The Algarve has some of the very best and cleanest beaches in Europe together with its fantastic all year round appeal it’s no surprise that it’s most popular tourist destination in Portugal. It’s the central part which is the most popular between Lagos and Faro to the east. It’s quieter around Sagres and the wilder, west coast and also to the east with its smaller, resorts and dune-backed beaches. Its mountainous interior around Monchique and the Moorish Silves to the west and Serra do Caldeirão in the centre is ideal for walkers. The border of Spain is also worth exploring for its beauty including the Guadiana river valley.
Faro is a scenic and historic port city close to natural wetlands which are protected by sandy, offshore islets which run along the coast as far as Spain. To the west is the famous resorts of Quinta do Lago, Vale de Lobo and Vilamoura wirth their golf courses and excellent sporting facilities. To the north is the Roman remains at Estoi and attractive market town of Loulé.
The eastern Algarve begins at Tavira, an ancient moorish town and extends as far as Vila Real de San Antonio next to Ayamonte in Spain including smaller resorts like Cabanas, Altura, Manta Rota and Monte Gordo. Close to the border are the fortresses at Alcoutim and Castro Marim and to the west some of the most wildest areas.
Central Algarve is the land of small bays, rocky cliffs and grottoes (caves) most readily appreciated in Albufeira, Armação de Pêra and Carvoeiro. There’s the big beach resorts at Galé, Praia da Rocha and Alvor or smaller ones near cove beaches like Ferragudo, São Rafael and Praia da Marinha.
Western Algarve is centred on Lagos, a lively,historic town within easy reach of the beaches and continues to the cape at Sagres with its famous fortress. The fishing villages of Luz, Burgau and Salema are worth visiting for their cliff-backed beaches. Along the wild west coast there’s the Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina which is becoming increasingly popular thanks to its coastal footpath route,