The southern coastal region of Portugal is a popular tourist centre, being chosen as a holiday destination both by foreigners and the Portuguese themselves. From the riverside views at Tavira and vineyards at Lagoa, to the plentiful golf courses dotted up and down the coastline – including the championship course of Quinta da Logo – Algarve holidays have more than enough to occupy your time, even if you’re not a sun-worshipper. A hit with couples and families because of its abundant activities and tame nightlife, the capital of Faro does have its fair share of bars and clubs, but elsewhere the harbours tend to provide the liveliest environment when the sun goes down. The perfect place to holiday when you need to cater for a variety of interests and inclinations, Algarve holidays are the ultimate all-rounder.

Popular destinations in Algarve

Albufeira is one of the leading tourist resorts of the region. Facilities include a marina, golf courses plus innumerable hotels, apartment blocks, restaurants and bars, for the annual flood of visitors. Nightclubs, cafes and snack bars are abundant.

Beach of Bryn, Albufeira, Algarve

The Beach of Bryn at Albufeira. Photo by Ed Kitaura

Castro Marim is a very old town, dates before Roman empire, that is surrounded by hand harvested sea salt ’salinas’ and a Natural Park protected by 1982’s Ramsar convention. It’s Castle belonged to the Templary organization until the 1356. Now there are incredible medieval style parties and local festivals in September. It is a popular summer destination due to its beaches by the Atlantic Ocean.

A popular destination for sun-seekers from northern Europe and the UK, Faro has a reputation as being an overrun party beach town for much of the year. Visitors who use it as a base to explore the more remote areas of the Algarve in the off-season will experience much more of what southern Portugal has to offer; but those looking for no more than a tan and cocktails won’t be disappointed. In winter, it is a beautiful, peaceful corner of Southern Europe with plenty of sun bleaching the white-washed town with colonial and Moorish-influenced architecture. The people are more friendly than other parts of Europe. Many speak a bit of English, but are very appreciative of any attempts at Portuguese.

Lagos, a historic (Portuguese Discoveries) and touristic city (beaches). The beaches are great for exploration. Beaches outside of town are long desolate stretches of sand with tall cliffs that are excellent for privacy. Many sea caves can be explored during low tide.

Praia da Dona Ana, Lagos, Algarve

Praia da Dona Ana, Lagos. Photo by Lacobrigo

Portimao (actually written Portimão) is the second biggest city in the Algarve, Portugal, and famous for its fresh fish restaurants, grilled sardines being the most famous dish. One of the most well known beaches in the Algarve – Rocha (”Praia da Rocha”), meaning “Rocky Beach” – is very close to Portimao, and there are numerous others nearby.

Lagoa is an ideal holiday destination if you are looking for sunshine and relaxation. The municipality of Lagoa is one of the best places in Portugal to find secluded beaches. Its Praia da Marinha is one of the most beautiful and emblematic beaches of Portugal.

Praia da Marinha, Lagoa, Algarve

Praia da Marinha, Lagoa. Photo by Had01

The picturesque town of Carvoeiro, where the sea has carved endless, intriguing little bays into the cliffs is a well-renowned beach holiday destination. The ancient fishing village is situated in the middle of a province internationally-known for its mild climate and beaches of golden sand.

Carvoeiro, Algarve

View of Carvoeiro (from East). Photo by Bengt Nyman

Monchique is one of the main Portuguese health-resorts, finely situated among the wooded heights of the Serra de Monchique, which rise on the west to 2963 ft. There are hot sulfur springs, with baths and a sanatorium 4 m. south in “Caldas de Monchique” (Spring of Monchique). Wheat, millet, rye, beans, oranges, wine, olive oil and chestnuts are the chief products. There is a woolen factory and medronho, a local brew made from distilled medronho berries (Arbutus/Strawberry Tree), is produced. Originally created in back room stills, medronho is now a commercial product chiefly in Silves and Monchique.

The region of Silves has been inhabited since the Palaeolithic, as attested by archaeological vestiges, including several menhirs. The river Arade, which was navigable in historical times, linked the hinterland to the open ocean and allowed for the transport of produce and commerce. The town of Silves was possibly founded during the times of Roman domination, when the region was part of the Lusitania province.

The River Gilão meets the Atlantic Ocean in Tavira, the most interesting and attractive of the eastern Algarve’s towns.

Vilamoura is the biggest touristic complex in Europe. It has a Marina, a Golf Academy, 6 Golf Courses, a casino, several Clubs, a tennis club, a diving club, other leasure facilities, a big beach and several 4 and 5 stars hotels.

Cape St Vincent is Europe’s most South Westerly point and is still an important shipping landmark, with it’s very own lighthouse that is visible from 50 miles away.