Particularly popular with Brits, the beauty of the area draws around 10 million tourists each year...
No matter what you want to do while in the Algarve, from exploring history to spending your days at amusement and water parks, you will find a hotel that will suit you. Family holidays, spa breaks and adventure trips are all equally catered for and you can enjoy the Algarve no matter what your budget is.
Most people travelling to the Algarve will want to experience the resort areas of Albufeira, Lagos and Faro as these lie closest to the best beaches in the country. There are other resorts such as Acoteias, Alvor, Vilamoura, Praia da Falesia, Olhos D`agua, Balaia, Carvoeiro, Praia da Luz, Praia da Vau, Sao Vincent and Portimao.
The coastline here stretches for thirty kilometres and there are around twenty-five large beach areas, each with its own distinct geography. Albufeira has some of the best beaches in the world, with twenty Blue Flags in 2012. Here you can experience the small hidden coves that hug the coastline and enjoy your privacy while swimming in the crystal-clear waters.
As the area is so popular, you will find a wide variety of activities available. Water sports are incredibly popular and water skiing, boating, snorkelling and windsurfing equipment is available for hire. It is important to remember that though the weather is beautiful here all year round, many activities are only available in season, which is between April and October each year.
Algarve hotels are available to suit all tastes and budgets and offer a wide range of activities and tours...
Use our guide to discover the towns, villages and resorts of the Algarve and then choose your ideal holiday destination.
If you are looking for a bit of luxury you will want to visit the spa town of Monchique for at least part of your stay. Here you will find a number of luxurious spas offering every treatment possible, from various massage techniques to facial treatments, body wraps and wellness classes. There are also golf courses and other activities such as horse riding so you and your companions can truly relax in luxury.
If you want to enjoy this peaceful spa town it is not necessary to choose one of the larger expensive resorts. There are also a number of smaller, independent properties as well as a wide range of private villas available for rent. While inland, you should take the opportunity to explore Silves, the caves of Loule and Algar Seco.
Albufeira is a good choice for those who like to get out and about while on holiday and many Algarve hotels here offer transport and discounts to surrounding attractions such as Aqualand, Zoomarine and Parque Aventura.
Lagos is equally well equipped and Meia Praia, one of the most famous beaches of the Algarve, has four kilometres of golden sands and beach bars. Meia Praia is close to the town of Lagos and is ideal for those who want to experience a mixture of beach life and laid-back town-centre amenities. Slidesplase, one of the most popular attractions in Portugal, is a short distance from the town and Lagos Zoo is just a brief bus journey away. Lagos offers a wide range of accommodation, from small family-run bed and breakfasts to larger luxury properties and everything in between.
There are also a number of other resorts in Portugal, such as Acoteias, Alvor, Vilamoura, Praia da Falesia, Olhos D`agua, Balaia, Carvoeiro, Lagos, Praia da Luz, Praia da Vau and Portimao, each offering a unique perspective on resort life for guests. Staying in a resort is an excellent choice for many people as there are often a number of hotels available in a small area offering a wider range of choice than most towns and cities, from simple pensions to state-run Pousadas built in former historic buildings. There are also a number of private villas and self-catering apartment complexes available if you prefer the flexibility of your own space.
For something a little different, you could stay in Faro and enjoy the seamless blend of city life and beach days. Faro is surrounded by island beaches but is a large, cosmopolitan city build on strong historical foundations. You will find a wide range of architectural and historical wonders to marvel at while meandering through the streets and taking in the atmosphere. In the city you will be able to indulge in local fare at any of the large number of cafes, restaurants and bars. The best part of staying in a bigger city is the ability to explore all of the local nightclubs while remaining close to your accommodation. Whether you choose to stay in one of the local chain properties such as Tivoli or Pestana or somewhere independent, or indeed rent a city apartment, you will only be a short taxi ride from your property no matter where in the city you end up.
While here you will want to make sure that you take the opportunity to explore the oldest part of the city - the Ciade Velha. Faro Cathedral can be found here and a tour through the building is an absolute must. The tower offers beautiful views of the entire city. The cobbled streets and narrow, winding alleys really give you a feel for the history of the city and provide insights into Portuguese culture. Faro is also the place to be if you are looking to indulge in a little retail therapy. Many small boutique shops nestle in beside larger businesses and street vendors hawk their wares from carts and stalls on the streets. The Forum Algarve shopping mall on the main road also has a great variety of shops and eateries.
Leave the poolside if you can and discover the finest features of the Algarve…
Get out and about to see the beautiful Algarve. Hiring a car is a great way to see the sights cheaply and without fuss.
Top five attractions
See the stunning rock formations and cliffs of Algar Seco, which is located close to Carvoeiro. There is much to discover on this wild coastline, with this spot one of many highlights.
Cabo se Sao Vicente
Also known as Cape St Vincent, this is a headland near Sagres Point. There isn’t a great deal to see apart from rocks, a lighthouse and ocean. But wait until the sun sets over the watery horizon, at which point the setting is a picture of raw beauty.
Travel a little inland to see the historical city of Silves. Perched on a hillside and crowned by a castle, it’s the perfect antidote to too much sun on the beach.
Open between April and October, this theme park runs alongside a dolphin encounter, where guests can swim with their new marine friends. Zoomarine is located just outside Albufeira.
One of the highlights for many holidaymakers in the Algarve, the mild weather and excellent courses are perfect for seasoned pros as well as beginners. You can book lessons if you want to try your hand at the sport or perfect your swing.
Time your holiday around one of these lively events for a different look at the Algarve...
See the real Algarve when you explore the annual calendar of events.
Fiesa; May-October: Prepare to be wowed at this competition for sand sculptors. This isn’t your average sandcastle contest – think Elvis Presley made of sand and as big as a bus or the Hogwarts Express crashing across the beach. It is spectacular.
Festival Med; June: The sunny flavours of the Mediterranean burst out of this festival, where musicians, artists, actors, street performers and chefs dish up a vibrant taste of the region during a series of events over a few days.
Festival do Marisco; August: Food and music clash in fine style at this summer event in Olhao. The seafood is the star, so tuck into the freshest delicacies before you get lost in the music.