Welcome to Algarve
Aaah, Algarve ... Few places in Europe can compete with the beauty of this region, which, in the south of Portugal, has all the Latin heat for a very hot summer. The Algarve is the land of some of the best beaches in the world, with year-round sunshine and much of the local economy focused on tourism. From Faro, the capital, to Albufeira, Vilamoura and Lagos, the region offers excellent hotels, quality restaurants with the best fish of Portuguese gastronomy, and varied entertainment options. Nowadays, the number of English, French, Germans and Brazilians who find the Algarve is the ideal place to live, not just visit. It is a safe and quiet region, and the Portuguese people are increasingly prepared and accustomed to welcoming tourists with open arms. Golf courses, fishing trips, parties that last the night, cliffs that kiss the sea on paradisiacal beaches, kayak walks between sea caves, small fishing villages and houses with the typical Portuguese tiles. You will love the Algarve.
Top 7 Things To Do In Algarve
A popular destination for sun-seekers, Faro has a reputation as being an overrun party beach town for much of the year. Visitors who use it as a base to explore the more remote areas of the Algarve in the off-season will experience much more of what southern Portugal has to offer; but those looking for no more than a tan and cocktails won't be disappointed. In winter, it is a beautiful, peaceful corner of Southern Europe with plenty sun shining in the town with Iberian and Moorish-influenced architecture. The people are more friendly than other parts of Europe. Many speak a bit of English, but are very appreciative of any attempts at Portuguese.
Lagos is a historic and lively city that is situated on the beautiful Western Algarve coastline. As a holiday destination, Lagos offers visitors glorious beaches, buzzing nightlife and a charming historic centre, which has retained its traditional character and charm. Within the Lagos region is an abundance of varied sights and activities, which makes the city a fantastic destination for tourists who want more than just great beaches and glorious weather for their holiday.
Sagres is home to the most impressive landscape in the Algarve. The force of Nature is so strong in this south-westerly tip of continental Europe that visitors will soon understand why ancient settlers deemed it sacred, how it lured 15th Century Portuguese explorers to set sail into the unknown and how it has managed to retain its original striking beauty.
Albufeira is a coastal city in the southern Algarve region of Portugal. It’s a former fishing village that has become a major holiday destination, with sandy beaches and a busy nightlife strip. Local fishermen now use the modern marina, also a base for diving, dolphin-watching and boat trips. It's surrounded by candy-colored apartments, with a waterfront promenade.
First, there was a coastline of fabulous, long sandy beaches and then there was Vilamoura. Unlike many of the Algarve’s coastal resorts that started out as traditional fishing villages, the sophisticated resort of Vilamoura was purpose-built with the most discerning holiday maker’s requirements in mind. Environmentally conscious development, attractive landscaping and tasteful design led to the creation of this quality resort that is home to every sport, leisure, entertainment and amenity imaginable and one of the Algarve’s most sought after holiday destinations.
In the Algarve, archaeological remains have been discovered tracing settlement back over 6,000 years. However, it was under the Roman empire that the southern coastline was settled in a more organised fashion. The city of Balsa was established in the 1st century ad on the route between Ossonoba (Faro) and Baesuris (Castro Marim). Its main activities were then fishing and fish salting. Benefiting from a favourable geographical location, between the Algarvian hills and the course of the Gilão river, it was also chosen by the Moors for settlement between the 8th and 9th centuries. It was then named "Tabira", root of the current Tavira. However, there is no conclusive evidence linking Balsa and Tabira to exactly the same site... The Christian Reconquest took Tavira in 1242 under Paio Peres Correia, a knight of Sant'Iago. Two years later, king Sancho II gave these lands to the Order for their reorganisation and settlement. Also in the 13th century, the Castle and walls were strengthened and the Church of Santa Maria (Saint Mary) was built.
Traditionally an important trading and fishing port, Portimão has now become one of the Algarve’s most popular holiday destinations and a modern city offering fabulous beaches, proximity to the natural beauty of the Alvor estuary and plenty of animation. The attraction of the area lies in the amazing diversity of its countryside and beaches. Holidaymakers in search of sun and sea will have the choice of longer beaches, such as the much-loved Praia da Rocha, or any one of the smaller, more sheltered ones like Prainha, lying westwards of the city.