About 10 million visitors come to the Algarve every year, drawn by its spectacular scenery, beautiful beaches, lively resorts, world-class golf courses, fantastic food and year-round sunshine. The region’s capital is Faro, which, like many of the whitewashed towns along this stretch of coast, has preserved plenty of charm while still offering all the attractions of a popular seaside resort. Albufeira may be one of the largest resorts, but it is also very pretty, with cobbled streets and blue-tiled roofs. Some of the finest beaches on the Algarve can be found near Lagos, ensuring you’ll find a patch of sand even in the height of season. Portimão also boasts magnificent beaches, including the famous Praia da Rocha, and is famous for its excellent seafood.
Food & drink:
The Algarve is a fantastic destination for foodies, and the local cuisine features everything from fish and seafood, to succulent meat and game, as well as delicious hams and charcuterie from the famous ‘pata negra’ ‘pigs, and abundant fruit and vegetables grown in the fertile hinterland. Traditional local dishes not to be missed include freshly caught and simply grilled sardines or mackerel, as well as tasty stews such as ‘cataplana’, prepared with clams and other shellfish, ‘feijoada’, made with pork and beans, and ‘caldeirada’, a traditional fish stew with potatoes. The area produces some fine cheeses, including particularly good goat cheese, and oranges, figs and almonds take pride of places in local desserts.
Off the beaten track:
Head inland to the enticing hilltop town of Silves, which is dominated by a spectacular medieval fortress. Or enjoy some bird-watching on the wild headlands near Sagres, which attracts myriad bird species in spring and autumn. You could even take in a stretch of the magnificent 186-mile walking route, the Via Algarviana, which runs from the Spanish border to Cape St Vincent in the west.