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The Algarve

Algarve - Sun and Atlantic

The Algarve, at the southwesternmost tip of Europe and the southernmost part of Portugal, was the starting point for the discovery trips of Portuguese seafarers to Africa and India. AL-GHARB (Algarve), behind this name hides the Arabic name "the West", the exact geographical name for the Atlantic tip of the former Arab-Moorish empire. It is bordered in the north by a mountain range (Sierra de Monchique), in the east by the Guadiana river and in the south and west by the Atlantic. It was the Moors who, during their 500-year reign, used sophisticated irrigation techniques to create the fantastic garden landscape that we still admire today. Already in January thousands of almond trees bloom here, transforming the coast and hinterland into a white and pink sea of ​​blossoms. The Moors' influence is still felt today. The Moorish is unmistakable in the villages. In the picturesque alleys we find the white houses, the chimneys of which stretch out towards the sky like minarets. Impressed by this flair, you have the feeling that time has stopped.

 

Rock Algarve and country side

To the west of the provincial capital FARO is the BARLAVENTO, the rocky Algarve. Here we find the sun-drenched sandy beaches framed by unique red and earth-colored rocks. We see ocher-colored cliffs that suddenly break off to the turquoise sea, paired with secretive bays and picturesque grotto landscapes. Fascinating are the rock pillars standing in the water like monuments, dome-like rinsing and viaduct-like, bizarre rock formations.

The beaches are fine sand and the water is crystal clear. A natural wonder in the green-blue Atlantic. What nature created here is unparalleled in Europe. It is one of the most beautiful things that the coastal zones of the world have to offer.

In the former capital LAGOS you can admire not only the fantastic rock formations in the Atlantic, but also churches and monuments worth seeing. It is a cozy and lively port city against a historical backdrop. In any case, a cave tour starting from the Ponta da Piedade is recommended.

So that you can get your own picture of the beautiful landscape, the beaches and the rocks, we have put together a small picture gallery for you.

The old Moorish town of SILVES is also worth discovering. Orange and lemon groves, fig and almond trees stand out here, and eucalyptus and cork oaks also thrive here. Silves is dominated by a majestic castle that shows that it was more powerful and important than Lisbon during the Moorish conquests.

The mountains of the SERRA DE MONCHIQUE represent a beneficial balance to the lively coastal towns. The air is refreshing and flowers bloom here even in midsummer. A visit to the thermal springs and the pleasantly overgrown park of CALDAS DE MONCHIQUE is particularly recommended.

A unique panorama opens up to the hiker - vast forests and rugged mountains. The highest point in the Algarve is the summit FOIA. On clear days you can see as far as Spain and a considerable part of the west coast It is worth visiting one of the numerous restaurants to eat a Frango Piri Piri (spicy, lean chicken).

The inland country side of the Algarve seems to be one single garden. It is peaceful and quiet everywhere. Almost all flowers, fruits and vegetables thrive here. Here we can find the best artisan shops and potteries.

The weekly markets are correspondingly colorful. Almost every day, such a market takes place in a different village in the Algarve. A visit is very rewarding.
 

Sandy Algarve

SOTAVENTO, alias the Sand algarve, east of Faro, has a completely different face. A Wadden Sea, forming a shallow body of water with tidal flats and wetlands, with extensive sandbars, dunes and shallow lagoons. The place OLHÃO is particularly enchanting with its white, cubic house shapes in moorish kashbah style, flat roofs and turrets, which are reminiscent of cities in North Africa.

Ponta da Piedade

In the former capital LAGOS you can admire not only the fantastic rock formations in the Atlantic, but also churches and monuments worth seeing. It is a cozy and lively port city against a historical backdrop. In any case, a caves trip starting from the Ponta da Piedade is recommended.

So that you can get your own picture of the beautiful landscape, the beaches and the rocks, we have put together a small picture galery for you.
 

Serra de Monchique

The old Moorish town of SILVES is also worth discovering. Orange and lemon groves, fig and almond trees stand out here, and eucalyptus trees and cork oaks also thrive here. Silves is dominated by a majestic castle that shows that it was more powerful and important than Lisbon during the Moorish conquests.

The mountains of the SIERRA DE MONCHIQUE represent a beneficial balance to the lively coastal towns. The air is refreshing and flowers bloom here even in midsummer. A visit to the thermal springs and the pleasantly overgrown park of CALDAS DE MONCHIQUE is particularly recommended.

A unique panorama opens up to the hiker - vast forests and rugged mountains. The highest point in the Algarve is the mountain FOIA. It is worth visiting one of the numerous restaurants to eat a Frango Piri Piri (spicy, lean chicken).

The country side of the Algarve seems to be a single garden. It is peaceful and quiet everywhere. Almost all flowers, fruits and vegetables thrive here. Here we find probably the best artisans - shops and potteries.


The weekly markets are correspondingly colourful. Every day, such a market takes place in a different village in the Algarve. A visit is very rewarding.
 

Clima and weather on the Algarve

The Algarve's climate is pleasant all year round. Even during the hottest season, fresh breezes blow from the Atlantic. The numerical values ​​of air and water temperature compare extremely favorably to other coastal regions. In addition, the Sierra de Monchique mountain range offers effective protection against bad weather fronts. The sun shines for over 3000 hours a year. That is certainly unique in Europe.
 
Spring is one of the longest seasons in this region. The rain, which is usually longed for in December, lets the green sprout lushly at the beginning of January and before you know it, the entire surrounding natural landscape is in the most beautiful almond blossom at the end of January. Not to be missed, the orange gardens with their ripe curtains. The temperatures are mostly above 20 degrees during the day. During this time, rainy days are gratefully accepted, but as a rule they are very sparse.

It is the best time for hikers, those looking for relaxation and especially for golfers, as no frost is expected in this region. Enthusiasts and insensitive people are already swimming in the sea at this time.
So spring merges sometimes in May and sometimes in June into the no less long summer, which can certainly be extended into November. The tangibly close, steep and bizarre ocher-colored rock formations, grottos, romantic bays and fine sandy beaches and last but not least the clear and recognized clean Atlantic water are the epitome of the Portuguese summer.
 
So we still hike along the coast in the Portuguese summer (already in our German autumn) and experience the unique formations that the water has created over millennia. We suddenly notice rain and don't even remember it. It suddenly becomes clear to us that it is already the end of November, and the Algarve spring will start again in 6 weeks.

West coast of the Algarve - steep cliffs, fascinating waves, surfers' paradise

Far from tourism, visitors experience an almost concrete-free stretch of coast, which is characterized by a completely different beach architecture. A popular destination is the CABO DE SÃO VICENTE (near SAGRES), the most southwestern point in Europe.

From the CABO DE SÃO VINCENTE, the west coast stretches north towards ALJEZUR. The wildly romantic COSTA VINCENTINA is a fascinating, nature conservation beach landscape with cliffs that rise steeply up to 120 meters. Of particular note is the PRAIA DO CASTELEJO beach near VILA DO BISPO.

On the way to ALJEZUR you should definitely visit the beaches PRAIA DO AMADO and PRAIA DA BORDEIRA (very close to the town of CARRAPATEIRA). At ALJEZUR we find the wonderful beaches PRAIA DE MONTE CLERIGO or PRAIA DA ARRIFANA with the remains of an old castle.
In the far northwest of the Algarve is the pretty village of ODECEIXE with the beach of the same name.

It is the gigantic cliff landscape in which the wide sandy beaches are embedded. The never-ending surf is a unique, impressive natural spectacle and captivates the viewer's gaze.
In the age of discovery, Henry the Navigator, on this sea-fringed coast, adopted his Portuguese compatriots with their caravels, who set out to open up new worlds for Portugal. CABO DE SÃO VICENTE - Where the land ends and the sea begins! ”Is how the Portuguese still describe this historic place, where the history of Portugal can be felt.
 

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