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Why is Algarve so Popular with Visitors

Why is Algarve so Popular with Visitors

by Joaquim DeCarvalho

The Algarve

The Algarve is a region in southern Portugal, and its history goes back thousands of years. The original people of the Algarve were likely various pre-Roman and Celtic tribes, such as the Lusitanians and the Tartessians, who inhabited the Iberian Peninsula before the Roman conquest in the 2nd century BC.

After the Roman Empire fell, the Algarve was ruled by various Germanic tribes before being conquered by the Moors in the 8th century AD. The Moors, who were of North African and Arab descent, ruled the region for over 500 years and left a lasting influence on the culture, architecture, and agriculture of the Algarve.

In the 13th century, the Algarve was conquered by the Christian Kingdom of Portugal, and it has been part of Portugal ever since. Over the centuries, the Algarve has been influenced by many different cultures, including the Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, and Romans, as well as the Moors and other North African peoples. As a result, the region has a rich and diverse cultural heritage that is reflected in its art, music, food, and architecture.

Algarve – Vacation Destination

Algarve BoatsThe Algarve region of Portugal is a favorite vacation destination for Europeans for a number of reasons. Some of the main reasons include:

  • Warm weather: The Algarve has a Mediterranean climate, which means it has mild winters and hot summers. This makes it a great destination for a winter getaway or a summer vacation.

  • Beautiful beaches: The Algarve is known for its beautiful beaches and clear waters. Many of the beaches have been awarded Blue Flags for their high water quality and facilities.

  • Golf: The Algarve is a popular destination for golfers, as it has a large number of golf courses, many of which are of a high standard.

  • Food and wine: The Algarve is known for its delicious seafood and traditional dishes, as well as its local wines.

  • Affordable: The Algarve is relatively inexpensive when compared to other popular European vacation destinations, making it accessible to a wide range of travelers.

  • Family-friendly: The Algarve is a family-friendly destination, with a variety of activities and attractions that cater to both adults and children.

Overall, The Algarve offers a perfect combination of sun, sea, good food and entertainment for all ages making it a perfect spot for European vacations.

How to get there

The Algarve  is easily accessible by various means of transportation. Here are some of the best ways to get to the Algarve:

  1. By Plane: The easiest way to get to the Algarve is by flying into Faro Airport, the region’s main airport. Faro Airport has connections to many major European cities, as well as some international destinations. From the airport, you can take a taxi or rent a car to get to your final destination.

  2. By Train: You can also take a train to the Algarve. The main train station in the region is in Faro, and there are regular services to Lisbon and other parts of Portugal. The journey from Lisbon to Faro takes about 3 hours and is a comfortable and affordable way to travel.

  3. By Bus: There are also bus services to the Algarve from major cities in Portugal, including Lisbon and Porto. The journey can take between 3 and 5 hours, depending on the starting point.

  4. By Car: If you prefer to drive, the Algarve is easily accessible by car. The region is served by several highways, and the journey from Lisbon to Faro takes about 2.5 hours. If you are coming from Spain, you can cross the border at Ayamonte and drive along the coast.

Once you arrive in the Algarve, there are many transportation options to get around, including buses, taxis, and rental cars.

Some fun things to do in Algarve

Albufeira MArketsThe Algarve region in Portugal has a lot of fun activities and places to explore. Here are some ideas:

  1. Beaches: Algarve is known for its stunning beaches, with crystal-clear waters and golden sand. Some of the best ones include Praia da Rocha, Praia do Vau, and Praia da Marinha.

  2. Water sports: With its great weather and sea conditions, Algarve is perfect for water sports like surfing, windsurfing, kite surfing, stand-up paddleboarding, and kayaking. You can rent equipment or take lessons from one of the many surf schools along the coast.

  3. Boat tours: Take a boat tour along the coast to see the amazing rock formations and caves that line the coastline.

  4. Golf: Algarve is home to some of the best golf courses in Europe, so it’s a great place for golf enthusiasts.

  5. Water parks: The region has several water parks, such as Slide & Splash, Aqualand, and Aquashow, which are perfect for a fun day out with the family.

  6. Hiking: There are several hiking trails in the region, including the Rota Vicentina, which offers stunning views of the coastline and countryside.

  7. Wine tasting: Algarve is also known for its wine, so why not take a wine tour to sample some of the local vintages.

  8. Historical sites: Algarve has a rich history, and there are several historical sites to explore, such as the Moorish castle in Silves or the Roman ruins in Lagos.

  9. Food and drink: The region has a diverse cuisine, with plenty of fresh seafood, grilled meats, and local specialties like cataplana and arroz de marisco. Be sure to try some of the local wines and spirits, such as port and ginjinha.

  10. Nightlife: Algarve has a vibrant nightlife scene, especially in the summer months, with plenty of bars, clubs, and live music venues.

Landmarks of Algarve worth visiting

Loule monument. photo by antoniosacchetti. Turismo de Portugal

Loule city hall. photo by antonio sacchetti. Turismo de Portugal

This is by no means an extensive list but some suggestions on things to see and visit in Algarve. The Algarve region in Portugal has a rich history and culture, and there are several landmarks that are worth visiting. Here are some of them:

  1. Lagos Old Town: Lagos is a historic town that was once the capital of the Algarve. The old town is full of narrow streets, quaint squares, and traditional buildings, and it’s a great place to explore on foot.

  2. Sagres Fortress: The fortress in Sagres was built in the 15th century to defend the coast from pirates and enemy ships. It’s now a national monument and offers stunning views of the ocean.

  3. Cape St. Vincent: Located at the southwestern tip of the Algarve, Cape St. Vincent is the most southwestern point in Europe. It’s a great place to watch the sunset and take in the stunning views.

  4. Silves Castle: The castle in Silves was built by the Moors in the 11th century and later taken by the Portuguese in the 13th century. It’s now a national monument and offers great views of the town and surrounding countryside.

  5. Tavira: Tavira is a picturesque town on the eastern side of the Algarve, known for its historic buildings, traditional architecture, and charming riverside setting.

  6. Ria Formosa Natural Park: This natural park is a unique coastal lagoon system that’s home to a diverse range of wildlife, including birds, fish, and marine mammals. It’s a great place for hiking, birdwatching, and water sports.

  7. Faro Old Town: The old town of Faro is surrounded by medieval walls and is home to several historic buildings, including a cathedral and a bishop’s palace.

  8. Albufeira Old Town: Albufeira is a popular resort town, but its old town is full of character and history, with narrow streets, traditional houses, and a 16th-century castle.

  9. Roman ruins in Milreu: The Roman ruins in Milreu are a well-preserved complex of villas and baths that date back to the 1st century AD.

  10. Loulé Market: The market in Loulé is a colorful and vibrant place to visit, with stalls selling fresh produce, handmade crafts, and traditional foods. It’s a great place to experience local culture and buy souvenirs.

Vacation ideas in Algarve

  1. Day tours: Take a half or full day tour of Algarve enjoy the ride and leave the stress of driving in the garage. Click here
  2. Multi-night tours from Lisbon: Take a package tour via train from Lisbon and enjoy some day and nights of fun and exploring. It’s what we call a self-guided escapade.

Join Joe Portugal in Algarve!