The Algarve, in southern Portugal, is one of Europe’s most popular coastal holiday destinations. The long sandy beaches are amongst the finest in the world and the stunning coastline stretches 161km (100 miles) from Cape St. Vincent to Vila Real de Santo António on the Spanish border. With an eclectic mix of different cultures, warm, hospitable local people, a relaxed laid-back lifestyle, vibrant nightlife, charming Old Towns and wonderful year-round weather, this is truly a place that visitors return to again and again.
Sports & Activities
Water sports such as swimming, snorkelling, surfing, parasailing, windsurfing and big-game fishing are popular along the Algarve coast, as are champagne cruises and boat trips exploring the caves and grottos. Water parks and Zoomarine aqua-theme park with its dolphin interaction program are hugely popular, as well as outdoor adventures, karting, jeep safaris and horse riding which will all thrill kids, teenagers and adults alike.
The Algarve is the perfect destination for a sun, sand and sea vacation. Albufeira boasts many beautiful beaches or praias as they are known locally, with soft golden sand and a brilliant blue sea, sheltered by magnificent cliffs and fascinating rock formations. From Praia da Oura and Santa Eulalia to Fisherman’s Beach, Sao Rafael and Galé; long stretches of sand to small sheltered coves, all are different and all are equally enchanting. Most beaches have restaurants and rent sun loungers and umbrellas and the bigger beaches have lifeguards in season. Many are awarded Blue Flags for their commitment to the environment, water quality and safety.
Events in the Algarve
The free concerts on Fisherman’s Beach in the Old Town of Albufeira are eagerly anticipated every August and New Year, with spectacular fireworks displays and much festivities. There are many other music concerts of every genre throughout the summer, gastronomic delights and numerous festivals and exhibitions.
Superbike and powerboat races, classic car shows, international show jumping and the Portugal Masters Golf Tournament are also regular features.
Carnival Week in February attracts thousands of visitors each year over three days of colourful parades and partying through many towns and villages.
Food & Entertainment in the Algarve
Restaurants and bars serve an abundance of superb local fresh fish and shellfish, sardines in season, chicken piri-piri, mouth-watering steaks and kebabs. The tantalizing smell of the charcoal grills as you wander through the towns, entice you to sample some of the delicious local fare, all washed down with great local wines, beer and freshly squeezed orange juice.
Local markets sell an abundance of goods at bargain prices. In the narrow cobbled streets of the Old Towns and villages, boutiques and stalls sell clothing, gifts and souvenirs to the tourists, their wares spilling out onto the streets. The lively Algarve Shopping in Guia, near Albufeira, has a hypermarket, many different line shops, a large food court, amusement arcade and 8 cinemas, most showing English language movies.
Weather in the Algarve
The Algarve has a temperate climate almost all year round and boasts over 300 days of sunshine a year. The tourist season extends from April to October and it only really quietens down in the dead of winter. Even then, there are many days when it is warm and sunny enough to sunbathe, or sit outside at the pavement cafés and enjoy the balmy weather.
Golf in the Algarve
The Algarve is one of Europe’s premier golf areas and is recognized as having some of the finest Championship Golf Courses in the world. Warm playing conditions and immaculately manicured fairways make it the ideal destination for a golfing holiday with nearly 40 golf courses to choose from.
It is a year-round sport, though the main season extends from late autumn to late spring. Winters are mild and visiting golfers can enjoy warm, sunny days and keep their swings smooth at a time when their home courses are unplayable.
By visiting during the main golf season you avoid the crowded roads and added accommodation costs that come with the summer tourist trade. On the other hand, during the summer months all of the courses are under-utilized, so more leisurely, relaxing rounds can be enjoyed, often with discounted green fees.
A handicap certificate is required at all courses.