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Whether you’re heading on holiday to the Algarve to explore the quaint towns of Carvoeiro and Praia Do Rocha, surf the waves of Lagos or do a bit of boutique shopping in Vilamoura, this beautiful region of Portugal does it all. From a distance the Algarve is instantly recognizable with whitewashed houses and layers of terracotta roofs – it’s a paradise for photographers and artists.
The Algarve translates, not very imaginatively, as ‘the west’. Surprisingly enough, it’s found on the west of Portugal where the sun shines all year round and the Atlantic Ocean laps at your toes. There are no wet and miserable winters here, just sunshine, sandcastles and sangria.
The Algarve, located in the very south of Portugal, is one of Europe’s most sought-after destinations due to its rich historical heritage and its sun-drenched sandy beaches, which often enjoy very warm weather. Treat yourself to a trip to the Algarve and enjoy this region that expertly combines tourism with tradition.
The Algarve is renowned across the globe for its world-class resorts and courses. Professionals travel thousands of miles to tee off and enjoy playing in the warm sunshine. You don’t have to be a pro to take part though as many of the courses, particularly those found near major tourist hotspots, do not require an exclusive membership. Dig your best set of clubs out, or just rent to avoid extra baggage charges, and embark on a golfing adventure. Let’s start with the capital, Faro – a top pick on any trip in the Algarve. This medieval city has preserved its historic centre, dotted with colourful facades and little squares. The lifestyle here is still very traditional, and this is where most of the must-visit museums and historical monuments are located. The latter is a particularly wonderful way to make the most of the Algarve coastline. Whether you’re snorkelling or surfing, the warm water will always make it pleasant experience and the clean sandy beaches are the perfect place for your audience to get comfortable. The pretty town of Albufeira, for its part, combines the charm of cliff-lined beaches with the authenticity of a characterful town centre, where vibrant nightlife awaits. If you prefer beach-side holidays, you’ll be in your element at the seaside resorts of Vilamoura, Olhos de Agua and Praia de Falésia!
When you travel to the Algarve, you can take advantage of the region’s great variety. Close to the coasts, the vibe is more family-orientated, and most of the seaside resorts offer stays focused on lazing on the beach and water sports. For something more typical, head to the mountains for a hike, or visit historical cities such as Faro. To discover the region’s delicious cuisine, try the lesser-known spots in the major cities and the little village inns. Here you will be served typical dishes such as Clams Cataplana, octopus marinated in wine or an assortment of seafood.
Most of the monuments to visit in the Algarve are natural sites shaped by the elements. Among the most impressive is Cape St Vincent, Europe’s southernmost point. Today, it plays host to a nature reserve, home to many animals, including eagles and otters. If you’re a lover of hiking, you can set off on marked trails in the heart of lush vegetation in the Serra de Monchique, which separates the Algarve from the rest of Portugal. If you plan on visiting museums during your trip to the Algarve, head to Faro where you can discover the collections of the archaeological museum, the ethnography museum and the maritime museum.
Holidays in the Algarve can vary from action-packed, thrill seeking trips to where you do absolutely nothing. The sunny region can be visited any time of year and you’ll not have to worry about packing that extra jumper ‘just in case’. However, Algarve es one of our top picks for a holiday in autumn, checkout more ideas on our where to go in September for holiday.