Last Updated on December 5, 2023
Going on boat tours in Algarve is a great way to experience this southern region of Portugal from a different perspective.
The Algarve’s coastline is known for its limestone cliffs, rock formations, grottos, and many sea caves. While it’s possible to enjoy the beauty of the coast from land, seeing it from the sea is a unique experience.
You can get out on the water in a couple different ways, and from various locations around the Algarve. Some boat tours in Algarve go by kayak, but you can also go by motorboat or speedboat.
Some Algarve boat tours focus on seeing the coast’s interesting caves, like Benagil Cave, and others focus on experiencing wildlife, like seeing dolphins and birdwatching. I’ve done a couple different types of boat tours in Algarve, including paddling and motorized, and I enjoyed them all! The right Algarve boat tour for you will depend on your personal preferences.
- Editor’s Pick: From Portimao: Private Benagil Cave Sunset Boat Trip
To help you decide what boat tours in Algarve are right for you, I’m sharing 10 of the best boat tours in Algarve, broken down by location. This list covers Algarve boat tours that depart from Lagos, Faro, Portimao, and Sagres.
- 10 of the Best Algarve Boat Tours
- Best Boat Tours in Algarve: From Lagos
- Best Boat Tours in Algarve: From Faro
- Best Boat Tours in Algarve: From Portimao
- Best Boat Tours in Algarve: From Sagres
- Algarve Boat Tour FAQ
- What to Pack for a Boat Tour in the Algarve
- Best Time of Year for an Algarve Boat Tour
- Final Thoughts: Is a Boat Tour in the Algarve Worth It?
Disclosure: This article includes affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase through one of those links, I earn a small commission. Affiliate links cost you nothing to use, and keep Pina Travels reader-supported. Thank you!
10 of the Best Algarve Boat Tours
Let’s dive into 10 Algarve boat tours, which cover a range of experiences, from guided birdwatching to a pirate ship themed cruise!
Best Boat Tours in Algarve: From Lagos
- RATING: 4.9 out of 5 stars | TOUR LENGTH: 1.5 hours
If you’ve ever wanted to see dolphins in the wild, this Algarve boat tour is the one for you! On this 1.5 hour long Dolphin Watching with Marine Biologist tour, you’ll head out onto the ocean with a marine biologist guide.
You’ll not only get to see wild dolphins in their natural habitat – you’ll get to learn about them too! The marine biologist on board will identify the pods of dolphins that the tour encounters, and interpret their behavior. They’ll also be collecting data for the purpose of conservation of these beautiful ocean creatures.
The Dolphin Watching with Marine Biologists from Lagos tour includes:
- 1.5 hour boat ride
- Life vest
- Expert guide
- RATING: 4.8 out of 5 stars | TOUR LENGTH: 75 minutes
On this Boat Cruise to Ponta da Piedade, you’ll see gorgeous Algarve beaches like Camilo Beach, Batata, and Pinhao, as well as the cliff and rock formations that the Algarve is so famous for. Along the way, your guide will share insights and knowledge about the Algarve coast.
When you reach Ponta da Piedade, you’ll get to admire up close the towering rock formations, and learn from your guide the names of the formations as well as stories behind them.
This Algarve boat tour is a great way to see Ponta da Piedade from the water, as well as other coastal features of this region of Portugal.
The Boat Cruise to Ponta da Piedade tour includes:
- Boat cruise
- RATING: 4.8 out of 5 stars | TOUR LENGTH: 2 hours
Get out onto the water in a kayak on this Kayaking and Boat Cave Explorer Tour from Lagos. After a quick safety briefing, you’ll board your kayak and follow your guide along the Algarve coast.
Your guide will teach you all about the features of the coast as you pass by cliffs, rock formations, and beaches. Once you reach Ponta da Piedade, you’ll navigate through the rock formations, getting up close.
After your kayak adventure, if weather permits, you’ll get the chance to go for a swim in the crystal clear waters.
The Kayaking and Boat Cave Explorer Tour tour includes:
- Support boat
Best Boat Tours in Algarve: From Faro
- RATING: 4.7 out of 5 stars | TOUR LENGTH: 3 hours
This is one of the boat tours in Algarve that departs from Faro. You’ll board a small boat that weaves through the Ria Formosa channels before reaching Ria Formosa Natural Park.
This natural park is a lagoon, created by a system of barrier islands that connects to the sea through six inlets. The Ria Formosa Faro Islands Catamaran Tour makes two stops, one at the island of Farol, and one at the island Deserta.
You’ll see the Santa Maria Lighthouse in Farol and have time to explore and try island cuisine. In Deserta, admire the rolling dunes and unique landscapes. Look out for unique flora and fauna, including chameleons!
Along the way there are plenty of swimming spots. Both islands have quiet beaches. On board, learn about the islands and the park with insightful commentary from your guide in various languages.
The Ria Formosa Faro Islands Catamaran Tour includes:
- Boat tour
- Life jackets
- Local guide
- Safety briefing
- RATING: 4.7 out of 5 stars | TOUR LENGTH: 2 hours
On this 2 hour tour that departs from Faro, you’ll get to see, hear, and feel nature on board a solar-powered boat while exploring Ria Formosa Natural Park.
The sea level rises and falls by about 3 meters every 6 hours in this park, which creates a unique ecosystem. On this Eco-Friendly Ria Formosa Bird Watching in Solar Boat tour you’ll learn about how this ecosystem is self-regenerating.
You’ll float through the park’s canals spotting bird nests, as well as migratory and predatory birds. You’ll get to not only see them, but hear the sound of the birds singing and calling.
The Eco-Friendly Ria Formosa Bird Watching in Solar Boat tour includes:
- Binoculars and guides with local fauna and flora information
- Experienced skipper and local guide on board
- RATING: 4.9 out of 5 stars | TOUR LENGTH: 1-2 hours
If you’re looking for a thrill, this is one of the best boat tours in Algarve for you. This 2 Hour Speedboat Tour starts with a quick safety briefing before boarding and zipping across the water to Ria Formosa Natural Park.
The boat stops at Deserta Island, where you can hop off and explore the island’s beautiful beaches. After the stop, you’ll tour by boat more of this natural park.
The beauty of this Algarve boat tour is that you can customize it! Choose from a 1 or 2 hour shared tour, or upgrade your experience to a private 1 hour tour by selecting the relevant option when booking.
The 2 Hour Speedboat Tour from Faro includes:
- All necessary safety equipment
- 1 or 2-hour speedboat tour (depending on option chosen)
- Private tour (if option chosen)
BOOK: 2 Hour Speedboat Tour
Best Boat Tours in Algarve: From Portimao
- RATING: 4.7 out of 5 stars | TOUR LENGTH: 3 hours
Ahoy, mate! On this Pirate Ship Cave Cruise you’ll feel like a pirate while you cruise along the coast on a big, pirate-themed ship complete with shade, toilets, and bar service.
After boarding, you’ll receive a full briefing on your safety and comfort. Then the ship will hit the open water and navigate along the coast off of Rio Arade, the village of Ferragudo, medieval castles, and the Atlantic Ocean.
This Algarve boat cruise includes a visit to famous sites like the lighthouse of Alfanzina and the Benagil Cave. You’ll have a chance to go for a swim in the beautiful Algarve waters, and of course, you’ll get to walk the plank like a real pirate.
Cruising east, the ship will pass Carvoeiro, which contains the famous rock formation of Algar Seco. Arriving at the lighthouse of Alfanzina, transfer to a small boat to visit the inside of the local caves which run from the lighthouse to Marinha Beach. These caves include the famous cave of Benagil.
This Pirate Ship Cave Cruise from Portimao includes:
- Coastal cruise
- Small-boat cave tour
- Life vests
BOOK: Pirate Ship Cave Cruise
- RATING: 4.8 out of 5 stars | TOUR LENGTH: 2.5 hours
This Kayak Tour of Benagil Caves from Portimao is unique because it combines a cruise on a catamaran with a kayaking experience!
You’ll enjoy a cruise along the Algarve coastline, all the way to the Benagil Caves. During the cruise the crew will brief you on kayak equipment, skills, and safety.
When the catamaran arrives at Albandeira Beach, you’ll transfer into your kayak and paddle to the famous Benagil sea cave. Along the way, you’ll have the chance to explore other coastal caves.
Your experienced guide will point out landmarks including the impressive Captain’s Cave, Barraquinha Beach, Baraco Cave, and the famous Marinha Beach. Weather permitting, there’s even time for a quick swim!
If you get tired, you can always hop back on board the catamaran for a rest. The catamaran has toilets, comfortable seats, and a professional crew. If you don’t feel like paddling and just want to enjoy the views from the catamaran, you’re welcome to opt out of kayaking.
This Kayak Tour of Benagil Caves from Portimao includes:
- Kayak, paddles, and life jacket
- Cruise transfer to the starting point
- Professional crew
- Experienced local guide
- RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars | TOUR LENGTH: 2 hours
If you’re looking to have a private boat tour in the Algarve, this one’s for you. This tour is pricier than the others, but if it’s split among a group (up to 8 people) the price is reasonable.
This private sunset boat tour departs from Portimao and cruises along the coast to Benagil Cave and Benagil Beach. You’ll get to lounge on the bow of a little speedboat, go for a swim, and of course, take in incredible views of the Algarve coast.
At the end of the tour, the boat will head to the perfect spot for you and your pals to take in the gorgeous sunset.
The private Benagil Cave sunset boat trip includes:
- Private boat
- Life vests
- Bluetooth radio system
- Restroom on board
Best Boat Tours in Algarve: From Sagres
10. From Sagres: Stand-Up Paddleboard Tour to Ingrina Caves
- RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars | TOUR LENGTH: 3 hours
For one of the more unique boat tours in Algarve, hop onto a stand-up paddleboard (SUP)!
This Stand-Up Paddleboard Tour to Ingrina Caves Tour departs from Sagres and brings you to the Ingrina Caves. SUP paddling involves standing on boards that are big and stable, and using a paddle to propel yourself forward.
If you’ve never tried SUP boarding before, don’t worry. This tour starts with a safety and technique briefing. All paddleboard equipment is provided, including wetsuits and buoyancy aids.
On this Algarve boat tour you’ll paddle along the southwest Algarve coastline. You’ll get to see the beautiful beaches Ingrina or Barranco, and admire gorgeous grottoes and rock formations.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try some cliff jumping! If cliff jumping is too much of an adrenaline kick, you’ll have the opportunity to go for a swim instead.
This Stand-Up Paddleboard Tour to Ingrina Caves tour includes:
- Stand-up paddleboard lesson
- Stand-up paddleboard equipment, including board, paddle, wetsuit, and buoyancy aid
- Pictures of your tour
- ASI Certified SUP Instructors
Algarve Boat Tour FAQ
What time of year can you go on an Algarve boat tour?
Boat tours in Algarve run all year round. During the summer, boat tours run daily, but during winter in Algarve, there is limited availability. If you’re visiting Algarve in the winter, book your boat tour in advance to ensure there’s space for you.
What kind of boat tours are offered in Algarve?
There are several types of boat tours available for cruising along the Algarve coast. You can go by motorboat, speedboat, catamaran, kayak, or even a stand-up paddleboard. The type of tour you pick will depend on what you’d like to see, and what kind of experience you would like to have.
Is an Algarve boat tour worth it?
Yes, an Algarve boat tour is worth it. Seeing the Algarve coastline from the water gives you a new perspective of the coast’s limestone cliffs, rock formations, grottos, and many sea caves. And, you have the chance to see marine wildlife.
Should you rent a car in the Algarve?
The Algarve is a long stretch of coast with lots to see, and a car makes it much easier to day trip around the region. Need a car rental for your Algarve adventures? Discover Cars compares the prices for a vehicle from a variety of suppliers to ensure you get the cheapest rate, and you can reserve your car rental in advance. Reserve a car rental here!
What to Pack for a Boat Tour in the Algarve
If you’re headed out on an Algarve boat tour, there’s a couple items you’ll want to be sure to pack.
The sun in Portugal shines all year long, so make sure you protect yourself from harsh rays while on your boat tour. Bring sunscreen, a hat to shield your face from the bright light, and plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated.
Depending on the type of Algarve boat tour you choose, you might end up dripping wet (particularly if your tour includes swimming). Be sure to wear your swimsuit, and bring dry clothing and towel so that you can get changed and comfortable after your tour.
If you’re bringing electronics or other items that could be damaged by water on your tour, consider bringing a dry bag. This will depend on what type of tour you choose – If you’re in a kayak or on a SUP board, a dry bag is definitely a good idea.
Best Time of Year for an Algarve Boat Tour
Every time of year is the best time for an Algarve boat tour! While many people think of Portugal as a summer destination, Portugal in winter deserves a visit, too. The winter months have mild weather, and a surprising amount of sun.
During the summer, Algarve boat tours run daily. During winter in Algarve, there is limited availability because there are less tourists in the area. If you’re visiting Algarve in winter, book your boat tour in advance to ensure there’s space for you.
Final Thoughts: Is a Boat Tour in the Algarve Worth It?
Yes, boat tours in Algarve are totally worth it. Seeing the Algarve coast from the water is a unique experience, and it helps you to really take in the beauty of Portugal’s southern coast.
There’s a wide range of tours to choose from, so you’re guaranteed to find one that fits what kind of experience you’d like to have.
More on Portugal from Pina Travels:
- 6 of the Best Benagil Cave Tours
- Algarve in Winter: What to Expect & Things to Do
- Does it Snow in Portugal?
- 13 of the Best Algarve Beaches
- Your Ultimate Guide to Visiting Benagil Cave Algarve
- 10 Exciting Things to do in Algarve Portugal
Erin has been traveling for over a decade, both solo, and with her partner. She’s now traveled to countries across 6 continents, and has lived in 2 countries abroad. Erin also hosts the travel podcast, Curious Tourism, where she interviews travel industry thought leaders and experts about responsible tourism. Learn more about Erin, and get in touch with her, here.