Algarve - The region

 

Welcome to Algarve! Wherever you look, the colours of the mountains and sea are always with you, creating the impression of a water-colour dotted with highlights of gold, green and blue.

The region is an extensive and pleasant one, with a Mediterranean climate, marked by the smell of the sea at low tide and the scent of wild flowers.

A stroll through the tangled web of narrow streets, alleys and steps to be found away from the coast is the best way of getting to know this part of the region. But you can also easily lose yourself in the vastness of the coastal strip.

 

 

Here the backdrop is composed of some of Europe's most beautiful beaches, from where you can admire the rocky coastline and the playful shadows they cast on the sand.
After the enchantment of the landscape, you can discover the aromas and flavours of the traditional Algarve cuisine.

As you travel across the Algarve, amidst its hills and plains filled with places of great ecological interest, rich in biodiversity and ecosystems, you will feel as though you are passing through an area full of different traditions, unchanged for many centuries.

 

 

The handicraft is skilfully manufactured by the local craftsmen, who make use of longstanding, ancestral techniques and produce an excellent range of pottery, woven baskets, copper and brass articles, or other pieces made of linen and jute.
Only a step away from the tranquil peace of the inland region is the excitement of the Algarve nightlife. Bars, discos, marinas and casinos guarantee visitors the very best kind of merrymaking.

The region's built heritage is something you cannot afford to miss. The architecture of the whitewashed houses, with their brightly-coloured mouldings and remarkably beautiful chimneys, the church belfries and the museums, all reveal particular memories of the ancestors of the Algarve people and help to make this such a special destination.

Also to be recommended is the range of outdoor sports that are available, whether you're playing golf on lush green courses or enjoying some physical exercise at some of the region's excellent facilities, whether you're on the coast or perhaps up in the hills, where, after the rigours of winter and even before the first signs of spring, the land is covered in a pinkish white blanket, produced by the blossom of the almond-trees scattered across the horizon. 

This is the true portrait of an Algarve that you'll find waiting for you, all year round.

Culture and Tradition

A unique way to do, feel and celebrate

More than just magnificent beaches and a blessed climate, the Algarve offers a rich folk heritage which is worth appreciating along with the pleasures of the sun and the sea.

Devote some time to discovering it because there are old customs, living traditions and heritage buildings which can be enjoyed throughout the year.

Algarvians across the centuries have left such a rich heritage which deserves to be explored: from the unique celebrations of festive occasions (such as Easter, Christmas or spring); to the historical buildings of ancient and recent times; to the irresistible delicacies making up the regional cuisine.

History

 

In the Algarve, your holidays will take on a historical flavour.

All around the region, you will find the chance to discover some of the charms and secrets of Portugal's history, which time has not yet managed to erase.

Spending your holidays in the Algarve also provides an opportunity for travelling in time, finding numerous testimonies to the different peoples and cultures that have come together throughout the history of this region.

From traces of the Roman presence to evidence of the long legacy of Muslim times, from the Christian reconquest to the epic period of the Portuguese discoveries, you will find all kinds of reasons for rediscovering the signs of a quite distinctive historical past.

Location

Located on the western extreme of the Iberian Peninsula, in the south of Portugal, the Algarve is easily distinguished from the rest of the country. Not only because of its peripheral location, but also for its morphological and geological features.

The Algarve region covers 6% of Portugal’s total area and it’s 5,000 km2 wide. On the north side it is limited by the Alentejo, on the east the Guadiana River separates it from Spain and on west and south it is bathed by the Atlantic.
Due to its diversity, conditioned by the geology, the Algarve can be divided in three main regions: the Mountains (Serra), the Barrocal (place full of ruts, crags or caves) and the Littoral. 

On the Littoral you will find beaches that work as a magnet for tourists from all over the world. On the Vicentina Coast (that begins a little before Sagres and spreads to the north) one can feel the presence of nature in the dark steep cliffs cut by small beaches. The south coast is attractive and invites to the pleasures of sun and sea. It offers small beaches wrapped by coloured cliffs and huge beaches framed by pine trees.

Inland you will find Barrocal that is the orchard of the Algarve, with its many green shaded almond trees, fig trees, orange trees and a rainbow made of flowers.
This is the place to find whitewashed houses, with laced chimneys and views that spread to the ocean. 
Further north you’ll find the range of mountains. Not a range of high peaks and ravines, but a chain of round shapes that spread to the horizon like a petrified smooth sea. 

The Littoral is a narrow strip near the coast and it is also the best place to find the best agricultural lands, most of the regional economic activity and the major urban centres.

How to get to the Algarve

Due to its peripheral location, the Algarve enjoys good transport connections, both internally with the other Portuguese cities and externally with the rest of the world. Various national airlines have regular flights to the Algarve, making Faro a busy international airport.

The Algarve also benefits from a good road network, composed of motorways, trunk roads and a range of secondary roads, making the journey comfortable and efficient whether you're travelling by bus or driving in a rented car.

Rail transport is another alternative for visitors to the region. The Portuguese rail service (CP - Comboios de Portugal) has a vast network of trains to places all over the country.

International Access

Faro Airport

Tel.: 289 800 800 (General)
Tel.: 289 800 801 (Flight information until midnight)
Tel.: 289 800 617 (Flight information after midnight)
www.ana-aeroportos.pt
International Access by Road
N431 (Huelva, Spain) / A22 - (Via do Infante, Portugal)
Port of Portimão
Tel.: 282 400 680

National Access

Roads
IC1, N2, N120, N122

Trains 

"Alfa Pendular": fully equipped, fast and comfortable trains.
Intercity trains: connections to various cities in Portugal, such as Lisbon-Algarve
Inter-regional trains.
Buses
Express service: from various locations

Access in the Algarve

Main road links
A22 - (Via do Infante), N125
Trains
Services between Lagos and Vila Real de Santo António

 

European Capital Flight Time Distance in Quilometers
Amsterdam 02h55 2590km
Athens 03h20 4577km
Berlin 03h30 3290km
Berne 02h45 2323km
Brussels 02h30 2207km
Copenhagen 03h00 3322km
Dublin 03h00 3160km
Stockholm 04h30 2979km
Helsinki 06h55 5020km
London 02h30 2320km
Luxembourg 02h50 2420km
Madrid 01h30 729km
Oslo 03h10 3876km
Paris 02h30 1908km
Rome 02h45 2802km
Vienna 03h20 3293km

 

Climate

All year round, the Algarve enjoys the best climate in Europe. With only a short period of rainfall (it normally rains between November and March) and long hours of sunshine (the highest in Europe), the Algarve region is blessed with the perfect weather for tourism.
During the summer months, temperatures are quite high, which greatly favours the so-called "Beach Tourism". The Algarve is a veritable paradise for bathers. It is a region endowed with beaches of fine white sand all along its extensive coastline and a calm sea with water temperatures of around 22°C in the summer period.
Due to its relief and geographical position, the Algarve is influenced climatically by the European continent, North Africa, the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean. The maximum temperatures in the Algarve vary, throughout the year, between 15ºC and 31°C and the temperature never falls below zero in the winter. This is why tourists from Northern European countries increasingly seek out the Algarve, where they can enjoy long hours of sunshine.

 
Average temperatures

Air temperature in summer: 24ºC to 29ºC
Air temperature in winter: 15ºC to 18ºC
Seawater temperature in summer: 21ºC to 24ºC
Seawater temperature in winter: 15ºC to 19ºC