Photo Spots Algarve
In the southernmost tip of Portugal is the Algarve, where you’ll find some of Europe’s most beautiful beaches. These are stunning seascapes of clear waters with dramatic grottos, coves, and rock formations. This is the perfect region for a road trip filled with must-see photo locations and a truly unique local culture. Taste the exquisite Portuguese cuisine and feel the gentle pace of life in a tiny fishing village like Sagres, Albufeira, or Carvoeiro — the Algarve is pure magic! Just like Porto and Lisbon, the region is one of the most visited places in Portugal, and there’s no shortage of Instagrammable places to visit. At Flytographer, we connect people with trusted photographers for amazing photo shoots around the world. Today, we’re bringing you fresh insights from our photographers in Portugal. Here are the top 5 places to take photos in Algarve. 🇵🇹
The gateway to the Algarve is Faro, the region’s capital. Tourists often overlook this historical city, but believe us: Faro is a great location for a photo shoot. 📸
Surrounded by medieval walls, Faro’s Old Town is replete with charming cobblestone streets with many cafes and restaurants. The city’s cathedral, a building from the 13th century, is an exuberant mix of gothic, baroque, and renaissance styles. Inside you’ll find mesmerizing murals of the iconic Portuguese tiles, wood-carved altars, and intricate marblework.
More fantastic photo ops await you at The Bishop’s Palace, a serene white-washed building with a red-tiled roof sitting a stone’s throw away from the cathedral, and at Faro City Arch, a neoclassical archway that marks the entrance to the old town. While visiting the latter, you can go up the tower for a bird’s-eye view of the old quarters and the coast.
Faro also has natural wonders. Ria Formosa Nature Park, for instance, is a protected area of wetlands with unique landscapes, including lagoons of turquoise waters and sculptural dunes. 😮
On a barrier island called Culatra, on the edge of Ria Formosa, sits Farol Beach, an almost secluded beach with soft sand and crystal clear waters. The scenery is enhanced with an old lighthouse, an instagrammable white and red 46-meter-tall structure.
While in the area: a 35-minute drive from Faro is the lovely fishing village of Tavira, an off-the-beaten-path spot with more beautiful beaches, a dazzling old town, incredible churches, and even a hilltop castle. 🏰
This tiny fishing village boasts the quintessential allure of the Algarve: a town of white-washed buildings on a cliff overlooking the vast Atlantic Ocean. The village has only a few streets, but they are lined with charming buildings housing various bars and restaurants where you can try mind-blowing seafood dishes and taste delicious Portuguese wine. 🍷🍤
On the coast, walk along the wooden boardwalk that cuts through the rock formations and admire the rugged landscape and the open vistas to the blue sea. You’ll also stumble across many more stunning sea views and luxury villas throughout the city’s hilly pathways.
Opposite Carvoeiro’s main square is Carvoeiro Beach, a stretch of golden sand between stunning cliffs. The scenario is nothing short of breathtaking. On one side, the cliffs frame the blue and green waters and the colourful fishing boats; on the other, the picturesque city rises above the cliffs facing the sea. You can grab a drink to cool off in one of the many beachfront bars — they’re also rather charming with their blue, white, and red facades.
You can easily reach two other top spots in the Algarve region from Carvoeiro: Portimão, and Albufeira. The last one is an all-time favourite of landscape photographers, but all three will offer more scenic beaches and dreamlike backgrounds for your photo session. 👍
3. Praia Dona Ana
Only a twenty-minute walk from the town of Lagos, within the magnificent Ponta da Piedade headland, Praia Dona Ana is one of the best beaches in the region. It sits amidst a rugged landscape with tall cliffs of a reddish colour, a stunning contrast with the idyllic emerald waters of the sea. 💚
Taking a stroll on the sand, you can admire the imposing rock formations and cliffs and notice how they reveal many layers of strata on one of the best places to take photos in Algarve. Then go for a swim; the beach is protected by many rocks, so its waters are calmer than elsewhere. Right on the shore, you’ll find all amenities you need, including many restaurants and bars for refreshments. Still, this beach has a much more relaxed vibe and is free of banana boats and jet skis. You might get one or two colourful fishing boats on the horizon, but that’s it.
In sum, this spot is perfect for renting a parasol and a chair and soaking in all the beauty around you in pure bliss. ⛱️
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4. Sao Rafael Beach
Spending a day on this iconic beach of soft golden sand near Albufeira is one of the top things to do in the Algarve. The area is also famous for its beautiful rock formations with the same red tones and layers as the ones in Dona Ana Beach. Still, Sao Rafael Beach has the advantage of being much less crowded.
The beach is a great spot to go swimming and snorkelling. Because the water is so clear, you can admire the variety of colourful small fish that inhabit the area. To the left side of the shore, you’ll find stalls where you can rent paddle boards and kayaks, two more wonderful activities for some exercise and great for admiring the scenery from the water. 🥽
Speaking of the scenery, some of the rock formations are so unique that they even have their own names, such as Ninho das Andorinhas, which means the swallow’s nest and Ponte Pequena, which means small bridge. It’s usually fun to explore the site to discover caves and grottoes. You can also walk on top of the cliffs. From there, you have the perfect vantage point of one of the best places to take photos in Algarve. When the sun hits the rock formations, it’s a true spectacle — everything gets even more magical during the golden hour. 🌅
Extra tip: the Old Town of Albufeira is a short drive away, with its long history reflected in the cobblestone streets, churches and beautiful buildings.
5. Praia da Marinha
Praia da Marinha, or Marinha Beach, is in the central Algarve near the towns of Lagoa and Carvoeiro. This is the most famous beach in the region, a real postcard of Portugal with more stunning limestone cliff formations, golden sand and turquoise waters. Despite being popular with tourists and locals, this beach is rarely too crowded, enabling great photo opportunities. 👌
The beach superstar is the M Rock, on the right side, also called The Cathedral, because of its dramatic shape. During low tide, you can walk right up to it to see it and explore the area further to discover hidden sea caves behind the cliffs. The waters are extremely clear, great for snorkelling and more sea life spotting. 🐠
Tip: taking a short boat tour and seeing Marinha Beach from the sea is a great idea. You can also visit Benagil cave, a must-see paradise-like sea cave half open to the sea and has a hole opening to the sky.
Capturing memories in Algarve
The Algarve is a slice of heaven at the tip of Portugal, isn’t it? There’s so much more to see. Special honours go to Cabo de São Vicente, another headland with stunning views where the sun appears especially large during sunsets. Interestingly, until the 14th century, this spot was considered the end of the world. Also, try visiting Ferragudo, often referred to as the prettiest village in the Algarve with its whitewashed cottages, flowers, and picturesque fishing boats. In your Portugal tour, make sure to stop in to soak in the sights in Lisbon and Porto – the scenery is simply outstanding.
For more travel inspiration, check out these Algarve travel tips from our community. Want to make the most of your trip? Book one of our local Flytographers and let them guide you through the wonderful Algarve, capturing all the magic this place offers. ✨
“I’m so thankful to have chosen Olga for our family photoshoot in the Algarve. We were a group of 10 people, which can be a bit unruly and hard to organize, but she was calm, precise with directions, and friendly, which put us at easy. The photos turned out beautiful, they captured the essence of our personalities and will be a precious keepsake for our family.”
“Olga was absolutely amazing!!! From asking questions about what types of photos we wanted, to making suggestions and being flexible, she was a delight to work with and the finished photos are truly stunning!! I highly recommend Olga if you’re looking for breathtaking shots with gorgeous scenery. She captured the fun and joy in our trip perfectly!”
“My husband and I had a wonderful photo shoot with Olga celebrating our wedding anniversary on the sunny, ochre-cliffed beaches of the Algarve. Olga made us feel comfortable, suggested different poses and styles, while staying consistent with our natural style. When our originally selected beach closed unexpectedly due to construction, Olga swiftly suggested an alternate, yet similar beach, taking into consideration driving distance from our hotel. Overall, we are very satisfied with the results of our photo shoot and will recommend Flytographer to our family and friends.”