It was here that, in the 15th century, the Portuguese set off on the epic journey that led them to discover other peoples and cultures… and it is in the Algarve that we cheerfully welcome many of our visitors. Even the climate is mild and sunny all year round!
There’s no shortage of high quality beaches either. Sandy stretches as far as the eye can see, framed by golden cliffs, virtually deserted islands marking the boundary between Ria Formosa and the sea, and small coves sheltered by the rocks. The ocean, in every shade of blue and mostly calm and warm, invites you for long swims and to indulge in water sports.
And there are also the mountains, where people live in harmony with nature and maintain traditions that they love to share. And the cities. Silves preserves traces of its Arab past and Lagos from the time of the Discoveries. More cosmopolitan Portimão and Albufeira are bustling towns by night and day. Tavira is a showcase for traditional architecture and Faro, the gateway to the region, deserves a long stop to discover its beautiful historic centre.
To relax, you can have various treatments in the spas and thalassotherapy centres and in the Monchique Thermal Baths. There are also many internationally acclaimed golf courses where you can enjoy a spot of exercise. And hotels, tourist villages, resorts, from the simplest to the most sophisticated. In short, a varied array sharing a genuine love for hospitality.
You can use footpaths and cycle trails to get to know the region, such as the Algarve Way inland or the Vicentine Route along one of the best preserved coastal stretches. And boat rides are another ecological way to observe the flora and fauna.
At the table, you will be delighted with the fresh fish and seafood, either grilled or in a casserole. These are divine flavours which you can enjoy on a simple beach terrace or in the most refined Michelin-starred restaurants, where chefs turn out new versions of traditional cuisine. They are further experiences not to be missed on a visit to the region. (visitportugal).
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Top things to do
Discovering the Via Algarvina route
Country walks allow visitors to explore the natural riches of the unspoilt Algarve landscape. All over the region extensive areas of coastline, hills and fertile plains invite tourists to discover the great outdoors. One of the best ways to see the Algarve hinterland is on foot, bicycle or horseback along the Via Algarviana, an extensive 240km network of paths stretching across the Algarve between Alcoutim in the east to Cape St Vincent in the west.
Boat ride in Ria Formosa
Admire the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa elegance on a ride in a traditional fishing boat. A boat ride is also the perfect way to enjoy the Algarve’s fine weather. Covering over 18,000 hectares the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa is comprised of sand dunes, marsh lands, lagoons and fresh water lakes. Its diverse group of inhabitants includes birds, fish, mammals and amphibians.
Canoeing through the Guadiana river to Alcoutim
The Guadiana River, a natural boundary between Portugal and Spain, is navigable from its mouth to Alcoutim. Starting from Vila Real de Santo António, you pass through Castro Marim surrounded by saltpans, schist rock and a castle that stands proudly above the Nature Reserve, home to over a hundred different species of birds.
Sun and beaches
Some of the best and most beautiful beaches in the entire world are to be found in the Algarve. Hardly surprising then that the region is a favourite for sun-seekers from all over. They come in search of the natural heritage that is now managed in a sustainable fashion, in order to provide quality recreational facilities able to meet all kinds of requirements.
Even the most fearless of visitors should find enough variety in the Algarve to fill their free time with active sports, always with nature as a magnificent backdrop.
Breathtaking paragliding or hang gliding flights are the perfect choice for adventure lovers. Taking advantage of good winds along the entire Vicentine Coast, flights provide a unique opportunity to contemplate the magnificent splendour of the cliffs and the azure seas.