Algarve Fishing: The Complete Guide for 2024

Apr 25, 2024 | 9 minute read Comments
Reading Time: 9 minutes

The southwesternmost edge of Europe isn’t just an enchanting region that attracts millions of tourists every year. It’s also a wonderful angling destination, with its own traditions and fish stories that pass through generations. Fishing in the Algarve is all about venturing into the warm currents of the Mediterranean Sea, the Gulf Stream, and the Atlantic Ocean via the continental shelf. 

A view from the top of a cliff towards rocky outcrops in the Algarve, including crystal clear waters and a sailing boat in the middle of the image

There’s simply no wrong time to cast a line in the Algarve. The weather is almost always great. In fact, there are over 300 sun-soaked days annually. Mix it with friendly locals, the amazing Portuguese cuisine, and stunning nature, and you’ve got yourself a real paradise. 

In this guide, we’ll talk about all things Algarve fishing. We’ll run through the best species to target, the top spots to explore, techniques to try, and more. So, when you’re ready, read on. 

Best Fish to Catch in Algarve

The seas around the Algarve are home to over 200 fish species. The nearshore reefs offer plenty of action for light tackle enthusiasts looking to hook into Sebass, Dentex, Groupers, Mackerel, and Seabream

But that’s not all. Just a few miles out from shore, you can switch your gear to battle Marlin, Tuna, and Mahi Mahi. Finally, if you take your adventure even further out, you can come across even bigger fish, including Swordfish. You’re probably already asking “What’s not to like about fishing in the Algarve?”

Seabass and Dentex

An angler in the sun and another in the shadow, standing on a boat and holding a Dentex caught while fishing in the Algarve, with a fishing rod behind them on a sunny day
Photo taken by Dreamboats

Both Seabass and Dentex are among the most popular catches closer to shore, especially for those looking to bag themselves a delicious dinner. Spinning, surfcasting, and fly fishing all work well to target Seabass, while trolling and bottom fishing are the go-to techniques to land Dentex. 

Dentex bite best from May to October. Once you’re done with the season, you can switch your attention to Seabass, that peaks from October through April. However, you can actually find Seabass pretty much any time of the year. 

Check out spots, such as the Ria Formosa Natural Park, Sagres, and Tavira Island if Seabass are your main priority. For Dentex, feel free to explore the areas around Lagos, Albufeira, and Portimão.

Groupers and Mackerel

An angler in a hat, standing on a boat and holding an Atlantic Mackerel, with the offshore waters visible behind him on a sunny day
Photo taken by Aventura Fishing Charters

The areas around Faro, Sagres, and Vilamoura are busy with bottom fishing anglers pretty much all year round, but especially during summer. Why? Because these are good spots to target Groupers that hang out on the ocean floor waiting for you to lure them in with deep diving lures, squid, smaller mackerel, and sardines.  

If trolling and spinning are more your style, consider targeting Mackerel. The waters around Quarteira, Olhão, and Alvor are good starting points, especially if you’re fishing from July through August. The Algarve Mackerel season begins a bit earlier, around late spring, and goes all the way through fall. 

Tuna and Mahi Mahi

A man standing at the corner of a boat, holding a large Mahi Mahi upright, with the open waters of the Atlantic behind him on a sunny day
Photo taken by Tightlines – Olhão

Portugal is home to some pretty impressive big game fish species, and the Algarve is no exception. One of Europe‘s hidden fishing gems, in Algarve you can get your hands on Yellowfin, Bluefin, and Bigeye Tuna if you head out with a knowledgeable captain. These fish bite best around Sagres, Portimão, and Vila do Bispo and can be found off the coast from April to November

In addition to Tuna, you can mix your trolling adventure with a couple of Mahi Mahi. These gorgeous fish patrol the open waters around Sagres, Lagos, and Albufeira from June to October, biting best in late summer. 


Two anglers struggle over the side of a boat as they pull in a Billfish from crystal clear waters on a sunny day
Photo taken by Iberopesca Big Game Fishing

If you’re planning to go for a full big game extravaganza, then there’s nothing better than a Billfish trip. From early summer to October, you can try your luck and battle one of these ferocious predators. However, it’s always recommended to check with your guide when’s the best time to target a specific Billfish. 

The Algarve is home to White Marlin, Blue Marlin, and Swordfish, the stars of any overnight trip. Some of the hotspots to consider are the waters off Vilamoura, Portimão, and Sagres, although only local captains know the true Billfish honey holes. 

How to Go Fishing in Algarve

A view from a beach across crashing waves and a rocky shoreline towards a lone angler, casting a line in the Algarve

So, we’ve talked about the fish species you can catch and where to catch them in Portugal’s southernmost region. It’s now time to talk about how fishing is actually done in Algarve. 

The whole area is known for its vibrant angling culture, so you won’t have a problem picking a suitable charter. Local captains cater to experienced anglers and novices looking to learn the ropes alike. Plus, the fishing opportunities themselves are pretty diverse, whether you explore the coastal waters or venture into the deep blue. 

As per the local fishing regulations, you won’t need to purchase a separate license if you’re fishing with a licensed charter, either. The crew will cover all the permits for everyone on board. As well as that, your guide will keep you on top of local rules and regulations, such as bag limits, and will let you know if any of the species are strictly catch-and-release. 

Shore Fishing

A woman casting a long line into the water from shore in the Algarve on a sunny day, with the rugged coastline and cliffs visible behind her
Photo taken by Rock & Reel Land Based Fishing Adventures

If hopping on board a boat isn’t your priority and you’d rather go surfcasting, there are various spots for you to discover. Some of the Algarve’s top shore fishing locations include Cabo de São Vicente, Praia da Rocha, and Praia do Carvoeiro. Needless to say, the coastal views are absolutely breathtaking. 

Surfcasting aside, you can also try spinning and bottom fishing right from shore. Depending on when and where you cast your line, you can hook into Mackerel, Seabass, and Bream. Just beware that you should check all the local rules and regulations if you’re fishing without a guide. You’ll need a license, which you can get online. But you should also check out bag and size limits. Find out all you need to know from the Portuguese government’s website.

Inshore Fishing

Be it the waters around Lagos, the Arade River Estuary, or the labyrinth of marshes and lagoons in the Ria Formosa Natural Park, inshore fishing in the Algarve is pretty great. This technique can bring you face-to-gills with various interesting species, including Red Mullet, Seabream, and even Octopus. 

There are various techniques you can try your hand at while working the inshore waters. Some locals go for light tackle for a more delicate approach, while others prefer jigging and drift fishing with bait and lures. We suggest you mix and match and find the combo that works for you.

Offshore Fishing

A view from above of an offshore sportfishing boat setting out towards the deep waters of the Atlantic from the Algarve on a day with sunny intervals
Photo taken by Katjoa Extreme Fishing

Offshore fishing in Algarve is for those big game enthusiasts looking to land something impressive – or at least try. As you venture into the deep waters of the Atlantic, you could encounter Blue Marlin, Tuna, Swordfish, and who knows what else. 

Deep sea trolling and bottom fishing is the name of the game when targeting these monsters. As for the spots, you can head to the dramatical drop-offs of the continental shelf in the Albufeira Canyon. Alternatively, your captain might suggest fishing the waters around Cape St. Vincent

Algarve Fishing Spots

A view from shore towards the historic Rio Formosa lifeguard station, abandoned in the water on a day with sunny intervals, with the beach visible in the foreground

As you’ve probably already guessed, the short answer is: no matter where you happen to be on the Algarve, productive fishing grounds aren’t far away. From Tavira to Albufeira and Aljezar on the west coast, there’s a myriad of spots for you to cast a line from. Here’s a quick list of the most productive fishing spots we picked for you: 

  • Ria Formosa Natural Park. This is a favorite inshore fishing spot among locals and visitors alike. It’s home to everything from Seabream to Seabass that patrol this vast system of barrier islands, marshes, and lagoons. 
  • Sagres. Sagres is located at the southwestern tip of Portugal. It’s a great destination for both offshore and inshore fishing. In addition to potential Groupers, Tuna, and Marlin, you’ll get to enjoy the dramatic cliffs and stunning nature. 
  • Lagos. If you’re after bottom dwellers, such as Groupers, head to Lagos and explore its rocky outcrops and underwater caves. Plus, there’s Ponta da Piedade nearby, which is another popular angling spot. 
  • Albufeira. Known as a tourist hub, Albufeira is also an amazing fishing destination. Anglers can get their hands on Dentex, Amberjack, and Mackerel closer to shore or venture out in search of Tuna and Marlin. 
  • Vilamoura. Vilamoura isn’t only about upscale resorts and its luxury marina. A lot of anglers choose this spot for deep sea fishing trips, heading out to pursue Tuna, Marlin, and Swordfish. 
  • Portimão. This is an excellent destination for targeting world-class reef and pelagic fish species thanks to its easy access to deep waters and underwater structure. Near the reefs, you can target Dentex and Groupers, while Tuna bite in the open waters. 
  • Tavira Island. Tavira Island is actually part of the Ria Formosa Natural Park. This is one of the best spots for inshore fishing and surfcasting with lagoons, beaches, and sandbars full of fish. 
  • Faro. Who wouldn’t want to check the bite in the region’s capital? Faro offers everything from inshore to deep sea fishing adventures. Plus, you might also spot a couple of Sharks here! 
  • Quarteira: Quarteira is a family-friendly destination with a large selection of cozy fishing spots along its long beach. You can cast right from shore or hop on a boat to look for offshore species. 
  • Alvor: Based near the Alvor River estuary, Alvor is a gorgeous fishing village. Anglers can hit the nearby reefs or check what’s biting inshore. 

When to Go Fishing in Algarve

While the Algarve fishing scene thrives throughout the year, each month presents unique opportunities – as you’ve seen above. But no matter when you visit, there’s always something biting. Let’s take a closer look at what each season has in store. 

A view across the water towards a busy marina full of boats at sunset in the Algarve, with clouds in the orange sky

You can start the year off by targeting Seabream and Conger Eel near the rocky shores of Praia do Carvoeiro and the inshore waters around Lagos. Seabass become more active in February, rewarding anglers in the Arade River Estuary and the Ria Formosa Natural Park. 

As spring arrives, so do Mackerel, making them the catch of the month in March when surfcasters occupy the beaches of Praia da Rocha and Cabo de São Vicente. In April and May, Bluefish and White Seabream also arrive at the Albufeira Canyon. 

As summer approaches, every angler’s attention switches to the offshore waters. If you venture out deep into the Atlantic near the canyons, you could get your hands on Tuna and Swordfish. And the middle of summer is the best time to target Blue Marlin, the ultimate offshore challenge. The waters around Cape St. Vincent are the perfect setting for an unforgettable encounter with these prized species. 

Towards the end of the summer, you can get your hands on Mahi Mahi and Bonito in the Gulf of Cadiz. As summer transitions into fall, anglers concentrate on Red Mullet and Seabream. September is the best time to revisit the Ria Formosa Natural Park on the Arade River Estuary, while October offers a unique opportunity to target both Seabass and Seabream. Head to Praia do Carvoeiro or the rocky shores of Praia da Rocha. 

As the year draws to a close in winter, you can round off your Algarve fishing journey with an inshore fishing trip. 

Algarve Fishing FAQs

Fishing in the Algarve: Until We Fish Again

A view from a path on hill towards the rugged, rocky coastline of the Algarve, with crystal clear waters visible in the distance on a sunny day

Fishing in the Algarve isn’t something you’ll soon forget. It doesn’t really matter if you cast a line for Seabram from shore or chase the elusive Blue Marlin on a deep sea fishing adventure. Anglers come to the Algarve to feel connected with the mighty Atlantic and to experience local traditions. If you get the chance, fish with the locals – like the locals! The only thing left is to book a trip and head out to write your own Algarve fishing story. 

Have you ever been fishing in the Algarve? Was it the feisty Blue Marlin that made you fall in love with the place? Share your fish stories with us in the comments below!

Author profile picture

Lisa traded the lecture hall for the vast expanse of the world's waters, transforming her love of teaching into an insatiable passion for angling and storytelling. She would sail through oceans, lakes, and rivers, reeling in the world’s fish stories one catch at a time.

Comments (2)
Leave a reply
Your comment Required


Jul 7, 2024

I would like to do some last-minute fishing we’re located in Lagos. I would like to go out on a boat hopefully at 10 AM.

Leave a reply
Your comment Required

  • Tanya

    Jul 7, 2024

    Hi Darren, we have a couple of charters in your vicinity, but they seem to be booked out for the entire week. Please reach out to our Support Team at [email protected] for further help as they might be able to assist you and find alternatives for your last minute request. Tight lines!

    Leave a reply
    Your comment Required

View all replies