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One of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, The Algarve receives an average of seven million visitors each year. Steeped in history, there are numerous historical and architectural sites to view, along with beautiful beaches, fantastic shopping and endless activities, you will never tire of wandering around this southernmost region of mainland Portugal.
The capital of the Algarve, this town is the largest, busiest and oldest of the towns. It is a very popular destination for sun-seekers and has the reputation for being an overrun party town for most of the year. However, there is immense historical character to the town with a separate walled old town called ‘Cidade Velha’ where the cobbled streets climb to a charming cathedral at the crest of a hill. The pedestrianised streets are home to many fabulous shop, selling anything from the latest fashion to traditional embroidery. Take a boat trip to explore the breadth of the rocky inlets and tidal creeks that make up the Reserva Natural da Ria Formosa or take to the beach, Praia de Faro. The beach is several kilometres long and never gets overcrowded.
Albufeira is the tourist capital of the Algarve. It was once a small fishing village, but in 1755, the Great Earthquake saw most of the old town destroyed, including its castle. However a lot of the old charm still remains along the narrow back streets. The town is divided into two parts; ‘The Old Town’ and the ‘Strip’ or newer town, including Montechoro, Arias de Sao Joao. So if it’s a party you are after, Albufeira is the place for you. With 23 beaches, pulsating nightlife, great restaurants and bars and the charm of the Algarve, no wonder the place is teeming with tourists during the summer. A great place both day and night.
Lagos is considered one of the Algarve’s most interesting cities. It is a major port and with its sleek boats, paved promenades, fabulous beaches and coves and designer boutiques, this place has got style. A building dating back to 1445, which survived the Great Earthquake, is one of the great attractions of the town. Used as a slave market, it is considered to be Europe’s first building. This town is filled with character. With the cobbled streets leading to the famous 17th century gold church of Santo Antonio, you will find yourself immersed in the culture and history of the Algarve.
If it is golfing you are after, head to Vilamoura. It lies at the heart of the golfing country with some of the world’s best golf courses. If golf is not your thing but you are still an active holidaymaker, enjoy the dramatic cliff top walks and all manner of water sports on offer along the stretches of beautiful beaches. In recent years, Vilamoura has witnessed growth and been transformed into a more attractive area for tourists. The town now includes a huge new marina with berthing for over 600 craft, a great place to moor your boat and take to the golf course!