Things to do in Vila do Bispo, 1-day Itinerary

Home to pristine beaches and remote towns, Vila do Bispo is the jewel of the Western Algarve. The coastline of Vila do Bispo is part of the Costa Vicentina Natural Park, one of the largest protected areas in Portugal, stretching 100 km along the coast from the Algarve all the way to Alentejo. Sagres is the most famous town in this council, but there are other villages worth visiting, including Luz, Burgau and Salema.

Our itinerary below will show you the best things to do in Vila do Bispo so you don’t miss a thing.

Day 1

Morning: Praia da Luz

Once a small fishing village, Praia da Luz has since grown into a popular resort town. It is located on a sandy bay sheltered from the Atlantic ocean by the Rocha Negra, a black rock formation formed around 150 million years ago. The beach here offers calm and shallow waters, making it an ideal spot for families with small children. On the western end of the beach is a little cove with a small beach called Prainha, which is usually quieter.

After lounging by the beach, take a stroll along the promenade lined with bars and restaurants and look out for the Roman bath remains. Then visit the town’s monuments like the 16th-century Church of Nossa Senhora da Luz and the 17th-century fort that once protected Luz against pirate attacks. Now, it houses a restaurant and some lovely gardens.


A few miles west from Luz is Burgau, a tiny village with little more than 400 residents. As you approach the village, you’ll be greeted with a picturesque landscape of whitewashed houses and narrow cobbled streets.

Praia de Burgau is the most important attraction in Burgau. This small beach is surrounded by high cliffs and disappears almost completely when the tide is high, so it’s worth checking the tide tables before you go. The beach has been awarded a Blue Flag and is among the top 10 beaches in the Algarve. Have coffee at one of the seafront cafés and then head to the Almádena Fort, a great spot to admire the coast of Vila do Bispo.


The next stop is the village of Salema. Similar to Burgau, Salema is dotted with white cottages and seafood restaurants offering a variety of fresh fish. Settle down for lunch at one of these before hitting the beach. Praia da Salema remains one of the Algarve’s best-kept secrets, with its soft sand and crystal-clear waters. There are dinosaur footprints engraved on the rocks of the beach. You can spot them on a flat yellow rock near the wooden stairway that leads to the town.

There are dinosaur footprints engraved on the rocks of the beach. You can spot them on a flat yellow rock near the wooden stairway that leads to the town.

Afternoon: Menir do Padrão

Following the beach, get back to the car and drive to Raposeira to visit the Menir do Padrão, one of the many standing stones located in Vila do Bispo. The menhir is around 2 metres tall and was built between the 4th and the 3rd Millennium B.C.

Monte dos Amantes

Continue on the road to another megalithic site called Monte dos Amantes, where you’ll discover several broken menhirs on the ground, some of which with engraved symbols on them.

Igreja Matriz de Vila do Bispo

Finally, head to the centre of Vila do Bispo, where you’ll find the town’s church. Built during the late 16th century, it is one of the only attractions around here. As soon as you go in, you’ll be blown away by its interior. Wherever you look, there is something worth admiring: the side walls covered by blue and white tiles, the hand painted ceiling above and the gilded altar at the rear of the church.

Day 1 - Vila do Bispo Tour Map

Day Trips from Vila do Bispo

  • Sagres: Located on the west edge of the Algarve, Sagres is one of the main villages within the Vila do Bispo municipality. Its beaches are especially popular among surfers. Beyond this, the main attractions are a 15th century fortress and the Cape Saint Vincent, the most southwesterly point in continental Europe.

  • Lagos: Just a 30-minute drive east of Vila do Bispo is the picturesque town of Lagos. It’s worth wandering through its cobbled streets and exploring its paradisiacal beaches like Praia Dona Ana or Praia do Camilo. Be sure to join a boat tour to spot dolphins or capture the surrounding caves and rock formations.

  • Portimão: Take a day trip to Portimão to experience its vibrant bars and restaurants. This popular resort town is home to a long sandy beach called Praia da Rocha, where you’ll find many hotels. For a slightly quieter vibe, head to Praia de Alvor, a few miles west.

  • Aljezur: Take a scenic ride along the west coast towards Aljezur. This small town sits amid the hills of the Costa Vicentina Natural Park. It is home to wild beaches and the remarkable coastal trails of Rota Vicentina.​

Top things to do with kids in Vila do Bispo

The area of Vila do Bispo is ideal for a family road trip. Kids will enjoy exploring the small villages en route, and swimming in the local beaches. If you head towards Sagres, you’ll find many surf schools which have surf lessons for children.

The Algarve Horse Riding also offers horse riding lessons around the natural park and the beach near Raposeira. Alternatively, you can hike or cycle one of the numerous trails in the area.

Where to eat in Vila do Bispo

The restaurants in Vila do Bispo offer a variety of fresh fish throughout the year, and during the hunting season, between October and December, you can also find dishes like wild boar, partridge and hare featured on the menu. Below are some of the best places to eat in Vila do Bispo:

  • Ribeira do Poço: Ribeira do Poço has been serving homemade meals since 2002. From monkfish rice to stuffed squid and grilled codfish, there are plenty of dishes to choose from. This is also a great spot to sample goose barnacles, a local speciality.

  • Sítio da Pedralva: There are two restaurants within this restored village: Pizza Pazza and Restaurante da Pedralva. Pizza Pazza serves delicious wood-fired pizzas, while Restaurante da Pedralva offers more traditional Portuguese dishes.

  • Água na Boca: Set in the heart of Salema, this place offers a mix of meat and seafood dishes. Families can also take advantage of the children’s menu. Highlights include the goat cheese starter and the octopus.

Where to stay in Vila do Bispo

  • Martinhal Sagres: This luxurious hotel is set on the edge of Praia do Martinhal in Sagres, so you’ll have the ocean right at your doorstep. It offers a mix of rooms, apartments and villas, some of which with private pools. There are several restaurants on-site, a spa and rental bikes.

  • Hotel Belavista Da Luz: This four-star accommodation offers spacious rooms and private balconies, just 600 metres from the beach. It has two pools, a gym, a tennis court, and many spa/wellness facilities on-site to ensure you have a truly relaxing stay.

  • NAU Salema Beach Village: This family-friendly resort located in the village of Salema offers apartments with fully-equipped kitchens, making it ideal for longer stays. Guests also have access to an outdoor pool, a kids' playground, rental bikes and padel courts.

  • Moinho Calmo: Near the centre of Vila do Bispo is this charming property set around an old windmill. The rooms are split into different buildings and offer space for one to four people. For the ultimate experience, book the windmill room and enjoy your stay inside this renovated century-old building. The staff can also organise experiences such as yoga lessons, holistic therapies and surf classes.

Fancy a vacation rental instead of a hotel? Here is our selection of the best vacation rentals near Vila do Bispo.

Best golf courses in Vila do Bispo

Just outside of Luz you’ll find the Boavista Golf Resort. Opened in 2002, it did not take long for this 18 hole, par 71 course to become one of the top courses in the Western Algarve. This championship course has all the facilities you would need, and if you don’t want to stay in Praia da Luz, you can stay at the golf resort itself. The resort has incredible villas and apartments for rent, a spa, and an outdoor swimming pool. To book an apartment or a villa at Boavista, contact us, and we’ll make sure you find the right space for your vacation needs.

Best time to visit Vila do Bispo

The best time to visit Vila do Bispo is during the summer season, from June to September, when the weather is warm, and the sea is perfect for swimming and water sports. However, keep in mind that this is also the busiest time of the year, and prices for accommodation and activities may be higher. If you prefer to avoid the crowds, you can visit in early spring or fall when the weather is still pleasant and there are fewer tourists around.

Vila do Bispo Festivals

  • Festival do Perceve: In early September Vila do Bispo hosts this festival dedicated to goose barnacles, aka perceves. It’s the perfect opportunity to sample this local seafood delicacy.

Return to Algarve tour