The Algarve has become one of the most popular holiday destinations for British holidaymakers, with its close proximity to the UK, wonderful weather, beautiful scenery and golden sandy beaches. The Algarve is the perfect destination for a sun-drenched holiday and offers excellent value for money.
The Algarve area stretches along the southern coast of Portugal from the border with Spain in the East, to the most south westerly part of Europe at Cape St Vincent overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.. Along this coast line you will find small fishing villages, smart resorts, time share complexes and old towns. Every kind of holiday accommodation is available for you, from camping to one bedroom apartments to luxury villas with extensive gardens and swimming pools. You can also find accommodation in quiet tucked away locations or in the centre of lively resorts. Whatever the type of holiday you are looking for the Algarve can provide it. Here we are going to look at three of the Algarve’s most popular areas.
Albufeira is the biggest and most established resort on the Algarve. This is the place to stay if you are looking for a lively atmosphere and some nightlife. “The strip” is an area particularly frequented by young holiday makers who are looking for a night out on the town. Prices are cheap and there’s plenty of fun to be had. The Old Town part of Albufeira is based around the original fishing village with the main street leading down to the beach.
Alvor is another very popular resort although it has retained much of its old world charm with narrow back streets and traditional shops. Alvor was originally a fishing village and is popular for holiday makers wanting to make boat trips or to take a day long fishing trip. The town’s cobbled streets are home to plenty of bars and restaurants offering authentic Portuguese food and drink.
Faro is the capital city of the Algarve and is generally overlooked by tourists but is worth visiting for a day trip. The old town has plenty of historic buildings lining the narrow cobbled streets, which lead up to a large plaza. There are small bars and cafes on the way up to the plaza which sell remarkably cheap food and drinks, and offer sanctuary from the warm Algarve sun. Look out for storks nesting in the bell tower at the entrance to the old town.
Further to the west, the town of Lagos is another popular and picturesque resort. The coastline starts to get more rugged here as you are getting closer to the wide expanses of the Atlantic and features some wonderful rock formations. The further west you go, the water tends to be cooler for bathing and the Atlantic breezes can make the temperatures cooler. However holidaymakers should beware that the combination of long sunny days and cooling winds can be a recipe for severe sunburn so make sure you top up with plenty of high factor sun lotions.
Tavira is the perfect family resort with shallow beaches which are ideal for children. Take the short ferry ride across to Tavira Island and enjoy some of the most unspoiled beaches in the Algarve. The old town area is bustling with life in the summer months, particularly in the evenings when tourists return from the beaches to frequent the bars and restaurants which overlook the river.
Vilamoura is the place to “see and be seen” in the Algarve. Many wealthy Portuguese own properties in Vilamoura and the prices of this purpose built resort built around a marina reflect this. If you are looking for value for money avoid the bars and restaurants located on the marina and search out the smaller locations tucked away on the surrounding streets.