The spectacular Atlantic coast of The Algarve is blessed by dramatic rocky outcrops, long sandy beaches and one of the longest sunshine records in Europe. Home to wonderful golden sand beaches warmed by over 3,000 hours of sunshine a year, the Algarve coastline of southern Portugal stretches from the Spanish border at Vila Real across to Cabo de São Vicente, the most westerly point of continental Europe. The western Algarve is renowned for its sandy cove beaches and many traditional fishing villages while the east, with the region's capital at Faro, has flatter sandy stretches of beach and many pretty islands, accessed by boat, lying just offshore.
Enjoying an ideal climate of mild winters followed by hot and sunny summers, cooled by pleasant sea breezes, the Algarve lends itself perfectly to outdoor living. However, this lovely region has so much more to offer than just wonderful beaches! Probably the most famous of the wide variety of sporting facilities available is golf. World class facilities include the famous Royal Course at Vale do Lobo and four other celebrated courses at Vilamoura. Tennis, horse riding, scuba diving, surfing, water skiing, sailing and fishing are but a few of the other activities on offer.
There is also a variety of walking trails through woodland in the Serra de Monchique, along rugged cliff tops, or amongst the flora and wild grasses of the coastal sand dunes.
Cuisine here varies from the simple and unpretentious in the form of freshly caught sardines at a quayside bar to sophisticated Michelin starred restaurants. There is a huge variety of fresh fish, meat and vegetables to be sampled with sweet dishes using eggs, almonds, sugar and butter appearing on most menus. Likewise, the high standards of the wines are gaining a well deserved reputation with 'vinho verde' perhaps the best known.
There are some fine reds, whites and rosés to be sampled and all at very reasonable prices.
Hardly a week goes by without some kind of 'festa' taking place in towns and villages along the Algarve. These vary from highly organised displays of folk dancing and traditional music followed in the evenings by dazzling firework extravaganzas, to more simple traditional gatherings in small communities, all accompanied by sumptuous feasts of food and wine.