The region of Algarve occupies the southern part of mainland Portugal. It's a popular vacation destination with warm beach life, scenic oceanshore cliffs and friendly little towns with palmtrees.
Small towns with characteristic architecture, oceanfronts with massive yellowish-brown cliffs, tasty local foods are specific to Algarve.
Last minute discounts will be more abundant after the intense summer high season, but even then tourists numbers are far inferior to those in the more trendy Spanish Mediterranean coast.
Country, Region: Portugal, Algarve
Region's Capital: Faro
Population: 450.484 (in 2010)
Local language(s): Portuguese
Other widely spoken or understood languages: Spanish
Voltage info: 220 V, 50 Hz - Plug type: C, E
Time zine: WET (UTC+0)
Getting There & Away
Fly in to Faro's airport or, alternatively arrive to Lisbon and from there take a train trip to Faro.
European highway E1 crosses the region east to west. You can even arrive in from Spain (east).
From the north, you can arrive on highway A1, which joins E1, as it reaches south and then you should turn eastwards to Algarve.
Arrive in to Faro from Lisbon. There is a high speed train, the Alpha Pendular, which operates twice daily. Journey will take about 2,5 hours.
Inter City trains are slower and have more stops, they take about 4 hours to get to Faro from Lisbon. Although, prices will be lower with them, they're not as comfortable and neither fast.
See & Do
There are multiple towns, cities down in Algarve, but you must see the beach areas as well.
Here are some of the most beautiful and most popular towns in Algarve:
Used by tourists as the main point of entry into Algarve.
Faro has its own airport and train station.
Attractions include the beautiful old town and the plethora of vintage automobiles that you can frequently see on the streets.
Praia de Faro is the beach of the city. Not a crowded beach as those in Mallorca (Spain).
Scenic small city with beautiful churches and well-preserved traditional houses, a warm and friendly old centre.
The ancient town's walls, the replica ship of Boa Esperança and the beautiful beaches are among the main targets of tourists.
Tourism is very well-developed in Lagos, a city with a old atmosphere.
Algarve's biggest city. Its Praia da Rocha is a beautiful beach with scenic rocks.
An especially beautiful town with old Portuguese buildings, a fortress on higher ground and beautiful catholic churches.
Mustn't miss Silves, when in Algarve!
Praia da Luz
Small town on a hilly area. Elegant new residential quarters and old Portuguese architecture also has a strong presence here as well.
It's best to climb higher and look towards the beach from the land towards the sea and the cliffs situated on the southern part. Very beautiful views!
Long stretch of sandy beach front, intense night life. "Kiss" is the most renowned night club in the town.
Only 13.000 people live in Albufeira, but scores of tourists visit it every year.
The Paderne Castle is nearby, a rarely visited archaeological site. The ruins of an abandoned fortress. Not impressive at all, unless you have plenty time to spend and are passionate about even the most obscure archaeological attractions.
Eat & Drink
Apart from the globalization-brought fast food restaurants and widely known pizzerias, you will find fish restaurants especially good!
Portugal is renowned for its fresh fried sardines, mackerels and other fish and sea fruits-containing foods. Algarve is one of the best places to enjoy Portuguese cuisine!
Vinho Verde is a local Portuguese specialty. It's green wine! Must taste when in Algarve!
Traditional grilled chicken, various soups are also found in abundance in Portugal.
By foot is enough.
Rent a car only to travel between cities, but normally buses will do. Many small towns don't have railway stations.
When to Visit Algarve at Last Minute?
The best times are in April, early May, then late August and September. After September 10th, colder weather arrives and, towards the end the chances of enjoying good beach life slightly decrease. The weather gets cooler and clowds, rain appear more frequently.
Algarve is relatively safe. Cases of theft and rare assaults do happen, therefore it's best not to walk in areas where there are fewer foreigners and you must avoid walking too late at night.
Watch for your wallet and bags, as pickpocketing and bag-snatching are popular forms of crime in Portugal.
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