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Algarve is best for...

Animal lovers

Zoomarine - dancing dolphins, sea lions and parading parrots are just some of the attractions at this excellent marine zoo


Visit Parque Mina theme park and Lagos Zoo with over 120 different species of animals


The unspoilt sandy beach at Culatra


Language: The language spoken in the Algarve is Portuguese

Currency: The currency used in the Algarve is Euro (€)

Local time: The time in the Algarve is the same as GMT/UK time

Fly to: Faro Airport is 4km west of the city of Faro

Flight time from UK: 3 hours

Tourist Information: Further Algarve tourist information can be found here.

Visa & Health: Before you travel, click here for recommendations and advice on visas and health for your holiday to the Algarve.

Weather & Climate

Temperatures: Mid to late 20s (°C) in summer; mid-teens (°C) in winter

Best time to visit Algarve: May or September when the days are pleasantly warm and the nights are balmy. If you like the sun, you’ll love the Algarve weather during the summer. Expect long, hot days. The Algarve’s short winters are pleasant and mild

Getting Around

By hire car: Hiring a car is a great option if you fancy exploring the Algarve at your own pace. Enjoy a leisurely drive through the town of Salir with its white-washed houses and Moorish fortress, or take a scenic route along the coastline. Many taxi drivers speak good English and will double-up as tour guides. Popular areas such as Albufeira have a number of ranks. Be aware that it is standard for taxi drivers to charge extra for luggage.


Carnival time: Taking place every February is the Loulé Carnaval, one of the oldest carnivals in Portugal. A parade of brightly decorated floats travel through the town as the locals dress up in extravagant costumes and dance to non-stop samba music.

For sandcastle lovers: See world-renowned sand sculptors create works of art at the International Sand Sculpture Festival (FIESA), the biggest sand-sculpture event in the world. An enormous 35,000 tonnes of sand is used during the festival which takes place between May and October.

Travel back in time: In August, travel back to the Middle Ages at Castro Marim’s Medieval Festival for historical re-enactments, jousting tournaments and children’s storytelling.

Holidays in the Algarve

On Portugal’s southern coast, the Algarve offers everything from sandy beaches and lively bars, to cobbled streets, gypsy markets and seafood restaurants. It's famous for the great golf courses that line the coast, and there are plenty of watersports on offer too. Kids will be spoilt for choice when it comes to water parks and zoos, whilst grown-ups will love discovering its regional dishes like cataplana, a delicious medley of pork and clams served in a traditional copper pan.

Prices start from £223

The most popular destination for Algarve holidays is Albufeira, which is situated at the centre of the Portugal’s south coast. Holidaymakers of all ages love it for its sweeping, sandy beaches and huge array of shops, bars and restaurants. Just 15km west of Albufeira is the lively resort of Armacao de Pera. Take a walk down the bustling promenade before stopping in one of its many bars for a long, cool drink. The ancient fishing town of Lagos can be found in the southwest part of the Algarve. Explore its medieval city walls and pick up some handcrafted ceramics to take home.


Originally a fishing village, this resort has grown into one of the largest and most popular resorts on the Algarve, due to its fashionable nightlife, amenities and sandy beaches. The resort’s old town is a lovely area to explore on foot. Popular theme park, Zoomarine, makes this one of the best family resorts in the Algarve.

Armacao de Pera

Increasing in popularity year after year; its fine-sand beach is backed by a palm-lined promenade and is one of the longest on the Algarve. Shops, bars and restaurants line the street that runs down through the old town. Wander its cobbled streets and try a quaint little restaurant before heading back to your Armacao de Pera hotel.


One of the Algarve’s best resorts is Lagos, an ancient fishing town famed for its medieval buildings, idyllic sandy beaches and thriving nightlife. The centre of town features traditional, white-washed buildings and narrow alleyways whilst the marina is modern and stylish with plenty of shops, bars and restaurants.

Recommended offers in Algarve

Portugal, Algarve, Armacao De Pera

Hotel Vila Gale Nautico
4 Stars

7 nights All Inclusive flying from Belfast

  • Bright and modern, with an attractive nautical theme
  • A short stroll from the beach
  • Perfect for families and couples
Thomas Cook

Stay from £754

Portugal, Algarve, Vilamoura

Hotel Dom Pedro Golf
4 Stars

7 nights Half Board flying from Belfast

  • Close to the attractive marina and many golf courses
  • Shared facilities with two other sister hotels
  • Kid's water playground
Thomas Cook

Stay from £564

Portugal, Porches, Armaçao de Pera

LTI Pestana Viking Beach & Spa Resort
4 Stars

7 nights Bed & Breakfast flying from London Southend

  • Direct access to the beach
  • Nestled in lush gardens
  • Sports and leisure facilities and a host of nearby activities including plenty of golf
Flexible Trips

Stay from £538

Portugal, Algarve, Vilamoura

Tivoli Marina Vilamoura
5 Stars

7 nights Bed & Breakfast flying from Belfast

  • Chich and modern interiors
  • Great location overlooking the beach and marina
  • Fab dining options, including a steak house and lakeside restaurant
Thomas Cook

Stay from £845

Portugal, Algarve, Vilamoura

Vila Galé Ampalius
4 Stars

7 nights Bed & Breakfast flying from London Lutont

  • Direct beach acces
  • Outdoor swimming pool
  • Close to the marina, shops and restaurants
Thomas Cook

Stay from £485

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