The Algarve, Portugal
Welcome to Algarve Uncovered! Your Algarve holiday guide!
The Algarve, Portugal, is a famous holiday destination popular with those seeking bucket loads of sunshine and award winning golden sandy beaches, families, sports enthusiasts, nature lovers, even celebrities! If you have already been to the Algarve, then you know how much this small southern region of Portugal has to offer, but for those of you who haven't enjoyed an Algarve holiday yet, this is the Algarve Uncovered!
Why choose the Algarve, Portugal?
So what makes the Algarve such a great place? For the hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers from around the world that fly into Faro Airport or drive or sail from other parts of Europe each year, it's the promise of sun-drenched days at the beach, sharing in a lovely relaxed and welcoming family-orientated culture and endless options for dining out and things to do, for all ages. Algarve Holidays have long been thought of as great family holidays and beach holidays and the region has deservedly earned a reputation for golf holidays too. However the Algarve should also be known for its truly unique contrast between the golden coastline and the beautiful rural countryside, its many historic attractions and thousands of species of flora and fauna, making it the perfect holiday destination for interests such as photography, painting, nature watching, walking and other outdoor pursuits.
The Algarve, Portugal, is only a 3 hour flight (or less) from the United Kingdom, Ireland and many other parts of Europe and flights arrive to the region's sole international airport, Faro Airport (in central Algarve). Faro flights arrive daily throughout the year, with several arrivals and departures each day from airlines during the busiest summer months of July to September.
The beautiful sandy beaches are, of course, one of the major attractions for the Algarve (and understandably too, because they are some of the best in the world, with Blue Flag awards to prove it!) but as our Algarve tourist information shows, this sunny southern region of Portugal offers so much more as well! The fantastic Algarve Weather that delivers dry sunny days for most of the year, makes enjoying outdoor life a way of life. The Algarve is perfect for walking, sightseeing and cycling and for all the sports you can imagine – surfing, golf, tennis, horse riding, kayaking and even extreme sports such as kite surfing, rock climbing and wakeboarding. Families can enjoy water parks, theme parks and zoos, boat trips along the breath-taking coastline (with dinghy rides into the caves and 'grottos' and the opportunity to see dolphins too), crazy golf, karting and many other things to do in the Algarve!
Which Algarve resort will you choose?
Measuring only 160km x 50km, the Algarve, Portugal, is without a doubt the perfect holiday destination for families, couples, independent travellers and backpackers, mixed groups and retired people...in fact, anyone who wants to enjoy a lovely chilled break! For families, we suggest hitting the coast (that’s not difficult we know!) and for the most accessible family entertainment stay between Quarteira and Lagos (central and western Algarve). Albufeira, Praia da Rocha and Lagos are the best for partying for singles, couples and groups, or for a luxury holiday try the ‘Golden Triangle’ (Almancil - Quinta do Lagos - Vale do Lobo), Vilamoura or Ferragudo (an up and coming hotspot!). For culture and history, try Silves, Tavira, Lagos or Sagres and for quiet walks in beautiful countryside, visit Alte, Monchique, São Brás de Alportel, Alcoutim, Aljezur or the western Atlantic coast of the Algarve. For independent travellers and backpackers, travel down to the furthest points in western Algarve because it’s the end with the cool culture where everyone’s welcome! (Just head to a bar on your first day and you’ll fit right in!) For older generations, if you want accessible beaches and be able to walk around with ease try the flatter eastern Algarve resorts, such as Monte Gordo and Vila Real de Santo António. This area of the Algarve is also a little warmer throughout the year and the sea is too because it is closer to the Mediterranean Sea.
Every resort in the Algarve has its own unique character, offering totally different scenery, experiences, activities and gastronomic delights. Since the start of Algarve tourism (only really taking off back in the 1970s) some resorts have changed immensely, like Albufeira and Carvoeiro, and some areas have barely changed at all, such as Alte, Monchique and the Western Atlantic Coast. With central Algarve being the first place to ‘be hit’ by tourism there has been a mass of development, with hotels, tourism activities, bars, restaurants and shops popping up all over the place. However, areas such as the Western Atlantic Coast still hold on to their natural ‘ruggedness’ and there are still beaches where you won't find a beach bar or even a toilet!
Visit Portugal's Algarve on any budget!
One of the great things about a holiday in the Algarve is that it can be as cheap or as lavish as your budget will stretch to. There is a variety of Algarve Accommodation from campsites, rooms, guesthouses and hostels, to 5* hotels, luxury resorts and villas to rent. Restaurants, bars and cafes that are popular with Algarvian locals offer amazing value for money and a literal 'taste of Portugal' and at the other end of the scale there are fine dining establishments, including Michelin Star restaurants. In terms of things to do, at the top end there are spas, champagne cruises and yacht charters, but of course, the best things to do in the Algarve are free…the beaches, landscape and culture, and admission-charging historical tourist attractions are always very reasonable. Similarly with Algarve travel the public transport system is an incredibly cheap way of travelling around (and the buses and trains are both very efficient and clean) but if you've got the budget, you can use taxis, hire a car, 4x4, jeep or mini-van or even book a limousine!
There's always something going on in the Algarve!
There's always a great range of Algarve Events throughout the year, so whenever you decide to book your holiday, you'll be sure to catch something going on! The Autódromo Internacional do Algarve (Algarve Motor Park), near Portimão, held its first event in October 2008 with the World Superbike Championships and has a calendar of motorsports events. There are powerboat championships, car rallies, motocross events, sailing and golf championships. The Algarve also knows how to party and celebrates with festivals throughout the year. Mardi Gras (normally in February) sees carnivals across the region with the most spectacular taking place in Loulé; Liberation Day (April 25th) celebrates the end of a dictatorship in Portugal; medieval festivals are held in Silves, Lagos and Castro Marim; special Easter festivals take place in São Brás de Alportel and Loulé. There is a famous Sardine Festival in Portimão and Seafood Festival in Olhão and of course - Christmas and New Year in the Algarve, with New Year's Eve parties and fireworks in all of the main tourist resorts. During the summer months we can expect open-air concerts, beach parties, jazz festivals and a whole host of other fantastic events!