ADVERTORIAL • September 2020
Endless sunshine, miles of beaches and delicious, fresh Mediterranean cuisine. If you’re looking ahead to future travels, there are more than a few reasons why Portugal’s southernmost region deserves to be highest on your list
In the 15th century, Portuguese explorers set forth from the Algarve on their quests to discover new people and places around the globe. Centuries later, the southernmost region of Portugal welcomes explorers of its own, with holidaymakers from across the world visiting every year.
And there’s plenty to discover. Award-winning beaches, authentic gastronomy and a range of outdoor activities make this a destination for both thrill-seekers and those looking for relaxation. So, for anyone plotting their adventures to come, it’s time to be tempted by the Algarve
Did we mention the sun? The Algarve basks in more than 300 days of sunshine a year. From Aljezur all the way to Vila Real de Santo António, the entire coast (including the iconic Praia da Marinha – pictured) enjoys a Mediterranean-style microclimate, with temperatures that vary from 15ºC in winter through to 30ºC in summer. This means, no matter the time of year, visitors are likely to luxuriate in clear skies and warm conditions.
The Algarve is working hard to keeping tourists safe and confident when they visit. In April 2020, a ‘Clean & Safe’ stamp was developed by the National Tourism Authority. This stamp guarantees that activities and attractions have met strict cleaning and hygiene requirements. The stamp has been applied to hotels, restaurants and cafés, rent-a-cars and marinas, plus activities including golfing, camping, surfing and water parks, meaning visitors can truly relax and enjoy their holiday.
Some of the world’s most beautiful beaches are to be found in the Algarve. In fact, the region has 87 Blue Flags from the European Blue Flag Association – one of the world’s most recognised voluntary eco-labels. And there’s something for every type of beach lover, with 200km of coastline comprising rocky beaches, broad expanses of sand and plenty of coves, cliffs and caves. Island fans will love Ilha da Culatra (pictured), an area made up of several beaches offering crystal-clear water and the chance to view traditional local fishermen at work.
It was British golfer Sir Henry Cotton who established the Algarve as a world-class golf destination back in the 1960s – even designing a number of the region’s classic courses. Today, there are an impressive 36 golf clubs within the Algarve (including Palmares Golf, pictured) – most of which are less than 30 minutes from Faro airport, around Quinta da Lago and Vilamoura Marina. Further tee-off treasures can also be found on the region’s tranquil eastern side.
With all that sun, who wouldn’t want to spend time exploring the great outdoors? Happily, the Algarve has a wealth of nature parks and reserves providing a stunning backdrop for a range of open-air activities, such as surfing, cycling and hiking. Anyone keen to social distance while on holiday will find this an easy way to do so while reconnecting with nature.
Everyone eats well in the Algarve, with restaurants to suit all palates – serving everything from traditional dishes to high-end cuisine. Six restaurants currently hold one or two Michelin stars, while there are scores of local tavernas offering fresh seafood. For a true taste of the region, seek out cataplana (a fish stew cooked in copper dish), juicy Algarvian oranges, and doces finos (tasty marzipan sweets). Post-lockdown, restaurants have reopened with a 50 per cent capacity reduction and, following strict guidance, as defined by the Portuguese government, enable visitors to eat out in comfort and with confidence.