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Welcome to Algarve

Golden beaches, pretty fishing towns and awesome water parks promise an exciting getaway for all ages.

The Algarve is Portugal's southernmost province and offers some of the finest beaches and recreational facilities in Europe.

The white-sand beaches are clean, and the fishing, water sports and golfing are good. For those who like to experience the true essence of their holiday destination a drive along the coast will take you through picturesque villages with their distinctive Algarvian chimneys.

Of course, the other main draw to the area is the weather. Normally it is comfortably warm and the people are friendly so it is easy to see why the Algarve is very popular among European travellers.

The Algarve region is separated from the rest of the country by a series of low-lying mountains. Its capital, Faro, is built around a charming harbour beside a wide lagoon.

Most of the Algarve's modern holiday resorts were once small fishing villages. Therefore they still feature central areas with narrow streets, whitewashed houses and ancient churches. However it is the long sandy beaches which have ensured its place as a holiday Mecca.

The coastline stretches 100 miles (161km) from Cape St. Vincent to Vila Real de Santo Antonio on the border with Spain. Much of this area is now home to high-rise hotels and holiday apartment blocks, especially to the west of Faro.

Algarve is synonymous with the almond trees that are found throughout the region. There are also groves of lemons, oranges, carobs, pomegranates and figs that are grown inland in what is known as the 'garden of Portugal'.

And of course, no holiday destination would be complete without numerous golf courses which have become associated with the real estate developments and major resorts.

Penina Hotel and Golf Resort

Penina Hotel and Golf Resort

Dona Filipa Hotel

Dona Filipa Hotel

Weather

The Algarve has the best all year round climate in Europe. With long hours of sunshine and short periods of rainfall (generally between November and March), it is a European paradise for all sun worshipers.

 

The average monthly temperatures are:

°C

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Day

16

16

18

19

21

24

27

27

26

22

19

16

Night

9

9

10

11

13

16

17

18

17

15

12

10



Shopping

Shopping

The main souvenirs people bring home from the Algarve are hand painted ceramic tiles (azulejos), gold filigree work, embroidered goods and other handcraft items.

 

There is a wealth of shopping opportunities in the various resorts. Below is a sample of what is on offer:

 

  • Faro

o   The main shopping is along Rua Santo Antonio & Rua Francisco Gomes

o   There is a market on the Largo de Mercado

o   Specialities are handcrafts: baskets, embroidery, local wines, clothing and ceramic tiles

  • Vilamoura

o   A purpose built resort with plenty of shopping

o   Designer outlets, shoe stores, sports outlets, perfumeries, tobacconists, jewellers etc.

o   For some local colour head for the Saturday market at nearby Loule

  • Lagos

o   Flea market

o   Lots of shops in the pedestrianised Old City

o   Main produce are local wares – wickerwork, filigree jewellery, copperware, leather goods and wine

  • Albufeira

o   Everything from seafront kiosks to large shopping malls

o   Main mall is Modelo Centre in Rua de Municipio

o   The lively Algarve shopping centre complex in Guia is nearby (includes high street shops, cinema and bowling)

  • Tavira

o   A self catering area providing supermarkets and souvenir shops (selling cork, lace, embroidery and shell art)

o   ‘Old Market’ is the upmarket handcraft shopping centre

 

Food & Drink

  • Casa Grande Restaurant

  • A Máscara Restaurant

  • Minar Restaurant

  • Museo do Lagar Restaurant

  • Beira Rio Cafetaria

  • La Ruina Restaurant

  • Os Azeiteros Restaurant

  • Casa de Forno Restaurant

  • Rosas Cantina Restaurant

food-dirck

entertainment

The Algarve may not be as buzzing as Ibiza but it has plenty on offer to keep you entertained when the sun goes down. The number of bars and clubs will depend on where you are staying, but if you like to spend the night partying then head for Albufeira.

 

Here are a few of the venues you might like to try out:

 

  • Faro – the main area is along Rua do Prior, Rua Conselheiro and Rua Infante Dom Henrique. Clubs include Upa Upa Café, Dux and Fashion Kaffe
  • Vilamoura – there are several bars and discos (e.g. Kadoc) plus an International Casino
  • Lagos – the streets are lined with buskers and entertainers in the evenings. Bars and clubs include Bar Amuras, Red Eye Bar and Zanzibar
  • Albufeira – most of the bars are around the town square or The Strip. They include Capitulo, Kiss, Sir Harry’s and Locomia
  • Tavira – a quieter area but there are still a few bars and cafes (e.g. Acro Bar and The Poet)

 

excursions

Wherever you are in the Algarve there will always be plenty to do. Listed below are some of the places you might like to visit. Of course, you can always take a day trip to Lisbon to experience the Portuguese city life too.

 

  • Faro

o   Old Town (Cidade Velha)

o   Igreja do Carmo (chapel decorated with bones)

o   Ria Formosa Natural Park

o   Estoi with its Roccoco Palace and Roman ruins

o   Archaeological Municipal Museum

o   Maritime Museum

  • Vilamoura

o   Visit nearby Loule with its Moorish Castle and 13th century church

  • Lagos

o   Customs House

o   Church of Igreja de Santo Antonio

o   Municipal Museum

  • Albufeira

o   Virtual Archaeological Museum

o   Municipal Art Gallery

o   Zoo Marine Park (in Guia)

o   Xorino Cave

  • Tavira

o   Moorish Castle

o   Various churches

 

Health & Safety

The water is generally safe to drink throughout Portugal. At times the temperatures can be high in the Algarve so it’s wise to always carry water with you in the daytime.

 

Should you require any medication whilst in Portugal, the pharmacies are recognisable by a green cross on a white background displayed outside or within the store window.