Looking for all the top things to do in Alvor, Portugal? Good stuff, because we have got you covered! This guide details 14 unmissable things to do in Alvor, including where to eat, where to sleep, and all of our top tips for visiting.
Alvor is one of the most underrated locations in all of The Algarve. Often overlooked in favour of its busier neighbours like Portimao and Lagos, I’m here to show you that this discreet beachside town has a lot to offer.
We recently spent almost two weeks in Alvor on a family holiday. We immediately fell in love with its beautiful beaches, atmospheric town, fantastic restaurants, and laid-back vibes.
Another thing that stood out to us was how undeveloped Alvor is compared to other beach towns. It’s managed to retain its Portuguese character, which is rare in the booming Algarve.
But with all that said, let’s jump into it. Here’s a list of 14 unmissable things to do in Alvor, Portugal.
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Tips for Visiting Alvor, Portugal
With Alvor being such a fun and exciting beach town, you’ll find it difficult not to have an incredible time. However, the tips and tricks below can help you make the very best of your trip.
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Best Time to Visit Alvor
The Algarve is famous for its dreamy all-year-round weather conditions. Boasting a winter that most of us can only dream of, temperatures average 15-20 degrees between December and February.
So in terms of weather, there is no ‘bad’ time to visit the Algarve. The summer months of July and August are naturally the hottest, but this is also the busiest and most expensive time of year to visit.
Our recent campervanning trip through Portugal was in the Autumn (September-November). We still enjoyed excellent weather, but the summer crowds had died down, meaning towns like Alvor were far less crowded.
How Long to Stay in Alvor
It might be a small town, but there is plenty of things to do in Alvor. You could easily spend 3-4 days exploring the places on this list, with plenty more to discover in the surrounding areas.
Most people visiting Alvor come on holiday, so it would be easy to spend between a week to 10 days here.
If you have more time than that, say two weeks or more, I suggest splitting your time between Alvor and another Algarve destination such as Lagos or Vilamoura.
Getting Around Alvor
Alvor itself is relatively compact, so the best way to get around most of the attractions on this list is on foot.
Having said that, some hotels are located a fair walk from the town centre, which might prove a challenge for less abled visitors.
In this case, you should check with your hotel if they provide a shuttle bus into town. Plenty do, and if not, taxis are always readily available.
If you want to explore outside Alvor, you might consider renting a car. Another option would be to use public transport, but I have yet to experience using it.
Best Restaurants in Alvor
For such a small town, I was surprised by the number of excellent restaurants in Alvor. Here are some of my favourites:
- Best Seafood: Casa do Rio
- Best Vegetarian Options: Lusitania
- Best Burgers: Sports Cafe
- Best Beach Bar: Sol e Sombra
- Best Tapas: Iberic Kingdom
- Best Views: Caniço
Sometimes, a guided tour is the best way to explore a new place.
We always use Get Your Guide when we book tours. They have an extensive selection of tours in locations worldwide, including the Algarve. Check them out!
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For a more local experience, we recommend checking out the guided tours on Get Your Guide:
Where to Stay in Alvor
From traditional guesthouses and modern apartments to impressive hotels and sprawling resorts, there is plenty of accommodation options in Alvor.
During our recent family holiday, we stayed at Pestana Alvor Beach Villas, which I cannot recommend enough. To be clear, this was not a collaboration; we just really enjoyed our stay there.
The villas are comfortable, spacious, and well-equipped, and the facilities around the hotel are excellent. The delicious buffet breakfast also deserves mention.
14 Top Things to do in Alvor
Now for the exciting part! Time to look at all the interesting and fun things to do in and around Alvor.
1. Walk Along the Alvor Boardwalk
The Alvor boardwalk is a scenic walking trail that nestles the Praia de Alvor beachfront and winds through the sand dunes of the Ria de Alvor Nature Reserve.
It’s a picturesque trail allowing you to appreciate Alvor’s pristine sandy beach on one side and its scenic freshwater marshes on the other.
I would run or walk the 8km trail most days while in Alvor. There are a few restaurants where you can stop for refreshments and quiet seating areas where you can sit and enjoy the views.
It’s also a fantastic spot for bird-watching. The banks of the Alvor River are a migration hub for many species of marine birds, including flamingos.
Tip – The boardwalk is accessible and relatively flat. You could comfortably push a pram or wheelchair along the trail.
2. Enjoy the Beaches
It goes without saying that the best things to do in Alvor include some well-deserved beach time!
There are plenty of beautiful beaches in Alvor. Praia de Alvor is the biggest and most popular place, where you can relax and swim, enjoy the beach bars, and get involved with water sports.
But while Praia de Alvor is an excellent beach for all those things, more interesting beaches are nearby.
For example, Praia dos Três Irmãos is just a short walk along the boardwalk where you can enjoy the rugged golden cliffs that the Algarve is famous for.
Then there’s Praia João de Arens – a spectacular nudist beach with incredible swim-through and walk-through caves. Be careful walking down to this one, as the cliff walkway is a bit sketchy.
3. Discover Ria de Alvor Nature Reserve
I think one of the things I love most about Alvor is that it’s more than your average beach town in the Algarve.
Not only is it home to gorgeous beaches and an ambient town, but there’s also the freshwater river and its nature reserve that bring something unique to the table.
The nature reserve is rich in marine birdlife, as I mentioned already. But its ecosystem also supports several other animals, plants and insects.
You can learn more about it on the clifftop nature trail that overlooks the river (find the trail route here).
It’s worth mentioning that this trail is not as accessible as the boardwalk, with some sections being quite steep and scrambly. But anybody of a reasonable fitness level is sure to enjoy it.
4. Roam Around Alvor Town
One of the things the Algarve is famous for is its traditional Portuguese towns, and Alvor is no exception.
We absolutely adored the narrow cobbled streets of Alvor, adorned with traditional whitewashed houses and bursts of colour.
Although the town is only small, you could easily while away an entire day here. It has a surprising number of restaurants, bars, and shops that will keep you entertained for hours on end.
Other than some notable churches, there isn’t much in regard to historical monuments in Alvor. But the town itself is gorgeous and utterly charming – I just know you’ll love it.
5. Enjoy a Unique Dining Experience at Caniço
I already mentioned Caniço in my list of best restaurants earlier on. But this venue provides such a unique dining experience that it deserves its own section on this list.
What makes Caniço so special is its setting. Literally built within the cliff face and overlooking a stunning coved beach, it is one of the most unmissable spots in all of Alvor.
Not to be overlooked, however, is the delicious food. You can look forward to Mediterranean cuisine with an Algarve influence, with seafood being the speciality.
Not only is Caniço a restaurant, but it’s also an all-day beach bar. After dark, it transforms into a happening nightlife venue where you can enjoy drinks and dance to great music under the stars.
Getting there is an adventure all of its own. You get there by taking an elevator down from the cliff tops. Or, during low tide, you can walk there via Praia dos Três Irmãos.
6. Clifftop Walk from Alvor to Praia do Alemão
Many people don’t realise that the Algarve is a hiking hotspot. From jaw-dropping coastal trails to adventurous mountainous trails, there’s plenty for keen hikers to explore.
Alvor also has its own fair share of walking trails. Some I’ve talked about already, but none are quite as exhilarating as this clifftop walk to Praia do Alemão.
You can find the exact route on All Trails here, but it starts at Praia dos Três Irmãos and pretty much hugs the coastline the entire way.
It’s an undulating route involving a fair bit of scrambling, so I would not advise it with children or those with limited mobility. It would also be wise to avoid it after it’s been raining.
For those who do brave it, however, you’re in for quite the treat. The route leads you past all kinds of interesting rock formations, picturesque coves, and beautiful beaches.
It’s a bit like the famous Seven Hanging Valleys Trail but far quieter and slightly more on the precarious side. Definitely one of my favourite things to do in Alvor!
7. Afternoon Drinks at Sol & Sombra
When you’re looking for somewhere delightful to while away the afternoon, I have just the place.
Sol & Sombra is a vibey beach bar tucked away on Praia dos Três Irmãos. It boasts fantastic views, welcoming staff, and a varied menu, so it’s the perfect place to escape the bustling town.
Drinks and food are served from early until late. It’s easy to lose yourself here for hours – especially when the beers and sangrias start going down exceptionally well.
8. Relax by Alvor Harbour
Another of my favourite spots to sit and take it all in is Alvor harbour. Overlooking Ria Alvor’s calming waterways, it is a truly tranquillising place to be.
Along the walkway, you have a selection of cafes, bars, and restaurants, while on the river, a multitude of fishing boats take advantage of the still waters.
It’s the perfect place to end up after a walk through town or the nature reserve. Remember to look out for all the quirky art structures!
9. Take a Boat Trip
One of the best ways to experience the unique things to do around Alvor is to take a boat trip.
Boat trips allow you a different perspective to anything you can experience on land. They also give you access to inaccessible locations like the magnificent Benagil Caves.
Sometimes it’s cheaper to book in advance with Get Your Guide. Otherwise, there are many companies in Alvor where you can organise boat trips.
You’ll find their booths along the harbourfront. Most give you the option to book a private sailing, or you can share as part of a group.
While I did not book a boat trip in Alvor, I did do one from neighbouring Portimao. It was a fantastic experience that I recommend to anybody visiting the Algarve.
Since we wanted a special tailored tour, we hired a private boat with Click and Boat – a boat rental platform that allows you to hire boats from local owners or businesses.
10. Have a Night out on Alvor Strip
While the nightlife in Alvor is tame compared to the likes of Albufeira or Lagos, it’s still entirely possible to have a fun and wild night out.
I can personally vouch for this one as I enjoyed a fair few messy nights bar-hopping around Alvor town.
The bulk of the action happens around the lively Alvor strip. Sports bars, Irish bars, cocktail bars, you name it, you can find it.
Arrive early for impressive happy hour deals and stay as late as you can handle. Most places stay open way into the early hours!
11. Kayaking and Paddleboarding on Ria Alvor
Protected from the Atlantic Ocean waves by the sandbanks of Praia de Alvor, the waterways of Ria Alvor are calm and still.
This makes for perfect conditions for water sports, such as paddle boarding and kayaking. Both activities are awesome and accessible to almost everyone.
I never had the chance to get our paddleboard out in Alvor, but I was always envious when I saw others on the water. I can imagine the views of the nature reserve are incredible.
Again, you can book such tours and experiences with various companies dotted along the waterfront.
12. Eat all the Seafood
Alvor has been a fishing hub since way back in the 8th century. It is, therefore, no surprise that seafood is a local speciality.
Most restaurants in Alvor pride themselves on having the best and freshest seafood, and from what I gather, most people agree with them.
Unfortunately, I’m not a seafood eater myself, so I can’t comment.
13. Play Golf
Playing golf is always on the list when you search for the top things to do in Alvor.
The local Alto Golf Course is one of the best in the region, boasting stunning views and all-year-round golfing conditions.
If the real deal isn’t your thing, there are also plenty of cool spots for miniature golf in Alvor. Adventure Golf, for example, is a superb course and perfect for a family day out.
14. Take a Day Trip
While Alvor has plenty to keep you entertained for days on end, I do recommend taking at least one day trip during your time in the Algarve.
Lagos is just half an hour away by car, where you can enjoy its pretty old town and stunning coastline – don’t miss the Ponta de Piedade trail!
Otherwise, there is neighbouring Portimao which offers a vibrant marina area. Or, if you fancy a break from the coast, travel inland to Silves, where there is an ancient Moorish castle and scenic walking trails.
Alternatively, you can look at tailored tours with Get Your Guide. These tours are often hassle-free since everything is organised for you.
Enjoy your time in Alvor!
I hope you enjoy these 14 unmissable things to do in Alvor!
If you’ve already been to Alvor and have something you’d add to this list, let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!
Stay adventurous and Happy travels.