A holiday haven for the British, as well as the Portuguese themselves, the stunning coastal region of the Algarve is ideal whether you’re looking for a relaxed family holiday in the sun or an active break bursting with things to see and do. Relax on the soft sandy beaches, enjoying the stunning backdrop of the rugged mountains and dipping your toes in the calm, azure waters of the Atlantic Ocean, or try an action-packed day filled with banana boat rides, surfing and sailing.
Being the most popular tourist destination in the whole of Portugal, there’s a resort to suit all along this scenic stretch of coast. Albufeira is the number one choice for those in search of activities galore, as well as beaches, a great selection of hotels and an Old Town offering an insight into the region’s fascinating history and culture. Golf lovers will be right at home in glitzy Vilamoura, with an incredible selection of some of Europe’s best golf courses, allowing you to enjoy stunning views as you practice that swing. Sleepy but elegant Carvoeiro is a good pick for a quieter escape and if beach time is a top priority, Praia da Rocha is unlikely to disappoint. There’s a reason tourists continue to flock to this part of the country, and crowds aside, the Algarve continues to deliver time after time.
Flight duration: 3 - 4 hours from the UK
Time difference from GMT: 0 hours
Hottest months of the year: Warm and sunny from June-September, with temperatures peaking throughout July and August
Best for: Families, groups, couples, history, culture and golf
Nothing spells romance like a walk along the beach, and during Algarve holidays you’ll find countless options when it comes to soaking up coastal vistas, whether from the walking paths on the cliffs around Olhas de Agua or from one of Albufeira’s waterfront restaurant as the sun sets. Couples will love the Algarve's entertainment options, with its interesting shops selling everything from designer brands to local handicraft, as well as plenty of bars, restaurants and clubs on offer. Head to Alvor and stroll along the Alvor Boardwalk, taking in the stunning views, or try Carvoeiro’s Cocktail Garden. Here you’ll find tropical concoctions and a relaxing atmosphere, with outdoor areas where you can enjoy the sunshine. For some peace and quiet away from the bustle of some of the busier resorts try Lagos and a trip to Camilo Beach. This secluded stretch of soft golden sand is hidden by a beautiful rock formation, with a restaurant serving excellent international as well as Portuguese dishes on the cliff face overlooking the beach. There’s no better place to enjoy breath-taking views as you dine. Head to Vilamoura Marina for a touch of glamour and obligatory yacht window shopping, plus an excellent selection of restaurants and a chance to rub shoulders with the rich and famous.
As well as an impressive ratio of Blue Flag beaches, the Algarve offers a huge range of activities for those travelling with little ones. Praia do Anção in the centre of Algarve is a hit with families mainly due to its soft golden sands perfect for sandcastles, as well as crystal clear waters, calm waves and plenty of places to paddle. When the children are after some entertainment and action, head to Zoomarine where they’ll be wowed by the dolphin shows, terrifying slides and rides and an education zone. Boat trips are a must, with caves and secret grottoes to explore in addition to dolphin spotting trips. Back on dry land there are plenty of mini golf courses or full-size 18-hole greens as you’d expect, while older kids will love the adrenaline rush that comes with go-karting.
Many visitors to the Algarve want to make the most of the region’s bustling party scene. With three main party resorts to choose from, bar and club lovers are spoilt for choice. Head to Albufeira for a louder-than-life Strip, with bars, restaurants, clubs and pubs galore. Or there’s always the party boat if you want to enjoy the best of the nightlife during the day, mixed with great music, stunning scenery and sunshine! However, the Algarve’s evening entertainment caters for so much more than just all-night parties. From the theatres of Faro delivering dance and music performances, to jazz clubs or dazzling marina restaurants serving locally-caught seafood, the Algarve boasts entertainment for all.
The Algarve region caters to all kinds of foodies, with a huge range of bars, restaurants and tavernas. Enjoy delicious dishes from the Mediterranean, Portugal and the Algarve region, or head to one of many international restaurants and sample everything from a perfectly cooked steak to an all-day breakfast. Fim do Mundo, located in Ferragudo, offers a friendly service, and mouth-watering meat dishes, from steak to ribs to freshly caught fish. Offering a delicious selection of local wines from the region is the pretty local Restaurante Dom Carlos, in a quaint street of Albufeira. Here you’ll find home baked bread and incredible dishes, ideal for a special occasion. For a taste of the real Portugal try heading to Albufeira’s Os Arcos Restaurante. Tucked away in the Old Town you can enjoy authentic Portuguese steak and chicken, succulently cooked to perfection, or melt in the mouth fish dishes caught straight from the sea that morning.