Algarve is blessed with all the splendors of nature and Mediterranean climate. Algarve is the southernmost region of Portugal. It has an area of 5,412 square kilometers with 451,000 permanent inhabitants. The highest point is Foia which is 902 meters in the Monchique mountain range. A natural reserve in Algarve, Ria Formosa Lagoon is over 170 kilometers and the stopping place for hundreds of beautiful birds. The south facing coastline is 155 kilometers in length. It stretches 50 kilometers to the north beyond the western point of Cape Saint Vincent. The temperature in Algarve fluctuates in between 14 degrees Centigrade in winter to 40 degrees centigrade in summer. Algarve is the third richest region in the Portugal. The region has the right blend of history, entertainment, local delicacies and sightseeing locales.
Estate stewards and traders were the first people resided in this region. They built colonies and existed here for a long time by using the resources of the coast. In Algarve’s history the important fact was the five centuries of Arab occupation. It is still visible in the craft and architecture of this region and in many place’s name that begins with “AI”. It was once a part of Roman province of Lusitania which left tracks in Faro, Milreu, Vilamoura and Baca do Rio. It later became the part of the Visigoth’s jurisdiction.
In 711, Estreito de Gibraltar was passed by Tarikibn Zyad and defeated the Visigoths. Abd Al-Aziz came into power in 712. After several years of battle, the Algarve region was reclaimed by Christians. The Portuguese monarchs were entitled the king of Portugal and of the Algarves since 1249. In the history of Algarve, the Age of Discoveries and the 1755 earthquake plays an important role. The earthquake destroyed many monuments in Algarve and had too much of destruction. Despite of all the adversities, Algarvios rebuilt this region and made it a wonderful paradise by the sea.
The Algarve region of Portugal has loads to offer from remarkable churches to beautiful beaches. Faro is the capital of Algarve that is famous for medieval aged wall and historical monuments. The trademark resort attractions of the Algarve region includes Castro Marim, Silves, Tavira, Monchique, Albufeira, Olhao, Portimao, Alcoutim, Vilamoura, Loule, Lagoa and Vila do Bispo. The Mediterranean weather is perfect for sailing, snorkeling and parasailing. The golden sand and the warm sun at the beaches of Algarve is the most beautiful place to be in the world.
The city of Portimao is the hot spot for many water activities like windsurfing, jet skiing and charter rental near Praia da Rocha beach. Most of the people get attracted to the longest and best beach of Portugal, Falesia Beach which has a shoreline of 8 kilometers, transparent water and the towering cliffs which is as high as 30 meters. Beside that Meia Praia Beach in the east and Martinhal beach in the western part of Algarve provides a memorable and wonderful view of sparkling water. You can find peace and tranquil time in the lap of nature on some of the smaller hidden away beaches such as Praia de Albandeira near Carvoeiro and Armcao de Pera.
In Algarve, the old town of Albufeira is the heart of beaches. You will find many resorts from east to west. You can explore historical monuments and churches, shopping malls and bars or the live show at Largo Eng. Duarte Pachecho. Lagos is the little jewel of Algarve which offers water skiing, swimming, parasailing and sports like golf and tennis. Lagos is also home to Lagos Zoo. This region also has a number of water parks like Aqualand, Zoomarine, Aquashow Water Park and Splash Water Park. In Algoz you can visit Krazyworld, while in Almancil you can visit the Almancil Karting center. Further afield in Olhao just to the east of Faro is the indoor Olhao Karting arena
The Algarve delicacies will win your heart and mind. The famous sea food includes clams, fish stew and tuna. You will equally like the sweets of Algarve such as egg sweets, fig and almonds. The handicraft reassembles the traditional of Algarve. Straw hats, wicker crafts, wooden and copper articles and baskets. In Algarve, you can enjoy nightlife in casinos, discos and bars in all major towns.
Nightlife in this region is hard to beat. It has something for everyone from mellow evenings to all night party. You will find everything from wild stag weekends to family friendly bars. Praia de Rocha is the first resort established in this region. You will find trendiest of nightclub here. If you are in a gambling mood with a party like environment then you might want to explore Casino Praia de Rocha and if you want to experience the top music and party atmosphere then The Phoenix is the answer. It is one of the top nightclubs in the Algarve which stays open till 6 am in the morning. The huge range of nightclubs and bars in the Algarve should satisfy all tastes from music bars, jet set beach clubs, elegant lounge bars and all night clubs.
The Algarve cuisine comes in wonderful tastes and it’s a delight eating it. You will find a wild selection of international cuisine as well as traditional Portuguese food. However if you want to find the real taste and magic of Algarve food then you need to head inland a few kilometers away from the touristic area. You will find a restaurant with locals and try the dish of the day which might be Prato do Dia with a glass of Portuguese wine.
For international cuisine you will find everything from Mexican. French, Italian, Chinese to all universal chips and burgers. The people in this region consider food as an important element. They start their day with a cup of coffee and a bread roll. The lunch time is in the noon however the evening meal time is quite late. So, eat early to avoid busy times in the traditional restaurants. The flavours of Algarve food is influenced by spice that were introduced by invaders and explorers long time ago. They like to include onions, figs, almonds, garlic and curry spices like paprika, cinnamon and Brazilian spice piri-piri. The people in this region love meat and seafood and have developed their own style of cooking.
Algarve restaurants serve traditional Portuguese food. The portion size is good for large appetite. You will find the restaurant staffs very friendly. When it comes to pay a bill, they do not include service charge in the bill and you can pay a tip anywhere from 5 percent upwards. You should also be aware that most of the Algarve restaurants do not accept credit card. Your taste to Algarve cuisine is incomplete withour trying Cataplana, Piri-Piri Chicken, Bacalhau and Leitao Assado.
The Algarve is a fantastic destination for naturist, food lovers and those who want to enjoy the authentic night life which is once in a life time experience.
“By Jamie Mcloughlin“