Having discovered the beauty of Lisbon on my girly holiday earlier this year, I’ve been desperate to discover more of Portugal – and top of my list is the Algarve. Extremely popular amongst travellers due to its 300 days of sunshine a year, mixed with affordable prices and budget flights; come summer, the Algarve is one of Europe’s top destinations. Which is little wonder considering the Algarve is lined with long, clean beaches that are considered some of the safest in the world. Here are just five reasons why the Algarve should be on your bucket list:
A Balanced Holiday of Activity and Relaxation
Often, when it comes to choosing a holiday destination, we have to choose between a holiday filled with relaxation and one that is filled with fun, memorable activities. Yet, with the Algarve, there needn’t be any compromise, as the region has plenty of fun for everyone.
Along those miles of golden beaches – perfect for relaxing with a book or enjoying some morning yoga – there are plenty of opportunities for water sports such as surfing and windsailing. There are also plenty of popular rock climbing and canyoning spots in the area or, if you’re feeling very brave, you can even go for a skydive.
More often than not, some of our favourite holiday memories come from the amazing meals we have while there, and the Algarve has plenty of delicious cuisines to offer its guests. Many local restaurants serve the freshest in locally sourced fish and seafood including octopus, mussels and lobster. There’s even lots of freshly caught prawns, perfect for a prawnetarian like me.
For sheer indulgence, dine in the Michelin-starred São Gabriel, which serves some of the most delicious food in the region. There’s even a tasting menu on offer so that you can try some of the restaurant’s signature dishes.
Another culinary-must is a visit to the Sandbanks Fish and Seafood restaurant – a treat for all seafood lovers! Not only do they serve some of the best seafood in Portugal, the oceanic views from the table are just spectacular.
Accommodation Right On The Beach
When it comes to travelling as a group, it’s always best to book an apartment or villa. Hotels can be difficult, as you can never guarantee your rooms will be put together – or even on the same floor! The Algarve has plenty of villas to suit all visitors with a range of budgets – from luxury boutique hotels, to camping by the sea and hostels. You can even find some really affordable villas right by the beach if you head towards western Algarve.
For a group holiday, a villa close to stunning beaches with easy access to a town with good nightlife would tick a lot of our boxes. Lagos is the hotspot of the western Algarve, balancing modern living with its traditional Portuguese roots. You’ll find picturesque beaches, surfers and hippies, affordable food and a buzzing nightlife – a definite contestant for our next trip!
If there is one thing the Algarve is famous for, it’s the miles of stunning, awe-inspiring beaches that line its coast. Indeed, the beaches here are so gorgeous, that it would be a waste to visit just one or two on your holiday. Instead, spend your days beach hopping from one beach to the next via boat, car or scooter. Make sure you spend a few afternoons exploring some of the secluded seas caves and coves too.
Variety of Things to See and Do
Apart from the gorgeous beaches and adventure sports, the Algarve still has plenty to offer its tourists, just wander around and see where your whim takes you! One day you might be escaping the crowds visiting idyllic Algarvian villages with their cobbled streets, while the next you might decide to island hop looking for a secret, secluded beach.
The Algarve is also steeped in culture and history, so make sure you explore some of the museums, churches and historic buildings in the area too. Another fantastic way to spend an afternoon is kayaking through the Ria Formosa National Park, which is one of the seven natural wonders of Portugal.
Have you visited Portugal or the Algarve – where is your favourite seaside city in Europe?