The charms of traveling solo in Algarve
Image by NaiaraPerezdeVillarreal, used under Creative Commons license
Traveling solo is an experience that everyone should venture to have at some point in their life. You get true freedom to explore the world, discover new cultures, and live your life at a pace that suits your daily mood. Few destinations make for a more eye-opening experience than the Algarve coast of Portugal. Whether you’re enjoying a relaxing stay on a Villa Plus holiday in scenic towns like Almancil and Vale do Lobo, or simply staying at hostels or campsites, you’ll quickly discover why the Algarve is one of Europe’s most popular beach destinations. Here are a few tips and ideas to help make your solo trip through the Algarve one to never forget.
Discover some of the best beaches in Europe
There are few places in Europe, or the world for that matter, that can boast the range of picturesque beaches that are found scattered along the coast of the Algarve. Solo travellers will delight in their opportunity to roam between cliff-side coves and long stretches of pristine sand. Whether you’re a photographer, a runner, a painter, a birdwatcher, or a camper, the Algarve has a beach suited for you. Ilha de Tavira is known for its birdlife and campsites, while Praia da Marinha is the perfect place to snap photos. Meia Praia is a beach for the party lover, and Praia de Cacela Velha is home to a small but vibrant LGBT scene.
Image by Muffinn, used under Creative Commons license
Stroll through ancient cities and villages
Learning about the rich history of a place is something you can do whether traveling alone or with others, but seldom do you get the opportunity to visit the cities and villages that interest you without having to compromise for the interests and preferences of others. The Algarve has romantic and historic towns visitors are certain to find both relaxing and fascinating — from the capital, Faro, with its plazas, parks, and historic old town, to traditional fishing villages featuring quiet resort areas such as Carvoeiro. The Algarve is one of the safest places to travel in Portugal, but while exploring tourist areas be aware of potential pickpockets.
Enjoy some time alone in nature
The beach might be the first thing that comes to mind at the mention of the Algarve, but there are plenty more outside activities to enjoy, including boating, horse riding, trekking, and golf. The region features a number of spectacular cliff-top hiking paths, including those in the Vicentine Coast Natural Park, the Alvor village and Alvor Protected Landscape, as well as the Paderne Castle Trail, which takes you past the ruins of a 12thcentury Moorish castle. If you’re hiking on your own, be sure to tell someone where you will be going — either a staff member at your hotel or hostel, or a friend at home you can email upon returning from your excursion.
Meet new people
As the Algarve is such a popular destination, receiving visitors from all around Europe and the world, solo travellers will have the opportunity to meet new and interesting people from a wide variety of backgrounds. Be sure to involve yourself in some group outings and to interact with locals. Solo travellers rave about the great friends they meet during their trips on websites like womenontheroad.com: “As I traveled, I met plenty of women who were far older than I was, and many of them were traveling solo – they were on their own, kids grown up… Many of them were younger in spirit than the 20-year-olds in the same hostel!” There are a variety of fun tours to enjoy in the Algarve, from strolls through the city of Faro, to kayak and snorkel trips along the coastline.
Image by mariachilly, used under Creative Commons license
If your worries about traveling solo have stopped you from seeking out the adventures you crave, then consider booking a trip to the Algarve, where the sunshine, history, locals, and fellow visitors will make your tour a special one.