Getting to know the Algarve

Blessed with a picturesque coastline, miles of beaches and year-round sunshine, it is no wonder that the Algarve has been tempting holidaymakers back year after year.

Southern Portugal offers a relaxed environment where you can unwind or fill up your itinerary with sightseeing and a wealth of activities. No matter if you’re after a week away with the family, want to chill out on the beach or party until the sun comes up, the Algarve has a range of towns and cities to cater for your every whim.

We take a closer look at everything you need to know about the Algarve.

For families: Praia da Rocha

Set in western Algarve, Praia da Rocha is a charming coastal town that provides all the ingredients for a family holiday. As one of the many established resorts in the Algarve it has a huge stretch of beach as well as numerous accommodating hotels offering ocean views. There is also a wide range of restaurants serving pretty much every food you can think of.

Families enjoy days out at the Slide and Splash and water park and the unmissable Zoomarine. The latter brings together a zoo, theme park and education all in a beautiful outdoor space and is only a short distance from Praia da Rocha.

For a relaxed holiday: Tavira

If you live for the quiet life then Tavira should be at the top of your Algarve list. Nestled alongside the Gilão River it is a wonderful of traditional Portugal with sleepy neighbourhoods with cobbled streets, quirky little churches and the delightful scenery of Parque Natural da Ria Formosa nearby.

Walk around the historic centre of Tavira and see the Moorish buildings before heading for the marina and see the fishing boats tide up by the shore. While it is perfect for couples and young families, it is also great for beach lovers with the white sand of Ilha de Tavira just a short ferry ride away.

Luxury holidays: Vilamoura

There are certain parts of the Algarve that simply exude elegance and nowhere does it better than Vilamoura. The Algarve’s answer to St Tropez is a scene of elegant restaurants, luxury yachts, chic cocktail bars and no shortage of celebrities wandering its marina.

While much of the Algarve has stayed true to traditional Portuguese style, Vilamoura is a modern town where everything shines. Stay in one of the world class hotels or spacious villas and explore its excellent facilities including the beautiful Praia da Falesia and some of the best restaurants in the region.

Golfing breaks: Quarteira

Photo credit: Dom Pedro Golf

The Algarve is renowned for its golf courses and Quarteira is a great base to visit some of the best. The extensive range of restaurants, bars and cafes, not to mention the close proximity to the beach, make it a great place to relax after a couple of rounds.

However, people come to Quarteira for the fairways and there are five courses nearby including Victoria, which is used for the Portugal Masters. Playing the The Old Course is almost seen as a rite of passage for golfers in the Algarve as it is widely regarded as both the best and most beautiful in the country.

Party destination: Albufeira

If anyone mentions a holiday in the Algarve, the first place that comes to mind is Albufeira. Loved by families, couples and pretty much anyone that has ever visited, the resort town is the beach break destination that knows how to throw a party.

When summer arrives, everybody head for The Strip. Get all of your friends together and take on the bars and club that line this famous street. Ride the bucking bronco at Matt’s Bar and then dance until the sun comes up at Club Heaven.

Catch the surf: Sagres

Escape the hubbub of Algarve’s popular resorts and be at one with nature in the dramatic setting of Sagres. The rural landscape is a scene of rugged cliffs, deserted beaches, quiet villages and the perfect environment for surfers.

Sagres is a world renowned surfing hotspot thanks the rolling waves coming from the Atlantic Ocean and its layout mean it is an excellent spot for all level of surfers. You could even try it yourself by booking a lesson at the numerous surf schools.

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