Hailed as one of the sunniest spots in Europe, the Algarve is the ideal holiday retreat. Its beautiful sandy beaches, year round sunshine and range of hotels, villas, golf courses, nightclubs and other leisure activities make it the perfect destination for vacationers of all ages.
The area is historically rich and is not short of heritage sites for the budding culture vulture. Locals like to celebrate the Algarve’s colourful past with festivals and carnivals. The region’s clubbing scene is somewhat legendary, and has been attracting world class party goers for years.
Where to Stay
A great value option is the Bayside Balgados Apartments, found just outside Albufeira, a popular beach resort. Each apartment is fitted with a living room, a fully equipped kitchenette and a balcony or terrace. Facilities include an outdoor swimming pool, pool bar and a children’s playground. A great choice for families who want self catering accommodation close to the beach and golf course.
For a truly luxury stay, check in at the Lake Spa Resort in Villamoura. Situated on the beach front between the marina and the sea, and just 20 minutes from Faro airport, this beautiful hotel will immerse each one of its guests in pure luxury.Ocean villas provide a great selection of private villas, each with a pool, to rent in the Algarve.Party animals can wind up at the Zodiaco Hotel. 1.5 miles from Vale de Lobo, this budget option is great for those who want to chill all day and party all night.
Featuring a pool, a games room and bright air conditioned rooms, this hotel is only 10 minutes walk away from the beach.Steeped in luxury, the Hilton Vilamoura is only a few minutes away from the beautiful Falesia beach. Enjoy the contemporary décor and stunning views boasted by each room of this hotel, which even allows you to bring pets.
What to Do
The historic town of Silves is definitely worth a visit. The town’s main square, Praca do Municipo is adorned with flowers and beautiful gardens. The gothic monument, Se de Silves is situated on the one of the town’s cobbled streets, and is an absolute must-see. Nature enthusiasts should head to the Algar Seco, a stunning range of cliffs and caves where you can glimpse beautiful sea views.
The 18th century St Lawrence’s Church is decorated with traditional hand painted Portuguese tiles on the ceiling and gold leaf designs behind the altar.The old part of Faro city is historically rich and encased by Roman walls which date back to the 9th Century. Presentations with dolphins, seals, sea lions and birds of prey are on display at the Zoomarine Algarve in Guia, just a few miles from Albufeira.
Where to Eat
If its al fresco dining you’re after, head to O’Pescador in the Sheraton Algarve. Though the price tag is a bit weighty, the food on offer, including dishes such as the Crustacean Platter, is simply mouth watering.
If you like to see your food squirming about in an aquarium before you eat it, Rui Marisqueira in Silves is the place for you. The restaurant, which opened 26 years ago, offers a wide range of shellfish and fresh fish which you can pick out yourself. The cosy and intimate atmosphere in Quinta de Lago’s La Paella makes it the perfect evening retreat after a day on the golf course, where guests can enjoy a great range of fresh tapas. Oceanos is a beautiful venue serving international cuisine as well as fresh fish and shellfish.
When to Visit
Peak (and therefore most expensive) season in the Algarve is July to August, so while the summer sunshine may be attractive, prices will be at their highest and the beaches their busiest at this time. The months of April to June still enjoy beautiful weather, and are not as expensive, making this a better time to go.