When people talk about the Algarve, they’re often referring to the south of mainland Portugal. The Algarve consists of cities such as the capital Faro, Lagos, Albufeira and Vilamoura. Beaches are the main attraction here, with over 200km of clean golden sands and fresh sea water. The Algarve is one of the most popular destinations in Europe, thanks to the combination of endless sunshine, great value food and stunning natural beauty.
Top Resorts and Hotels
The Algarve stretches over 5000 square kilometres and includes 16 municipalities, so depending on what kind of holiday you’re after, there are plenty of different places to stay. The beach resort of Lagos is one of the most well-known spots with sandy coves hidden behind golden cliffs – great for surfing!
East of Lagos is Vilamoura, a bustling marina city with chic restaurants and luxury shops. One of the most glamorous resorts in Portugal, Vilamoura is the perfect place for an action-packed trip – there’s everything from championship golf courses and a ritzy casino, to champagne cruises for that special occasion.
For a more traditional take on Portugal, Albufeira is worth a look. The largest holiday spot in the Algarve, Albufeira boasts a pretty old town with well-worn cobbled streets, colourful markets and open-air cafes. If you’re looking to party, head out to the beach bars and clubs after sunset for drinks and dancing.
Attractions and Things to Do
Some serious sun, sea and sand time is essential on any Algarve holiday. Meia Praia in Lagos is the longest beach in the region and claims to be the best beach in Portugal but the nearby Praia da Marinha definitely gives it a run for money. Go to both and then decide for yourself!
Watersports, golf and tennis are also popular, while the waterparks of Aqualand and Zoomarine are great for kids.
Get back in touch with nature and enjoy some peace and quiet with the stroll through the Ria de Alvor Nature Reserve in the sleepy fishing village of Alvor.
Or, if you fancy or a historical day trip, visit the town of Silves to see the old Moorish castle, which dates back to the 12th century. There is also a crumbling cathedral with ancient tombs on the top of the hill.
The Algarve is also famous for its unique cuisine, and you definitely can’t visit without trying the delicious Peri-Peri chicken and a glass of local port – or even the strong spirit Medronho if you’re feeling really game!
Annual Temperature and Rainfall
The Algarve receives over 3,000 hours of sunshine a year. Summers are pleasantly hot, with average temperatures from 25C to 30C, but it can also get up to 40C. Winters are mild, while spring, March – May, is a great time to travel with the countryside awash with native flowers and blossoms.