The Algarve is continental Portugal’s southernmost region, bathed by the Atlantic sea at its western and southern borders. It was from the Algarve, at Sagres Point, that Prince Henry “The Navigator” launched the Portuguese Age of Maritime Discoveries in the mid-1400’s.
Best known for its amazing soft climate, with plenty of sun throughout the year, this region’s very pleasant weather allows you to discover its gorgeous coastline against which the ocean presents itself with all colours available in the blue specter. Almost always calm and warm, it invites for a long swim or to try some nautical sports. Most of the 4 million tourists that travel to the Algarve each year enter through Faro’s Airport.
A Natural Park since 1987, the Ria Formosa is one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Portugal not to be missed during your holidays or relocation in the Algarve.
Encompassing 18.000 hectares, this sizeable system of lagoons and islands stretches for 60 km along the Algarve coastline from west of Garrão Beach (Faro) to Manta Rota (Cacela Velha), and it's composed of a labyrinth of islands (Deserta, Culatra, Armona, Tavira, and Cabanas). It encloses a vast area of sapal (marsh), Salinas (salt pans), creeks and dune islands. The marshes are an important area for migrating and nesting birds. You can see a huge variety of wading birds, along with ducks, shorebirds, gulls, and terns. It's the favored nesting place of the little tern and the rare purple gallinule.
One of the Algarve's, and Portugal's most emblematic sights, this huge natural seaside cave has a hole in its ceiling through which streaming sunlit illuminates the sandstone and beach below. Benagil is a small fishing village on the southern coast of the Algarve which has gained fame in recent years thanks to its incredible sea cave, however, there is much more than just a cave to explore in this picturesque Algarve destination.
Benagil is most famous for the sea cave located just around the corner from the beach. This cave has been featured in top destination lists and “places you have to see” all across the internet and thanks to visitors sharing their incredible photos of the cave it has become one of the top things to do in the Algarve.While the cave does not look very far from the main Benagil beach in the village it is not advised to swim around to the cave to look at it because of the currents in this area can be very strong and tides change quickly.
Often considered the best golf destination in the world by sports magazines and international associations of specialized tour operators, the Algarve lives up to this distinction while maintaining quality to the fullest.
With a privileged climate that allows playing throughout the whole year and a great diversity of fields, almost four dozen, the region is the paradise of the golfers. Most of the fields are set in preserved areas with stunning views. They are internationally recognized for the quality of their facilities, in which the architecture is signed by prestigious players and legendary champions such as Sir Henry Cotton, Rocky Roquemore, Arnold Palmer, and Ronald Frea. In addition to all this, a diverse network of hotels and good accessibility, ranging from direct flights to destinations around the world to the ease of transfers between Faro International Airport and various resorts. If you need a transfer, please accept our recommendation for the Portugal Airport Transfer company, which allows you to book your transfer directly on their website in the most simple and convenient way.
The natural mineral water of Monchique comes from the depths of the earth, on a slope in the Tectonian valley that divides the Serra de Monchique.
Monchique Water has been known since the time of the Roman presence in the Iberian Peninsula, as attested by the archaeological remains found in the region, and the Latin inscriptions referring to the water of "Mons Cicus" (Latin origin of Monchique) as "sacred".
A century before Christ, the waters of Monchique were already used to cure the tiredness of the body and the mind by the Romans, who called it "sacred waters", as evidenced by numerous and important archaeological finds found in the adjacent areas of the Monchique springs.
Unique in its surroundings, it combines the calm and tranquility of the Serra with the unparalleled benefits of Água de Monchique in the Thermal Spa.
At this cape in Sagres region, you’ll be standing at the southwesternmost point of Europe. The Cape of St. Vincent combines nature, culture, and myth. It feels quite amazing to walk around here because you will feel the magnitude of nature.
Beyond geographical significance, it’s also a jaw-dropping view, with cliffs 75 meters above the ocean and cinematic views of the rocky seascapes to the north and also to the east towards Sagres Point. The cliffs around have varying altitudes between 60 and 80 meters. The views from the cape are absolutely stunning, and you can just see cliffs and the Atlantic Ocean.
A ton of naval battles have been fought in the ocean off the cape, and there’s a lighthouse here, built in 1846 on the foundations of a derelict monastery badly damaged in the destructive 1755 earthquake and this was never repaired.
These are always obligatory if you’re holidaying with children, and fortunately, the Algarve has a few waterparks competing with the best in Europe.
Aquashow has activities such as the crazy Freefall, the Wild Snake, the Speed Race, the Twin Space Shuttle, FreeFall (the highest slide in Europe at 32 meters), and one of the biggest water roller coasters in the world where you get to travel at more than 70 km/h.
Slide & Splash is the largest one in Portugal and one of the largest on the continent, offering eccentric rides such as the Drops, the Big Wave, the Black Hole, or even the Kamikaze. It has 16 slides and pools and almost 2 hectares of grass for sunbath.
Aqualand in its turn has slides such as the Hydra (a bunch of slides in some confusing and mind-bending turns and swirls), the Crazy Jump, the Kamikaze, the Crazy Race, the Rapids or the Flying Mattresses.
Imagine 15.000 square meters of sand sculptures. Welcome to Sand City. Sand City is the largest sand sculpture theme park in the world! All the sand sculptures are original and unique pieces of art. Every year, about 60 professional sand sculptors of different nationalities work on it. To build these sand sculptures, they use about 65.000 tons of sand.
One of the biggest attractions in the region, Sand City has become a must-see for anyone coming on holiday to the Algarve. If you are looking for authentic experiences and things to do in the Algarve, Sand City is undoubtedly one of the best choices! For the last 16 years, FIESA, the International Festival of Sand Sculptures in Pêra, Algarve, has delighted people of all ages. Something unique to consider….no doubt during the day, the Algarve sun allows for a clear view of the meticulous detail of the sand sculptures. However, visiting again at night…Sand City’s array of indirect lighting makes for a mesmerizing and fantasy-like experience.
The coastal strip between Odeceixe and Burgau is known as the Vincentina Coast and is a different part of the Algarve, where the preserved nature has a strong, wild character, creating landscapes of breathtaking majesty.
This area is part of the Natural Park that starts further north in the Southwest Alentejo and is the longest stretch of protected Portuguese coast. The beaches follow one another, some of them long swathes of sand stretching into the distance, others smaller, framed by magnificent schist and limestone cliffs.
The choppy sea produces a natural symphony that serves as the soundtrack to this trip by the sea.Here you will find little-frequented beaches, some almost deserted with hidden accesses, such as Praia das Adegas, which is reserved for naturism. Vale dos Homens, Carriagem, Amoreira and Monte Clérigo are other beaches to explore between cliffs covered with vegetation, which here and there offer fabulous views over this rugged coastline.
The main public transportation system available in the Algarve is the BUS network, however, be prepared to find a Bus system quite different from what you have back home. The main company for inter-city buses is EVA. They connect most of the Algarve’s cities and travel to Lisbon and Spain as well. For more information, visit their timetables for all routes.
As for the Faro urban routes, there is a new bus company named Próximo that covers the whole city as their map shows. When you arrive at the Faro airport, you can catch one of Proximo’s buses to the centre of Faro and then catch an EVA bus or the CP train to another city. The train line connects Lagos to Vila Real de Santo António, as you can see on this line’s timetable on the CP website.
The Algarve offers 3000 hours of sun per year and a weak average precipitation rate. Winter exists but is normally short, rainy and soft, with temperatures going from 10ºC (min) to 18ºC (max) on average. Spring is always uncertain in terms of rain, but temperatures normally go from 12ºC (min) to 22ºC (max). Summer in the Algarve is long, hot and dry, extends from the middle of May to the end of September, with temperatures oscillating between 19ºC (min) and 30ºC (max), on average. In the interior is much hotter than at the coastline. The highest ever recorded temperature in the Algarve was 44ºC at the Faro Airport region in July 2004. Autumn normally begins with the first rains of October and an average temperature drop to about 16ºC (min) and 25ºC (max).
Portugal may not have had the same media attention like Spain or Italy or France in Europe, but its gastronomy is world renown and all Portuguese locals know the true value of a proper meal paired with the right wine and with the best table with friends and family. The Algarve is no exception to them and neither to you. Dive into the local dishes and let yourself be blown away in the Algarve. Here follow a few of our recommendations for a few fantastic dining and bar experiences in the Algarve:
- 2 Passos Restaurant
- Casa do Lago
- Morgadinho Restaurant
- Faz Gostos
- Blanco Beach
- Sky Bar Carvoeiro
Faro International Airport (FAO) opened on July 11, 1965, and is located just 4 km from the city of Faro in the parish of Montenegro in the Algarve. It is currently the third largest airport in terms of traffic in Portugal just after Humberto Delgado Airport (Lisbon) and Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport (Porto). Currently, most of the movements registered at the Faro International Airport are due to the large increase in the low-cost connections, increasing its influence in the southwestern corner of the country. To cope with increased traffic, the airport has been expanded and substantially modernised in recent years featuring now a track with 2,490 meters of length and 45 of width by which can receive all types of aeroplanes.
From the southwest coast near Aljezur to the east end near Vila Real de Santo António are about 200 kilometres of very diverse beaches. If you’re looking for less known and less explored beaches, between golden cliffs, we suggest you visit the Amoreira, Monte Clérigo, Arrifana or Carrapateira beaches, on the Algarve’s west coast. Further south you can also find this type of beach in Porto de Mós, Praia Dona Ana, Praia do Camilo, Alvor, Vau or Carvoeiro. If you’re looking for more cosmopolitan beaches, near the cities with plenty of nightlife entertainment options for after the beach, you can choose from Praia da Rocha, in Portimão, or Praia da Galé and Praia da Oura, in Albufeira. You also have resort beaches like Vale do Lobo and Quinta do Lago, with a more glamorous environment. If you like to walk on the beach, you can find extensive beaches perfect for families with children in Cabanas, Manta Rota, Altura, Praia Verde and Monte Gordo.
One of the most fun things to do on your holiday is shopping in the Algarve. The best thing about shopping in the Algarve are the opening hours. From early morning till late in the evening the shops are open. So whether you are looking for new bathers before hitting the beach, an easy shop break after lunch or dinner, the international, Portuguese and designer stores are there to please you. In most of the centers of the main cities and towns such as Faro, Albufeira and Lagos, you will find an array of shops. However, there are three important shopping areas that are most worth the visit. They are MAR Shopping Algarve, Forum Algarve and Aqua Portimão. In these shopping malls you will find a wide selection of shops, restaurants and a cinema. Also in these shopping malls entertainment is key, with many (musical) events that are hosted. Find out all the secrets about shopping in the Algarve.
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