2 articles Tag Portugal

9 Reasons to Visit the Algarve

You probably already know that the Algarve region of Portugal is a hugely popular holiday destination with travellers from all over the world flocking to this area yearly. What you may not be quite so clear on is why, exactly, is it such a favourite with so many different types of travellers? It probably has a lot to do with the fact that the area enjoys year-round sunshine and average temperatures between 20ºC and 30ºC. The natural white sand beaches lapped by warm, crystal blue waters are also a possible factor, or it could be something to do with the many vibrant towns and cities waiting to welcome you.

If you’re still not convinced that the Algarve is the destination for you, here are nine more which might just persuade you to find out for yourself what all the fuss is about.

  1. Parque Natural de Ria Formosa

The Parque Natural de Ria Formosa is in the south and sits between the towns of Vale do Lobo and Manta Rota. Since 1987, it has been a protected area of 18,000 hectares of untouched marshlands, lagoons and lakes which are bursting with unique wildlife and rare birds as well as plants, trees and flowers. It’s a wonderful attraction for tourists which you can explore via a guided walk, a boat trip, a bike ride or even in a kayak.

  1. Vilamoura

The town and resort of Vilamoura is often referred to as ‘the Monaco of Portugal’ thanks to its sophisticated and vibrant atmosphere which is perfect for luxury getaways. The town is buzzing with energy, providing visitors with world-class restaurants, stylish bars, four excellent golf courses, beautiful beaches, exciting watersports, casino and, of course, the incredible marina which is home to jaw-dropping yachts. It’s also not unheard of to be able to indulge in a bit of celebrity spotting in this part of the Algarve. If you’re looking for a place to experience the best of the best, James Villas offer a wide range of luxury villas in Vilamoura.

  1. Faro

Faro is one of the most popular destinations for sun-worshippers as it’s renowned for the high levels of sunshine it experiences all year round. It’s also a great place to see some Moorish and colonial architecture and fascinating museums and historical buildings such as the Nossa Senhora da Assuncão Convent.

  1. Tavira

The picturesque town of Tavira is about 30km east from Faro and one of only a handful of towns which retains much of its original architecture. The whitewashed buildings and authentic roofs and chimneys are a beautiful sight to behold, and it is home to 28 churches and chapels, more than any other town in the Algarve. It also includes a Roman bridge which provides breath-taking views across the Gilão river. Make sure you take the time to sample the marzipan pastries, fig pastries, almond paste and caramel pastries from Tavira.

  1. Castro Marim

The town of Castro Marim has three beaches, all of which feature soft golden sands and warm turquoise waters. You’ll also find the river Guardania which is lined with banks of vegetable gardens and orchards as well as rolling hills of countryside and wildflowers.

  1. Carvoeiro

In the centre of the Algarve in the Lagoa region, you can find the coastal fishing village of Carvoeiro. It’s a very popular and lively hub for tourists for several reasons, but the main attractions are the wide variety of quality bars and restaurants, free live entertainment and the sheltered beach which is ideal for snorkelling.

  1. Monchique

The mountain village of Monchique is near Faro and is renowned for its natural thermal spa which has been drawing in visitors since the age of the Romans. The hot sulphur springs and baths amongst the woods of the Serra de Monchique mountain range.

  1. Praia de Odeceixe

If you’re looking for a quiet beach which offers fantastic surfing at any time of year, Praia de Odeceixe is the place to be. It’s a crescent-shaped and sheltered beach in the south which is rarely busy even in high season.

  1. Albufeira

Albufeira is one of the leading resorts in the Algarve which offers tourists everything they could ask for from a holiday destination. Although a peaceful fishing village by day there are plenty of bars and restaurants which create a vibrant nightlife. It is particularly well known for the beaches which include Oura, Gale, Vigia, Baleeira, Maria Luísa, Falésia and Olhos de Água. Albufeira is also home to some of the area’s best golf courses including Balaia Golf Village, Pine Cliffs and Salgados.

6 Family-Friendly Things to Do in the Algarve

Over the last few years, prices for family-friendly holidays have rocketed, with many families opting to save money by vacationing at home instead. Yet, rather than a trip to Blackpool, there is one European destination that can be incredibly affordable for families, with budget flights and a low cost of living. Even better, it still has scorching weather!

The Algarve, in southern Portugal, is framed by a stunning coastline. Predominately a region frequented by families, this means the Algarve is filled with restaurants and beaches that are extremely accommodating for children, making it simple to plan your holiday. Here are just some of the best activities you can add to your family’s itinerary:

A Boat Tour of the Sea Caves

The Algarve is known for its gorgeous beaches, which become extremely popular during peak summer season. Yet, it’s still entirely possible to find a secluded beach in the Algarve, where you can take one of the many boat tours on offer. These range from trips to beaches that can’t be accessed by land to spectacular sea caves with their own lagoons. Be sure to take some snorkelling gear and a camera as you may even spot some wild dolphins.

Family Adventure Water Park

Perfect for the whole family, the Zoomarine has something to keep everyone happy. First and foremost a water theme park, there are plenty of thrilling slides, a man-made beach and even a toddler wet area that is safe and fun for the younger children. The park is also home to lots of marine life, including spectacular live dolphin shows.

Stay in a Local Portugese Home on the Beach

As mentioned above, the Algarve is very reasonable when it comes to its prices, and this is reflected in its accommodation, including private rentals. You can easily rent an affordable and traditional Portuguese villa right on the beach. Just imagine waking up to a spectacular view every morning! These can be far more family-friendly than hotels as, instead of being all squashed into one room, you get that home-away-from-home feeling with a full house. Plus, kitchen facilities can be extremely useful for babies and toddlers.

Rent a Car and Go Beach Hopping in the Algarve

Home to 74 Blue Flag beaches, one of the best things about the Algarve is, that if the first beach you go to is too busy, then simply move on to the next beach. Renting a car and beach hopping your way through the Algarve is a fantastic way to explore this stunning Portuguese region.

Train for Wimbledon at the Local Tennis Academy

If the kids are being too energetic – what ever happened to snoozing by the pool? – then a trip to the Valo do Lobo Tennis academy is an absolute must. Here the kids will get to train like a tennis pro with either one-to-one coaching or in a group lesson where they’ll be able to make some holiday friends and have fun. Even better, there’s facilities for the parents with a steam room, sauna and swimming pool. There’s also adult tennis lessons too, to help you keep up with the kids!

Feed the Llamas at the Local Zoo

There’s nothing the kids love more than a trip to the zoo, especially when they can get up close and personal with the animals. Krazy World zoo has a host of different animals and shows, including live demonstrations with the resident crocodiles and birds of prey. A trip to the petting zoo is a must, with goats and llamas who all love a stroke. There’s also an exotic area with iguanas, camels and snakes. There’s even a pool and various carnival rides.