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 15 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 10 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 Modelo 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. 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.
Alternatively there is 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.
6. 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 Porches 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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 tracks of Albufeira Marina and Olhão’s Ria Shopping. This is a fun way to distract you during a raining afternoon.
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. 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.
16. 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!