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Regions of Portugal - Algarve

Situated in the south of Portugal, the Algarve is the country's major tourist resort. Year round sunshine, glorious beaches and low prices make this a great holiday destination. The southern coastal region offers long stretches of fine sandy beaches broken up by stupendous rugged cliffs and fabulous grottoes. In the northern area, the Espinhaco de Cao, Monchique and Caldeiral mountain ranges shelter the coastline from strong winds. One of Portugal's most luxuriant and charming areas, it is wreathed in fig trees, orange groves and almond trees. The Algarve also provides a wealth of activities including aquatic sports, golf, tennis and horse-riding, as well as numerous fishing ports, beaches, restaurants, cafes and quaint bars where you can sample delicious local cuisine.

Faro is the capital of the Algarve. An attractive town with many points of interest, it is also a great base from which to visit the numerous resorts for which the Algarve is famous. Faro has some Moorish and Roman ruins dating from the 13th century, but most buildings date from the second half of the 18th century after an earthquake in 1755 devastated the town. Faro offers a wealth of restaurants, cafes, bars and clubs to suit all tastes as well as a beautiful old theatre, offering a full program of dance, music and drama. Along the coast from Faro, you will come to Albufeira passing on your way, glorious coast line, terrific beaches and around 20 great golf courses. Albufeira is one of the most popular tourist destinations, with its own lovely sandy beach.

Get away from the tourist trail and take a trip to Tavira, a picturesque little town situated 30 km east of Faro. Its maze of old streets and 37 churches are overlooked by the castle ruins. Fishing boats bob on the water at the docks and a traditional market is held daily. A quiet relaxing little place, there are bars and restaurants if you want to savour the delicious local fish, sardines or tuna, cooked in the traditional manner. And rent a bicycle, a motor bike or car to further explore the charming surroundings of the town. Or take one of the short ferry rides to the ilha de Tavira. Another town that is off the beaten track and well worth a visit is Castro Marim, whose huge, ancient castle ruins dominate the town. The battlements of the castle provide a splendid vista of the fens, salt pans and marshes of the Reserva Natural do Sapal, where, in the winter you can see a host of bird life, particularly flamingos, spoonbills, avocets and Caspian terns, and in spring, dozens of white storks.

Traditionally the first port of call for the English buyer, the Algarve offers plenty of choice with many villas and apartments for sale. Also a great area for the golfer with an abundance of courses to choose from.

Nearest Airport - Faro

Faro

Particularly attractive is the old part of the city surrounded still by the Roman walls which date back to the 9th. Inside a spacious open square that was once the site of the Roman Forum is a 13th Century Cathedral that faces the 18th Century Episcopal palace. An interesting building is the neighbouring 16th Century Convent that is now turned into the home of the city's archaeological museum. Within it is a section devoted to the Arab occupation. Next to the small boat basin bordering the Praça de Dom Francisco Gomes is a small Naval Museum composed of scale model boats and galleons showing the maritime history of the coast. Much of the city is now composed of apartments and there are attractive shops and a particularly artistic theatre. Faro is also the home of the Ria Formosa lagoon, a nature reserve of over 17.000 hectares and a stopping place for hundreds of different birds during the spring and autumn migratory periods.


Olh?o

Architecturally the town is well known for an older quarter where the flat terraced roofs and straight box-shaped chimneys show a definite Moorish flavour. Another curiosity is the fish market in a long building on the waterfront. Every morning there is a lively atmosphere and the impressively large variety of fish offered by the local catch is displayed to tempt the local housewife.


Almancil

This town has become an important centre for providing supporting services to feed the needs of two nearby stylish well-established holiday and residential developments; Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo. In keeping with the needs of the area there are a good selection of restaurants offering many different forms of cuisine. Also, as to be expected there are many real estate offices, interior decorators and furnishing shops. Close by to the east of Almancil is a small village named São Lourenço. The church here is well worth a visit as it is covered inside with beautiful 18th Century ceramic tiles and is an outstanding example in the Algarve. In the street leading up to the church you will find the São Lourenço Cultural Centre which is open to the public. This Centre has been established for many years and mounts regular art exhibitions and classical music events

Check this week's weather in Faro at the BBC website >

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