Have you been in this part of Portugal?
If you haven’t, then be prepared to be mesmerized by its natural beauty, insightful history, and simple elegance.
Algarve is located at the southernmost portion of mainland Portugal, with rich valleys and beautiful beaches. Algarve boosts of year-round sunshine-filled days and wonderfully mild climate. It is a favorite holiday destination not only of Portuguese and Europeans, but also of tourists from around the world.
Algarve is divided into 16 municipalities, each of which has a lot to offer but the following are the top five tourist destinations.
1. Albufeira – This is the tourist capital of Algarve. It derives its name from the Arabic word al-Buhayra, meaning “the lagoon”. This place has a unique blend of history and modern comforts. The earthquake of 1755 has leveled most of the old Albufeira to the ground, but an adventurous tourist can seek out the relics of bygone eras by exploring its backstreets.
For those who love the water, Albufeira has 23 beautiful beaches you can choose from with white sand, clear blue waters, and the perfect Mediterranean climate.
It also has a marina, premier golf courses, numerous restaurants and bars, and a lively and dazzling nightlife.
2. Vilamoura – The heart of the Golf Country, it has many world-class golf courses and a huge marina which can accommodate as much as 1,000 vessels. Not far from the marina are facilities for different water sports such as jet skiing and parasailing. You can also charter boats and enjoy a day of game fishing or exploring the local caves and grottoes.
Resort ratings of 3 to 5 are not uncommon in this highly developed tourism hot spot. Night clubs, bars and pubs in Vilamoura makes the nights exciting and full of life.
3. Faro – Faro is the seat of government of the Algarve region. It has a public university, a complete transport facility including an international airport, a seaport and bus services, and a marina.
One of the most wonderful places in Algarve is the Ria Formosa lagoon which extends to over 170 kilometers of coastline and serves as a pit stop for many species of migratory birds which travel during the summer and autumn seasons.
If you are a history buff, Faro prides itself on its cultural and historical heritage, one part of this modern metropolitan is section enclosed by Roman walls dating back to the 9th century. There is also the 16th century convent converted to the city’s museum. Another attraction is the church of Nossa Senhora do Carmois which has a chapel “lined with the bones from over 1200 monks!”
4. Lagos – It is a modern city with an interesting past and an ever-growing location for commerce and tourism. Lagos was a bustling maritime port and has now evolved into one of the major seaports of Portugal.
A trip around the city is a nostalgic travel to the past as relics and ruins of the city’s distinguished history presents themselves round each corner of the cobbled backstreets. A fort, a museum and several churches will definitely pique your interest in history.
Meia Praia, the longest beach in Algarve, runs for 4.5 kilometers of the Lagos shore. Even in the peak summer season, there is no crowding and everyone can claim a piece of the beach for himself/herself. The water is excellent for swimming, surfing, and water sports. The beachfront restaurants and bars are open all day long and into the night.
5. Cape St. Vincent – Poetically named “Land’s End”, it is the southwestern most point in Portugal and all of Europe. As with the rest of the region, Cape St. Vincent is rich in history and folklore. It has been a landmark for ancient seafarers as well as modern navigators. The lighthouse, the second most powerful in Europe, is visible 60 kilometers out to the sea.
It is home to a thriving marine life as well as numerous species of birds nesting on the cape’s towering cliffs. The beaches and cliffs are ideal for spirited tourists who will definitely love the adventures this place offers.
Such a wonderful list of places to visit, isn’t it?
The Algarve is truly a unique tourist destination, a special location where you, nature, and history can reacquaint and rediscover the fibers of life that connect you with each other.