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Overview

Popular with northern Europeans for its warm sunny winters, Portugal's south coast has an international flavor, while inland, the land rises to mountain towns with a more traditionally Portuguese feel. Sandy beaches at Praia da Rocha, Carvoeiro and elsewhere are backed by wildly eroded cliffs, the soaring headlands between them cut by sea caves, best seen from small boats that offer trips from almost every beach. Larger resort towns offer all the usual tourist facilities, while some of the smaller towns retain the feel of the little fishing villages they once were.

Faro is the region's capital, a pleasant little city with a good ...

Popular with northern Europeans for its warm sunny winters, Portugal's south coast has an international flavor, while inland, the land rises to mountain towns with a more traditionally Portuguese feel. Sandy beaches at Praia da Rocha, Carvoeiro and elsewhere are backed by wildly eroded cliffs, the soaring headlands between them cut by sea caves, best seen from small boats that offer trips from almost every beach. Larger resort towns offer all the usual tourist facilities, while some of the smaller towns retain the feel of the little fishing villages they once were.

Faro is the region's capital, a pleasant little city with a good archaeology museum and richly decorated churches, where most beach-bound travelers spend little time. A well-preserved Moorish castle crowns Silves, and mountainside Alte's church is completely lined in striking blue tiles. At the far western end, Sagres is the windswept point where Prince Henry the Navigator planned Portugal's explorations of the New World.

Barbara Rogers
About the Expert

Barbara Radcliffe Rogers has written or coauthored more than 30 guidebooks, including The Portugal Traveler, Drive Around Portugal, City Spots Munich, City Spots Helsinki, City Spots Stockholm, Eating New England, and the Maine section of Thomas Cook's Independent Traveller USA.

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Barbara Rogers for Triporati

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Now Happening in Algarve

Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Iberian Peninsula of Europe. Algarve is located on the southernmost region of mainland Portugal.
  • Language: Portuguese
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
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Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    More than 3000 hours of sunshine a year make winters pleasant and summers hot.