Portugal’s Algarve region is known for its stunning beaches punctuated by sandstone cliffs, and adorable towns, where cobblestone streets wind between brightly tiled buildings and town squares are lined with charming terrace restaurants. Here are our picks for the most romantic hotels in Porches, Albufeira, Lagos, Vilamoura, Faro, Sagres, and Tavira, in southern Portugal’s beloved Algarve.
The Vila Vita Parc Resort & Spa has a clifftop setting and occupies over 50 acres of gorgeous, manicured grounds. The hotel's whitewashed Moorish architecture sits amidst lush gardens laced with duck ponds, stone footbridges, and decorative fountains, with views of the sea in the distance. There's not much happening around the hotel in terms of restaurants, bars, or entertainment, and as such, most guests spend their time on the golden-sand beach or around the eight glorious swimming pools lined with cushioned wicker loungers and palm trees. Rooms are spacious and have hardwood floors and floor-to-ceiling windows that let in lots of light and open to private furnished balconies or patios. Bathrooms outfitted with Portuguese tile feature local toiletries and either rainfall showers or bathtubs. Amenities include minibars stocked with wines, ports, and snacks, as well as free bottles of water, large flat-screen TVs, and free Wi-Fi. The eight restaurants include a two-star Michelin spot, and there are six bars and an elegant wine cellar. Other bonuses are the European-style holistic spa and golf facilities.
This large villa-style palazzo is approached via a tree-lined private driveway, with the building looking out over the beautiful manicured gardens and pool area towards the ocean and the beach below. Its 20 elegant rooms and suites blend classic and modern details, and all but one feature sea views. The big bathrooms (some with soaking tubs) and large furnished terraces or balconies are impressive as well. Even though there are two outdoor pools, a premium spa, tennis courts, and on-site shops, it's the Michelin-star dining that really steals the show. All in all, this elegant, refined, and peaceful retreat tends to attract well-heeled senior travelers, keen golfers, and couples on romantic breaks (there are no child-friendly facilities here).
Ultra-modern interiors, high-end facilities, and an adult-oriented vibe characterize this 229-room luxury resort. Room amenities are impressive, and include Nespresso coffeemakers, 40-inch TVs with video-on-demand, and integrated Bluetooth sound systems. All rooms open to furnished and spacious balconies or terraces, many with ocean views (though these views also typically include surrounding gardens, and the sea is a bit distant). Bathrooms feature terrazzo tubs and walk-in rainfall showers. The resort also features five outdoor pools (two for children) and one indoor pool, as well as a luxe spa with a sauna, a Turkish bath, and relaxation pool. The hotel's ultra-contemporary restaurant, Abyad, offers an open-air terrace.
From the outside, the Dom Manuel Hotel is an unassuming property that blends into its mixed-use neighborhood. However, once inside, this 49-room boutique property has a lot of classic Portuguese charm and a bustling, but relaxed, atmosphere. The free buffet breakfast is a popular feature that brings together the couples who stay here, and there are two quiet pools and a spa treatment room as well. Rooms are modern, with a touch of Portuguese style, and include air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs, and furnished balconies. There's a simple bar as well. Keep in mind that parking is limited, and it's a 10- to 15-minute walk into the old town.
Cascade Wellness & Lifestyle Resort is a luxury resort with classic Portuguese style with modern touches and landscaped gardens. It's set on a cliff over the Atlantic Ocean, roughly a 10-minute drive from the heart of Lagos, and near several popular beaches. Its 88 rooms and 55 apartments are themed with Asian, European, South American, or African decor, and all have free Wi-Fi, spacious bathrooms, and balconies. Sports facilities include a roomy gym plus several pools and tennis courts (fees required for some activities). The serene Tainai Spa is another property highlight. The resort’s dining scene includes Senses Restaurant, an elegant dinner and cocktail spot where jazz music plays in the background. The trendy, youthful Purpur Bar offers ocean views and is in line with the resort’s health-conscious lifestyle: the menu includes detox juices, alcohol-free drinks, cocktails, and light bites.
Though similarly priced to the neighboring (and main competitor) Vila Vita Parc Resort & Spa, the stylish, 131-room Blue & Green Vilalara Thalassa Resort has less of a luxurious feel, instead opting for a simple yet chic look. Here, you'll find a casually elegant, modern Mediterranean design with a mix of mid-century and classic decor. The resort's smaller size allows for peace and tranquility, plus the expansive gardens (stuffed with over 150 species of plants) and the stunning clifftop views over the sea are hard to beat. Add easy access to a stunning golden beach surrounded by rocky cliffs and a world-class thalassotherapy spa, and it's easy to see why this quiet and romantic resort is a favorite among couples.
Located on the outskirts of Vilamoura, the 280-room Tivoli Victoria is a smart and modern luxury resort surrounded by championship-level golf courses. While there's little within walking distance, the stunning red cliff beach of Praia da Falesia is a 10-minute drive away. Rooms and suites are attractive, with impressive amenities that include well-stocked minibars, pillow menus, Nespresso coffeemakers, and luxurious bathrooms with walk-in showers (rainfall and handheld heads) and separate tubs, plus balcony daybeds. Leisure and relaxation facilities also impress, with four pools that include the two main pools (one adult-only) lined with loungers and daybeds and a striking heated indoor pool finished in dark slate and mosaic with floor-to-ceiling views over the grounds. The Banyan Tree Spa also provides massage treatments and a sauna -- it's a stylish place to unwind. Decent dining, three bars, and range of pools makes for a self-contained stay, though one that can lack atmosphere outside of peak season. Shuttles to golf courses and Vilamoura's marina are included.
With glamorous gardens modeled after the royal greenery of Versailles, the Pousada de Faro Palace Hotel is unique in the Algarve, and a handsome three-and-a-half-pearl hotel by any measure. Each of the 63 rooms are large, with private balconies and none of the old plumbing that can plague similar properties, though the modern decor doesn't live up to the hotel's historic provenance. The beautiful 18th-century building has allure as a historic landmark, while also attracting guests with a spa, indoor and outdoor pools, and a restaurant with its original wood-burning oven. The gardens are worth a visit on their own, and the hotel is consistently rated one of the best in the area.
The small Memmo hotel group -- with two additional outposts in Lisbon -- has breathed new life into this upscale property, giving everything a slick, contemporary shine. However, there's plenty of substance to complement the hotel's style. Indoor and outdoor pools, a buzzing restaurant and bar, a massive free breakfast buffet, and a spacious terrace with marina views all add value to a stay here. The 144 rooms are compact and simple, but are quiet at night and include flat-screen TVs and air-conditioning -- some also feature sea-view balconies. Sagres' main drag is a 10-minute walk away, as is gorgeous Martinhal Beach.
Vila Gale Albacora is a three-and-a-half-pearl hotel in the Ria Formosa Natural Park overlooking Tavira Island. It's a little off the beaten path, and a 10-minute drive into Tavira's old town, but the atmosphere here is quiet and secluded. The top-notch leisure facilities include a large freeform outdoor pool, children's pool, indoor pool, fitness center, kids' club, scuba diving center, and kayak rental. A free shuttle runs to Tavira center and a boat (for a fee) goes to Tavira Island beach. The 162 simple, modern rooms come with balconies or terraces, some overlooking the river. All include free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, and flat-screen TVs.
The 51-room Pousada de Sagres, Infante is a classic three-and-a-half-pearl hotel that has the best spot in Sagres. Perched atop the cliffs of Ponta da Atalaia, its location is secluded and quiet, with stunning views of nearby Mareta Beach. The hotel's public areas have a vintage-modern elegance -- from the restaurant serving locally sourced cuisine to the game room and cozy bar. There's also a small outdoor pool, a tennis court, and a surf-and-bike shop next door. Air-conditioned rooms are relatively spacious, quiet, and pleasant despite a bit of wear. However, the real treat is the sunset view from many of the rooms.