Lay of the Land
Known as the “End of the World”—15th-century explorers were wowed by the area’s dramatic coastal precipice—the Algarve encompasses Portugal’s entire southern region. Covering over 100 miles from Sagres (the easternmost point) to the border of Spain, this gorgeous seaside haven is a vacation destination through and through. While there are rural agricultural areas further inland, the pristine coast of surf towns and sandy beaches is the most popular, with the population tripling during summer.
Though many of the Algarve’s small towns are known to host the young backpacker set, the coast is dotted with a number of luxury resorts. Sun-soaked and boasting gorgeous Mediterranean views, these properties are delightfully isolated from the crowds.
Who Should Go
Given the secluded nature of the hotels that line the coast, the Algarve is best suited for those looking for a resort experience with opportunities for day trips.
When To Go
Like many destinations in Europe, the Algarve is best visited during the shoulder seasons; the months of May, June, September and October are best. However, the area offers beautiful weather year-round, with mild winter temperatures and warm, dry summers. Due to ocean currents, the water is often warmer in the colder months, making the Algarve a good choice all year.
Short, 45-minute flights from Lisbon are offered daily to the nearby regional airports, Faro and Sagres. Visitors can also drive from the capital, which takes roughly 3-4 hours on a scenic route along the southwestern coast.
Ideal Length of Stay
Since guests spend most of their time at a resort, the Algarve is best visited for 3-5 days.