With over 100 miles of coastline, the Portuguese Algarve is a much beloved holiday destination. The sunshine stretches throughout the year and the perfect sandy beaches have a gloriously child friendly feel; the blue waters of the Atlantic are crisp and fresh and the hazy heat adds an intoxicating appeal that draws you in. The sense of North Africa is evident in this most European of destinations, hillsides are filled with exotic delights, fig trees, almond groves and bright Moorish buildings giving a splash of colour to the surrounding landscape.
There are many resorts spread across the Algarve and as with any vast area unless you hire a car you are unlikely to be able to take advantage of all the great scenery and fantastic days out that the Algarve has to offer; the cooling Atlantic breeze gives the region a freshness that is the perfect antidote to the heat of the summer days making travel around the region far less arduous than might be expected.
The Algarve is an absolute haven for sports lovers and particularly those that want to try the regions favoured pastime of Golf – the weather allows for much opportunity to play golf on world class golf courses that have been excellently designed and are well maintained, the resort of Vilamoura alone has four championship golf courses. Golf isn’t the only sporting attraction though, the Algarve can also offer horse riding and water activities such as sailing, jet skiing, windsurfing and scuba diving – you may have to drive to different resorts to enjoy the best of the activities on offer but with a hire car this should be no inconvenience at all.
The biggest and the liveliest of the resorts Albufeira may not be to everyone’s tastes but there is no denying its attraction, the traditional side of the resort sees brightly coloured fishing boats bobbing around in the harbour and the winding cobbled streets of the old established town filled with charm and personality, but on the flip side the night life can be extreme with a party atmosphere that continues long after the sun has set. Hiring a car of course gives you the perfect compromise as you can stay at one of the more tranquil resorts and travel into Albufeira as often as you need the excitement of this vibrant resort.
One of the best days out from the Algarve is amazingly not even in the same country (don’t forget your passport!) it is however close enough to drive to comfortably; Seville the Spanish city and capital of Andalusia has many attractions that will keep you busy throughout the day and into the night. The options for your day in Seville include a visit the Santa Cruz Jewish district with its traditional architecture, orange groves and open terraces or a tour around the Cathedral of Saint Maria – whatever you choose to do in Seville the opportunity to see another country is one not to be missed.
Faro the capital of the Algarve can stand up to the stiff competition of Seville and give you plenty of charm of its own, the shape of the old city makes it easy to explore on foot so you can park the car safe in the knowledge that you won’t need to keep going back to it during the days sightseeing. Faro is the place to find all your holiday souvenirs with many hand crafted artisan products to be found throughout the old town: leather, lace, terracotta and Atlantis crystal are plentiful and of the highest quality. Faro harbour is the perfect place to relax and has some excellent restaurants that serve the very freshest of Portuguese fare, giving you the opportunity to relax in the midst of the bustling but charming old town.