A family-oriented place
Some of the best restaurants on the Algarve are in Alvor, and great bars with live music also make this an attractive area to visit. Days spent relaxing under the Portuguese sun on the main beach can be nicely rounded off in eateries that cater to a variety of palates. From traditional Portuguese food to popular Italian options and great Indian meals, local offerings are fresh and full of flavour.
Not sure where to eat? Step inside Gastropub 13, serving up gourmet tapas dishes alongside nightly music in the courtyard, or visit popular fish restaurant Restaurante Chefe Joao. Many easy-to-find venues offer charming views over the harbour, and we've compiled a list of some of the best dining options to help you make up your mind.
Alvor hides many buzzing bars behind its quaint first impressions, with live performances on offer including modern takes on traditional Fado music, with singers and performers playing the Portuguese guitar. If you like a bit of a sing-a-long yourself, many of the bars offer karaoke nights. There are no booming nightclubs here, but the bustling evening entertainment will keep visitors of all ages entertained.
The golden beaches and lagoon of Alvor
Alvor's shore is one long stretch of sand divided up into two popular beaches, split in half by the estuary. At the western side lies Praia de Alvor and at the eastern side lies Praia dos Tres Irmaso. Both beaches are backed by rolling sand dunes with numerous walkways and broadwalks that stretch for miles, great for walking or cycling while you take in the wonderful natural scenery.
The sand dunes connect the beaches to Ria de Alvor Nature Reserve and its lagoon, where you can see many different species of birds and other wildlife, especially during spring and autumn when many travelling birds migrate to the area. The boardwalks go to many other areas including the cliffs at Quinta da Rocha and inland along the Alvor River towards the village of Mexilhoeira Grande.
The water of the lagoon is great for watersports and there's a kitesurfing centre there, but if you just want to put your feet up on a sunlounger the beaches are well equipped. You can lie back and enjoy views of the Atlantic, hire a pedalo or watch thrill-seekers sailing and windsurfing from a shoreline restaurant.
A golfer’s paradise
Alvor is a top location for keen golfers who are looking for a more tranquil and relaxing experience on their holidays to Portugal, and there's a nice selection of courses to choose from.
Penina Golf Course was the first ever course in the Algarve, designed in 1966 by three-time British Open Champion Sir Henry Cotton. This 18-hole championship course is challenging, yet satisfying and beautiful. Alternatively there's the 18-hole Alto Golf Course, also designed by Sir Henry and set in beautifully landscaped gardens with villas, flats and townhouses.
Finally the most beautiful of them all – Onyria Palmares Golf Course – has a parkland feel with hills and valleys, as well as views over the sand dunes at Alvor. This is a remarkable 27-hole course designed by recognised American golf course architect Robert Trent Jones II.