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THE ALGARVE

Consistent industry awards have proven that the Algarve is undeniably one of Europe's top golf and holiday destinations for best value and quality. Cosmopolitan and rustic, the Algarve is a year round destination with sunny skies, long stretches of sandy beach, unlimited leisure facilities, unspoilt nature and fantastic gastronomy with exceptional quality fish and seafood. Head inland and you will discover unspoilt rural countryside perfect for hiking, cycling and horseriding. Add to all this a kind hearted portuguese hospitality and you'll feel so at home you'll want to return year after year.

Voted Best Golfing Destination 

Voted the World’s Best Golfing Destination several times by the IAGTO (International Association of Golf Tour Operators), the Algarve has become the destination of choice for golf lovers and as an elite venue by top professionals. The favorable climate which allows the golf season to be extended over several months, well preserved natural settings of the courses, accessibility and an infra-structure of quality hotels and facilities is guaranteed to make your stay a pleasant and memorable one.

Early History

From traces of the Roman presence to evidence of the long legacy of Muslim times, from the Christian Reconquest to the epic period of the Portuguese discoveries, you will discover the signs of a unique historical past where ever you travel in the Algarve. Because of its vast expanse of sea, numerous peoples have visited the Algarve since time immemorial, leaving behind vestiges of their presence and influence.

The Algarve has been molded by more than five centuries of Moorish influence from the 8th to 13th Century. The actual name Algarve comes from Al-Gharb, meaning the West. Town and village names, agriculture, architecture of monuments, lacework patterns and the famous Algarve chimneys and whitewashed houses in many villages.

In the mid-13th century, the Christian Reconquest with the collaboration of the Knights of the Order of St. James finally conquered the Algarve from Muslim rule. And so it was in the reign of Dom Afonso III that the Arab presence was brought to an end and the Algarve was joined to the kingdom of Portugal marking the foundation of the Kingdom of Portugal and the Algarves.

The early 15th century marked the beginning of the Portuguese maritime expansion bringing a new lease of life to the Algarve and its people. Since then, Lagos and Sagres have remained forever linked to Prince Henry the Navigator and the Portuguese Discoveries. Even today, at the headland known as the Ponta de Sagres, a giant stone finger can be seen pointing towards the Atlantic Ocean in a clear allusion to the courage of the Algarve navigators who set sail in search of new worlds.

Visit Aljezur, Lagos, Silves, Faro, Tavira, Castro Marim and Alcoutim and you’ll discover the grandeur of that time in its people, their traditions, in museums, churches, fortresses and castles of the region.

Award-Winning Beaches and a Sunny Climate

A favorite for sun seekers worldwide the 200-kilometre Algarvian coastline features all types beaches, coves, cliffs and caves, with rocky beaches contrasting with broad expanses of sand. Equally attractive is the Algarve's mild climate all year round. The entire coast enjoys a Mediterranean-style micro-climate with temperatures that vary from 15º C in winter through to 30º C in summer. 

Gastronomy

Try the aromas and flavours of the traditional Algarve cuisine by tasting such dishes as Caldeirada de Peixe (fish stew), Cataplana de Amêijoas (clams steamed in as copper pan) grilled peri-peri prawns or the vast range of fresh and succulent charcoal grilled fish. End your meal with the sweet delicacies from locally grown produce such as almonds, figs and carobs.

As a result of traditions introduced to the region by ancient civilizations Portuguese wines have been one of Portugal’s most noted exports. Challenge your senses and try the unique blend to be found in both the fortified and table wine varieties.

Other Attractions

Besides all the places of historical interest to visit, their are a wide range of activities and water sports that one can participate in from kayaking, sailing, surfing to fishing and leisure boat trips. On dry land, their are a host of tourist attractions for you to enjoy including water parks, zoos, horse riding, cycling trips and go-karting. If you are a nature lover or bird watcher you will be in your element in the Algarve, visit the Alvor estuary where you can watch flamingos feeding at certain times of the year. Farmers markets are a popular attraction giving visitors a taste of the local life. Visit the distinctive style of pottery from the region by visiting the original Porches Pottery in legendary Porches area with its unique design and style of pottery where each piece is individually painted.

Visitors will be spoilt for choice on where to spend their free time at night. From mellow evenings to all night parties there is something for everyone. The discotheques, marinas, casinos, dinner clubs, bars and restaurants, many with open air seating, all offer a free and easy atmosphere to satisfy the most varied of tastes.

There is also plenty on offer for art and music lovers with cultural events throughout the year ranging from concerts, exhibitions and dance shows. There are also local festivals, gastronomy fairs to sample local delicacies and various craftwork fairs.

For more information on the Algarve go to www.visitalgarve.com.pt