Algarve Gay Travel
wolfyy’s Algarve gay guide to hotels, where to stay, things to do, & local gay bars.
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.
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.
I explored the Algarve after a trip through Southern Spain, slowly making my way toward our final destination of Porto in the north of Portugal.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Olhão is a small city not far from Faro that is incredibly charming and tends to have cheaper accommodations.
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.
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.
If you prefer a beachfront hotel, one of the best in Lagos is the Belmar Spa & Beach Resort.
Albufeira Hotels & Vacation Rentals
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.
Albufeira vacation rentals are particularly gorgeous. Plus, many offer private pools, sea views, and terraces for much less than a 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Restaurants in Olhão
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.
Mau Mau Maria
Mau Mau Maria is one of the most popular seafood restaurants in Olhão. They’re known for delicious, beautifully presented dishes.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
They also have a pool table, which is a great way to connect with new friends if you don’t speak the same language!
Portugal Trip Planning Links
Flights: Skyscanner has the most advanced interface for finding the lowest-cost flights and comparing options.
Buses, Trains & Rides: Omio is awesome because it compares literally all modes of transport, including BlaBlaCar rideshares. FlixBus is my go-to for bus travel between cities. Their buses are always clean and have Wi-Fi.
Swimwear: Look your best at the beach or hotel pool with wolfyy’s suggestions from top gay swimwear brands.
Luggage: Check out my favorite suitcases, bags & backpacks for stylish inspiration.
Travel Insurance: Insure your trip against delays, luggage mishaps, and medical issues with Travelex.
Need more ideas for gay vacations? Explore wolfyy’s full list of gay travel destinations.