Measuring 160km x 50km, Algarve, Portugal, is without a doubt the ideal holiday destination for couples, families, independent backpackers, and travelers, mixed groups and retired people.
It’s a region of hidden delights, of golden beaches framed by beautifully wrought limestone rocks, which will pull you back time and time again. Most of the pale sands are child-friendly, plus many come with blue flag credentials.
And there are also the mountains, where people live in harmony with nature and maintain interesting traditions that they love to share. Many of these natural areas are protected and considered a world heritage by UNESCO.
The world’s best destination to buy property in the sun
Algarve’s mild climate has attracted interest from Northern Europeans wishing to have a holiday residence or home in the region. Being a region of Portugal, and therefore in the European Union, any EU citizen has the right to freely buy property and reside with little formality in this area. British expatriates, followed by Scandinavians, Dutch, and Germans, are among the largest groups wishing to own a home in this sunny region of Portugal.
What to do in Algarve Portugal?
This region is perfect for sightseeing, walking, and cycling and for all the sports you can imagine – tennis, surfing, horse riding, kayaking and even extreme sports such as rock climbing, kite surfing, and wakeboarding. There are powerboat championships, motocross events, car rallies, sailing and golf championships.
The most popular hobby is golf. Whether you are a skilled or amateur player, there’s a variety of courses and international players flock to the Portugal Masters at Vilamoura. To relax, you can have various treatments in the spas and thalassotherapy centers and in the Monchique Thermal Baths. You can also visit the three exhilarating water parks in Albufeira, Vilamoura, and Carvoeiro.
For families wanting to enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere, then a holiday to Vale do Lobo or Quarteira would be more up your street. Both are friendly resorts that are suited to water sports, but with a quieter nightlife and the chance to unwind on unspoiled beaches.
Every resort in Algarve has its own unique character, offering totally different experiences, scenery, activities and gastronomic delights.
Albufeira is the most popular resort town in the region, and this is because it excels at everything wanted for a holiday destination. Once a small fishing village, it has now developed to be a very touristic area. The beach is massive, there are great holiday activities and the pretty old town is crammed full of shops, restaurants, and bars. Also, there are many churches in Albufeira that are worth exploring if you’re interested in the region’s past.
If you want an active holiday, Vilamoura is the place to come. Vilamoura attracts the wealthy, golfers, yachtsmen, celebrities and in fact, anyone who just fancies enjoying a rather nice place in the sun. The area around the marina is home to high-end bars and restaurants – perfect for couples seeking a romantic evening together. Additionally, the best of Vilamoura nightlife happens in its top party houses including Kadoc on Estrada de Vilamoura, Casino Vilamoura, and Blackjack Disco Club.
Faro, gateway to the region, offers trendy shops, lively cafes, grand houses and cobblestoned streets. It is situated on the edge of the Ria Formosa national park, a series of saltwater mudflats and lagoons that are a haven for wildlife and migratory birds. In the Cidade Velha – Old Town – you can browse around the 13th Century Cathedral and Bishop’s Palace. If you like shopping, don’t miss out on Forum Algarve shopping mall – it’s on the principal road (EN125) approaching from Faro airport side of town.
Tavira, 18 miles from the Spanish border and straddling the Gilao river, is considered to be one of the most scenic towns. Tavira offers stunning beaches that are only a short ferry ride from the town center. If you enjoy shopping, then don’t miss the Gran-Plaza shopping mall – it has an amazing selection of shops, cinemas, and places to eat as well as a large Continente supermarket.
How to get to Algarve Portugal?
This fantastic destination is only a three-hour flight (or less) from Ireland, United Kingdom, and many other parts of Europe; flights arrive at the region’s sole international airport, Faro Airport. It is the main airport of the region. On arrival, there are numerous selections of car hire options, both at static desks in the airport and also within the terminal at a meeting point. From the airport, the train station and bus terminals can be reached by taxi.
When to go to Algarve Portugal?
Most holidaymakers visit between June and October to catch the most of the sun. However, weather-wise it is pretty safe most of the year. The most likely times to encounter heavy rain are late October and November. In December and January, although it’s colder at night, there’s often warm sunshine in the middle of the day and, of course, much lower hotel rates.
The best beaches in Algarve Portugal
All along the coastline, the unique beaches are strung out like pebbles of amber on a necklace. Each beach is a gem waiting to be discovered, each with its own unique charm. Here are some of my favourites from the hundreds that are accessible: Praia da Marinha (between Carvoeiro and Albufeira), Amoreira (the northern edge of the West Coast town of Aljezur), Praia do Armado (western area), Gale Beach (near Albufeira), Joao Vaz (village of Raposeira), and Praia do Vau (between Alvor and Praia da Roch).