Winter holidays in the Algarve, Portugal - 10 activities you can do

Whenever you hear of the Algarve being referred to as a holiday destination, it is normally in the context of a summer holiday. However, what many people don't realise is that the Algarve has so much more to offer than just beaches and sunshine, and that it’s the perfect place to visit all year round.

During the winter, temperatures range between 15 and 20 degrees Celsius in the Algarve. Daytime temperatures are at the warmer end of this range but at night, it can become quite chilly. So, when it comes to packing for your winter holiday in the Algarve, you should aim to pack for a spring break and throw in some additional warmer items of clothing for the chilly evenings.

If you're contemplating whether you should pack an umbrella or not, that really depends on which winter months your visit takes place. The rainiest months are December and January, with the other winter months only experiencing sporadic showers here and there.

Generally speaking, there are quite a lot of warm sunny periods to be enjoyed throughout the winter months, with many opportunities to top-up on your Vitamin D intake.

So, “What is there to do in the Algarve during these months?” - you may ask. Well, here are a few suggestions to suit various preferences:


Due to its mild temperatures, the Algarve is a favourite stop-off point for birds on their migration route between Africa and Europe. This is why it is also the number one location for birdwatchers, who flock to the very famous Ria Formosa Natural Park to take part in their preferred pastime. As well as bird watching you can also enjoy the wonderful biodiversity within the natural park that includes water birds, reptiles and amphibians.


Still on the theme of outdoor activities, you could opt for a peaceful long walk along an empty beach, with beautiful views as far as the eye can see. Because of the mild temperatures that we experience within the Algarve, winter beach walks are an extremely invigorating and very pleasant experience. You'd be surprised at how many things you will see during the winter months at our many beautiful beaches, that you wouldn't normally notice in the summer months when they are crowded.

Exploring the magnificent caves is a completely different experience at this time of year and an activity that we would recommend. For a unique beach experience, take a trip down to Ilha do Farol and Ilha Deserta – a one of a kind experience. If you're brave enough to take a dip in the water, you will be pleased to know the winter water temperature is not as cold in the Algarve as in many other places - hovering at around 16 degrees celsius. Staying on the active vein, why not take advantage of these nice water temperatures and try a bit of surfing or kayaking?


Golf is the perfect sport to play during the cooler months. There's nothing better than having a round of golf in nice mild temperatures, while enjoying the magnificent views of the ocean or countryside.

Quinta do Lago boasts three courses which are among the best in Europe, offering world-class facilities in a picture-perfect setting. For an ocean-view golfing treat, Vale do Lobo offers two 18-hole world-renowned championship courses, also with exceptional facilities, as well as year-round tournaments and competitions.

With over 40 golf courses spread across the Algarve, you will be spoilt for choice. Here are a few more golf booking suggestions to get you started and if you want to save yourself the trouble of transporting your equipment, we will be happy to help through our golf equipment hire service.

Walks / Hiking 

For those looking for something a little bit more active, why not take a walking or hiking tour? This is another perfect activity for the cooler months, as many of the hiking routes don’t have a lot of shade and would therefore be less comfortable during the summer months.

For something a little bit more low level, you could go for a walk along the boardwalks of Carvoeiro or Alvor for example. If you're feeling a little bit more adventurous or are a hiking expert, there are some lovely trails along the Vicentine Coast Natural Park, Via Algarviana and the Seven Hanging Valleys that are well worth exploring.


If you want to take things to the next level, cycling is another good option that will allow you to cover more ground along some of the above mentioned routes, and many more.

Why not take yourself off on a bike tour along the beautiful Ria Formosa? The famous QDL - Praia de Faro route is not to miss and right at your doorstep! Alternatively, you can explore trails such as the Grande Rota do Guadiana or one of the eco-cycling routes that are part of the Ecovia do Litoral programme - Perfect for the seasoned cyclist.

If you really want to push yourself and are up for the ultimate cycling challenge, the views from Foia on a clear winter’s day are absolutely breathtaking and the trail, when you’re up there, will offer you many vantage points to admire. If you prefer something more tailor-made, we recommend our bike tours across the Algarve.

Our cities and towns 

Whether you're looking for a little bit of sightseeing, a historical visit, a spot of shopping or lunch in a small typical local restaurant, we have many beautiful towns and cities throughout the Algarve that will hit the mark.

For natural beauty and a connection with nature, Monchique is the place to visit. Here you will find streams, hot springs and beautiful countryside trails that will keep you entertained for hours.

Southbound, you will find Silves - a city where you can learn all about the magnificent history that is so obviously ingrained within it – from the impressive castle on the hilltop to the intriguing artefacts kept at the archaeological museum, you will truly be transported back in time.

Moving east we have Faro – where you can visit the old town, walk along the typical Portuguese streets that have been untouched by time, and then enjoy a spot of shopping and lunch downtown.

Not far from Faro you have another quaint city that has a great blend of old and modern – Tavira. Full of charm and history, this city also boasts a castle, churches, cathedrals and museums – a lovely place to spend the day. These are just a few examples of the many places to visit within this wonderful province.


The Algarve is well known for its markets where you can buy fresh fish, vegetables, exotic fruits from the region, enchidos (a sausage-like delicacy normally made from pork – e.g. chouriço), a variety of cheeses, to name a few. But it doesn't just stop there - you can also buy souvenirs and trinkets from the various arts and crafts stalls and shops.

A good place to start would be to check out the Quinta Shopping and Vale do Lobo websites - to see if there are any markets scheduled for when you are visiting. When it comes to quality markets outside of the previously mentioned options, the cities of Olhão and Loulé are two great options that are easy to get to, and will offer a great market experience.

Wine Tasting 

For something a little bit different, wine-tasting could be what you're looking for. There are a good selection of vineyards in the Algarve that not only offer wine tasting experiences, but also tours of their vineyards and often a few extra activities for all the family to enjoy.

Due to the glorious sunshine that we are blessed with over 300 days a year, our grapes are ideal for wine production and the fruits of our labour are very popular with visitors and residents alike.

Boat and Jeep Tours 

Another great way to explore the Algarve is by sea. Boat tours are available all year round and these can take you to our very unique caves and amazing beach locations that can sometimes not be reached on foot. You can also do boat tours that include dolphin sightseeing!

If on the other hand you would prefer to do a tour on land, Jeep tours could be a good option. The advantage of doing a Jeep tour in the winter is that you don't normally get much dust, as the occasional rainfall keeps this to a minimum. By doing a Jeep tour off road, you will have the opportunity to see many different locations that you wouldn't normally see by car.

Nights out 

Last on our list are a few suggestions for a night out. While the nightlife in the Algarve does calm down in the winter, there are still a few places you can go to if you are looking for a bit of live music, a few drinks with friends, and maybe even to watch some live sports.

In Vale do Lobo, you have Monty’s – a fantastic family friendly restaurant / bar with great food, served by fun staff and once dining ends, the nightlife begins! If on the other hand, you are looking for something with a bit more of a pub atmosphere, with live music or to watch live games on large screens, you could take yourself along to Quinta do Lago where there are a few options.

Dano’s, with its barn-inspired décor, offers great food, cocktails and beer. For a typical pub experience, you could take yourself to The Melting Pot for some great food and live music.

Alternatively, you could soak up the great vibes at The Cheeky Pup, with their varied menu that caters for all tastes, bespoke cocktails, live band, and a great heated outdoor area – the perfect way to get some fresh air with less winter chill. 

As you can see, there is so much more to the Algarve than meets the eye… And these are just a small selection of ideas! So, get yourself down here and experience all of this and so much more…