What To Do In Algarve, Portugal

Portugal, Websites and Blogs — By on March 16, 2011 at 1:00 pm

By Jade Eva

Upon arrival, it is not difficult to see why this region is such a coveted holiday destination: the sun-kissed Algarve, Portugal boasts miles of golden beaches, a thriving nightlife and a fascinating historical culture, keeping tourists flocking into the region in their thousands. Planning this holiday took a while as I didn’t know the region very well, but with the help of Google and websites like www.mydestination.com/algarve, I managed to organize myself brilliantly with a four point plan:

Check Out Algarve Beaches

When in the Algarve, a visit to the beach goes without saying. The Algarve beaches are fantastic for anyone who is seeking escapism from the hustle and bustle of city life. All of the Algarve’s beaches have beautiful golden sands, as well as dramatic cliff faces and rock formations nearby.

For the adrenaline junkies, head down to Albufeira or Vilamoura; the sheer amount of water sports available at these beaches is insane. Water-skiing, jet-skiing and windsurfing are just a few of the activities on offer; not for the faint-hearted of course! With the Algarve’s famous transparent waters, scuba diving is another popular activity on the Algarve’s beaches. The best places to go for this are Lagos, Sagres and Quarteira.

Golfing in Algarve

The Algarve is famous for its golfing opportunities and boasts several world-class golf courses.  As well as hosting several international tournaments annually, there are plenty of opportunities for beginners to get a feel for the game amongst the immaculately landscaped courses. Due to the prestige of some of the courses, a golfing day can be quite expensive. I managed to find deals for some courses online; pre-booking can save you quite a bit of money.

Shopping at Algarve’s Markets

Surviving on my meagre student loan for the past three years has given me a sixth sense for spotting a decent bargain. So when I say ‘Algarve’s markets are a frugal paradise,’ you know I mean business. If you need something, chances are the market at Quarteira will have it: from clothes to watches, from knock-off bags to that tacky fridge magnet souvenir you give to your mum, this market will have it and for a reasonable price.

Visiting these markets is a great opportunity to get a real sense of day-to-day life in the Algarve, giving an experience outside of the generic ‘sun, sea and sand’ Algarve holiday format. However, street crime is common in these markets, so you’d be well advised to leave any valuables at home and keep a close eye on your handbag.

Visit Lagos

Lagos is one of the places in the Algarve that has embodies sleek city style, as well as a touch of historical culture. Along the main promenade is a whole line of boutiques; a shopper’s paradise.  Sadly, 99% of the shops’ wares were hugely out of my price range, but there is nothing like a bit of guilt-free window shopping!

Located not too far from the main line-up of shops are several ancient buildings. These buildings gain historical relevance through associations with the slave trade: one of these buildings was used as a place to auction off slaves, dating back to around 1445. Like visiting the market, these cultural monuments are brilliant for giving you an experience of the Algarve outside of its beaches. Although this region is beautiful, it has plenty of history around to educate and enthrall tourists. That is, if they choose to experience it.

These tips for holidaying in the Algarve are simple, short and hopefully sweet. Algarve is a great place to travel for most people, as you will see for yourself: check out the weather, the beaches, and (most importantly) the culture and you might find yourself leaving the Algarve with a bit of knowledge, as well as the inevitable tan.

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