Best of Algarve

The climate – with over 3,000 hours of sunshine per year and a low annual average rainfall, the Algarve enjoys mild weather throughout the year, which is certainly a big attraction for visitors, both in the summer for a few days on the beach and in winter to relax or engage in a variety of activities.

Praia-Dona-Ana_660x371

The sea in every shade of blue, almost always calm and warm, and the beaches of fine white sand are the hallmark of the region. The beaches, stretching as far as the eye can see, bound by golden cliffs in small bays nestling between rocks, provide many stunning backdrops for unforgettable holidays. There are around 200 km of coastline that are perfect for all kinds of water sports, including sailing, surfing and windsurfing. Yachting enthusiasts are guaranteed to find great support infrastructures in the modern marinas spread along the Algarve coast.

Golf has brought the Algarve many international prizes and awards, and the region has more than once been voted the best golfing destination in the world. The Algarve has about forty courses with excellent conditions for both experienced players and those taking up the sport for the first time…

Ocean-Course-Vale-do-Lobo_660x371

Nature is at its best in three protected areas: the Vicentina Coast which is the best preserved stretch of coast in Europe, the Ria Formosa, a maze of channels separated from the sea by a strip of sand, and the Marshland of Castro Marim and Vila Real de Santo António, rich in fauna and flora. But there are also the hills you can discover by bike or on foot, following the footpaths of the Via Algarviana, which connect the eastern end of the region to the westernmost point via the interior, ending at the Rota Vincentina – another set of trails not to be missed for those who like walking. For those seeking a bigger adrenaline rush, there is parasailing, scuba diving, hang gliding or abseiling.

Heritage offers many treasures to discover. For example in Silves, formerly the capital of the Arab Kingdom, in Sagres and Lagos, very important during the 15th-century Discoveries, in Tavira, a showcase of traditional architecture or in the historical centre of Faro with its beautiful cathedral.

Largo-da-Sé-de-Faro_Rui-Morais-de-Sousa_660x371

 

Entertainment is red hot every summer in the many bars and clubs, especially in the most cosmopolitan areas like Albufeira, Portimão and Vilamoura. And throughout the year there are various events that bring colour and fun to the region, such as Carnival, music or food festivals, historical re-enactments and the traditional fairs and festivals which are held all over the region.

Food where the spotlight is naturally on fresh fish and seafood, either grilled or in a stew. But there are meat dishes, more common inland, and almond and fig cakes such as morgados or Dom Rodrigos, which go perfectly with the local almond liqueur or arbutus aguardente.

Resorts and Spas where you can enjoy some serious relaxation or health and well-being cures which are also available at the thalassotherapy centres and Spa at Monchique.

Eighty eight Algarve beaches to fly Blue Flag

The Algarve is once again the Portuguese region that will fly the most Blue Flags in 2016, with 88 beaches receiving the coveted classification.

Compared to last year, the number is up by three with Amoreira Mar (Aljezur) and Rocha Baixinha (Albufeira) set to fly a flag for the first time and Armona Ria (Olhão) making it back to the list.

All four Algarve marinas – Vilamoura, Albufeira, Portimão and Lagos – will also be once again flying Blue Flags.

On a national level, Portugal received a record 314 Blue Flags, with 15 new additions.

This means Portugal is the fifth country with most flags in Europe, trailing only behind Spain (579), Turkey (436), Greece (395) and France (379).

A map with all of Portugal’s Blue Flag beaches and marinas can be found online at http://bandeiraazul.abae.pt/galardoados/