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Are you dreaming of a solo trip to Algarve, Portugal? I have just the travel guide for you! I found Portugal a safe and welcoming place as a solo female traveler. This Algarve 3-day itinerary is filled with travel tips, perfect for anyone thinking of making a solo trip to the region!
Whether you are traveling for a long weekend or trying to decide where in Portugal to visit, this itinerary has a little bit of everything! I have included time for relaxing at the most beautiful beaches as well as some city centre exploring!
The below Algarve itinerary can be changed to fit your interests. I include all the travel itinerary favorites places as well as offer some alternatives!
5 Tips on Planning Your Trip to The Algarve
Here are my best travel planning tips that were helpful when I visited the Algarve!
1. Consider your arrival time
When I plan any trip, I always look at how much time the transit is going to eat up your day.
If you want a proper 3-day itinerary, you may need to stay 4 nights to get everything out of your three days.
This doesn’t apply if you are able to arrive in the city by say, 9 am.
The Algarve offers a wide range of attractions, from stunning beaches to charming towns, you don’t want to miss, so to create a well-structured itinerary start with arrival time.
2. Research and choose your base location
The Algarve is a diverse region with several towns and cities to explore. Research different locations and choose a base that suits your preferences and travel style.
Personally, I recommend staying in Faro. Faro is centrally located and the easiest for this itinerary.
Other ideas, if you’re looking for lively nightlife and entertainment, Albufeira or Lagos, might be a good fit.
If you prefer a quieter and more laid-back atmosphere, consider towns like Tavira. Your base location will determine the accessibility to various attractions, so choose wisely.
3. Plan your activities and attractions
Once you’ve chosen your base, review my list of the activities and attractions you want to experience and book them.
The summer is a popular time in the Algarve, and tours to the caves, beautiful beaches, and historic sites, often book up.
4. Consider transportation options
The Algarve has a well-connected transportation network, but it’s essential to consider your preferred mode of transportation. The trains also aren’t always the most comfortable or efficient.
Renting a car provides the most flexibility and allows you to explore remote areas and off-the-beaten-path attractions.
If you need an automatic transmission, book your rental car early.
5. Accommodation and dining options
Research and book your accommodation well in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons.
The Algarve offers a range of options. From experience, I can tell you that the nicest and most budget-friendly guesthouses and apartments book up quickly.
Consider factors such as location, amenities, and proximity to attractions when making your choice.
Remember to check the weather forecast before your trip, pack appropriate clothing and accessories, and make sure you have travel insurance.
❤︎ By following these tips, you can plan a memorable trip to the beautiful Algarve region of Portugal.
Algarve 3-Day Solo Female Itinerary
Day 1 in Faro, Algarve
Ideally, you will arrive in Faro early morning, or the day before this itinerary.
After you take your bags to the hotel, you want to fully explore the town of Faro!
The best way to see Faro, especially when on a tight itinerary, is to join a small group tour! A tour is the best way to see as much as possible in the shortest amount of time!
The locally guided tour I took was this one. It was a one-hour Faro City Tour on Electric Tuk tuks! This very affordable and eco-friendly tour is perfect on a 3-day Algarve itinerary!
This tour highlights the old town of Faro, such as the Arco da Vila, Igreja de Santa Maria, and Cerca Urban de Faro!
I found that I was able to get the lay of the land this way and could focus on going back to any spot that got my attention.
From 15:00 to 17:30 find time to check out the Capela dos Ossos de Faro (Bone Chapel). A temple behind the church is completely made up of skulls and bones!
Or if that doesn’t sound exciting to you, you can always walk into the old town and explore the fortified old town. There are so many things to do in the Algarve, it is incredibly easy to fill your time here.
After your tour of the old town, check out one of the best restaurants in Faro!
I will be straight with you… I travel to eat. Some people love to visit museums and the Roman ruins in Portugal, but not me. I came to try all the food!
Pick one of these fantastic restaurants below to spend the rest of your day 1 in the Algarve.
My all-time favorite restaurants in the city center are:
- Aqui dei Rei has delicious, authentic Southern Portuguese dishes. Feel the warm genuine hospitality from the staff and enjoy the cozy ambiance.
- Se7e Pedras has creative cuisine of traditional Portuguese food with a twist. Very well located in the center of Faro.
- A do Pinto is a charming restaurant serving up some of the best Cataplana de Marisco in town! This restaurant is season is open during the high season.
Where to Stay in Faro
As a solo female traveler, I like to stay in the most central location of the city.
Here are a few top-notch options in the center of Faro.
Day 2, Albufeira, Algarve
Continuing your perfect Algarve 3-day itinerary it is time to go to Albuferia and stay for 2 nights! *Alternatively you can just stay in Faro the whole time.
Plan to leave for Albuferia by 8 am. Located just 45 km from Faro, it is an easy next stop on your itinerary.
If you don’t rent a car, you can easily reach Albuferia by train in 20 – 30 minutes. Train schedule from Faro.
There are a number of things to do in Albufeira that involve exploring the beautiful beaches!
With starting times at 9:30, 12:00, 14:30, and 17:00 you have lots of options. This two-hour and 30-minute tour will take you along the pristine beaches of the Algarve coastline and through the hidden caves and secluded coves! Spot dolphins and take a dip in the ocean, if conditions allow!
A small group tour is perfect if you are traveling solo and looking to make a friend or two for the day!
Alternative Albufeira Day Tours Itineraries
Full-Day Wine Tour in Albuferia
If small boat tours through rock formations don’t excite you, there is always wine tasting! A great way to fill your travel itinerary on the second day is to do a full-day wine tour!
Starting at either 9:00 or 14:00, this 4-hour tour takes you to the medieval town of Silves! Visit the Moorish castle and stroll the cobblestone streets of Silves before tasting several wines and eating tapas.
Later in the afternoon when you have returned from either tour, enjoy some beach time and the quaint resort town of Albufeira. There are many restaurants along the water that is perfect for a bite to eat and some Sangria.
Hiking the Rota Vincentia and Fishermen’s Trail
If you would rather spend your day doing your own thing consider doing a hike! You can hike your way through the Algarve, just be sure to check out the Rota Vincentia and Fishermen’s Trail!
It is a stunning hike that promises some incredible scenery and breathtaking views!
Best of all, it is an affordable option for those on a budget.
There are some wonderful restaurants in Albufeira. As a solo traveller, I sometimes risk it and don’t make reservations, but I don’t recommend it!
Especially in the summer months, make a reservation. Here are some of the best restaurants I ate at in Albufeira:
- Windmill Restaurant is just a short drive from the historic center of Albufeira. Your dining experience is in an actual windmill with a great view! If you can only have one nice dinner on your Portugal itinerary, it should be here at Windmill Restaurant. There is a small menu of only a few items (limited vegetarian options).
- Porto De Abrigo has local food primarily of fresh fish! I had the best time eating sardines and drinking sangria. The restaurant is beachside so it is the perfect place to just gaze out into the ocean.
- Castelo di Norcia is a lovely Italian restaurant I stumbled upon for a long lazy lunch! I was feeling like some pasta. I know this isn’t the typical Algarve region restaurant recommendation, but trust me, it was great!
Where to Stay in Albufeira
Here are some of the nicest hotels you can stay in solo in Albuferia:
Day 3, Day Trip to Lagos, Algarve
The best way to spend your last day and night on this itinerary is by making a day trip! Lagos is somewhere you don’t want to miss!
If you have a rental car, take a road trip of 61 km in distance between Lagos and Albufeira. It should take about 45 mins.
There is a train to Lagos from Albufeira, and it takes around 1 hour and 35 minutes to get there.
*The Albufeira main train station is approximately a 30-minute walk from the city center.
Once you arrive in Lagos there are a variety of ways to spend your day! And plan on sticking around the whole day as Lagos is also the best place to watch the sunset!
The best things to do in Lagos are all listed below. Consider each option available to you in order to craft the perfect Algarve itinerary!
Option #1. Small Boat Tour at Ponta da Piedade
Join a small group boat tour of the most breathtaking natural beauty in Southern Portugal.
This area of stunning cliffs and rock formations is surrounded by crystal-clear waters perfect for snorkeling.
On this 1-hour 15-minute boat trip you will take a leisurely boat trip with a professional guide.
Option #2. Beach Day at Praia do Camilo
Fancy a beach day? The Algarve has some of the best beaches! I personally recommend you visit the sandy beach and coves of Praia do Camilo!
Bring your beach towel and just soak all the Portuguese sun in!
On low-tide days these coves are really fun to swim around and explore! This is one of the Algarve’s beaches that remains unspoiled by tourism.
The free parking lot is just a top above the beach. You will find the view from the top of the cliffs is out of this world.
Option #3. Beach Day at Praia dos Estudantes
Praia do Estudantes is a great beach that is within walking distance from the old town. In peak season, be advised that this beach does get very busy. It is a great option if you are staying close to the center.
Explore Old Town Lagos
Later in the day wander into the charming small town and visit the Igreja de Santo Antonio. An incredibly ornate 18th-century church! Believed to be the birth site of Saint Anthony of Lisbon.
Don’t leave without having a look inside!
Leave time to explore the Castelo do Governadores, AKA, Castle of Lagos! The baroque facade and watchtowers are what you would hope of medieval castles in Portugal!
Find a nice little waterfront restaurant for lunch. On those sunny days, don’t forget to pack sunblock!
For your final evening on your treat yourself to dinner at a fabulous restaurant at a winery/Brewery!
Quinta do Santos is a special place, and you will want to make reservations. Contact them directly on their website.
Do I need to rent a car in Algarve?
In order to truly have the freedom to do as much as possible in 3 days, rent a car. I took the trains often, and though reliable and safe for a solo woman traveling, I would recommend just getting a rental car.
The car gives the flexibility to see more than where the trains take you. Plus, being stuck to an infrequent train schedule isn’t great.
If you have more time to spare in Portugal, I would recommend you take a road trip from the Algarve to Porto! It’s not as far as you think!
🚗 Rent a Car: Check Rental Car Rates in Portugal
Fees Renting a Car in Portugal
There are some fees to be aware of when renting a car in Portugal. For example, if you pick up your rental car at one destination and then drop it off at another there is a “one-way fee” you need to pay.
The fee does vary, but most commonly around 50€. The airport has a surcharge fee of 30€. For a much smoother and more straightforward rental car experience, go with Discover Cars. You don’t want to worry about hidden fees and haggling. Support local everywhere else, just not on a car rental.
🚗 Rental Cars: Best Rental Car Rates in the Algarve with Discover Cars!
Toll Roads in Algarve
Expect to pay road tolls on the main road (A22) between Lagos and Faro. Pay your toll in cash!
Or get a transponder through the rental car company. What is a transponder? The transponder is a device that the company you get the car from can include.
Add some credit to the account attached to the transponder and it deducts when you go through the toll lane.
With a transponder, you can use the lane called ‘Via Verde’, very convenient!
Or skip tolls by using toll-free roads when you use your navigation. The journey time is often longer and less direct, but it’s cheaper. The choice will be yours!
Where Exactly is the Algarve?
The Algarve is a region located in the south of Portugal, on the Atlantic coast. The airport for the region is Faro Airport.
It is known for its beautiful beaches, stunning cliffs and rocky coves, charming fishing villages, and historic old town cities.
The Algarve is perfect for solo female travellers as it is very safe. It is especially a great place to visit if you are seeking sunshine and active outdoor adventure.
If safety on public transit is a concern, I can vouch for having had no issues whatsoever.
How can I get to the Algarve?
Algarve is well connected by air, rail, and road. The best way to reach the Algarve is to fly into Faro International Airport and then by renting a car.
A reliable car rental service I use for all my travel in Europe is Discover Cars. They have the best rates and are the easiest to use.
For my solo trip to the Algarve, I flew into Faro and decided to use a taxi and public transportation to get around.
When I return I will be renting a car.
Best Time To Visit The Algarve
Truthfully, you don’t want to visit the Algarve in the offseason. It won’t be as enjoyable in December as it is in June.
The weather is cold and can be rainy. In some destinations, that kind of weather can work out ok. In the Algarve, warmer and sunnier weather is better! A lot of places that you would want to visit will be closed.
The best time to visit is early May through mid-October! Enjoy fewer people in towns and on the beach the last 2 weeks of September. The weather should be great, and the hotels should have some deals since the season is about to end.
The perfect Algarve 3-day solo itinerary will be as magical as you make it! If I left you with questions, don’t be shy and contact me any time!
Final Thoughts On Crafting the Perfect Algarve Itinerary
The way to ensure you plan a seamless itinerary comes down to researching and booking ahead.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to sort booking hotels and reserving restaurants ahead of time.
There is nothing worse than missing out because you didn’t book early.
If a rental car is something you are considering it will be the most important thing to reserve first!
I hope my experience and suggestions help you create an epic itinerary of the Algarve!
3-Day Algarve Itinerary FAQs
The Algarve is absolutely safe for solo females to travel. I have visited several cities in the Algarve including Faro, Albufeira, Tavaria, and Lagos all alone. The public transit system was safe and clean.
You can see a lot of the Algarve in 3 days if you plan your trip accordingly. The Algarve is a great weekend destination, but if you have more time, stay longer! I could have stayed in the region another 5 days easily.
Each town in the Algarve offers something special and unique! If you are a beach resort person, then stay in Lagos or Albufeira. City lover, stay in Faro or Tavira. If you make a home base in Faro you can easily make day trips to nearby cities!