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Things to do in the Algarve as a solo traveler



A man cycling solo through the Algarve, Portugal
Post-pandemic solo travel has risen by 761%.

Google Trends data shows that post-pandemic solo travel has risen by 761%.

And solo travel isn’t just for singles. According to the online travel agent, 2023 travel trends show 41% prefer to travel alone with many wanting to be in control of decision-making, a chance to linger for hours in a museum or a hike to the top of a mountain; giving people time for personal reflection and growth.

In addition, new research from Kipling, the leading luggage company, has found that Faro is the fourth safest city in the world for women to travel solo to.

Value-for-money is also high on holiday makers’ priorities this year. Luckily for solo travellers, the Algarve has been consistently named in the top three best value holiday destinations in the annual Post Office’s Holiday Money Survey.

The Algarve region of Portugal boasts a rich and vibrant culture that has been shaped by its geography, history, and people. It is also a food lover’s paradise, boasting a rich culinary heritage which has been influenced by its long Atlantic coastline, Moorish ancestry and sunny climate. For solo travellers wanting an authentic and local experience, they can try their hand at a cooking class, or one of a myriad of interesting tours, with plenty of free activities – from action packed ones to history tours – led by passionate locals and small enterprising companies, who are keen on sharing unique and unforgettable experiences with visitors.

Prepare yourself for a solo journey of a lifetime around the Algarve.


Oyster experience – This unique tour starts in the vibrant town of Olhão with a chance to explore the local market packed with a diverse range of fish and fresh vegetables. Stroll through the narrow, cobbled streets to admire the traditional paintings on buildings that depict the history of the fishing community. Then embark on a scenic boat tour of the stunning Ria Formosa Natural Park, where you meet the fishermen and observe them picking oysters. The tour continues to Culatra Island to learn the art of oyster picking. The tour includes a fresh oyster tasting and lunch.

Duration: 4-6 hours / Price per person starts from €130/£114 approx.

Experience a wine tour – Reconnect with nature during a guided tour of Morgado do Quintao, a family owned vineyard and farm stay experience.uncover the secrets of wine making and explore the secrets of the estate, while you savour cheese and charcuterie from local producers under the 2000-year-old olive tree that overlooks the old Negramole vines. This trip at the family-run estate, is perfect for those who are looking to make some new friends on their solo trip.

Farmers Table: Duration: Approximately 2.5 hrs / Prices from €60.00/£51.00 per person.

Note: Tours are operated by appointment only.

Cataplana for all – The Algarve region is famous for its unique cuisine and its renown Cataplana, a traditional Portuguese stew made with a base of onion, garlic, red and green peppers with the addition of seafood or pork with clams. In this culinary experience, participants will have the chance to learn and prepare a delicious fish and shellfish cataplana. This hands-on experience offers an opportunity to discover the secrets of Algarve gastronomy and indulge in a feast for the senses.

Duration: From 3 hours / Prices start from €128/£112 per person approx.


Surfs up – Surfing can feed the mind, body, and soul, and makes for the perfect solo trip activity.
Algarve is renowned for its surf spots, like Praia do Amado and Praia do Zavial. Even if you’re a beginner, there are plenty of surf schools where you can learn. The Freeride Surf School is no ordinary surf camp as their dedicated surf coaches are equipped with the best knowledge and skills to give you all the instruction and confidence you need to take to the waves.

Alternatively, the surf camp also offers personalised private lessons for those that want to surf the waves in peace.

Duration: You can choose from 1, 3 or 6 days of group lessons. / Prices start from €65/£55 for 1 day to €325/£280 for 6 days between March to December.

A bike tour like no other – Experience the beauty of the Algarve like never before with Trails of the Authentic Algarve, a seven-night self-guided bike tour. Cycle along a scenic route that takes you over mountains, past rivers, and through charming old villages. Immerse yourself in local culture and sample delicious regional produce at local cafes and restaurants and visit the traditional market building. This tour offers an ideal opportunity to experience the authentic countryside life at your own pace, and to meet friendly locals who will share their stories and traditions with you.

Duration: 7 nights / Prices start from €785.00/£691 per person based on two people sharing a room with breakfast included.

Hiking / group walk:

Be one with nature- Discover Monchique, the highest mountain in the Algarve, on a guided hiking tour. Immerse yourself in the natural surroundings and rich culture of the region, while learning about the streams and abundant water resources influenced by the Atlantic Ocean. After the hike, you’ll be able to mingle some more and enjoy a delicious lunch featuring typical regional products from the Algarve hills. In the afternoon, engage in interactive activities with the local community such as pottery workshops, olive oil mill visits with tasting, or a soap olive oil workshop. This tour offers a unique and unforgettable experience to fully appreciate the local culture and traditions.

Duration: Full day / Prices range from €35 – €150/£30 – £132 depending on extra activities.

Get your hiking shoes on – Nothing says immersing yourself into the solo trip like taking a good old walk. The Seven Hanging Valleys trail is a costal clifftop walk, and offers stunning views of the coastline near the Praia de Marinha and Benagil. Whether you’re up for breathing in the fresh air and doing the walk by yourself, or chit chatting with people you meet, the day walk will leave you wanting to come back to the Algarve year after year. And don’t forget to pack your camera as the Seven Hanging Valleys trail guides you through some of the most striking natural gems in the Algarve.

The Seven Hanging Valleys officially starts in Praia da Marinha in the East, and goes towards Praia Vale de Centeanes in the West. But, you can start at either end.

Duration: Takes an average of 3h 30 min to complete. 

History, Art & Culture:

Deep rooted history – From monumental cathedrals to haunting church ruins, Portugal boasts some of the most stunning churches in Europe. And to really understand a city’s history, visiting a church should be high on the list. Churches such as the Cathedral of Faro (Sé de Faro), Church of São Lourenço in Almancil (famous for its blue and white azulejos), Ermida de Nossa Senhora da Conceição (Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Conceição (Our Lady of the Conception) in Loulé and the medieval Hermitage of São Sebastião in Lagos, all provide an incredible insight into the region’s religious history and art.

And while you’re in Lagos, why not visit the birthplace of Portugal’s 16th-century epic poet, Luís Vaz de Camões. This region’s history and culture, in particular, have always been a rich source of inspiration for various authors.

Get your hands dirty – If you’re up for doing something peaceful that’ll get the creative juices flowing, then a Portuguese tile painting class is just the activity for you. Portugal’s beautiful Azulejo tiles are a dominant feature in every Portuguese city and can be seen in the villages as well. In this class, you’ll get to meet a local artist who will share their knowledge about the tile painting and ceramics technique.

Duration: 3 hours / Prices range from €50/£43 

Fitness, Mindfulness & Wellness:

Getting in touch with your inner self – There’s nothing better than getting in touch with your inner self – and what better way to do it than on a solo trip? Whether you’re a beginner at yoga or have some flow to your movements, yoga is the best way to wind down and let all the troubles in your mind flow away. And if you want to experience a session Casa Fuzetta is the place to go. From early morning yoga on the rooftop terrace to meditation in the sanctuary, there are a range of options to suit.

Duration: 2023/2024 prices vary according to the time of year and number of guests participating.

Relax and unwind – What better way to really treat yourself than one of the wellness retreats at Vilalara Resort, an upscale resort overlooking the cliffs of Praia das Gaivotas along the North Atlantic Ocean. This resort is a lakeside haven of style, comfort and exclusivity, so allow yourself to take a break with a day spa, or a two-day retreat as you disconnect from the world and reconnect with yourself.

From massage treatments, thalassa treatments or body exfoliation to reflexology or medical consultation, the resort caters for everyone’s needs.Duration: Dependant on the treatments / Prices differ, depending on treatment. A 2-day retreat is priced at €405/£348. Note that this price does not include the accommodation.

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Gatwick airport opens new £250m train station



An image of the first passengers using the new Gatwick train station
Gatwick Airport was officially opened on 9 June 1958 by Queen Elizabeth II.

A new look Gatwick Airport station has opened promising to offer passengers travelling between Brighton and London faster and more reliable journeys.

A bigger £250m rail station with a new second concourse and airport entrance is now available, doubling the space for the millions of passengers that use the station each year.

The first passengers to use the new concourse and airport entrance arrived on the 05.48 Thameslink Bedford to Brighton service on platform 7.

Eight new escalators and five new lifts will provide a step change for accessibility at the airport’s South Terminal. The new lifts and escalators, along with four new stairways and widened platforms, will help passengers move between the train station and the airport more quickly and easily.

Easier journeys between train and plane will benefit passengers across the wider network, helping keep trains running on time by removing the congestion on platforms that delay trains.

“This project is not just for those making their way to the airport, the work benefits passengers right across the route by giving them quicker journeys and a more reliable timetable”, says Lucy McAuliffe, Network Rail Sussex route director.

Transport Secretary, Mark Harper, said“With millions of people travelling into Gatwick Airport by train each year, this station is a major public transport hub and has been upgraded thanks to Government funding, improving the train-to-plane journey and delivering more reliable services for passengers.

“Today’s opening demonstrates this Government’s commitment to funding improvements to our rail network, transforming a vital station into an impressive gateway to the UK and helping more British and international passengers to travel by train.”

The new concourse will now act as the new entrance for people accessing the airport terminal, while the existing concourse will be for people exiting. The existing station concourse, station footbridges and the South Terminal linkspan have been refurbished and reconfigured to provide a seamless one-way system to the airport from the train station.

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Travelers are spending more on ‘affordable luxury’, study says



A panel of professionals during the presentation of the WTM 2023 Global Report in London
The exclusive WTM Global Travel Report was compiled in association with researchers at Oxford Economics

A new research from World Travel Market London 2023, has revealed that “affordable luxury” is becoming more popular – despite the squeeze on many holidaymakers’ budgets.

The exclusive WTM Global Travel Report – compiled in association with researchers at Oxford Economics – has revealed that consumers generally remain determined to go on holiday and plenty are still prioritising upmarket options.

The report, unveiled on 6 November during the travel and tourism event taking place in London, says “affordable luxury” is becoming more popular “amid promising sentiment overall”.

It explains that this growth area in travel aligns with a broader trend for consumers to seek out new and unique experiences on holiday.

“After the pandemic and restrictions on travel, many have wanted to upgrade their experience…as consumers proactively catch up on missed tourism experiences,” says the report.

The report notes: “Consumers unaffected by economic downturns are likely to continue opting for luxury destinations.

The report cites United States consumer data from MMGY which suggests that the cost of living is having more of an effect on households with annual incomes under $50,000.

However, those earning more indicated a “high likelihood” of future travel.

Nonetheless, the report warns that some of the post-pandemic drivers of travel demand may have “gone into reverse in recent months”, posing a risk to continued expansion.

It points to persistently high costs and the recovery of sterling and the euro, which is making the purchasing power of the US dollar weaker in Europe.

The price of jet fuel is significantly higher than at the start of the year, putting pressure on air fares.

Consumers’ personal disposable income is also under pressure as their own transport and other living costs rise.

Despite these headwinds, the report notes: “Higher costs have not yet been a significant deterrent to growth and travellers appear willing to pay higher prices.”

“We are witnessing a remarkable resilience as people are still prioritising travel and many are seeking ‘affordable luxury’, such as higher rated accommodation or premium economy and business cabins instead of economy”, says Juliette Losardo, Exhibition Director at WTM London.

Meanwhile, the travel industry continues to face supply side problems, amid geopolitical events such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – and staff shortages still affect many markets because large numbers of workers switched to other sectors during the pandemic. 

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London is the most searched-for destination for flights in 2023



A shot of London featuring the Big Ben
Last minute: 44% of all bookings globally in 2023 were made within two weeks or less of departure | Source: eDreams Year in Travel report

Travel subscription platform eDreams, one of Europe’s largest e-commerce businesses, launched its ‘Year in Travel’ report today. The study, which analyses searches and booking data from its customers in all key European markets and the USA, reveals the evolution of travel, including top destinations, booking habits and growth destinations.

London came third as the most popular booked destination globally, behind Paris in 1st  place and Barcelona in 2nd. However, the British capital pipped Paris to the post as the most popular destination for flight searches from all markets globally during 2023 – followed by Paris, New York City, Bangkok and Barcelona.

London was the 2nd most popular booked destination for Germans, the 3rd most popular booked destination for Portuguese and 6th on the list for departures from Spain. For in-coming arrival by air to the UK during 2023, the largest percentage were from Spain (19%), followed by Germany (12%) and Italy (11%). French arrivals made up 10%.  

British travellers instead had their sights on Dublin as the most popular booked destination and all top destinations were short-haul, reflecting  the overall picture of the distance Brits travelled during 2023: 76% continental, 15% intercontinental and 9% domestic.  

“Our research shows that travel continues to be a very important part of people’s lives. When we look at the global travel map for 2023, traditional hotspots like Paris, Barcelona and London remain firm favourites. But, we have also seen long-haul destinations like Bangkok, Las Vegas, and New York grow in popularity this year. That’s really exciting as it shows how travellers are embracing the plethora of choice, information and inspiration available to them thanks to new technologies like AI and increasingly influential social media platforms like Tik Tok”, says Dana Dunne, CEO of eDreams ODIGEO.

As 2024 is packed with major international sporting events – including the Olympics, the Paralympics, Grand Prix, the Euros and the T20 cricket,  eDreams’ data shows where interest is already heating up. Global searches for travel to Paris during the Olympics in 2024 vs the same dates in 2023 are up by +41%. 2024 will be the 20th anniversary of Bahrain’s Grand Prix and global travel searches for the weekend of 2 March are up +183% compared to last year. 

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