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Der Strand Praia de Rocha in der Algarve, Bild: Marcin Krzyzak / shutterstock

The Algarve – Incredible diversity in Portugal

The Algarve is by far the most popular holiday region in Portugal in the German-speaking world. When you think of Portugal, you often think of the picturesque beaches, romantic fishing villages and rugged cliffs. And indeed, the Algarve keeps its promises. The more than 200-kilometre-long coastline attracts tourists with its sandy beaches and fascinating flora and fauna. But athletes are not neglected here either, because the rough sea is known for its great opportunities for surfing and sailing.

Pure variety at 28 degrees in summer

Beach holiday in Portugal, Lagos, Algarve
Lagos in the Algarve, Image: DaLiu / shutterstock

The southernmost region of Portugal has everything you need for a special and varied holiday. Above all, this variety is unique. In the port city of Lagos, those interested in culture will find their first port of call. The historic old town is unique and the Fort Ponta da Bandeira is definitely worth a visit. Of course, the capital of the region, Faro, is also exciting for holidaymakers. Here, the influence of the Romans in Portugal is particularly visible. A tour along the historic promenade and a detour to the bishop’s palace Paco Episcopal or the baroque city palace Solar do Capitao-Mor is a must. So after you have arrived, it is time to discover the many great offers of the region.

Surfing and sunbathing in the Algarve

If you are looking for adventure, you will also find it in the Algarve. On the rugged west coast of the Atlantic, surfers will find the perfect waves, almost 365 days a year. The first hotspot is the Praia de Odeceixe Mar near the small village of Odeceixe. Located near a nature reserve, surfers will find the best conditions here. A little further south is the popular beach of Carrapateira. Especially in the early morning hours, the panorama is fantastic.

For sun worshippers, there are fantastic beaches to discover along the entire south coast. No matter in which direction, you can hardly miss the many hidden bays and beaches. For example, the bay of Praia da Marinha and Praia do Tonel are particularly beautiful. One of the most famous and beautiful beaches is Praia da Marinha near Caramujeira. Once you’ve been here, you’ll have a hard time being impressed by other beaches. In contrast to other coastal regions, the Algarve manages to appear largely untouched and wild despite an enormous amount of tourism.

Fantastic nature and exciting sights

Cabo de São Vicente, Algarve
Cabo de São Vicente, Image: DaLiu / shutterstock

The most beautiful sights of the Algarve are actually of natural origin. Especially the many unique caves and grottoes are fascinating to discover. The most visited place in the region is Cape Cabo de São Vicente, with its small lighthouse in the middle of the cliffs. The cape is the southwesternmost point of the European continent and was considered the end of the world for people for a long time. Also highly recommended is the cave of Benagil.

But the Algarve is also not stingy with man-made sights. The city of Sagres, for example, offers plenty of room to lose track of time, with a historic fortress and its famous port. The cities of Lagos, Odeceixe and Aljezur should also be on the agenda of every visitor. This is where Portugal’s long history becomes visible. For those interested in architecture, the Algarve has many sights such as small and large churches and picturesque old towns. Especially in Lagos there are many sights such as the church of Santa Maria, a famous fortress and a spectacular zoo for the little ones. In the bone chapel of Faro, on the other hand, it gets morbid, because here over 1200 real skulls have been built into a 24 square meter chapel.

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The Algarve – one of the most beautiful regions in Europe

The Algarve is one of the most popular destinations in Europe for a reason. Sun, great sandy beaches, the wild Atlantic Ocean or historic old towns – the region offers the right activity for every holidaymaker. Surfers ride along the west coast in search of the perfect wave, while families with children ride from one beach to another, soaking up the sun and discovering regional delicacies.

In the hinterland of the Algarve, an almost untouched nature is waiting to be discovered. The enormous variety and flora and fauna amaze everyone.

The Algarve is not particularly large: Around 440,000 inhabitants live on just under 5,000 square kilometres (for comparison, North Rhine-Westphalia has over 34,000 square kilometres). All the more astonishing how much variety can be found in such a small area. And that’s what makes the Algarve so special: endless different experiences in such a small space offer the opportunity to experience a practically new holiday every day – and practically on your doorstep.

The most beautiful sights in the Algarve

  • 1. Lagos
    Port city of Lagos in the Algarve
    The port town of Lagos, Image: Steve Photography / shutterstock

    The picturesque harbour town of Lagos has numerous fabulous hotspots in store, especially for visitors interested in history: The Castelo Dos Governadores, built by the Moors, is probably the most impressive part of the old city walls. The church Igreja de Santo Antonio with its sensational baroque interior, museums, the first slave market in Europe and port facilities are among the most important sights of Lagos. They are reminiscent of the time when Portugal was still an important royal shipping power and seafarers began their famous circumnavigations westwards from Lagos in the 15th century. And for a relaxing beach stay, the much-praised Praia de Dona Ana, surrounded by spectacular orange cliffs, offers a magical ambience for an unforgettable break.

  • 2. Ponta da Piedade
    Ponta da Piedade, beach holiday in Portugal
    Ponta da Piedade in Portugal, Image: artem evdokimov / shutterstock

    Undoubtedly, one of the most beautiful natural highlights of the Algarve is located about 2.5 km south of Lagos. The famous Ponta Da Piedade rock structure on the coast offers a stunning sight with its colorful sandstone cliffs. The bizarre rock formations in the rocky Algarve form an idyllic protective bay with crystal clear turquoise waters that are perfect for swimming, diving and paddling.

  • 3. Algar de Benagil
    Algar de Benadil
    Algar de Benadil, Image: Benny Marty / shuttersto

    An absolute must on the journey through the Algarve is the fascinating Benagil Cave with its dome-shaped dome open to the sky, a much visited hotspot on the beach Praia de Benagil near the coastal town of Portimao. In principle, access to the cave is only possible from the sea, so swimming or paddling is the order of the day to experience one of the truly overwhelming natural highlights on the Portuguese coast up close.

  • 4. Hiking routes
    Discover the fabulous hiking routes through the picturesque landscapes of the Algarve! The impressive Vilamoura Natural Trail, west of Faro, passes through the protected Vilamoura Environmental Park. On a route of 5 km, nature lovers can discover the unique biodiversity of the region and observe rare birds such as ospreys, black storks or little terns. Enjoy a monumental coastal landscape along the cliff hiking trails from Senhora Da Rocha to Praia Da Marinha, exploring beautiful bays, small coastal settlements and fascinating flora and fauna! The view over the wide sea is simply breathtaking!
  • 5. Praia da Marinha
    Praia da Marinha
    Praia da Marinha, Image: Luis_Mendes / shutterstock

    At the end of this hiking tour and not far from the spectacular Benagil Cave, the world-famous Praia Da Marinha beach awaits you. Here, visitors can relax on the golden sandy beach and explore a magical underwater world while swimming and diving in the incredibly clear waters. The double sandstone rock arches at the western end of the beach stretch gallantly over the sea water, offering an exquisite sight and giving this part of the coastal landscape an unparalleled rugged charm.

  • 6. Silves and the Castelo de Silves
    The interior of the Algarve introduces visitors to the typical southern Portuguese flair of this unique region. To the north and not far from Praia de Marinha, the medieval fortress Castelo de Silves towers over the town of Silves with its brick-red walls and towers. From the sandstone Moorish castle, various rulers ruled over the former independent small kingdom of Silves in the Middle Ages. The picturesque town attracts visitors from near and far with its authentic Algarve atmosphere and is definitely worth a visit.
  • 7. Faro
    Faro, capital of the Algarve
    Faro, capital of the Algarve, Image: Robin Runck / shutterstock

    Directly at the southernmost tip of the country is the capital of the Algarve, the famous port city of Faro. Surrounded by ancient Roman city walls, the old town is a real magnet and delights tourists with such exquisite buildings as the Bishop’s Palace, the City Hall and fascinating churches. A leisurely walk through the narrow winding streets, past colourful shops and souvenir shops along the pedestrian zone, allows visitors to experience the cosmopolitan flair of this traditional vibrant city and to enjoy and relax in the traditional taverns or restaurants typical of the country.

    The port area of Faro is particularly interesting and surrounded by a protected lagoon. It is also home to the famous Museo Maritimo. Cape Cabo de Santa Maria is the southernmost point of Portugal and is located on the offshore island of Ilha da Barreta, a nature reserve of the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa. These and other small islands are easily accessible from Faro.

  • 8. Olhão
    A visit to the old town of Olhão, which is characterized by an oriental-African flair, reveals the numerous architectural peculiarities of the place, which reflect a significant Arab influence. The hustle and bustle of the fish market exerts a magical appeal on tourists and forms a fantastic backdrop for unique photographs and impressions that immortalize the vital dynamism, intrinsic mood and traditional atmosphere of these authentic port and street scenes of Olhão.
  • 9. Tavira
    Tavira, Algarve
    Romanesque bridge in Tavira, Image: anyaivanova / shutterstock

    Tavira, the exclusive coastal town in the east of the Algarve, is surrounded by enchanting sandy beaches and is famous for its very own charm. The popular holiday destination is a place steeped in history, where trade and fishing once flourished, and whose magnificent architectural highlights, churches, squares and exquisite buildings with magnificent facades bear witness to a former era of economic prosperity and prosperity.

  • 10. Dolphins and seabirds: exciting observation tours
    The perfect highlight on any Algarve trip is a boat trip of several hours past the island of Ria Formosa and out into the Atlantic Ocean to make exciting discoveries in search of dolphins and whales, sea turtles and seabirds. On board an official observation vessel and accompanied by an experienced naturalist guide, nature-loving tourists have the unique opportunity to get to know the marine habitat of these fascinating marine creatures.
  • Water parks in the Algarve
    In the spectacular water parks “Slide & Splash” as well as “Aqualand” and “Aqua Show”, families with children get their money’s worth. Water slides, rapids, inflatable boat slides and other great pool attractions as well as rides provide fun, exciting experiences and fantastic adventures that will delight young and old!