Alvor holidays walk a tightrope between traditional and 21st-century, with cobbled lanes leading down to a smart harbour and a crowd-pleasing beach.

Authentic Algarve

Alvor may only be a small fishing village, but it can run with the Algarve’s big boys. There are two waterfront scenes here – one by the sea, the other by the river. Both are packed with cafés, bars and shops. On top of that, it’s got great family-friendly credentials, with a Jurassic Park-style minigolf course and a playground where Alvor’s castle once stood.

Get back to nature

This place has a boardwalk to rival all boardwalks. Length-wise, it racks up almost two miles. Walk right to the end and you can get a good look at migrating birds, like Sardinian warblers, bee-eaters and crested larks. Alternatively, you can hit the waters on a dolphin-spotting boat trip. Along the way, they usually drop anchor at caves, a sand bank and Lagos, too.

Big and small beaches

Alvor’s beaches come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. First off, you’ve got a decent crop of long, golden-sand numbers. There’s one by the harbour, where fishing boats sunbathe on the sands, but the other’s a real whopper. It goes on for miles – the further you go, the more off-the-grid it gets. And the Blue Flag is the cherry on top. Round to the east, the coastline’s puckered with a shedload of cliff-backed coves.

At a Glance

  • Get a boat over to historic Lagos
  • Walk up to the quiet end of Alvor’s beach
  • Book in for a fancy dinner at a cliff-carved restaurant