Closely associated with the sea throughout its history, the Algarve has been invaded and fought over by the Phoenicians, Romans and Moors and was at one time its own Kingdom. With its south-facing coastline of approximately 155 kilometres, the Algarve provides hundreds of sandy beaches with something for everyone.
International visitors arrive to the airport at Faro which is a short distance from the city centre and where the old part of the city, still surrounded by Roman walls is a place worth visiting. In summer, the coast between Faro and Lagos attracts thousands of visitors, but it is possible to escape from the crowds even in popular places like Albufeira and Portimão. While in Lagos you easily arrive to the southwestern beaches of the Algarve, the colorful Tavira is a good base for an excursion to the lagoons of Eastern Algarve.
The more interior locations provide relaxed towns among the mountains and valleys of luxuriant vegetation. The famous thermals of Caldas de Monchique are located at an altitude of 250m in the Serra de Monchique Valley. Monchique is an area of great beauty and the thermal facilities are open all year round. Increasingly a golfer’s paradise, the Algarve is home to more than 30 of Portugal’s 60+ golf courses. Wine lovers can tour the Algarve’s four major wine regions of Lagoa, Portimão, Tavira and Lagos. Annually they produce about 6 million litres of mainly red, but also white and rosé wines.
HOW TO GET THERE
There is one international airport located close to Faro and this conveniently lies in the middle of the Algarve coastline. TAP, the national airline, will fly to Faro from most international airports. Throughout the region there are a number of small airports where it is possible to travel from the international airport, but services are variable and it is worth checking availability.
Discount airlines EasyJet and Ryanair fly from various UK airports direct to Faro. Monarch.co.uk flies cheap charter flights from Manchester, Gatwick and Luton airports in the UK.