Stretching for 100 miles along the southern coast of Portugal the Algarve offers glorious year-round sunshine, countless sandy beaches, hidden coves, fresh Atlantic waters and a sultry Mediterranean feel. Algarve holidays are a fantastic way to visit the glorious Portuguese coastline.
Today as a meeting point between Europe and Africa, the Algarve is a fascinating mixture of Moorish, Portuguese and European cultures with a landscape more North African than European. Fig trees, orange and almond groves and meticulous vineyards dominate the gently undulating hills a few miles inland from the sea, bringing welcome bright colours to the landscape. Whether you face; north, south, east or west on Algarve holidays, this stunning location is certainly a sight for sore eyes.
As well as beaches, gentle countryside and charming, unspoiled old-fashioned villages a major attraction of the Algarve is its towns. Faro, Lagos and Tavira have evident Moorish influences, Silves, Salir and Alte are quiet mountain towns and a throwback to a time when life moved at a gentler pace.
What to do
Algarve holidays are fantastic for sports and activity based holidays. With great weather and superbly designed golf courses, the region has developed a well-earned reputation for offering world class golfing opportunities. But don’t overlook the fact that tennis has developed a loyal following too with many hotels offering excellent court facilities.
Given the large number of glorious south facing beaches water sports enthusiasts will never be disappointed. Jet-skiing, sailing, windsurfing, big-game fishing and scuba diving are all readily available, although options might be more limited in the winter months. Adrenaline junkies might prefer to move inland to try abseiling, caving, paint-balling, archery, mountain biking, trekking, horse-riding white–water rafting, or take to the wheel and go karting at the outdoor track in Almancil.
With a land rich in produce holidays to the Algarve are filled with culinary delights. As you might expect from a coastal region, the cuisine of the Algarve is heavily influenced by an expansive range of fresh fish and seafood. Caught daily by the local fishermen, sole, tuna, sardines, lobster, crab, squid and crayfish are the mainstay of most menus in the hotels and restaurants of the area. The traditional dish of the region, cataplana, comprises a succulent mix of ham, sausage, cockles, clams, onion, garlic, white wine and spices. You’ll also find a spicy taste of Portugal’s former colonies in Chicken piri-piri made with Angolan peppers. With a ready supply of almonds and figs, Portugal excels at sweet desserts.