Portugal’s Algarve is a popular summer holiday destination for people looking to relax. As well as providing ample opportunities for relaxation, this beautiful part of Portugal also offers some glorious weather, delicious food and wines, a range of different activities for all the family and plenty of interesting history. More than 10 million visitors pay this area a visit, so there’s got to be something going on to make them keep coming back for more. It is said the area enjoys more than 3,000 hours of sunshine every year, which is one very good reason to pack your travel bags and book a flight right away. Here are some of the other reasons you should visit.
The most popular and liveliest resort town is Albufeira. It’s lively, energetic and packed with restaurants, attractions and activities for both young and old. Book a stay in one of the many villas in Albufeira and it will make a great base for your Algarve adventure. You’d never think it now, but it started life as a small fishing village.
All Year Sunshine
We’ve already mentioned the weather, but it’s worth mentioning again. Expect to enjoy sunshine whatever time of the year you visit. Even in the winter it’s rare for temperatures to drop below 10°C. Temperatures do climb considerably in the summer months, but its coastal location means it feels much cooler.
The cuisine of Portugal is simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s not delicious. Fish is obviously a favorite, due to its location and you’ll easily find restaurants serving dishes made using ingredients recently plucked from the Atlantic Ocean. Traditional meals include cataplana or clams in butter (Conquilhas à Algarvia). A traditional way to start a meal is with couvert. This is a simple starter that usually consists of olives, cheeses, bread and sometimes marinaded carrots. Other dishes to try include salted cod, grilled sardines and chicken piri-piri (frango assado).
Cities in the Algarve come alive at night. The best experiences can be found in Vilamoura, Albufeira and Portimão. Sample the best in food and drink while dancing the night away until it’s time for breakfast at a local café.
It’s Gentle on Your Wallet
Portugal is not one of the most expensive holiday destinations in Europe. It is, in fact, very budget-friendly. The Algarve area is no different and you can expect to pay as little as €15 for dinner and €10 for lunch. A range of relatively inexpensive types of accommodation are also available. If you choose to stay away from the popular tourist centers you can save even more.
One of the Safest Countries in the World
This is the main reason for its increased popularity as a retirement destination. Being one of the safest countries also makes it the perfect destination for a family holiday. That’s not to say there is no crime or violence, however, it is a very peaceful place to visit.
Tradition and Culture
Many people choose to travel abroad because it provides an opportunity to experience different cultures. The Algarve is definitely a place where you can immerse yourself in its culture. The area has undergone many changes over the years and you can see hints of its history wherever you go. As well as enjoying evidence of its maritime past, fortifications, museums and charming fishing markets, there are still homes that reflect traditional styles. Experiencing a country’s culture also extends to food and wine. Taste the traditional cuisine, washed down with a traditional liquor such as medronho.
You Don’t Need to Speak the Lingo
Learning a few words of the language is going to be appreciated wherever you go, but it can be worrying when you’re on holiday if you can’t make yourself understood. In the Algarve, the tourist industry and the expat community have influenced those who live in the area. You’ll have no problems finding someone who speaks English. This can be very reassuring if you find yourself in need of assistance or you need to know where to go.
There is a lot more to the Algarve than first meets the eye. Yes, it’s a popular destination for tourists, but there are some quieter spots where you can sit back, relax and soak up the scenery. Whether you want a vibrant night life, exquisite cuisine, sandy beaches or glorious views, there is something for everyone who visits. If you’re considering a holiday in the Algarve the advice is to book early. Its popularity means accommodation gets booked up quickly. Several flights are available from the UK to Faro, the capital city every day.