The Algarve from an Arabic word meaning “the west” is the southernmost region of mainland Portugal. It is among the most popular tourist destinations in Portugal, its population more than doubles in the peak holiday season thanks to a high influx of visitors.
Praia da Dona Ana near Lagos. Photo by Steven Fruitsmaak
Algarve’s mild climate has attracted interest from Northern Europeans wishing to have a holiday home or residence in the region. Being a region of Portugal, and therefore in the European Union, any EU citizen has the right to freely buy property and reside with little formality in the Algarve. British expatriates, followed by German, Dutch and Scandinavians, are among the largest groups wishing to own a home in this sunny region of Portugal.
Praia da Rocha, Portimão. Photo by Steven Fruitsmaak
The Algarve is rich in culture and diversity. If you are looking for fast paced resorts or a calm tranquil setting either is attainable. The entire region is approx.5400sq km and is graced with over 100 different beaches, each unique in its own way. If you are into nature the choices are many from the Ria Formosa to Monchique mountain, in fact there are over 30 hiking trails (as per offical Turismo de Portugal guide books). If you are a golf lover then you have come to the right place with over 30 courses doted throughout the region. Although the permanent residence population is under 500,000 the area receives more than ten fold that in tourism each year. The busiest times of year tend to be July/August. Come and explore the region further, discover a new place to visit, a different beach to swim in, annual events you may want to attend.
Santa Luzia seafront, Tavira. Photo by David Boocock
The maximum temperatures in the Algarve fluctuate between 15 °C in winter and 31 °C in summer, with the temperature never usually falling below zero in the winter months. The winter of 2008/2009 was exceptionally cold and wet. Temperatures below 0 °C were recorded for the first time in many years.