With its fantastic beaches, Olympic-sized golf courses and top-class hotels, Portugal’s sunny Algarve is a great all round destination. It really does cater to everyone, from families looking for an inexpensive short-haul destination for baby’s first break, to Steven Gerrard, Ronan Keating and Bonnie Tyler, who all own property in the region. We’ve rounded up some of our favourite places, with something to suit every budget.
Look to the bustling town of Albufeira for some great deals on accommodation. This popular resort is home to ‘the strip’ and contains many lively bars and clubs – a large number of them open 24 hours! Don’t miss the live music sessions at Sir Harry’s, which rather conveniently also serves up a great full English breakfast the following morning. The Algarve Garden Apartments is just 200m away from a sandy beach with costs from £11.00 per night.
Families could also look to Albufeira for great deals, but rather than stay near the strip should locate themselves close to the quieter Old Town area. Hotels here are also well-situated for a number of family theme parks, with Zoomarine and Aqualand both a short-drive away. The Monica Isabel Beach Club is within walking distance of the Old Town and prices start from £15.00 per night.
There are numerous mid-range resorts in the Algarve, but our favourite destinations are Lagos and Faro. The latter has a beautiful Old Town, brimming with quaint cafes and quiet restaurants. Faro Cathedral is in the heart of this complex, with ornate tapestries and stunning views out over the bell tower. Faro has more to offer than just history though; take a Segway tour across its long sandy beach or enjoy a dolphin spotting trip through the Rio Formosa Nature Park. The Faro Hotel is in the centre of town and costs from £50 per night.
Lagos is best known for its spectacular beaches, but it also has a rich and varied history dating all the way back to 1445. Ponta da Piedade, with its arches, grottoes and sea caves should be visited on a boat tour, whilst beach bunnies can sunbathe to their heart’s content on beautiful Camilo Beach. The Tivoli Lagos offers guests two fantastic restaurants, one specialising in Portuguese food and the other serving up international specialities. There is also a free shuttle service to the Duna Beach Club. With rooms starting from £29 per night, this is great value.
If you want to splurge in the Algarve there’s one place for it – Quinta do Lago! This upmarket resort has been referred to as Portugal’s answer to the home counties, with its well-heeled clientele and expensive boutiques – but Quinta do Lago can definitely attest to having a few more golf clubs! Those wanting to get to grips with the sport can enroll themselves into the prestigious McGinley Academy and receive expert tuition from a Ryder Cup captain. The academy can even use technology to analyse your swing and kit you out with a bespoke set of golf clubs.
Golf isn’t everyone’s bag though, so check into the exclusive Conrad Algarve and your £406* per night will get you access to the hotel’s spa. Their Conrad Fire and Ice – Algarve Sea and Earth treatment makes the most of locally sourced ingredients to offer up a fully holistic spa experience.
Book your break to the Algarve now!