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Algarve Gay Travel

wolfyy’s Algarve gay guide to top hotels and where to stay, things to do, the Algarve gay scene & local gay bars.

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The Gay Travel Experience: Algarve Region, Portugal

Portugal’s Algarve region is one of the most stunning parts of the country. Small, quaint cities dot the coastline, transporting travelers back in time.

Algarve gay

Finding gay travelers in the Algarve region isn’t always the easiest since most towns don’t have much of a gay scene. But they are certainly out there. During the summer travel season, gay travelers typically make stops through cities like Faro and Olhão, making their way along the coast toward Lisbon.

Olhao town center
Olhao town center
Algarve gay

I explored the Algarve after a trip through Southern Spain, making my way from Torremolinos and Granada toward Porto. Along the way, my partner Michael and I stopped in the small Spanish city of Tarifa and made our way toward the Algarve town of Olhão.

I highly recommend gay travelers visit Portugal’s Algarve region. There’s so much history, authentic Portuguese culture, stunning architecture, and an easy pace of life away from large tourist crowds in the country’s large cities. It’s an ideal trip for a couple’s vacation or for anyone who wants to visit an area off the beaten path.

Gay Algarve: Hotels & Where to Stay

The Algarve region is incredibly gay friendly just like the rest of the country, so Portugal gay travelers will have an easy time finding local gay friendly hotels.

Algarve gay travel
Algarve gay travel
Where to stay in Algarve

Firstly, you must decide which town you’d prefer to stay in. Whichever town you end up choosing, I’d recommend staying relatively close to the center. This way, you’ll be within walking distance of local restaurants and nightlife.

Where to stay in Algarve

Faro Hotels

Faro is the region’s capital and tends to be the most popular with Algarve gay travelers. However, it can also be more expensive and difficult to find last-minute hotels.

hotels in Faro

3HB Faro is one of the best hotels in the city. It’s a glorious five-star property with an infinity pool, two restaurants, a fitness center, a sauna, a breakfast buffet, and a ton of other amenities. It’s definitely a luxurious option, and 3HB’s location in the center of Faro can’t be beaten.

3HB Hotel Faro
3HB Hotel Faro
hotels in Faro

A few other places to stay in Faro I’d recommend checking out include A Casa D’Amelie, a beautiful local guest house, the Roots Hotel aparthotel, and Casa Saudade Luxury Rooms.

Olhão Hotels

Olhão is a small city not far from Faro that is incredibly charming and tends to have cheaper accommodations.

Pure Formosa Concept Hotel

I stayed at Pure Formosa Concept Hotel in Olhão and absolutely loved it. They have an absolutely gorgeous rooftop pool and bright, modern rooms with a bit of a bohemian feel.

Pure Formosa Concept Hotel
hotel for Algarve gay tourists

Considering the price and high quality of the hotel, staying here was well worth it. The staff was super happy to help recommend local restaurants and places to visit in the city.

hotel for Algarve gay tourists

For more Olhão accommodation options, check out Casarão AL, a highly-rated bed & breakfast, or the stunning Casa ao Cubo, a beautiful apartment in the best area of town.

Lagos Hotels

If you want a luxurious vibe, check out the ritzy town of Lagos, which is about an hour’s drive west of Faro. Driving through here, you’ll feel like you’re outside of Nice in the south of France. Everything is beautifully manicured and there’s a ton of new construction in this small town.

hotel in Lagos Portugal
hotel in Lagos Portugal
LGBT hotels Algarve

A few of the most popular and highly rated hotels in Lagos hotels include The Salty Lodge, the 5-star Casa Mãe, and Hotel Marina Rio.

If you prefer a beachfront hotel, one of the best in Lagos is the Belmar Spa & Beach Resort.

LGBT hotels Algarve

Albufeira Hotels

Albufeira is one more popular place to stay, situated about halfway between Lagos and Faro. With a relatively central location along the coast, staying in the Albufeira area will make it easy to access other popular nearby towns and attractions.

Two highly rated hotels in Albufeira I’d recommend include the adults-only Vila Origens Boutique Hotel as well as Cerro Da Marina Hotel.

Algarve Gay Travel Experiences

Explore Olhão’s Beautiful Streets

Seeing the intricately designed and polished cobblestone streets in central Olhão was the most memorable part of the city. Every time I walked toward the waterfront from my hotel, I couldn’t stop staring at all the neatly arranged and well-kept white pavers.

Algarve gay travel experience
Algarve gay travel experience
Olhao town center

As you walk through Olhão, take a minute to appreciate them, as well as the wonderful bands of black pavers that weave in and out of each other down the

Olhao town center

Visit Stunning Oceanfront Cliffs

The Algarve is known for its majestic oceanfront landscapes, and I highly recommend planning a visit to a couple of these stunning cliffs in southern Portugal.

If you haven’t already, rent a car and map out a cliff sightseeing day trip. You can cover all the most impressive locations in one day.

Ponta da Piedade
Ponta da Piedade
Algarve cliff sightseeing

Three of the must-visit spots are the cliffs surrounding Praia do Carvalho (my personal favorite), the super popular rocky outcrops at Ponta da Piedade, and the lesser-traveled trails around Praia dos Rebolos.

Algarve cliff sightseeing

Wherever you decide to explore, wear proper footwear as many paths will be rocky or uneven.

Peruse the Mercados de Olhão

The Mercados de Olhão is one of the town’s most popular tourist spots. This large market stretches along the waterfront in the center of Olhão. It’s an easy, must-visit attraction where you can experience locals selling all types of fruit and fish.

Olhao central market
Olhao central market
Olhao town marina

After you explore the Olhão markets, grab lunch or a drink at one of the many adjacent bars and restaurants near the port. Walking along the portside promenade is also beautiful, especially during sunset.

Olhao town marina

Restaurants in Olhão

Lagar Mar

Lagar Mar is a fantastic seafood restaurant in central Olhão with comfortable streetside seating. You can pick from a selection of freshly caught fish that are all beautifully arranged over ice in a display case in the front of the restaurant.

Olhao seafood restaurant

Mau Mau Maria

Mau Mau Maria is one of the most popular seafood restaurants in Olhão. They’re known for delicious, beautifully presented dishes.

Mau Mau Maria Restaurant

The friendly service and cozy ambiance also make Mau Mau Maria an ideal spot for a romantic evening, too. When the weather is warm, everyone sits outside in the lovely adjacent plaza.

Olhao seafood restaurant
Mau Mau Maria Restaurant

Chá Chá Chá

Gay-friendly Chá Chá Chá is one more must-mention Olhão restaurant. This place is incredibly popular and has a ton of great reviews. It’s more of an upscale restaurant offering selections of tapas, local wines, meat, seafood, and vegetarian dishes.

Tucked away in a charming local alley, the ambiance at Chá Chá Chá can’t be beaten. I’d recommend calling ahead to reserve a table here because space fills up quickly.

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Algarve Gay Bars

While there aren’t many, there are a few gay bars in the Algarve region. They’re scattered among different towns like Faro, Albufeira, and Portimão.

Below are all the noteworthy Algarve gay bars. If you visit any of them, I’d love to know what you think!

gay bar in Algarve region

Connection Gay Bar

Connection is a gay bar in Albufeira open every day from 9:30 PM until 4 AM. They’re the town’s only gay bar and are also one of the best gay nightlife spots in all the Algarve. Connection has an awesome elevated terrace with plenty of seating and views of the street below.

Algarve gay bars
Algarve gay bars
gay bar in Algarve region

With sexy bartenders, comically named cocktails, and plenty of upbeat pop music, Connection is always entertaining.

Prestige Dance Club

Prestige is the go-to gay club in Faro for a night of dancing. One of the most popular gay bars in the Algarve, Prestige is known for energetic drag performances, pop music, and an excellent light system.

Faro gay bar and club

If the bar gives you a drink card to track your bar tab (which is common in Portugal), make sure you do not lose it! If you do, they may charge you a hefty fee upon exit.

Faro gay bar and club
gay bar in Southern Portugal

The Loft

The Loft is a must-visit gay bar and club in Portimão. It’s a relaxed and friendly multi-level venue with plenty of tables, and chairs to mingle and enjoy cocktails. 

gay bar in Southern Portugal

They also have a pool table, which is a great way to connect with new friends if you don’t speak the same language!

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Next, check out gay life in the bustling Portuguese cities of Porto and Lisbon.

Need more ideas for gay vacations? Explore wolfyy’s full list of gay travel destinations.

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