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Welcome to The Algarve

 

Journey time: Flights from London to Faro take two hours 45 minutes

Best time to go to the Algarve: Portugal’s sunniest region has long dry summers; visit in May until September, when temperatures can still reach 26˚C.

Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton on holiday in Algarve
Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton on holiday in Algarve

The Algarve is a traditional sub-region Portugal continental province is the southernmost of all, is the most important tourist region in Portugal and one of the most important in Europe.

Its temperate Mediterranean climate, the sun shines all year round, the winters are short and mild, calm summer waters bordering its southern coast, its natural landscapes, historical and ethnographic heritage and delicious and healthy cuisine are attributes that attract millions of domestic and foreign tourists every year and make the Algarve the most visited region and one of the most developed in the country.

The Algarve is currently the third richest region of Portugal.

The summer lasts from May to November, with the peak season from June to August, the best is in September, when the summer is still strong and prices fall dramatically.

From November to February rain is torrential.

Prepare your bags with lightweight fabric clothing, colored or light-colored flat shoes and slippers flat, thin heel is not recommended because of the stone streets, a good sunscreen and hat.

Algarve is a place of beautiful people and good about life, young people seek to practice surfing and diving, families marvel at the particular ecotourism, bird watching, more than 200 species, Algarve also has great golf club , marina and a rich cultural life, dive into the waters of the Mediterranean, relax in the sun, biking through the historic streets and watch the sunset, are things of the Algarve.

The rich Mediterranean cuisine with fish, seafood, olive oil, gourmet cheeses, wines, spirits and sweets made base of typical fruits, besides the famous Pastel de Belém and handmade Prusuntos Monchique, all this makes the Algarve a gastronomic paradise.

Difficult will be the time to leave, Algarve invites you to live intensely and in communion with nature, you will certainly miss the warm weather and blue constant sky and sea.

Large luxury properties in Algarve has very attractive prices, on the beach and in the field, there are many opportunities for investment or to live.


 

Where to find the Algarve’s best beaches

 

The coast of the Algarve in southern Portugal is a seemingly endless series of some of Europe’s finest beaches. They are seriously spectacular stretches of sand: the climate and atmosphere are Mediterranean, but this is the Atlantic so good waves and watersports are available alongside more sedate, family-oriented paddling zones. There are more than 150 beaches to choose from but we’ve done the hard yards to bring you our favourites.

 

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Praia da Marinha, Lagoa

The south coast of the Algarve boasts several beaches with photogenic limestone rock stacks produced by erosion and dissolution. Their orangey-brown colours make them perfect for morning or evening photography, but they also provide a spectacular backdrop for beachside lounging at any time. Our favourite is Marinha, 8km southeast of Lagoa, where the cliffs have been chopped and changed into a series of pinnacles, crevasses and caves. No surprise that it’s the postergirl of Algarve beaches, and regularly ranked among the best beaches in Europe. To get here, try the picturesque 5.6km walk along the clifftops from Praia Vale Centeanes, near Carvoeiro.

Best for: photographers, ramblers, families


 

Praia da Falésia, Albufeira

This long straight strip of sand 10km east of Albufeira offers one of the region’s most
praia-da-falesia-albufeiraimpressive first glimpses of coast as you descend from the clifftop car park. It’s backed by stunning cliffs in white and several shades of ochre, gouged by weather into intriguing shapes and topped by typical pines. The areas near the car parks get packed in summer (especially as high tides cover much of the beach), but the strip is more  than 3km long so it’s easy enough to find plenty of breathing space. It’s a good beach for strolling, as the cliffscape constantly changes colours and shapes, and there’s a surprising range of hardy seaside plants in the cracks and crevices.

Best for: runners, painters, botanists


Praia de Odeceixe, Odeceixe

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Crossing into the Algarve from the north, the first beach is one of the region’s best. Praia de Odeceixe is a tongue of sand at a river mouth flanked by imposing dark and jagged schist cliffs (that’s a tongue-twister at the best of times…). It’s a particularly good option for families, as smaller children can paddle on the peaceful river side of the strand while older kids tackle the waves on the ocean side. At the beach itself is a surf school and eating options and the pretty village of Odeceixe is a half-hour walk away along a charming country road. The Rota Vicentina, a long-distance walking path that leads right to the southwestern tip of Portugal, passes through here and there are great day walks in the vicinity.

Best for: families, geologists, hikers


 

Ilha de Tavira, Tavira

The eastern coast of the Algarve is characterised by the estuaries and sand islands making ilha-de-tavira-taviraup the Parque Natural Ria de Formosa, an important habitat for bird and marine life. A series of spectacular island beaches sit offshore: Ilha de Tavira, easily reached by boat from the historic town of Tavira, has lots of sand to explore (it’s 11km long), offering wide, lonely stretches of beach, an anchor cemetery, a nudist zone, birdlife, sociable bars and lagoon-side paddling for small children. There’s a campsite here and some holiday rentals, so you can stay over and claim the island as your own.

Best for: campers, birdwatchers, toddlers


 

Meia Praia, Lagos

Resultado de imagem para Meia Praia, LagosStretching for 4km alongside the lively surfer party town of Lagos, this is a fun, social beach that fills up with families, locals, backpackers and more but always has plenty of spare sand to find a spot to snooze away the hangover. There are several good bars and restaurants on the beach itself, so you can make a day of it here before heading back into town to hit the bars and do it all over again.

Best for: party-lovers, families, seafood-lovers


Praia de Cacela Velha, near Manta Rota

praia-de-cacela-velha-algarve_csLonely and lovely, this bow-shaped spit of sand is divided from the mainland by an estuary. It can be reached by walking a couple of kilometres west from the beach at Manta Rota, or by hiring a boat across the estuary from Fábrica, near the postcard-pretty village of Cacela Velha. It’s perhaps the least crowded of all the Algarve beaches, so there’s plenty of space to contemplate the eternal, pace the boardwalks to examine the dune ecosystem or swim in the waters, where a shallow gradient makes it reliably warm. There’s a low-key LGBT scene here in summer.
Best for: skinny-dippers, philosophers, romantics


 

Praia da Arrifana, Aljezur

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In the Algarve’s west, Arrifana is a seductive fingernail-shaped cove embraced by cliffs, 10km southwest of the gateway town of Aljezur. Just to add to the picturesqueness, it also sports an offshore pinnacle and a petite traditional fishing harbour. The beach is wildly popular with surfers of all abilities and there are several surf schools in the area. The beach break is reliable, but there’s also a right-hand reef break that can offer some of the Algarve’s best surfing when there’s a big swell. There’s a small, very popular beachside restaurant and clifftop eateries near the ruined fortress up above, which offers breathtaking vistas. Good diving is also possible here.

Best for: surfers, divers, fisherfolk


Praia da Amoreira, Aljezur

The handsomest beach in the Aljezur area, this sits on the northern side of the very photo-praia-da-amoreira-algarve_csworthy river mouth of the Ribeira de Aljezur and is backed by wild dunes. It’s a beachgoer’s beach, the sort of place that presents a different aspect every day. It gets decent waves more often than not and there’s a bar-restaurant here but no other facilities. The beach is 9km northwest of Aljezur and it’s also accessible from the southern end (near Praia do Monte Clérigo) if you don’t mind getting a bit wet wading across the river. The riverbank is good for paddling and watching birdlife: you may even see an otter if you are quiet.

Best for: snackers, body-boarders, wildlife-watchers


 

Praia de Vale Figueira, Carrapateira

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One of the remoter west coast beaches, this is a long, wide and magnificent stretch of whitish sand with an ethereal beauty, backed by stratified cliffs hazy in the ocean spray. It lies 15km northwest ofCarrapateira and is reached by a rough, partly paved road at the end of which you will find no facilities. The beach faces due west and has pretty reliable surf, especially when a southeaster is blowing. It’s one of those lonely, romantic beaches that’s even great to stroll on when the weather’s nasty.

 


 

The best hotels in the Algarve

Vila Vita Parc

Comfortable and very family-friendly resort with a campus feel to it. Features a spa, a pitch-and-putt course, a breathtaking wine cellar, a little beach and some very good restaurants serving authentic Algarve food.

Address: Vila Vita Parc, Rua Anneliese Pohl, Alporchinhos, Algarve, Portugal
Telephone: +351 282 310 100
Website: vilavitaparc.com


Vila Joya

Chic boutique hotel with an oriental style. The spa (with its Ayurvedic doctor and its waterpaths) is quite stunning, as are the restful gardens.

Address: Vila Joya, Estrada da Galé, Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal
Telephone: +351 289 591 795
Website: vilajoya.com


Memmo Baleeira

A recently refurbished white cube of a hotel above Sagres harbour – a short walk from Martinhal beach. It is minimal without being cold-hearted. There is a kids’ club and a spa.

Address: Memmo Baleeira, Sítio da Baleeira, Sagres, Algarve, Portugal
Telephone: +351 282 624 212
Website: memmobaleeira.com


Pousada Convento Tavira

Swish hotel in a former nunnery at the heart of Tavira. A good base for exploring western Algarve, and for golfers who want more than bed and a cupboard for the clubs.
Address: Pousada Convento Tavira, Rua D. Paio Peres Correia, Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
Telephone: +351 210 407 680
Website: pousadas.pt


The best restaurants in the Algarve

 

Bugagem

An easy place to grab a bite after visiting Sagres Point. Take whatever fish happens to be on offer: you can’t go wrong.

Address: Bugagem, Praça de Republica, Vila Sagres, Algarve


A Rampa

One of several excellent chicken piri-piri places on the Estrada do Foia (or N-266), the road leading from the village of Monchique to the top of the mountain. Equally good (and just as unprepossessing) are Theresina and Paraíso da Montanha.


Arte Náutica

Terrific seafood served by the most cheerful waiters on the Iberian peninsula.
Address: Arte Náutica, Rua da Praia, Armação de Pêra, Portugal
Telephone: +351 282 314 875
Website: vilavitaparc.com/en/dining/off-site/arte-nautica


Ocean

Michelin-starred restaurant at Vila Vita Parc. Worth a visit for the amuse-bouches alone, including a perfectly circular ‘carrot crisp’ spiced with Arabian ras el hanout.
Address: Ocean, Rua Anneliese Pohl, Alporchinhos, Porches, Portugal
Telephone: +351 282 310 100
Website: restauranteocean.com


Vila Joya

Anders Schonnemann
Lounge at Vila Vita Parc resort
Possibly the best restaurant in Portugal. Dishes include celery ravioli with imperial caviar, and a sugarball dessert with compote of rhubarb.
Address: Vila Joya, Estrada da Galé, Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal
Telephone: +351 289 591 795
Website: vilajoya.com/en/cuisine/2-michelin-star-restaurant


What to do in the Algarve

Buy some interesting ceramics

Porches is the Algarve’s capital of ceramics, and one of the best workshops is Olaria de Porches on the main road. It sells vases, house numbers, candlesticks – and, of course, cups and plates.
Address: Porches Pottery, Porches, Algarve, Portugal
Telephone: +351 282 352 858
Website: porchespottery.com


Race a car

Resultado de imagem para aluguel de carro em AlgarveTake a day’s racing lessons in a Porsche at the Autodrómo Internacional do Algarve near Portimão. Or be zoomed round the course in the ‘taxi experience’.
Address: Autodrómo Internacional do Algarve, Sítio do Escampadinho, Mexilhoeira Grande, Portimão, Portugal
Telephone: +351 282 405 642
Website: autodromodoalgarve.com