The Algarve is known for its 300 days of sunshine every year but what do you do on the other 65? Have a look through our top 24 things to do in the rain in the Algarve and get some inspiration for great things to do in the Algarve!
Wherever you are and whatever your budget these top 24 things to do in the Algarve include activities across the region with a mixture of entertainment and activities for all ages.
Pick from educational visits to Algarve museums, days browsing shopping centres in Faro, Albufeira, Portimão, Olhão or Tavira or relax in luxury in one of the many Algarve spas.
There is much more to the Algarve than beautiful beaches and stunning golf courses and when the sun is not shining, this is the perfect time to explore some alternative Algarve attractions.
A visit to the cinema may not sound at first to be a great option if you are looking for things to do in the rain in the Algarve but you may well be surprised by the entire experience!
There are a selection of independent, multiplex and pop up cinemas in the Algarve to choose from but it you want to be sure that you can watch a film in the English language then it is best to go to one of the Algarve multiplex cinemas.
Look out for film names followed by VO – which means it is in its original version, VP is dubbed into Portuguese. Most films are with Portuguese subtitles but children’s films are dubbed during the day and sometimes shown in their original version later at night.
In Portimão there is a multiplex cinema locate at the Continente shopping centre, located half way between the entrance of Portimão and Praia da Rocha. Algarve Shopping in Guia, near to Albufeira, is also home to a multiplex cinema which can be found on the first floor of the shopping centre.
Forum Algarve shopping centre in Faro has more screens, as does the new Mar Shopping centre in between Faro and Loulé, while in the east of the Algarve the Gran Plaza shopping centre in Tavira also has several screens for movies.
2. Algarve Casinos
Gambling is illegal in Portugal, except for the lottery and casinos! In the Algarve there has been a long history of casinos in the region which were built to offer entertainment for the glamorous guests who visited each summer.
The casinos in the Algarve are open to all guests and offer a choice of gambling tables, games rooms with machines or gala rooms where you can enjoy a meal and a show throughout the year.
In the Algarve there are three casinos, one in Praia da Rocha near Portimão, the Hotel Algarve Casino, then there is the Casino Vilamoura, set just back from Vilamoura marina and finally in the east of the Algarve there is the Casino Monte Gordo.
The casinos are open from 3pm or 4pm depending on the day or the week and are comfortable places to watch the world go by if you don’t want to gamble yourself.
If the weather is bad and you are looking for things to do in the rain in the Algarve, then a visit to the casino is a great bet!
In addition to all the games you would expect include roulette, crapps, fruit machines and poker, you can also find dinner shows, events and dance spectaculars.
3. Algarve Shopping Centres
When the weather is bad then a great way to fill the day in the Algarve is to visit one of the many Algarve shopping centres in the region.
In recent years there has been an explosion in the number of shopping centres and retail parks with the Algarve and Portimão has become popular thanks mainly to the opening of Aqua Shopping, home to the biggest branches of Primark and H&M in this part of the country.
Next to Aqua shopping in Portimão there is the Portimão retail park with C&A, Worten, Casa and much more then also in this local area you have the Intermarché retail park with Sports direct and other massive outlets for home improvements, sports and much more to fill far more than a day!
Guia near to Albufeira is the home to another large concentration of shopping centres and just down the road from Zoomarine you can find Algarve Shopping with a very large Zara, food court and many big name shops while over the road there is a retail park with a Nike factory store, British supermarket Iceland and over the EN125 there is a huge Makro, Leroy Merlin and Sports Direct.
Into Faro and you have the Forum Algarve shopping centre, which in the winter even boasts a skating rink, while as you travel further east you have Ria Shopping in Olhão and the Gran Plaza in Tavira with its amazing views across the salt flats.
The newest centre is Mar Shopping located in between Loulé and Faro. This centre has 3 distinct parts being a huge Ikea (including café with the famous meat balls!), an indoor shopping centre, and the Design Outlet. Of course Ikea and the indoor sections are you best choices during the rain, however the Design Outlet might tempt you into getting wet as they have discounts of up to 70%.
Town centres across the Algarve have brilliant boutiques and other shops but if you are looking for a one stop shop for things to do in the rain in the Algarve then consider a trip out to an Algarve shopping centre.
4. Algarve Beach Bars
Beaches are places you usually visit when the sun is shining but there is actually nothing better than watching the dramatic Atlantic waves crash onto the beach from the safety and warmth of a good Algarve beach bar.
Not all beach bars in the Algarve are open all year round but there are a good few great Algarve beach bars that are open throughout the seasons and they can be found all along the Algarve coast making them a perfect thing to do in the rain in the Algarve.
Why not sit on the terrace of the hidden beach bar, Escondidinho, on Praia Grande near Ferragudo and what as the fishing boats come in and the cruise ships make their way up the river? Or travel a little further along the coast to Caneiros Beach, home of the Rei das Praias restaurant, a favourite with José Mourinho and other celebrities.
Another very special beach bar has to be the Arte Nautica beach restaurant in Armação de Pêra. Experience amazing seafood from this restaurant run by the five star Vila Vita resort.
5. Aquashow Indoor Park
Soon, Aquashow will unveil great news that will gladden the holiday itinerary of Algarve visitors.
Aquashow Indoor Park is a water theme park that will be inside the famous amusement park in Quarteira and will be indoors/covered all year round so that you can enjoy in the rainy seasons too.
6. Wine tasting in the Algarve
When the heavens have opened and you are looking for things to do in the Algarve I the rain then a great idea is a wine tasting session – not only are these mainly inside but also a glass or two of wine will help you to forget the bad weather!
The Algarve is home to some fantastic wineries of all sizes and taking part in a tour is really easy, while also being great fun for groups, families and friends looking for something different to do in the Algarve.
One of the best known wineries in the Algarve is the Adega do Cantor winery in Guia, near to Zoomarine. This is the winery part owned by Sir Cliff Richard and you can escape from the rain in the cool cellars while you learn more about wine.
But there are more wineries to choose from:
The beautiful Quinta dos Vales winery between Portimão and Lagoa and very close to the Slide and Splash water park. Try out some of their award-winning wines for a day to remember.
The french style Quinta do Francês is located in an amazing place where you can enjoy the view over Silves hills and vineyard. It’s very similar to the Douro, the famous vineyard in the north of Portugal. In Quinta do Francês you can go on a guided tour and visit the Tasting Room to taste the wines.
Alternatively, there’s in Tôr, a small village near Loulé, the Quinta da Tôr, if you are looking for a more family and rural winery. In this visit, you will learn and see all the steps that need to be complete until you have the tasty wine inside a bottle ready to take home. There are three different tours, from standard wines to prestigious wines, have a look in all the options and reserve your place in one of them.
7. Algarve shows and performances
The Algarve has a thriving arts and entertainment culture with every town and city offering exciting things to do in the rain the Algarve if you know where to look.
There are a huge amount of art galleries across the Algarve that are ideal to visit in the rain. The Arte Algarve gallery, located in the winery in Lagoa has a huge collection of affordable art while the Corte Real gallery is one of the most beautiful and idyllic places in the Algarve to pick up one offs and objet d’art .
If art is not your thing then perhaps a performance of live music or dance in one of the many auditoriums across the region would suit you better.
The Centro Congresso do Arade in Parchal near to Slide and Splash, the Portimão Arena in Portimão and the Teatro das Figuras theatre in Faro all hold regular ballet, opera and orchestral performances throughout the year with ticket prices always being very reasonable.
8. Algarve spas
A visit to one of the many luxurious spas in the Algarve is a treat that everyone should indulge in and is an ideal thing to do in the rain in the Algarve.
Most of the five star resorts and hotels in the region have their own spa, with each offering something just a little different to tempt you.
The spa located within the Salgados resort near to Albufeira has a wide range of treatments on offer and is a great place to unwind.
Over in Vale do Lobo near to the Aquashow water park, the Royal Spa is a haven away from the rest of the world where you can have your massages and treatments or relax by the indoor pool with the aqua treatments.
At the Vale d’Oliveiras resort, located between the Pestana Gramacho course and the Slide and Splash water park, you are taken to a small spa area which also offers hair and nail treatments for those looking for something different.
Don’t be nervous about using spas in any of the hotels and resorts as they are open to the public and are a great thing to do in the rain in the Algarve.
9. Algarve museums
Learn more about the history of the region with a visit to an Algarve museum, a top thing to do in the rain in the Algarve for the entire family.
Discover the Roman history and even further back with a visit to the Museu Arqueologia in Silves. This museum is located by the walls of the castle and is a great place to find out more about this ancient city.
In Portimão along the waterfront where you set sail for boat trips in Portimão, you will find the recently opened Museu de Portimão where you can find out about the long history of the sardine industry in the Algarve as well as view temporary exhibits.
Or if you are looking for some science then a visit to the Centro Ciência Viva do Algarve in Faro is a great one for all ages and is located in the old Electricity central building near to Faro cathedral – another historical highlight.
In Lagos marina you can find the Portuguese Discovery wax museum which is a great way to learn more about the famous explorers and maritime history of this region.
In Loulé you can find the Loulé Municipal Museum, that opened to the public on 25 May 1995 and renewed recently. The museum presents a long-term exhibition that tells the history of the territory of Loulé from prehistory to the modern period. It’s open Tuesdays to Fridays, from 09:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturdays close at 4 p.m. Sundays and Mondays is closed. The entrance fee is only 1,62€ and it’s free to kids until the age of 12.
The city of Tavira has a lot of interesting and historical buildings Every street, church, the roman bridge and the typical boats up and down the river tells a different history of the small city. Start in the Palácio da Galeria located at the top of the hill of Santa Maria (Calçada da Galeria), site of an ancient Phoenician settlement. Excavations in the palace atrium led to the identification of several wells excavated in the rock that were interpreted as “Phoenician ritual wells” from the 7th to 6th centuries BC, dedicated to the worship of Baal, the god of storms.
Schedule from Tuesday to Saturday, from 9:15 am to 4:30 pm., closes at lunchtime from 12:30 to 13:30. Closed to the public: Sundays, Mondays and holidays.
10. Algarve train journey
One of the best ways to travel across the Algarve is by train, taking you all the way from Lagos in the west to border with Spain at Vila Real de Santo António.
If you are looking for a way to discover more of the region and things to do in the rain in the Algarve, then settle yourself down for a trip along the Algarve railway, getting off where you fancy for a closer look if you like.
The Algarve regional train line begins in Lagos next to the Lagos Marina, with a couple of stops before Portimão and then on past Silves and Algoz to the main station of Tunes, near to the location of the Fiesa Sand sculptures.
From Tunes you can travel on up to Lisbon and beyond but if you want to continue on the Algarve route then you then move on to Albufeira, past Almancil where the Almancil Karting is located and then on to Faro.
As you move on to the East you travel through Olhão, Tavira, Monte Gordo and then finally to Vila Real de Santo António.
The trains are not particularly new, but they are comfortable and reasonably priced and so are a great thing to do in the rain in the Algarve.
11. Arts and crafts in the Algarve
A great thing to do in the rain in the Algarve is to explore your artistic side and if you really don’t have one at all, then you can always go and see the skills of others instead!
Art supplies are sold in large supermarkets, with good quality products available at reasonable prices, allowing you to get out and start creating. The Algarve is known for its beautiful light and is a perfect location for photography and for painting in a variety of mediums.
If you would rather watch the experts then head down to Porches Pottery near to Aqualand water park. Here you can watch as the pottery is painted by hand before being ready to be sold in the onsite shop.
Basket weaving is an ancient Algarve tradition, so head up into the hills of Monchique to see local examples and perhaps watch as pieces are made and while you are in the mountains, be sure to seek out their handmade local fire water “Medronho” – a different type of craft, but a craft none-the-less!
Since it’s raining, why not take the opportunity to go karting? Test your driving skills and your nerves at every curve of the indoor karting track of Albufeira Marina.
13. Practice golf on the covered driving range of Vale da Pinta
If you are a fan of golf but the rain keeps insisting on spoiling your fun, you can always choose to practice your long range game with a few shots on the covered driving range of the course of Vale da Pinta.
14. Escape to Seville or Gibraltar
And if the rain insists on ruining your holidays in the Algarve, why not leave the Algarve for a day on a trip to Seville or Gibraltar? The buses that take you to these destinations leave early in the morning and return at the end of the day. This could be an excellent opportunity to get to know more about the history of these history and to enjoy some great sight seeing.
15. Cocktail making lessons
Ever wanted to learn how to make cocktails as a professional bartender? In that case, sign up for cocktails in Albufeira. In these classes you can learn how to make 2 cocktails. Each class includes games and shots to make classes more fun.
Bowling is a fantastic activity for all the family. In Albufeira Marina you can find a 10 pin bowling alley. There are 7 lanes but its best to book in advance to ensure availability. Children can join in the fun and there are ramps to help young visitors ( minimum age 4) get the balls rolling down the lanes.
The bowling centre is just around the corner from the indoor karting track so you can combine the 2 for a great day out whatever the weather.
17. Scuba diving lessons
Finally, we recommend that, if it is raining, you take the opportunity to enroll in your first scuba diving class. You can complete a try dive experience or lesson in the safety (and warmth!) of an indoor pool so that you’ll be ready to head out to sea as soon as the weather improves which, with 300 days of Algarve sunshine a year, won’t be long!
18. Indoor pools
Is it raining but you still fancy a swim? How about swimming in a heated indoor pool? Diving into warm water while listening to the rain until it stops is one of the most relaxing things you can do.
In the Algarve you can do that in public swimming pools. You have to pay a small fee (around 3 € adults and kids from 3 to 11 years old 1,80€) and you will need a bathing suit and swimming cap. If you do not have one, you can purchase one from the front desk.
There are public swimming pools all over the Algarve. There are pools in Portimao (37.130115, -8.539628), Faro (37.027276, -7.919519), Loule (37.141617, -8.018090), Olhão ( 37.028896, -7.850460) and Tavira (37.131542, -7.640839). The pools in Olhao have salty water.
In public pools there are always times of the day that are fuller due to classes but there are always a few rows for occasional guests.
You can also check if your hotel has an indoor pool or if there is one close to you, you can always purchase a pass for a few hours.
The kids will love this option!
19. Visit Estoi Palace
Estoi Palace located in the village of Estoi, near Faro. It is a fabulous ornate palace with frescoed ceilings and many shades of gold. It currently has a modern guest house next to the old main building, which can be visited, as well as the gardens and chapel.
On a rainy day visit this beautiful building, have a coffee in the bar and watch the gardens and the landscape that extends to the sea.
20. Attend a gymnastics class
Although you are on holiday you can still exercise your body or just relax in a class at the local gym.
From high intensity training to stretching or pilates class, you can keep yourself busy on a rainy day with something that makes you feel better.
Most gyms offer daily passes that you can use to enjoy the facilities. If you’d like to be accompanied by a personal trainer, call to book ahead.
The Gymnasium Group has gyms in Faro 37.031412, -7.947631, Olhão 37.031733, -7.832413, Tavira 37.124173, -7.644182 and the daily pass is only 8€ no time limit. But you will find gyms close by in any city in the Algarve.
Yes! It still exists in a place other than your phone. And it is a lot more exciting and fun to play in person.
In the Algarve, most places are within walking distances, and you can always wander into the local fishing town Olhão to play Bingo.
Olhão is the Algarve’s biggest fishing port, with an active waterfront and pretty, bustling lanes in its old quarters. The the flat-roofed, Moorish-influenced neighbourhoods and North African feel make it a very nice place to wander.
Before the Bingo session you can visit the town’s fish restaurants draw the crowds, as does the morning fish and vegetable market, best visited on Saturday.
Entry in Bingo room is restricted to over 18’s.
22. Play snooker, Billiards or 8 ball
Snooker, the famous game invented by British officials stationed in India between 1858-1947, is also famous in Portugal. All three games: snooker, billiards and 8 ball pool, are frequently called snooker among Algarvians.
For all three games, you need three different tables, and one of the places where you will find all the three tables is Taco de Ouro, on Avenida 5 de Outubro in Faro.
In Albufeira, the Bellavista Sports Barn has two tables. The Atlantic Bar in Vilamoura also offers the possibility of a game.
Other than playing in bars and cafes, a lot of the hotels will also have an 8 ball pool table.
We are sure you will have no trouble finding a table to play!
23. Escape Rooms
In Albufeira you can try a fun game with your family and friends at the escape rooms. The goals are to find a way, through clues and puzzles, to go out of the room. You have only one hour to complete the game.
There are two rooms: in one, you have to enter an office of a big business, find their evil plans and save the world. In the other, you will find yourself in the basement of a hotel, filled with the belongings of previous victims and you will have to find a way out of there quickly or face the same fate.
Places are limited so book in advance, as soon as you know it will rain!
24. Visit the oldest cafe in the Algarve capital Faro
Café Aliança is the oldest café in the city of Faro and the one with the most important cultural tradition. It occupies the ground floor of a historical building of revival architecture, in Rua de Santo António, the main street of downtown.
It is an old-style building with floor-to-white and black squares, antique photo frames and gilded details. Here you feel like having tea while reading a book.
In addition to the primary access, it has another entrance on the back street and formerly also had access by a traditional Portuguese grocery store.