"The Beautiful and Unspoiled Algarve Region" Portugal by dlytle

Portugal Travel Guide: 20,279 reviews and 58,555 photos

A European Vacation Paradise

Situated in the extreme south of Portugal, the Algarve has been much on the world stage. It was the last portion of Portugal to be re-conquered from the Moors by the Portuguese king in 1292. Traces of ancient Roman influence as well as its later Moorish presence are still seen in its unique architecture - terraces, chimneys and whitewashed houses.

Algarve is the Portuguese pronunciation of al-gharb, an Arab name meaning "land beyond" that the Moors gave to this sunny region of Portugal after conquering the Iberian Peninsula in 711AD. The name could just as easily mean "vacation paradise," as this area has drawn millions of foreign visitors to its beaches and villages since modern development began back in during the 1960s. Despite the recent tourist invasion, much of the Algarve is relatively unspoiled. The region certainly isn't undiscovered territory, but it isn't Monte Carlo, either.

Due to the importance of its position on the world map, this province was at one time its own Kingdom. Closely associated with the sea throughout its history, this was the base of the famous Henry the Navigator who, from the headlands and promontory at Sagres, organized the 15th Century exploration of the New World.

Located on the southern tip of Portugal, and containing the southwestern-most point in Europe, with the vast ocean of the Atlantic as its southern and western border, this enviable position gives this region possibly the most unpolluted climate in the European continent. The southern coastline consists of a long stretch of many attractive sandy beaches, broken up by extraordinary rugged cliffs and fantastic caves. It is washed by the Atlantic Ocean and, due to the maritime shelf and water currents, the sea temperature can be surprisingly warm even in some winter months. The length of the south-facing Algarve coastline is approx. 96 miles (155 km) and stretches about 32 miles (52 km) to the north on Portugal's west side. The widest point of the Algarve, to the north, is approximately 22 miles (36 km) deep.

Sunbathing and swimming are the leading sports activities in the Algarve. Other ocean-related sports include sailing, deep-sea fishing, SCUBA diving, snorkeling, and water-skiing.

Tennis and Golf are popular, although club members generally get first dibs on tee times.

Many horse riding stables rent their animals to visiting tourists and equestriennes. You can find listings for them on the neXus Horse Riding page.

To sum it up, the Algarve is Portugal's most popular tourist region, with beautiful beaches, interesting caves, and gorgeous coves bathed by the warmth of the Atlantic Ocean. In addition it has good hotels, charming resorts, good golf courses and splendid food.

I really enjoyed my short visit to this part of the world and hope to return soon to discover even more of its treasures and explore its geography in much more detail.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Beautiful region, incredible eroded cliffs, great weather, beautiful beaches, lots of history
  • Cons:Not the easiest of places to get to.
  • In a nutshell:If you haven't been there then do yourself a favor and visit the Algarve soon!
  • Last visit to Portugal: Jul 2003
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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