My Algarve Insider tips for photographing the Algarve

It seemed like the perfect challenge! In conjunction with Easyjet Holidays write a guide to the Algarve. With our blossoming art and photography business there seemed to be only one obvious choice for a theme – write a ‘camera guide’ to the Algarve. These are my tips for tourists visiting the Algarve. Our guide to where to go – and what to shoot – to make sure that when you return home your holiday snaps will be a cut above everyone else’s!

Algarve boat

We’ve included a range of different themes and subjects for you to find – with different places to visit so that you can really explore the beautiful Algarve region. You’ll need to hire a car and grab a map! We’ve even included hints and tips on what to see and where to eat along the way!

So why not come with us – pick up your camera – and take some holiday photographs you’ll be proud to share with your friends and family. Even if you can’t visit the Algarve (yet!) why not sit back, relax, and come with us on a photographic journey of delight and wonder as we share our favourite photographs with you of this beautiful region we call ‘home’.

Algarve Beaches

One of the most beautiful things about the Algarve has to be its miles and miles of stunning beaches – with soft golden sand and stunning deep blue water. You can choose from a wide open beach like Praia da Rocha; or a tiny fisherman’s cove like Burgau in the west. Wherever you go, you are guaranteed an amazing view.

We’ve selected three different beaches for you to choose from – the first is along Galé beach near Albufeira. Here you can enjoy the beautiful wide open sandy beaches which are perfect for sandcastles and sunbathing:

Gale beach

But the real joy comes when the sun is setting:

Gale beach sunset

For something more dramatic, look slightly west on your map from Galé and discover the coastal walk that joins a number of small beaches around from Albandeira to Marinha and Benagil and enjoy some stunning views like this:

Marinha rocks And while you are there, be sure to snap the captivating little church of Senhora da Rocha (more about churches later!)

Senhora da Rocha church

For something more touristy, head for the resort of Praia da Rocha – the view from above the beach is a riot of colour and light. Head down onto the boardwalk for a leisurely stroll – or why not lunch at one of the many boardwalk cafés and watch the world go by?

Praia da Rocha beachFrom here, another hidden gem is Prainha beach – tucked away on the map between Praia da Rocha and Alvor. This is where you will find the locals enjoying the late afternoon sun – don’t forget to wait for the sun to set to be rewarded with a shot like this (it’s a great excuse to have to stay late on the beach!)

Prainha beach sunset

There are several lovely fish restaurants on the beach so why not stay for dinner – you could even ‘push the boat out’ (not literally!) and try the acclaimed Caniço restaurant, with its enticing steps up from the beach – round the corner from the Três Irmãos (Three Brothers) beach at Prainha.

Algarve Villages

There are so many to choose from! Charming cobbled streets; painted houses; Moorish chimneys; sleeping cats and dogs curled up in the sun; and Bougainvillea flowers trailing across roofs – all iconic Algarvian images for you to capture with your camera. We have chosen Ferragudo village for you – it’s reputed to be ‘the most photographed village on the Algarve’ – although I think that might be partly our fault!

Ferragudo village

Here you can find the intriguing windy streets and pretty houses we have come to know and love:

Ferragudo streetHead down to the harbour and enjoy the boats – go round the corner and capture the imposing castle – and enjoy another fabulous unspoilt beach at Praia Grande. Or wander round the square and the little shops – walk up to the church at the top of the village and enjoy the view – then stop and enjoy a coffee or a beer in the sunshine – and top off a perfect day with a meal in the evening – try ‘Velho Novo’ just away from the square (it’s best to book a table – go there at 6pm when they open and book for that evening) and enjoy their traditional home-cooked Portuguese food. And then before you leave – catch one final shot of the village as you drive away:

Ferragudo at night

Algarve Churches

Every village and town on the Algarve will present you with an impressive and majestic church to photograph (the trick is often knowing when the door will be open!) so here are three very different options for you:

The medieval town of Silves should be on every tour guide of the Algarve, it is a wonderful place to visit and explore, and whilst you are there be sure to discover the Cathedral – it is an imposing, yet serene and peaceful place, with a stunningly simple yet beautiful interior:

Silves Cathedral

Visit the Castle and walk the ramparts for stunning views across the countryside; photograph the Roman bridge across the river; the windy streets with colourful bunting; and enjoy ‘chicken piri-piri’ at the roadside ‘Churrasqueira Valdemar’ restaurant beside the market. Or time it right, go on a Sunday afternoon, and enjoy listening to some impromptu jazz and jamming at the ‘O Cais’ bar opposite the Roman Bridge. You can read more about Silves here: Castle, Cathedral, Cobbles and Medieval Charm

If you are heading to Lagos, then our second chosen church is a must – the church of Santa Maria at the Praça do Infante Dom Henrique is imposing enough from the outside, but the altar inside will take your breath away:

Lagos Santa Maria church interiorIf you are in the Eastern Algarve, then we can highly recommend Faro for a day out – often overlooked by people hastily leaving the airport to begin their holiday – Faro has a charm of its own, especially around the Old Town. Hunt out the Igreja do Carmo, or the so-called ‘golden’ Nossa Senhora do Carmo church and be amazed – and slightly horrified – by the famous Chapel of Bones – you can read more about Faro here: Don’t rush away from Faro

Faro Chapel of Bones

Photographing People

The Algarve is blessed with local people who are friendly, helpful, and proud of their culture and way of life.

Portuguese local

We have found that it often takes nothing more than a friendly smile and a polite ‘May I take your photograph?’ for someone to agree quite readily – and then compose themselves ready for the shot.

Portuguese man

You can also head to the fishermen’s huts at Armaçao de Pêra to capture some authentic shots of life as it was fifty years ago – and still is today:

Algarve fisherman

Photographing animals

Always a challenge! You need a quick eye – and an even quicker shutter finger – to capture a moving animal or bird. So make it a bit easier on yourself – and go somewhere where the whole family can enjoy a day out – and you can get some camera practice in too!

Zoomarine dolphins

Zoomarine is a brilliant family day out – dolphins; sea lions; birds; shows; with a water park; rides; a big wheel; cafés and more – perfect! And if you are lucky, some great photos too!

Zoomarine Sea Lions

For something different, head for Salgados nature reserve (near Porches) and try to capture the gentle beauty and elegance of the flamingos:

Salgados flamingo

You can find out more about this unspoilt treasure here: Save Salgados! And you cannot visit the Algarve and not try to photograph the amazing and majestic White Storks that nest on every available chimney and tall building. Silves is a great place to spot them – if you are there in April or May you might even be lucky enough to see them with their young:

White Storks

Quirky photographs

Always be on the lookout for the unusual – and remember to take shots of the ordinary too – that photograph of the sardines on your plate just before you eat them will bring back fond memories once you are home again. And don’t forget to catch a shot of the beautiful tiles that the Algarve is so famous for:

Algarve tiles

If there is a story that you can tell to add to your photo – even better! Here’s a quirky shot that we liked of a pair of shoes left at the bottom of the steps to a beach – the owner just kicked them off and left them the moment she saw the sea and dashed off down to the water’s edge for a paddle!

Abandoned Shoes

And always remember to take one final sunset shot before you leave – this one is from Prainha:

Sunset Prainha beach

So there it is – our ‘Camera Guide’ to the Algarve. Wherever you go across this beautiful region we are sure that you will find something to photograph and enjoy – and who knows – you might even bump into us out there too – we’re still looking for that ‘perfect’ Algarve shot!

Prainha beach walk

If you have enjoyed this guide, then you might also enjoy reading more about the Algarve on this Algarve Blog which has a wide range of articles about living and travelling here in the Algarve. Why not start with our Places to Go page which will give you lots of ideas. If you have enjoyed our photographs, then please do visit our website A3 Art where you will find a range of images and original paintings all inspired by the beauty and light of the Algarve.

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24 Responses to My Algarve Insider tips for photographing the Algarve

  1. Marianne says:

    No wonder the village of Ferragudo is one of the most photographed on the Algarve – it´s stunning. Beautiful colours!

    This is a fabulous all-round guide to the Algarve – not just a “Camera Guide”.

    Anyone who has not visited this fabulous area of southern Portugal just doesn´t know what they are missing :) My advice – get there now. It´s a perfect time of year.

  2. amazing and beautiful photos, I would love to be able to catch such shots! they are simply stunning and show the region so well.

  3. What a fantastic idea to use photography as the theme for a very comprehensive guide to the Algarve! You’ve pretty much covered everything in your post so I’ll have to think long and hard to see if I can come up with something different but useful for my blog!

  4. fgassette says:

    Beautiful photos along with great advice. Thank you so much for sharing. I’m sure to follow your advice when taking my photos.

    BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!

  5. restlessjo says:

    Excellent guide, Aly and you’ve showcased some of Dave’s most stunning shots. As if you two didn’t have enough to do at present! You make me glad I’m coming back.

  6. Vicki Good says:

    What a superb guide – beautiful, beautiful photos – really shows what a wonderful and varied place the Algarve is.

  7. Someone from the tourist bureau should definitely tap you for artwork! The photography is incredibly beautfiul and memorable. I particularly love the ocean, so those shots really speak to me, but the churches and people, too! You’ve expanded my knowledge and appreciation for what a diverse and exceptionally beautiful place the Algarve really is! Debra

  8. Pingback: 2012 in words and pictures | Algarve Blog

  9. Big Col says:

    Great blog and some lovely photographs as well :) I am a keen hobbyist photographer and will be visiting the Algarve for the second time in April. Will be sure to check out Ferragudo and make a few photographs when there. Keep blogging and best wishes.

  10. paega says:

    Thanks for a great guide. I am heading there next week with my camera and this is just perfect to get me started.

  11. paega says:

    Many thanks for a great little guide. As a keen amateur photographer who has never been to the area this is really useful. Looking forward to visiting next week and I’m taking lots of memory cards!

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