Home - Algarve
One of Europe's most popular holiday destinations...
The Algarve's beaches, friendly atmosphere, sunshine, good food and wine have been attracting tourists for decades...
Whilst the Algarve is well-known as a popular holiday destination, visitors may be suprised to discover the range of environments contained within this region. Costa Vicentina on the south-west is a nature reserve whose wild beaches are highly-rated as some of the best surf spots in Europe.
Travelling from here along the south-eastern coast the visitor will find warm lagoons and a coastline protected from the chill of the Atlantic winds. It is worth journeying inland to the Barrocal, the agricultural region that runs through the Algarve, full of orange, almond and fig groves, an ideal environment for country walks and picnics.
And all this without mentioning the beaches, golf courses and resorts that surround Faro, long the favourite destination of many northern European tourists looking to enjoy the sunshine, good food and wine and warm, family-friendly atmosphere.
The Algarve's close proximity to Africa in the south, the Mediterranean countries to the east and its views out on to the Atlantic in the west made the region one of the most highly sought-after regions of Europe for a variety of empires. The Phoenicians established trading ports along the coast a thousand years before the birth of Christ, Roman bath houses and other ruins can be found in Lagos, Vilamoura and Praia da Luz.
However, it is the Moorish empire whose influence can be most easily detected in modern day Algarve. The Moors began their spread into Portugal in 711, taking the city of Lagos in 716, and giving the region the name that is still used to this day, Al-Gharb, meaning "the west".
Map of the Algarve
To do in the Algarve
Surf spots in the Algarve.
Photo credits: João Barbosa
See the remains of Roman rule.
Photo credits: Wiseguy 71
Related Reading for the Algarve
A guide to Algarve which highlights what the area has on offer, beaches, restaurants, surf spots, museums and castles. It features listings of the places to stay, eat, drink, club and shop to suit various budgets.
By Matthew Hancock
The Wine & Food Lover's Guide to Portugal is a 446-page hardback book for people who like to eat and drink well, stay in welcoming and interesting places, and want to explore Portugal - and not just the beaches.