A Complete Guide To The Algarve: Exploring The Coast
You can’t help but look at pictures of the Algarve and wish you were there. It’s impossible. Take a Google Image search now and you’ll be fuelled with envy and want. Heck, who knows, you might just book a trip there right now.
If that’s the case then you’re in luck, because our latest blog post is a complete guide to that very destination; the golden sands, magical weather, and almost idyllic region, the Algarve.
The southernmost region of Portugal, summer temperatures offer up highs of almost 30°C and from Sagres to Faro and beyond there is so much to see, so many beaches to lie on, and so many restaurants to frequent.
Where To Stay
In terms of destination for you that really depends where your interests lie. Lagos and Faro are the two biggest cities in the region and have plenty to offer and with that some incredible to resorts to stay in.
The 5* Vivenda Miranda in Lagos is a truly beautiful resort with a long history dating back to the 17th century when it belonged to a noble family. Today, it has 25 opulent rooms with direct access to the Porto de Mos beach and a short walk to the town centre where there’s plenty to be explored.
Lagos is a great place to base yourself from and in 2012 it was named top of the 15 destinations on the rise by TripAdvisor. And when it comes to dining, it’s no real surprise. Cachoa Restaurant is tucked away on the outskirts of town and actually located off a motorway, but unlike a Little Chef you might find in the UK, it offers up high-quality dishes such as olive tapenade, fettucine alfredo, and lamb camponesa in a balsamic and raspberry sauce.
Which brings us nicely onto the food and what to eat whilst holidaying in the Algarve. Whilst the fine dining – and it really is fine, the Algarve is home to a number of Michelin-starred restaurants – is all well and good, you simply have to taste some of the region’s authentic, and truly mouth-watering cuisine.
From backstreets to mountain tops the Algarve has so much to offer, and with so much of it lying on the coast, it’s no wonder seafood is almost always at the top of the menu. Quarteira to the west of Faro is the perfect place to start, with a number of backstreets serving the latest catches, straight from the Mediterranean. Octopus is a staple in the town, along with crabs and other shellfish, and of course piri-piri chicken is popular across the region.
If you can picture any scene on the Algarve, it’s going to be one of lying on a beach, watching the warm Mediterranean Sea roll onto the shore. The region has some of the best beaches in Southern Europe with golden sands and dramatic cliffs offering the perfect backdrop to a relaxing day soaking up the sun.
There are dozens of amazing beaches making Algarve holidays almost impossible to not relax, with the Praia da Falesia in between Faro and Albufeira one of the finest in the region. The long strip of beach has steep red cliffs behind it and the beautiful colours most certainly add to its atmosphere.
However, if you’re after a dip in the seam the Ilha de Tavira further east is certainly more suited. It generally works where the further east you go the warmer the waters, and you’ll find lovely spots to have a swim on a fairly quiet beach.
There is so much to do in the Algarve and continuing with the sea theme, we’ll begin with surfing at the Praia do Amado, one of the region’s most natural beaches. Located on the windswept west coast it’s perfect for picking up a surf board and welcomes people from all over the world to take to the waters.
Naturally, there is more to the Algarve than its beaches however, and there are plenty of other activities to keep you occupied. Golf is an extremely popular sport in the region with around 35 golf courses, including some of the best in the Mediterranean. The Penina Hotel & Golf Resort offers one of the finest 18 holes to get stuck into, in fact it has three courses to play with the Sir Henry Cotton Championship Course having hosted the Portuguese Open 10 times.
Elsewhere in the region, you can discover its rich history on numerous days out. The Castle of Silves is away from the coast and around a 20 minute drive from the town of Portimao. Dating back to somewhere between the 8th and 13th century, it’s one of the most important castles in the country, not to mention one of its most impressive and a visit is most certainly recommended. The visitors centre tells its remarkable story and remnants of its past are on display throughout.
It all adds to an amazing holiday in the Algarve, where no day is different. Unless you want it to be of course, after all, who wouldn’t want to just lie on the beach and soak up the Mediterranean sun all day.