The Portuguese Algarve is a popular destination with British holidaymakers for all sorts of reasons. But how do you choose the best bits?
First, there are the amazing beaches. Some wide sandy beaches stretch for miles whilst around the headland you might find a tiny, rocky cove. The sands of the Algarve are soft and golden and the water is crystal clear and ideal for all kinds of water sports like snorkelling, scuba diving, water skiing and surfing.
Then there’s the wonderful scenery, with amazing rocky cliffs, mountains and rivers. And of course the climate – balmy summers, warm autumns and springs and mild winters make this a year round destination for sun seekers.
If you’re a golfer, Portugal has a vast number of golf courses. There are beautiful hotels, apartments and campsites aplenty and for every size of purse. The main resorts offer a wide selection of activities by day and a vibrant nightlife. Eating out is always a pleasure with loads of restaurants ranging from home-cooked traditional Portuguese food to Michelin Star rated fine dining. Last, not least, you are always assured of a genuinely warm welcome by the people of Portugal.
With so much to choose from in the Algarve, there’s only one thing you can do to avoid missing out: plan a touring holiday so you get to see as much as time allows!
Getting there and getting around
You can book flights to Faro Airport from airports all over the UK. Flights are usually reasonably priced and you can be there in about three hours. From Faro Airport, you can get to almost anywhere on the Algarve within 90 minutes or so.
Taxis are comparatively cheap and if you have booked a hotel, speak to them about transfers. Car hire in the Algarve is also very reasonably priced and driving in Portugal is a pleasure, with the decent and not too expensive toll road running right along the coast.
The internet has opened up a world of possibilities when it comes to arranging your accommodation. With a bit of research you can plan a trip that takes you to some popular tourist resorts and some quieter options that take you off the beaten track to discover the real Algarve. Check out some suggestions below.
Albufeira is the Algarve’s largest and most popular resort and is located about 40 minutes to the west of Faro Airport by car. Albufeira’s beach is long and wide, the sand is soft and there are lots of water sports on offer.
This town is essentially two great and different towns in one. The charming old town is filled with historic buildings, winding cobbled streets full of little gift shops and traditional bars and restaurants. That’s not to say it does not have its share of tourist bars though – it does! In and around the main square after dark there is lots of live music and the place really buzzes with life.
The new town is a strip of bars, restaurant and nightclubs with touts working to get you into their bars by offering free shots or a free cocktail. As the night gets late, younger people get out to party. Getting around the resort is easy thanks to a little tourist train and a plentiful supply of value-for-money taxis. If you are planning a week in the Algarve, Albufeira would be a good choice for at least two nights.
Praia da Rocha
Praia da Rocha is a beach resort close to the town of Portimao, 15 minutes to the west of Albufeira, and about 50 minutes from the airport. The town is set high on cliffs that overlook the wonderful sandy beach.
Many of the bars and restaurants have great views and the place has a real family friendly feel. The beach restaurants set on the boardwalk that runs the length of the beach offer many nice seafood and meat dishes in a wonderful setting – highly recommended.
Lagos is a beautiful town, steeped in history. The old town is surrounded by a wall that dates back to the 16th century. There is so much to see here with lots of old architecture, cobbled streets and many statues and monuments. Also, as Lagos is a port town, there is a wonderful marina and plenty of beach life too!
It is not all about the buildings though – Lagos is a lively town and there is often open-air evening entertainment in the streets. The town is well known for its fine restaurants with something to suit all tastes and budgets, while the bars stay open very late.
Why not stay at the Campsite Turiscampo? You don’t need a tent as the site offers a range of bungalows and static mobile homes for rental. Situated just five minutes out of town, there are lots of activities for all the family – it’s like a little town in itself.
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