Saturday, May 19, 2018


By Rebecca Brown

Why You Must Visit the Algarve

Albufeira, Portugal (Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

From adventurous travelers, to families in need of a good rest, the Algarve is big, beautiful, and entirely fascinating. As a region that’s rich with Carthaginian, Roman, and Moorish bits of history and architecture, it’s one of those rare places that manages to be both beautiful and interesting to anyone who comes across it, and it will give you endless opportunities to explore. 

Are you planning a vacation and feeling unsure which destination to choose this year? Here’s why the Algarve should be one of your top picks. 

It has some of the most stunning beaches in the world

Those warm, smooth beaches with richly-colored sand in dusty shades of honey yellow are a paradise to see, especially when you walk ahead and let your toes dip in the cool, azure waters. If you enjoy liveliness and bustling scenery, then head to Albufeira, known as the tourist capital of the Algarve, and you’ll find plenty of beaches that are great for vacationing. One of the things you definitely shouldn’t skip is the Benagil Cave near Lagos, which is basically a beach set in a tall, alcove-like cave. It’s known as quite a romantic spot, and it’s probably one of the most picture-ready places that you can see. 

Lagos and Sagres are known for their layered, colorful cliffs that surround the beaches there and offer yet another chance to gaze at some gorgeous scenery. Boat rides that let you see these cliffs up close can be arranged, and it’s quite a peaceful thing to sail slowly and look upon these untouched natural formations. 

Photo courtesy of Unsplash (Click to enlarge)

It’s rich in history

After the Romans conquered the region from the Carthaginians back in the 1st century BC, they built roads, houses, and bridges. They also introduced salt and mineral-mining, and a new type of agriculture. Roman cultural influences are obvious in the architecture of the towns, and you can see it everywhere – from the Museu Cero da Villa complex of houses in Vilamoura, to numerous castles scattered across Faro, Tavira, Loulé, and others. 

All of the castles served as a foundation for the Moorish architecture later on, because the Algarve went from the Romans, to the Visigoths, to the Moors in 7th century AD. The very name Algarve comes from the Arabic al-Gharb, meaning “the west.” 

In Loulé you can even see the ruins of an ancient hammam (Moorish bath house), and in Silves you’ll see a grand Moorish castle built from beautiful copper red rock that surrounds the city. History buffs will definitely have an amazing time here as they slowly walk the cobbled street and explore the rich culture of the Algarve. 

The night life is fun

Of course, if clubs, bars, and restaurants are more up your alley, then you’re going to be very happy in towns like Albufeira, Vilamoura, and Portimão. Check out the Symbiosis Pub & Bar in Albufeira for good cuisine and excellent cocktails, the Caniço in Alvor if you want a beach club where you can dance from dusk till dawn, or try the Nautical Bar in Faro if you want to try really rich, delicious red sangria. These are only some of our suggestions, but the whole of the Algarve is filled with great sports for even the most adventurous of visitors. 

Braised beef in Gusto by Heinz Beck (Photo courtesy of Conrad Algarve Hotel)

The food is amazing

For a peaceful restaurant, try the Mira Mar in Salema, or the Bellavita in Gale. Portuguese food is famously full of fresh produce, and we bet you’ll really enjoy the grilled fish with lemon juice, and especially their salted cod and sardines. There is also frango assado, a well-known dish that consist of scrumptiously juicy grilled chicken dipped in a sauce that’s made of lemon, garlic, wine, olive oil, and a special ingredient – piri-piri. Spicy and delicious, it’s bound to inspire you to grab one piri-piri bottle yourself and try to recreate the recipe at home.

People speak English

There are a lot of tourists here each year, so most of the locals have learned the language quite well by now. You won’t have any trouble asking for directions or buying things at the stores, but we encourage you to learn a few words of Portuguese because it’s a very beautiful, melodic language. 

The locals are friendly

You won’t believe how open and friendly most locals are, and once you talk to someone, chances are that they’ll embrace you as a friend only half an hour later. You’ll not only see amazing places, but meet really kind people as well. 

Almond tree and flower in bloom, Faro District (Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

It’s very affordable

As one of the most budget-friendly European destinations, you can often find meals that are cheaper than €10 and accommodations that are quite lovely and entirely affordable. This is really a great destination for those who want to save their money, but it can also be a great place for those who want to go all-in and splurge for fun, because there’s plenty of shopping and entertainment to choose from.

From beautiful beach spots to lively bars and clubs, the Algarve is a unique, fun place that is surprisingly versatile in what it offers to people. The weather is generally warm for the most part of the year, so you’ll be enjoying plenty of sunshine and a fresh sea air anywhere you go. So, relax, take a few pictures, and enjoy your vacation in this gorgeous region.

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