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Rocky beach at sunset, Lagos, Portugal. Counter light. Travel and business background

Why go?

You could sum up simply by saying the light. For the light on the Algarve is fantastic. To draw the curtains each morning and see the high blue skies and the bright, energising light never fails to raise my spirits, even after 12 years of living here.

The wild, western Algarve surrenders to the power of the Atlantic – it is all about nature, about surfing and the sea Credit: sergeialyoshin - Fotolia/Sergey AlEshin

BCP732But there is much more than that. It’s a region of hidden delights, of golden beaches framed by beautifully wrought limestone rocks, of small, simple restaurants where the taste of the fish – just caught, just grilled and drizzled with a local olive oil – will pull you back time and time again.

There are so many layers to the Algarve. Inland, up in the hills of Monchique, you will see a way of life that has disappeared from much of Europe. Days revolve around the seasons – killing the pig and gathering provisions for winter; collecting chestnuts and picking berries to make the local firewater. Olives, oranges, carobs and almonds are pulled from the trees and sold at markets. In villages of small cobbled streets, you’ll find whitewashed houses, cafes with cloth-capped men having their bica (espresso) and women grilling sardines in the streets.

Algarve beachThe sea is part of a different layer of Algarve life – one that’s also closely bound to nature. You can see locals wading into the Atlantic at low tide to find cockles and barnacles, and all along the coast, fishermen, who learnt the trade from their fathers, go out for squid and octopus, for sardines and tuna. Against this backdrop of real life is the layer for holidaymakers.

The sea is part of a different layer of Algarve life – one that’s also closely bound to nature Credit: Alamy/Steve Bentley / Alamy Stock Photo

By the fringes of the sea, in the centre of the Algarve, resorts line the cliffs – some are attractively set in lush gardens, such as Vila Joya or Vila Vita Parc (see Hotels); others (not included here) are soulless, concrete monstrosities.

In the east, it’s as though time has stood still: there are wonderful, small, authentic guesthouses (Fazenda Nova, Vila Campina) and the wave of mass tourism that washed over much of the Algarve has not touched this region, leaving a tranquil landscape of whitewashed villages and groves of cork and olive trees.



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FAQ


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I am planning a trip to Brazil. While I will be spending most of my time in Rio de Janeiro, I also want to visit Foz de Iguacu. What is the best way to get there from Rio? Where are some relatively inexpensive places to stay? - Quora

It's really difficult to recommend hotels based on what you consider inexpensive. Therefore I recommend some popular websites in Brazil so that you can check airplane tickets, hotels and more.
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