Stretching the length of Portugal’s southern coast, the Algarve is a region that’s become synonymous with sun, sea and sand. One of Europe’s most popular holiday destinations, it’s easy to understand the allure of its beaches, rugged cliffs and arcing bays. At its heart remains the core of traditional villages and towns that were once all that was here, and although development has happened, it’s not taken anything away from the natural beauty of the region. With the best climate in Europe, seafood to die for and plenty of local culture still to be found, the Algarve remains as popular as ever.
Areas & Neighbourhoods in the Algarve
Faro - The regional capital and biggest city, it’s a whitewashed urban centre with plenty of resorts if you’re looking for a beach break with plenty of time for tanning.
Western Algarve - A national park and nature reserve, the western end of the Algarve is very different. Expect unspoiled stretches of cactus covered hills and woodlands with some expansive but largely deserted beaches facing out to the Atlantic.
Lagos - This historic town on the south coast is a popular destination with a young crowd looking to have some fun and catch some waves.
Albufeira - One of the region’s most popular resorts, this one time small fishing village has transformed into a premier resort, largely thanks to its beautiful beaches.
Things to See in the Algarve
If you’re looking for the kind of holiday where you slap on some suncream, lie on the beach and soak up some sun, then the Algarve is the perfect destination. However, there’s plenty more to discover in the region if you can get yourself off that beach towel. Once a series of small fishing villages, most resorts still have charming old towns where you can find locals going about their business as they always have. Visit the ‘bone chapels’ along the coast, or head out to the western end to see how the region looked before development took place. It’s a nature reserve dotted with a few small, sleepy villages, where you can find excellent seafood and pristine beaches, including Bordeira.
Things to Do in the Algarve
Watersports are readily available in most of the resorts along the Algarve. Surfing is big towards the western end, with a big scene in the lively town of Lagos. Silves, located right on the bottom corner of the region, is a hippy town where you’ll find laid back vibes and a red stone castle to explore. Visit sea caves, kayak along the coast or dive at the Ocean Revival Park. If you’re looking to stay dry, then try mountain biking or hiking, with the views from Foia peak being well worth the effort. Nature lovers can also take a boat out on a dolphin watching trip, with frequent sightings along the coast.
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