If you’re looking for a holiday for the whole family, the Algarve is a fantastic choice. Portugal is all about sun, sea and fun-filled beach days; so the Algarve is a great place for summer holidays, with a laid-back culture and beautiful beaches. It’s an easy journey from the UK, sitting just 25km from Faro Airport, with lots of sights to see, food to eat and a vibrant culture to explore. The cultural town of Lagos is also a short drive away, 7.5km east of the Algarve, with many sights to take in.
The Algarve is a great choice if you’re in desperate need of some sunshine – the southwest coast of Portugal boasts over 300 days of sunny weather. Even in the depths of winter, you can escape to the Algarve for some winter sun and a beach cocktail. There’s everything from lively nightlife in Albufeira to dance shows in Vilamoura, and the most beautiful beaches with rugged coastline to explore. You can also take a day trip to Seville, the home of flamenco dance, and take in the views of the Gothic cathedral, open-air restaurant and delicious Spanish tapas.
Why Choose the Algarve?
The rich mix of lovely resorts, sunshine and culture makes the Algarve a consistently popular choice for British holiday makers. The resorts are varied too; Alvor sits near a quiet town, with a few fun bars, whereas Portimao is livelier, with lots of fun resorts that will keep you entertained until the early hours of the morning. The sun-drenched days at the beach here are second to none, and the area has earned a strong reputation as the place to come for golf holidays. There’s beautiful rural countryside, as well as interesting historic attractions and outdoor activities. Only three hours from the UK, it’s an easy break that’s great for all the family.
Attractions and Activities
Of course, sitting on beach and taking stock of the world is one of the best things you can do in the Algarve. You can spend days lazing on the beach, or trying your hand at the many watersports on offer – the waters are generally calm, and good for all levels of swimmer. There are many lovely beaches, including Praia de Monte Gordo at the eastern end of the coast, Praia de Faro, which is close to the capital, Praia da Falesia, one of the longest beaches in the area and Praia do Amado on the west coast. The Algarve offers great watersports, including scuba diving for all levels. The scuba diving will reveal amazing rock formations, hidden grottos and shipwrecks and is well worth trying. Most resorts offer sailing experience; hire a small sail boat for the day, and explore the resorts by boat, taking it the beautiful Algarve coastline. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, try Skydive Algarve, who organise great skydiving experiences in the area. Quad Ventura is also great if you’d like to explore the Algarve on quad bikes!
Aside from its many beautiful beaches, the Algarve is also a golfer’s paradise, with many wonderful golf courses. In fact, there’s over 25 courses in the 100-mile coastline, all within easy reach of each other. Vilamoura has several great courses including Vilamoura Old Course, Pinhal and Vila Sol. Golfers might also enjoy the courses at Salgados, Palmeres, Gramacho and Laguna! If you’d like to explore the area on foot, Monte Gordo is a popular area for leisurely strolls, with plenty of flat terrain for exploring.
For culture lovers, take a trip to the famous Fiesa – a huge exhibition of sand sculptures – and for animal lovers, try visiting Zoomarine, a popular attraction in the area. At Zoomarine, you’ll be able to see seals, dolphins and sea lions – a great choice for all the family. The area also boasts a number of theme parks, waterparks and aqua shows to keep you entertained during your stay. Of course, if that’s all a bit much, hit the shops for some retail therapy. There’s two large shopping centres in the Algarve - 'Forum Algarve' in Faro and 'Algarve Shopping' in Guia - as well as great weekend markets in Loulé.
There are many events throughout the year in the Algarve to keep you amused. Every August, the city of Silves hosts a magnificent medieval fair in its historic centre – expect streets filled with colour, markets and music. Every June, Loulé hosts an eclectic MED Festival with world music and local acts. There’s also a jazz festival at Casa da Cultura in Loulé every July, with classic jazz, blues and much more. For art lovers, don’t miss the International Sand Sculpture Festival every year, with specialist sand sculptures. There’s also a beautiful carnival in Loulé every February, as well as a ‘White Night’ party at the end of the summer, with street musicians and dancing on the street.
The best way to get around the Algarve is by renting a car, which is inexpensive and gives you complete freedom of the area. If you’d rather take public transport, pick up a timetable from a bus station – the buses are regular and budget-friendly. Several companies offer bicycle hire, moped hire, scooter hire and motorcycle hire if you’re feeling more adventurous.
• For deserted beaches, visit the Algarve outside school holidays. The best months for quiet time are May, June or October, when it’s warm and not too crowded.
• Make sure to sample the wine in this area – the Algarve boasts excellent local wines.
• The Algarve has a great variety of food delicacies – try their grilled sardines, famous cataplana and grilled piri-piri chicken
• For something different, try clam picking in Ria Formosa, it’s REALLY fun!
Algarve holiday resorts
|Albufeira Holidays||39 Hotels, Villas + Apartments|
|Vilamoura Holidays||19 Hotels, Villas + Apartments|
|Gale Holidays||8 Hotels, Villas + Apartments|
|Carvoeiro Holidays||7 Hotels, Villas + Apartments|
|Alvor Holidays||6 Hotels, Villas + Apartments|
|Praia Da Rocha Holidays||5 Hotels, Villas + Apartments|
|Quarteira Holidays||5 Hotels, Villas + Apartments|
|Monte Gordo Holidays||4 Hotels, Villas + Apartments|
|Lagos Holidays||2 Hotels, Villas + Apartments|
|Olhos d'Agua Holidays||2 Hotels, Villas + Apartments|
|Porches Holidays||2 Hotels, Villas + Apartments|
|Armacao de Pera Holidays||2 Hotels, Villas + Apartments|
|Almancil Holidays||2 Hotels, Villas + Apartments|
|Boliqueme Holidays||2 Hotels, Villas + Apartments|
|Sao Rafael Holidays||1 Hotels, Villas + Apartments|
|Tavira Holidays||1 Hotels, Villas + Apartments|
|Arao Holidays||1 Hotels, Villas + Apartments|
|Benfarras Holidays||1 Hotels, Villas + Apartments|
|Ferragudo Holidays||1 Hotels, Villas + Apartments|
|Altura Holidays||1 Hotels, Villas + Apartments|
|Praia da Falesia Holidays||1 Hotels, Villas + Apartments|
|Praia da Luz Holidays||1 Hotels, Villas + Apartments|
|Lagoa Holidays||1 Hotels, Villas + Apartments|
|Olhao Holidays||1 Hotels, Villas + Apartments|