province – Alentejo.
If you want to pamper yourself in calm spa waters, the ever-popular Caldas de Monchique should be your next stop. In this fabulous resort, you will have the opportunity to indulge in a relaxing session at the spa health centre and take in all the surrounding natural beauty. A little slice of heaven thrown into your road trip!
Next on your travel itinerary is the historic town of Silves – only 30km (35 minutes) along the N266. Once the capital of the Algarve, this beautiful town boasts some fantastic examples of Arabic architecture and one of the best-preserved Moorish castles in Portugal with a beautiful garden on the inside as one of its focal points.
From the castle, you have an amazing vantage point for glorious picturesque views of the surrounding hills. Buy a combined ticket here for entry to the Archaeological Museum – only a short walk away. Here you will find examples of Roman, Phoenician, Moorish and Prehistoric artefacts as well as a stunning centrepiece – a 15-metre-deep Arabian well.
As you drive out of Silves, eastwards, you will be taken to the windy EN124, along the hills to Barragem do Arade – a 1950’s dam. If you pre-book with an operator, you can take a kayak tour here or alternatively, for something a little calmer, you can relax with your fishing rod (though you will need to obtain a fishing licence first). There are no facilities so you will need to go prepared with food and drink.
We will now take you back on to the EN124 to Alte. A short 29km drive will take you to this quaint little village that is packed full of character. This pretty area is best known for its Fontes (natural springs) which offer crystal clear waters that flow from the stream as well as many wonderful shaded areas as a reprieve on those hot summer afternoons. This is a lovely place to spend an afternoon relaxing with a picnic and a good book or for a nice social gathering.
A 10km drive along the EN124 will take you to Rocha da Pena – a stunning natural protected area located in the small villages of Salir and Benafim, offering one of the best viewing platforms for an unforgettable view. There are rich and varied flora and fauna with some truly unique and interesting species to be discovered. This is the perfect spot for any nature lover to really get down to some exploration – you will not be disappointed at having made this trip.
If you are looking for something a little more daring, this spot offers the ideal conditions for extreme activities such as rock climbing. Are you up for the challenge?
After taking in all of the fresh air and natural beauty of the above, take another short drive 20km inland on the EM525 to Loulé and learn more about our wonderful heritage and traditions. Start off with a little shopping at the indoor market – a hive of activity from Monday to Saturday, 7am to 3pm. Here you will find everything from fresh fish and seafood to gourmet souvenirs to take back to your loved ones. Outside, on the streets surrounding the Neo-Moorish market hall, you will find more stalls selling fruit and vegetables, as well as other local sweet and savoury treats to tantalise your taste buds.
In addition to the shopping, you can also enjoy exhibitions from talented artists regularly updated and displayed at Arte Catto Gallery. If you really fall in love with any of the pieces, you can purchase these which is a nice welcome bonus! Still on the artistic aspect, you also have the gallery in the Convento do Espirito Santo which regularly houses exhibitions and is well worth a visit.
Before you leave this gorgeous place, you must take a tour of Loulé Castle and admire the battering ram and other medieval weaponry in the courtyard as well as the small archaeological museum on the ground floor.
This typical Algarve Town is home to two very interesting sites and just 13km along the N270. The António Bentes Cultural Centre houses an exhibition of typical Algarvian costumes, religious sculptures, old vehicles and agricultural implements.
Once you have taken in all the wonders of years gone by, take yourself off to the Novacortiça Cork Factory and learn all about one of Portugal’s most famous products. The very detailed tour (inside the factory and outside on the land) includes an escort by a professional guide who will impart all their knowledge about the machinery and processes. A highly recommended tour by many visitors from far and wide.
Another 10km along the N2 will take you to the Palácio de Estói – a distinctive pink palace surrounded by decorative beautiful gardens. To find this well-hidden little gem, follow the road signs as these have been designed to navigate traffic around the narrow streets and one-way system that is in place.
The Roman Villa of Milreu is also well worth a visit as it contains some of the best-preserved Roman remains found in the Algarve. Please note that this site is closed on Mondays.
We will now take you away from the country lanes and onto the A22 toll road – 31km eastwards to another town that is bursting at the seams with traditional features – Tavira. Here you will enjoy casual strolls along the very historic streets of a quaint Algarvian town where every street uncovers its own hidden piece of uniqueness. Take a walk over the Roman bridge to one of the many lovely cafés and restaurants where you can simply sit and take in the serene atmosphere.
For a panoramic view of the area, take yourself up to Tavira castle and climb the Albarrana Tower. Yet another amazing picture-perfect moment for your ever-increasing photo compilation of this amazing Algarvian inland tour.
Just 30 minutes (25km) down the EN125, you will come across Castro Marim – a charming village of cobbled streets, whitewashed walls and terracotta roofs which is home to the Reserva Natural do Sapal.
This 2000-acre marshland is not only home to an array of plants and animals that are resident all year round, it is also home to the rare Mediterranean chameleon and is regularly visited by flamingos who stop there to feed. A lesser spoken of, but equally as stunning alternative to the Reserva Natural da Ria Formosa.
We will now take you to your final destination of this tour – Alcoutim. Only 37km along the IC27, you will find what can only be described as a little piece of paradise – Pego Fundo River Beach. This bathing area has calm waters and full amenities that include a garden, volleyball field and toilet/shower facilities. Here you can simply sit back and enjoy the peaceful surroundings with a picnic and a swim in the cool water.
To finish off your adventure trip, why not give yourself the ultimate adrenaline rush? Take a short boat ride to Sanlucar de Guadiana in Spain with The Inland Adventures. They will take you to LÍMITE ZERO (open all year except during the winter months) where you can make a return trip to Alcoutim on the only cross-border zip line in the world. In a jump of 720m, at speeds between 70 and 80 kmph, this is not for the faint hearted! Do you fancy having a go?
So, as you can see, we’re not just your rent-a-car in the Algarve with extremely reliable and comfortable hire vehicles, we are also here to give you amazing advice and tips on where you can experience the drive of a lifetime! We hope you have a fantastic holiday and look forward to hearing all about your travels.
Do you have any questions? Or, would you like to know more about our vehicles?
Feel free to contact us. You can find all our contacts below.