Holidays in the Algarve are the perfect beach break for many, and the shine simply cannot be taken off this Portuguese dazzler...
The Algarve is a destination for families, groups, singles and couples, and everyone can find something to suit them in this versatile holiday destination.
The Algarve is the main resort area in Portugal, and flights arrive into Faro Airport (FAO) on a regular basis throughout the year.
Resorts pepper the Algarve's stunning coastline, which is met by the Atlantic Ocean. Seas here are rougher than in Mediterranean destinations, which is a huge bonus if you like to get to grips with watersports during your sunshine holidays.
The Algarve features a huge range of accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets. You can pick from self-catering apartments and villas, high-end spa hotels, hotels featuring world-class golf courses, and just about everything in between. Car hire in the Algarve is a great option for getting to and from the airport and exploring the region during your holiday.
Choose your resort in the Algarve based on what you like to do. There are peaceful havens and there are party towns, such as Albufeira. Popular coastal resorts include Acoteias, Alvor, Vilamoura, Praia da Falesia, Olhos de Agua, Quinta do Lago, Quarteria, Vila do Bispo, Balaia, Carvoeiro, Lagos, Praia da Luz, Praia do Vau, and Portimão.
The inland resorts of Monchique, Silves and Loulé also welcome tourists and even if you don't stay there, they are worthy of day trips to take in the stunning scenery in the Monchique Mountain range, to look around Silves Castle and to visit the food markets in Loulé.
Most of the resorts operate for 12 months of the year, though the main holiday seasons are spring, summer and autumn, when the warmest weather can be enjoyed on the Algarve's spotless beaches.
With daily flights from the UK, the Algarve is open year round. Temperatures are at their best from early spring to late in the year...
This popular holiday destination bakes in 12 hours of daily sunshine and average temperatures of 30C in the summer months. Spring and autumn are pleasant and warm, while winter experiences daily averages of around 16C. Rainfall is highest in winter, but even then, there isn't much to speak of.
Holidays on the Algarve can offer far more than a chance to soak up the sun. Here are some great events to entice you...
Loulé Carnival; February: This is one of the biggest events in the Algarve and is centred on the cosmopolitan town of Loulé. Brazilian-style processions of wild colours and even wilder participants snake through the streets. This is a real highlight of the events calendar and one not to be missed.
April 25th commemorations; April: Be in Faro to see the commemoration of the peaceful revolution that ended a dictatorship in Portugal in 1974. Music and dance is performed during this annual event.
Fiesa; May-October: If you think you've ever built a decent sandcastle, prepare to be blown away at this annual large-scale sand sculpture contest in Pera.
Festival Med; June: The town of Loulé is once again the host for a fantastic annual event in the Algarve. This time it's a highly regarded music festival that features acts from around the world.
Festival do Marisco; August: Savour a taste of Portugal and the Algarve at this gastronomic festival in Olhão. Get the taste buds tingling with local cuisine and row upon row of stalls dishing up the freshest seafood imaginable.
Away from the beaches there is plenty to keep you occupied, from water parks to natural wonders...
The kids will love the Algarve's water parks and the Zoomarine theme park near Albufeira, which also features a dolphin lagoon.
The whole family will enjoy the rock formations and cliffs of Algar Seco, while you can feel like you're at the end of the world at Cabo de Säo Vicente, or Cape St Vincent, which is a headland near Sagres Point.
Heading inland to the Monchique Mountains is a great day out. There are terrific views down to the coast and you can take the spa waters and explore the cobbled streets of this mountain side town. The drive up takes you through wooded hillsides and makes a real contrast to the coastal areas.
Relaxing: If you've had enough of lounging on the beach, take a trip to the Ria Formosa National Park. Relax with a picnic and then explore and spot the abundance of wildlife that the park is home to.
Active types: Sports enthusiasts can enjoy a great day of golf on world-class courses at Vilamoura.
Romance: Enjoy a trip to elegant Tavira. Castle ruins, 16th-century buildings and numerous churches will give you plenty to explore before you treat your other half to a candlelit meal in one of its many restaurants.
Babies & toddlers: If you're stuck for something to do with little ones, take a trip to Krazy World, near Albufeira. Here they can enjoy a petting farm, pony rides, mini golf and various other attractions.
Kids & teens: The kids will love a day out at the Zoomarine theme park. With a huge range of attractions, including a 4D cinema and swimming pools, they can also enjoy visiting dolphins, seals, tropical birds and birds of prey.
Grown-up families: Take a trip to the vibrant town of Lagos and enjoy wandering around its picturesque cobbled streets. Relax on breath-taking beaches before exploring its many restaurants, bars and cafes.
Nightlife: Party animals will be able to sip on cocktails and dance until dawn on Albufeira's bar street.