Background Information - The Algarve

The Southern most Province of Portugal has vast stretches of golden sandy beaches and tiny coves backed by cliffs of dramatic coloured sandstone. Today the Algarve has many fine golf courses, tennis complexes, every sort of watersports, theme parks etc. ideal for a family holiday.

Location

The Algarve Coast extends from Cabo de Sâo Vicente (Cape St. Vincente) to Vila Real de Santo António, on the Portuguese/Spanish Frontier, a distance of approx. 185km/115 miles.

Places to Visit

Alte: A picturesque village some 28km north-east of Silves, set on a hillside.

Albufeira: Popular package resort for the young with English style pubs and many discotheques. Interesting open market place.

Burgau: Situated on the coast west of Lagos. A small fishing community with narrow cobbled street running down toward the beach.

Cabanas: A simple fishing village not far from Tavira and near to the Rio Formosa Nature Reserve. At low tide you can join the clam diggers and walk across the lagoon to the beach on the offshore island.

Caldas de Monchique: A Spa town since Roman times on a mountain. It is an ideal place to enjoy cooler air with scenic views of the coast. If you continue after Caldas there are some great "Chicken Piri-Piri" Restaurants.

Faro: The capital of the Algarve has a character of its own. Good restaurants and night life.

Lagos: A market town with a marina and fishing port. It has some excellent restaurants and gorgeous beaches nearby.

Loulé: An interesting agricultural market town with narrow back streets behind the market which hold evidence of the town’s Moorish origins. Very popular Saturday market.

Praia da Luz: West of Lagos (some 7km) is this small beach resort, which is popular with English families. There are plenty of sporting facilities including a Scuba Diving Centre.

Portimâo: Today Portimâo is the second largest town in the Algarve and offers good shopping facilities. At the alfresco waterside restaurants (below the old bridge) you can still eat grilled sardines till you are full!

Sagres: This is the village where Henry the Navigator founded his School of Navigation. There are stunning rugged cliff faces and beautiful beaches, popular amongst the locals for surfing but be wary of the strong currents.

Tavira: A lovely town that has managed to avoid mass tourism. Definitely worth a visit with excellent fish restaurants. Explore the Ilha da Tavira an offshore sandbank stretching 11km west from Tavira. The island has a handful of restaurants and bars and is reached by ferry.

Vilamoura: The main attraction is the Marina which is flanked by hotels, restaurants and the Casino. There are a host of sporting activities.

Vila Real St. António: A fishing port and frontier town at the mouth of the River Guadiana. The shops in town are frequently busy with Spanish day trippers from Ayamonte buying up Portugal’s good cheap linen. A favourite with the locals is tuna steak