East of the Algarve is Tavira, a small town boasting sandy beaches, a marine national park, and 18th-century buildings. The municipality was once occupied by the Moors, whose influence is still visible through the whitewashed buildings. Albufeira, another great place for beaches, is divided into two parts, with the Old Town consisting of a lively centre, small streets, and traditional houses, and 'the Strip' lined with shops, restaurants, clubs, and bars. Another captivating town is Lagoa, known for its wines and the beautiful beaches of Praia Grande and Praia Nova. There are also historical sites to visit, such as the Iglesia Madriz de Lagoa, the Sao Jose Convent, and the Sao Joao de Arade Fortress in Ferragudo, which was designed to protect the mouth of the river. Not to be missed is the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa's beautiful lagoons, salt pans, dune islands, and rich wildlife.
Visitors to the Algarve are drawn by its temperate climate and more than 150 beaches. When you rent a car in the Algarve, you'll find that it's easy to go beach hopping. Praia de Marinha in Lagoa, which has stunning limestone rocks and exciting cliffs, is considered one of the best in Europe. The Algarve is also a paradise for surfers of all skill levels – you can catch the best waves at Arrifana, Praia Amado, and Praia Amoreiro. There are also plenty of day tours to join, such as excursions to Cape Vincent, the southernmost point of Portugal and mainland Europe. The headland has a lighthouse and cliff and offers superb views of the sea. History buffs will enjoy the hilltop Castle of Silves, the largest and best-preserved historic monument in the Algarve.
The Algarve covers 500 square kilometres, with a series of mountain ranges in the north. The eastern side is a wetland consisting of lagoons and barrier islands. On the west side of the region are high cliffs, grottoes, and beaches. The vegetation is typically Mediterranean, with holly oaks, rosemary, rock roses, and other shrubs. The Algarve’s climate is influenced by the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Fisheries and aquaculture are important sectors in the Algarve's economy. Major products include sardines, sole, and other kinds of seafood. The agriculture sector is also a key revenue contributor, with figs, oranges, cork, and almonds being the predominant crops. The leisure industry, particularly in summer, is another substantial source of income for the region.
|Time-Zones||Western European Time|
Faro, the region’s capital, is the main gateway to the Algarve. Pick up your rental vehicle at Faro Airport, just 4km from downtown Faro. The modern airport welcomes 6 million passengers annually and operates regular flights from major European cities. The minimum age to drive and rent a car in the Algarve is 18, but car hire companies may apply a surcharge for drivers under 25. All EU-issued licences are valid in the region. Drivers stick to the right lane and pass on the left in Portugal. Drunk driving, speeding, and distracted driving (such as talking on a mobile without a handset or fidgeting with infotainment screens) are major offences that attract hefty fines. The speed limits are 50km/h in built-up areas, 100km/h in non-built up areas, and 120km/h on motorways. Drivers' blood-alcohol content should not be over 0.5%.