Algarve is without question Portugal’s hidden treasure. Located at the southern end of the mainland, it is gifted with luxuriant natural beauty that bears a pleasurable experience like no other. With its splendid beaches and scenic landscape, Algarve is sure to invigorate your weary senses.
The Capital Town
The region is divided into three key areas, the eastern, central and western section. Access to the region is via Faro International Airport. But there is more to Algarve’s capital city than just being a mere landing point as it too has a number of tourist draws. Follow a river path leading to the Ria Formosa lagoon, a nature reserve of barrier islands connected to the sea. The old town of Cidade Velha is where you will find elaborate works of art at Largo de Sé Faro Cathedral. Take a route to the outskirts of Faro to Porta Nova pier and catch a ferry to Faro’s Ilha beaches.
The beautiful sandy beaches along the region’s golden coastline stretching over 200 kilometers, are Algarve’s primary tourist attractions. These beaches have been awarded the Blue Flag certification for high standards of water quality, safety, and environmental education. Some of the popular ones are Praia da Marinha, known as the Golden Beach of the town of Lagoa, and Carrapateira’s Praia da Bordeira with rugged limestone cliffs. You are sure to find a slew of beach resorts to cater to your preferences.
Historical and Cultural Sites
Algarve’s majestic ruins are also of great interest for anyone visiting the area. The Roman villa Casa Rural das Ruinas in Milreu will take you back on journey through the Roman era. The Moorish castle of Castelo dos Mouros in Silves offers a glimpse of life in Portugal during the Moorish occupation of the state. As for the true-blue history buff, visit the town of Lagos, and behold the ruins of the Fort of Ponta da Bandeira, the Governor’s Castle and St. Gonçalo gate. The towns of Almancil, Porches and Loulé are the places to go for fine hand-painted pottery and ceramics for which Algarve is also famous for.
Wine and Food
Taste and savor the best seafood dishes that are unique to Algarve. Indulge your appetite on succulent dishes of sardines, soles, cyprinids, cataplana clams and grooved carpet shells at Mediterranean cuisines in the coastal towns of Vale do Lobo, Almancil and Carvoeiro. Algarve’s wines are also world-class, with four of its regional wine makers, Lagoa, Lagos, Portimao and Tavira bearing the “Protected Designation of Origin” seal for its distinct flavor.
Algarve has in recent years become an excellent first class golfing destination in Europe. The Palmares Golf Course offers the best views of the seas for nature-loving golfers in addition to a challenging course. For the serious golf aficionado, challenge yourself with the spectacular 18-hole greens of Quinta da Ria Golf Course in Tavira. The highly rated Vale do Lobo ranks among Europe’s finest golf courses. Play with the masters at the Vilamoura Golf Course, the biggest and best golfing destination in Europe.
You will never run out of activities and places to go when visiting the Algarve.