Striking rock formations extend skywards from azure waters as the sun warms the sandy coastline. The southernmost part of Portugal, Algarve is most known for these Mediterranean beaches, quaint coves, fishing villages and luxurious hotels and eateries.
The coastline is littered with stunning limestone grottos and caves best explored and viewed by boat. Among the area’s most popular beaches are Marinha Beach to Armação de Pêra.
Extending over 4997 square kilometres, the Algarve is home to the Monchique mountain range, several islands, and the Ria Formosa lagoon. This expansive nature reserve is popular with keen bird watchers due to the hundreds of species that frequent it.
Stroll along the cobbled streets of Tavira on the banks of the Gilão River, or soak up the sun on the large beach at Albufeira as you relax after a busy day discovering all the resort town has to offer. For more dramatic cliffs and inviting beaches, head west to Lagos. The bustling town has a fascinating history and no shortage of places to enjoy local cuisine.
If you are keen on an active holiday, there are a variety of water sports to keep you occupied as well as numerous walks and hikes through the countryside and villages. Or, if you find art and culture fascinating, there’s a world of hand-painted ceramics to discover. Learn more about the azulejos (tin-glazed ceramic tiles) that adorn many of the churches and palaces.
The Algarve is home to so many hidden delights, as well as the beautiful beaches it is known for. The region still has a very proud fishing community and you can visit the local fish markets and admire the daily catche, or if you are the beach at the right time you will see the locals wading into he shallows looking for cockles. As well as being the perfect place to relax and unwind, you can also get active and enjoy the nature – from bird watching, dolphin spotting and great hikes, there is plenty to see and do.
What to do
- Hop from beach to beach along this mesmerising coastline
- Explore mysterious limestone grottos and caves
- Go birdwatching around the Ria Formosa lagoon
- Wander the charming and authentic cobbled streets of Tavira
- Experience the vibrant nightlife and dining scene in Albufeira
- Get adventurous across a range of water sports
When to go
As the Algarve is something of a haven for lovers of the sun, sand and sea, the warmer months experienced between April and September, peaking in July and August, ensure that this is the most rewarding period to visit. For great weather and fewer crowds, the shoulder season enjoyed in May, June and September is particularly rewarding.
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