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Algarve


Situation

situation

The Algarve stretches right along the southern coast of Portugal, from Vila Real de Santo Antonio, in the east, to Cabo de Sao Vicente, in the west. From one end to the other, it is bathed by the Atlantic.

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Access

access

By Air The Algarve is served by the Faro International Airport and by aerodromes at Portimao and Vila Real de Santo Antonio.
By Road Driving from Lisbon, take the IP1, which also crosses the region from Albufeira to the frontier with Spain.

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Average temperatures

temperatures

The Algarve boasts of a Mediterranean climate. The average temperature in the winter is about 15C/58F and in the summer it is about 24C/75F, and the sun shines for more than 250 days a year.

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Tourist offer

tourist

The Algarve has over 200 km of excellent beaches, many of which are beside lovely tourist villages (aldeamentos turisticos). Fishing villages full of colour, ruby-red cliffs, pines and green vegetation all add up to make this one of the most enchanting regions of Portugal.
From Faro to Vila Real de Santo Antbnio, the Ria Formosa spreads out - an area of lagoons and a stopping place for migratory birds. It is also the habitat for rare species of fauna and flora. '
The presence of the Romans in the area can be seen in the ruins at Milreu, near Faro, and also at Vilamoura. Evidence of Arab civilization, which lasted for 500 years in the Algarve, can still be seen today in the names of the places, the Silves and Castro Marim Castles, and in the architecture, dominated by whitewashed houses with their characteristic roof terraces and chimneys.
The Algarve is noted for its water sports and golf. Two big marinas, at Vilamoura and Lagos, are the point of departure for sailing, windsurfing, fishing (especially deep sea fishing for tuna and shark), water skiing, diving and underwater fishing. Vilamoura has a shooting range of Olympic standards.
Numerous golf courses enjoy international fame and are used by professional golfers. The Portuguese Open, held in the Algarve, is one of the most important in the golfing calendar of the world.
There are five zones for hunting in the Algarve, predominantly for water birds.
The whole area has a cosmopolitan atmosphere, and its night life is quite diversified, including discoteques and not less than three casinos. Both national and international festivals of music, theatre and cinema are held in the area throughout the year.
There is an abundance of restaurants in the Algarve where you can taste the local specialities or try the most refined international cuisine. Because the area has such an extensive coastline and so many fishing ports, fish and shellfish feature strongly in the local gastronomy. Some of the most famous dishes are fish stews, food cooked in the cataplana (tightly closed pan), and fresh tuna steaks. Typical Algarve cakes and sweets are made of almonds and eggs, such as the morgado and Dom Rodrigo, not forgetting sweets made from figos.
Ceramics from Porches, wicker and leather work, brightly coloured blankets and copper objects are some of the local handicrafts.

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Suggested trips

trips

1. Monchique/ Silves/ Lagos/ Sagres/ Cabo S. Vicente

Monchique is a spa town with Roman origins, situated in the Algarve hills, providing an interesting contrast with the coastal area. Admire the beauty of the local houses and monuments on the slopes of the hill near the spa and enjoy the magnificent mountain and sea views from the Alto da Foia.
Silves, an extremely old town, was the capital of the Algarve for many centuries. In the imposing castle, with its sandstone coloured battlements, there is a famous cistern, known as the Moorish Damsel Well (Poco da Moura).
Lagos has a very busy marina and is a town of important, well preserved heritage. It is mostly important historically for the part it played during the period of the Portuguese Discoveries, because it was here that the ships were built and equipped prior to embarking on long journeys to discover foreign lands. In this area, the Algarve coast features high, steep cliffs, such as the Ponta da Piedade. The ochre of these cliffs meets the blue-green of the sea in an unforgettable sight.
At a distance of 33 km from Lagos, lies Sagres, today a fishing port and an evocative place of the bygone days of the great Discoveries. It was during this time that Prince Henry the Navigator planned the journeys to discover new sea routes. An imposing fortress was built on the headland at Sagres overlooking the sea. Nearby, at Cabo de Sao Vicente, the view over the ocean is magnificent.

2. Faro/ Tavira/ Vila Real de Santo Antonio/ Castro Marim

This is the area of the Algarve which can be most identified with its Arab origins. In fact, the very word "Algarve" is derived from the Arabic "Al Gharb", meaning "west". Here are some of the companies specialising in adventure tourism, and from here you can take pleasure trips by boat on the Guadiana river.
The architecture in Faro, capital of the Algarve, has traces of the Arabian occupation. In the old part of the city, you can still see the medieval wall, with the Arco de Vila and Arco do Repouso gateways. Other important monuments are the Cathedral of Romanesque-Gothic origin and, with some Renaissance and Baroque elements, the Nossa Senhora da Assuncao Convent, of the Renaissance era, and the Sao Francisco Church.
To the east runs the Ria Formosa, edged by long, flat beaches. The views are beautiful where the sea and the lagoon meet and the sunset should not be missed from the Cacela Velha Fort or in the village of Santa Luzia, with its typical fishing boats and tackle.
Tavira is famous for its Moorish origins and never fails to enchant the visitor. There are thirty-seven churches, and from the castle there is a unique view embracing the houses of Tavira, the Roman bridge and the river Gilao which crosses the town.
Vila Real de Santo Antonio lies in the extreme east of the Algarve, on the Guadiana river. Built on the instructions of the Marques de Pombal, it features straight streets and a Mediterranean atmosphere. There is a busy commercial street overlooking the river. >
Throughout the centuries, Castro Marim defended the Guadiana from its castle, perched on a high hill. Today, it is surrounded by a Natural Reserve preserving an important flora and fauna.

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Accommodation

accommodation

The Algarve has nine 5-star hotels, thirty-five 4-star hotels, one luxury tourist village (aldeamento turistico) and twenty-three 1st- class tourist villages. The Algarve has nine 5-star hotels, thirty-five 4-star hotels, one luxury tourist village (aldeamento turistico) and twenty-three 1st- class tourist villages. The Algarve has nine 5-star hotels, thirty-five 4-star hotels, one luxury tourist village (aldeamento turistico) and twenty-three 1st- class tourist villages. The Algarve has nine 5-star hotels, thirty-five 4-star hotels, one luxury tourist village (aldeamento turistico) and twenty-three 1st- class tourist villages. The Algarve has nine 5-star hotels, thirty-five 4-star hotels, one luxury tourist village (aldeamento turistico) and twenty-three 1st- class tourist villages. The most cosmopolitan areas in the Algarve lie between Lagos and Faro, where you will find some of best bathing beaches and the largest number of hotels and tourist complexes, all giving excellent service. Here also are the majority of the sporting complexes, such as the golf courses and marinas of Vilamoura and Lagos. Two pousadas complete the de luxe hotel supply in the Algarve. The Pousada do Infante plays an important part in the heritage of Sagres, taking its name from Prince Henry, mentor of the Portuguese Discoveries. Nearby, stands the Fortaleza de Beliche, constructed in the 16th century for the defence of the coast. The Pousada de Sao Bras(temporalily closed until (April 1997) is situated in the most Mediterranean area of the Algarve, in the calm setting of the hills. Most hotel and tourist villages in the area are suitable for holding meetings and incentives. The Algarve has nine 5-star hotels, thirty-five 4-star hotels, one luxury tourist village (aldeamento turistico) and twenty-three 1st- class tourist villages.
The most cosmopolitan areas in the Algarve lie between Lagos and Faro, where you will find some of best bathing beaches and the largest number of hotels and tourist complexes, all giving excellent service. Here also are the majority of the sporting complexes, such as the golf courses and marinas of Vilamoura and Lagos.
Two pousadas complete the de luxe hotel supply in the Algarve. The Pousada do Infante plays an important part in the heritage of Sagres, taking its name from Prince Henry, mentor of the Portuguese Discoveries. Nearby, stands the Fortaleza de Beliche, constructed in the 16th century for the defence of the coast. The Pousada de Sao Bras(temporalily closed until (April 1997) is situated in the most Mediterranean area of the Algarve, in the calm setting of the hills. Most hotel and tourist villages in the area are suitable for holding meetings and incentives.

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