Magnificent cliffs and rock grottoes, hills and valleys that grow orange, almond and carob trees, fine weather throughout most of the year and inviting sandy beaches make Algarve holidays most appealing . In the cities and villages throughout this southern region of Portugal there are whitewashed houses with Moorish rooftops and doorways, churches built in Manueline style, and remains of castles and forts from Roman and Moorish periods.
Newer establishments like hotels, villas, shops, restaurants, and bars in commercial areas make holidays more comfortable and convenient for tourists. A number of top-class golf courses also add to the reasons why the Algarve is such a popular holiday haunt.
Quinta do Lago resort is particularly admired for its golf courses. Along with nearby Vale do Lobo, the area is geared to cater to tourists with many luxurious hotels, villas and hip establishments. British and Irish jetsetters are known to enjoy the exclusivity offered by the resort. The beach at Quinta do Lago is an expanse of sand meeting the beautiful sea.
Quarteira is a less celebrated part of the Algarve, being mostly a dormitory town for the tourism workers of nearby Quinta do Lago and Vilamoura. Nevertheless, its holiday apartments also accommodate numerous tourists who crowd its long beach in the summer.
Vilamoura is the cosmopolitan heart of the Algarve, and is one of the largest resorts in Europe. It has its own beach but the Falésia and Olhos de Agua beaches are also close by. The commercial life of Vilamoura revolves mainly around its Marina, a harbour large enough for hundreds of boats and surrounded by shops and lavish hotels.
Armacao de Pera is popular for having one of the longest beaches in the Algarve, extending from Praia dos Pescadores to Salomao. While it used to be just an area where fishermen housed their boats Armacao de Pera has been transformed by tourism into a lively resort with a still somewhat rustic charm.
Faro is hard to miss, being the Algarve’s capital city and having its only international airport. It is highly developed and complete with all commercial conveniences but at the same time still retains several structures from earlier periods, including a walled square from the 9th century. The beaches of other Algarve resorts are generally less than an hour away, although it also has Praia de Faro, its own beach.
Carvoeiro is a resort in the Lagoa municipality that offers beaches that are quite small and secluded. These are actually sandy coves tucked under tall cliffs. The resort town appeals to tourists who prefer a quieter and more rural atmosphere although Carvoeiro also attracts crowds during the peak season. Among its attractions is the rock cliff called Algar Seco, with its grottos that have been naturally shaped by the sea.
Praia da Rocha or the “Rock Beach,” close to the lively district of Portimao, is one of the top crowd-drawers of the Algarve. As its name suggests the landscape is defined by the ancient rock formations that serve as backdrop to its wide, two-kilometre long stretch of sandy beach. The Algarve Casino, a marina, a waterpark, and an aquatic zoo are among its other attractions.
Praia da Luz or “Beach of Light” is a small but very charming resort near Lagos. While a lot of buildings have been constructed in recent years to cater to tourists they are mostly low-rise maintaining the open skyline and old-world appeal of the village. The beach is sheltered by colorful rock cliffs and marked by a huge volcanic black rock called Rocha Negra.
Alvor is another former fishing village that has welcomed the rise of tourism. Even with commercial and tourist centres in neighboring Portimao and Lagos, Alvor has become a destination in its own right mainly because of its sandy beach hugging a lagoon that opens out onto the Atlantic. Alvor suits all kinds of visitors, including families, and is especially preferred by golfers because of the eight courses in the vicinity.
Lagos is an ancient town that is considered one of the prettiest localities in the Algarve, with its numerous beaches, its towering rock formations at Ponta da Piedade and its old walls and buildings preserved from the 16th century. Its popular beaches include the Meia Praia, Dona Ana, Camilo, Canavial, Praia da Batata, Praia dos Estudantes, and Praia Solaria.
Lagoa is another area that offers several beaches. These include Pintadinho, Cova Redonda, Caneiros, Cavalho, Agrinha, and Praia Grande. Praia Nova and Nossa Senhora da Rocha are two beaches that are interestingly separated by a huge rock with a chapel built on top and a tunnel dug through it to connect the two sides. Visitors also go to Lagoa for the three golf courses in the vicinity and the annual product fair called Fatacil.
Sagres is a destination at the southwestern-most tip of Portugal and Europe making it an important port during the expeditions to the New World. Even now the lighthouse at Cape St. Vincent serves as a famous and vital landmark in international shipping. Sagres is charming in its own rugged way, with a rocky coastline dotted by a number of beaches suitable for bathing and water sports.
Tavira, like Lagos, is a town that boasts the most beautiful old structures in the whole region. These include 37 churches and a “Roman” bridge built over the Gilhão River. Its 7-kilometre long beach is quite different, as it is set on its own island, Ilha de Tavira, and can only be reached by ferry.
Silves, the former capital of the Algarve, is now a less prestigious city but is still of great historic importance to the region. Sights to see in Silves include the impressive red stone castle built from Moorish times and the 13th century cathedral beside it. Located only 15 minutes away from the coast beautiful beaches can be reached quickly from the city.
Book Package Holidays to the Algarve
Thomson offer some fabulous holidays to the Algarve with accommodation available in some of the region’s best hotels or in exclusive villas.
Thomas Cook has a long history of providing package holidays in the Algarve & continues to offer customers some great holiday options.
Jet 2 Holidays
Jet2 specialises in departures from UK regional airports & offers an attractive selection of package holiday deals to the Algarve.
Fly to the Algarve with easyJet & book your hotel at the time of booking as this company now has a wide selection of accommodation available.