The Algarve

The Algarve holidays

Trimmed by golden beaches, twinkling cobalt waters and ochre-tinged cliffs, Portugal's south coast is a natural stunner. This is the amazing Algarve, where you can count on long days of sunshine and a laid-back pace of life. Seaside towns in various guises pepper its shores, from swanky Vilamoura and family-friendly Albufeira to authentic Alvor and soulful Lagos. That means you can take your pick from lazing on Blue Flag beaches, teeing off at top golf courses, wandering tile-clad old towns and whooshing down slides at water parks. Oh, and come with an appetite, as freshly-grilled fish and succulent piri-piri chicken are on the menu.

Language

Portuguese

Currency

Euro

Time difference

GMT

Cost of a beer

£2.00 / €1.75

3 course meal

£26.70 / €30

Flight times

3-4hrs

A sun-seeker’s paradise

For over four decades, visitors from all over the world have flocked to the Algarve beaches in search of sun, fun and adventure. Golf courses, marinas, lush sands and coves are all dotted around the shore, while historic towns offer you chances to immerse yourself in the Algarve resorts' local culture.

In the swing of things

Towards the coast, water sports are a big deal, particularly around Lagos where kitesurfing and water-skiing are popular with everyone. In Vilamoura, why not take a sailing lesson before hitting the swanky shops, bars and clubs along the sands? Or if surfing is more your thing, then head to Sagres for one of the best spots.

Grand architecture

The biggest city of the Algarve resorts is Faro, which has a charming Old Town district. The city’s cathedral and museums are among its highlights, while it’s also a good place to shop. History buffs will enjoy exploring the various kinds of exhibits around this visually pleasing Portuguese part.

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Almancil

Whitewashed houses, pastel-coloured architecture and green spaces combine on an Almancil holiday.

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Estoi

Pops of colourful flowers dot around the quaint cobbled streets.

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Albufeira

One of the Algarve’s most popular resorts, you'll be spoilt for choice on your Albufeira holiday.

Beaches

You’ll be spoilt for choice with the Algarve’s beaches. The coastlines are rugged, the sand is silky-soft and the water’s a shimmering shade of turquoise. You’ll find the tourist hotspots with their café-lined promenades, and the quieter spots that are great for a bit of shade in the warm climate.

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Praia dos Salgados

Sights

If you want to see dolphins in their natural environment, head to Mar Ilimitado at Sagres. You might even see porpoises and sea turtles, as well as lots of interesting birdlife. Castle ruins scatter this stunning Algarve resort with majestic historical remnants, so prepare for a blast from the past.

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Activities

The Algarve has more than its share of waterparks. Zoomarine, just outside Albufeira, is the region’s answer to SeaWorld. Near here you’ve also got Aqualand, one of Portugal’s biggest waterparks. It’s got everything from kamikaze thrill rides to toddler-friendly slides. Parks and museums offer a bit of culture, on the flipside.

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Slide & Splash Waterpark

Slide & Splash Waterpark

Carvoeiro, The Algarve

If waterparks are your thing then the Slide and Splash in nearby Lagoa has it all. Brave the Kamikaze or the Black Hole, or race your friends on the Bonzai speed lanes. There’s an Olympic-sized pool if...
Go birdwatching on the Ria Formosa

Go birdwatching on the Ria Formosa

The Algarve

What better way to spend a winter break on the Algarve than with a spot of birdwatching? Ria Formosa National Park is a vast maze of lagoons and tiny islands on the coast of Quinta do Lago. This epic ecosystem...

Eating and drinking

Top drawer for its delicious fresh seafood, you're guaranteed incredible cuisine on your Algarve holiday. Dishes generally include caldeirada, a fish stew, and conquilhas – clams, Algarve-style. Wash them down with a glass of spirit made from locally grown fruit, and you’ve got yourself something tasty. Eateries nestled within coves offer awesome views!

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A Sabores da Ria

A Sabores da Ria

Tavira, The Algarve

A Sabores da Ria, a Portuguese seafood restaurant overlooking the Ria Formosa estuary, is famous for its fish, chips and mushy peas. The menu is simple and good value and offers meat and vegetarian dishes....
Arte Nautica Beach Restaurant

Arte Nautica Beach Restaurant

Armacao De Pera, The Algarve

Arte Náutica is a stylish beach restaurant with stunning views of the sunset. Its menu of local seafood fits well with its stripy nautical décor. Fresh fish, oven-baked in salt, is one of the restaurant’s...

Shopping

The Algarve is a great place to pick up traditional linens, pottery and leather goods. You’ll find small boutiques selling these in all the major resorts, so you’ll have plenty of options for a spree. For big-name brands, head to malls like Algarve Shopping in Albufeira, or Forum Algarve in Faro.

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Aqua Portimao Shopping Centre

Aqua Portimao Shopping Centre

Praia Da Rocha , The Algarve

Aqua Portimão is a shopping centre with all your favourite home-from-home brands, including Primark and H&M. It’s set over two floors and there are 117 stores to pick from. Once you've shopped till you've...
AlgarveShopping

AlgarveShopping

Albufeira, The Algarve

If you’ve some extra space in your suitcase, AlgarveShopping will soon solve that. This open-air shopping centre has over 100 stores, and many of them are tax-free, so get set to find great bargains! If...

Nightlife

Swish bars, lounges, and night-long clubs make an Algarve holiday a great pick for after-dark scenes. Albufeira’s a known hotspot for nightlife, with a big choice of late-hours watering holes and restaurants lining the famous Strip. And Alvor’s cobbled streets offer plenty of bars within easy walking distance.

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Cliff-top esplanade

Cliff-top esplanade

Praia Da Rocha , The Algarve

There are lots of pubs and disco bars on the clifftop esplanade overlooking Praia da Rocha’s beach. On The Rocks is open from lunchtime and shows all the major sporting events and soaps on large-screen TVs. The...
Club Kiss

Club Kiss

Albufeira, The Algarve

Just a few minutes walk from The Strip, is Kiss Club, three floors of all-night music and dancing. Kiss host international DJs and have live music and their variety of nights include R'n'B nights, electro and...
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