Algarve Vacations in Portugal's Irresistible Beach Getaway Region

  • Algarve Vacations in Portugal :A Visitor Magnet Since Time Began

    Vilamoura in Algarve Portugal
    ••• An Algarve dusk over Vilamoura and its marina. ©Regiao de Turismo do Algarve

    The Algarve Region of Portugal: Irresistible for Eons

    Throughout history, everyone has come to the Algarve on the sunny southern tip of Portugal. It's just that kind of irresistible spot.
    • The Algarve is brilliantly situated facing the Atlantic looking west and south 
    • History's guest book: Neanderthals, Paleolithic cave-painters, seafaring Phoenicians, Imperial Romans, philosophical Moors from North Africa, princely Castilians from neighboring Spain, piratical Brits
    • The Algarve was rediscovered as a tourist destination in the Victorian era of the late 1800s, and Algarve vacations became a tradition

    What You Will Love About The Algarve

    Nowadays, the Algarve lures international travelers who think for themselves: people with no interest in competing for a patch of sand on a crowded, overdeveloped beach. Algarve vacations bless visitors with:
    • Authenticity and a low-key, unpressured mood
    • Incredible history everywhere you look 
    • 360 days of sun, moderate temps, and never excessive...MORE humidity
    • Over 100 miles of coastline with magnificent beaches
    • Fantastic seafood-centric cuisine 
    • Challenging coastal golf courses

    What I Love Most About The Algarve: Its Hospitality

    Hotel service is my specialty topic, and I am always impressed with the Algarve's unique hospitality.
    ª Service is unpretentious, nonjudgmental, and sincerely welcoming
    • Your treatment at even a modest establishment is as gracious as five-star hotel service

    How to Get to the Algarve from North America

    The best way for North Americans to visit the Algarve is via TAP, Portugal’s national airline.
    • Portugal's capital, Lisbon, is a seven-hour flight from North America's East Coast i
    • From there you can hop a short flight to Faro (the Algarve’s main airport) or rent a car for the easy 2 ½ hour drive down the coast

    Where to Stay in the Algarve: Pousadas and Palaces

    The Algarve is not a place with cookie-cutter beach hotels.
    • Here you have a vast choice of lodgings: historic pousadas (inns), traditional manor houses, seaside villas, contemporary hotels

    Hotels We Stand Behind, Featured Here on Luxury Travel

    • A modern luxury resort with an international clientele, The Conrad Algarve
    • A count's castle now a pousada inn, with notable azulejo mosaics and a dreamy pool, Pousada Palacio de Estoi
    ˆA beachside community with hotel rooms and home-style villas: the luxury family destination, Martinhal Beach Resort & Hotel
    • A serene oceanfront boutique hotel with a Michelin-honored restaurant, Vila Joya|
    ª A vibrant town's beach mansion, decorated by Portugal's top designers, Bela Vista

    What You Can Expect from Hotels in the Algarve

    Wherever you stay on the Algarve, you're in store for high-end guest amenities like:
    • A swimming pool (sometimes indoors as well as outdoor)
    • A sophisticated spa (even if it's petite)
    • Fast wifi connections
    • (I'll say it again) Great service, from servers and maids to concierges and managers

    The Algarve’s Culinary Bounty

    The Algarve is a paradise for travelers who love seafood and the Mediterranean diet.
    • The freshness of the local fish and seafood is unsurpassed. Simplicity reigns with just a dash of lemon and the finest olive oil. (With this quality, who needs sauce?)
    • The flavor of the local produce is superlative, too. My favorite: local oranges

    High-End Wining and Dining

    Portugal's wine regions -- not just the Algarve, but Alentejo, Douro, and Dão -- have made major progress over the last 20 years in the finesse and drinkability of their wines. 

    And there's high-end dining here on the Algarve.
    • Local chefs have trained in some of the world's top dining establishments
    • Presently there are three one-star and two two-star Michelin restaurants in the region, like the restaurant at Vila Joya

     Swinging on The Algarve: Golf

    The Algarve is now one of Europe's premier golf destinations with a total of 42 courses.
    • Penina, a championship course, was designed by Henry Cotton in 1966 as the first golf course in the Algarve
    • Other top courses include Monte Rei, Oceanico, San Lorenzo, and Quinta do Lago (designed by American William Mitchell)
    • The Pine Cliffs at the Sheraton Algarve features an academy with cool new tech
    • Algarve golf resources

    Moorish Mystery in the Algarve

    The Algarve's Moorish heritage pervades this richly historic part of Iberia.
    ª Culturally advanced Moors, from North Africa, swept across vast areas southern Iberia beginning in 711
    • The very name Algarve comes from the Arabic al-gharb, meaning "west" (the Moors' stronghold was Spain, east of here)
    • The Moors founded Al-uhera, now called Albufeira, the Algarve's top vacation spot 
    • The Moors' coastal capital of Xelb (now called Silves) challenged the dominance of the old Roman capital in what is now Lisbon
    • Silves Castle, built in the 1200s, is the Algarve's best-preserved and most historically significant Moorish palace

    Festivals of The Algarve

    The Algarve entertains visitors year-round with celebrations of local culture and cuisine.
    • The Festival of the Chouriças (sausages) in Querencia spices things up in January
    • The musical Festival of the Janeiras refers to Roman times, when citizens would bless the god Jane (Janus) when entering or leaving their houses
    • The May Fair in Azinhal spotlights traditional artisan skills of the Algarve: lacemaking, embroidery, tapestry, basketwork
    • The International Motorbike Festival rolls into Faro in July
    • Algarve annual festival calendar

    And Oh, the Beaches

    The Algarve's endless coastline is lined with enchanting beaches. Many visitors check out several and decide on their favorite patch of sand.
    • The Algarve's beaches are not Mediterranean but Atlantic (here, you are west of Gibraltar, and still on the ocean)
    • The sapphire water is fresh, lively, and warmed by ocean currents
    • Beaches are spotless and wide, with white-powder sand 
    • Boat rides and rentals are easily had in the Algarve's many marinas

    Find Out More About the Algarve

    • Official Algarve tourism site
    • And Facebook page
    • Algarve photos on Pinterest