Soaked in 3,000 hours of year round sunshine the Algarve is a superb destination for luxury holidays. Boasting world class golf courses, resorts and almost 100 miles of award winning beaches this jewel on the south coast of Portugal is a hub of culture, cuisine and stunning coastlines.
Luxury villas and resorts
In the Algarve, holiday villas in Portugal are at their best, providing ideal accommodation for the independent-minded. The number of luxury Algarve villas and resorts has escalated in the last few years, giving rise to the development of many outstanding, modern holiday villas. These properties offer accommodation, facilities and outdoor pools that are hard to match elsewhere.
To investigate the Algarve villa accommodation, please see our Algarve villas. A villa or apartment can give you the freedom and independence to make your holiday a really unique experience. Dependent on your choice of villas in the Algarve and the arrangements you make on booking, maid service is always included, which includes clean towels, linen etc. so you don't sacrifice your relaxation for the privacy and flexibility you gain.
Algarve Family Resorts
Our popular Algarve Resorts offer the flexibility of private luxury accommodation with the features often found in hotels.
With self-catering, bed and breakfast, and even half board options in some of our resorts, fully featured kids clubs and the flexibility to arrive when you want and stay for as few as 3 nights, a luxury Algarve resort may be just what you are looking for.
Faro is the provincial capital of the Algarve and is approximately 60km from the Spanish border. For most visitors, Faro International Airport is the gateway to the Algarve and is only 20 minutes' drive from the holiday destinations of Vale do Lobo, Dunas Douradas, Almancil, Quinta do Lago and Carvoeiro. Vilamoura takes just a little longer, but is still only about 30 minutes away.
A "Flight only" booking is usually the preferred method of travel for the seasoned visitor who favours the freedom to select premium holiday accommodation, independent of "package" travel arrangements. Some people opt for a hotel stay, but most prefer to choose from the range of accommodation available.
Southern Portugal enjoys deliciously warm summers and mild winters, making it an ideal all-year-round holiday destination. In general, the east of the Algarve is drier and warmer than the west. Cloudless skies are the norm throughout the summer and August in particular can be very hot, so plenty of high factor sun lotion or sun block is recommended.
Algarve Golfing Holidays
It is no surprise that Golfing holidays are so popular in the Algarve - the climate is conducive to all-year-round golf and the landscape lends itself perfectly to the sport. The region boasts more than 25 courses, several of which are championship standard, and the number is constantly climbing. Pinheiros Altos, Quinta do Lago and Villa Sol, a few kilometres west of Vale do Lobo are just three of the superb championship courses in the region. Vale do Lobo itself is noted for its spectacular Royal and Ocean golf clubs.
So, if you are a keen golfer, the Algarve certainly has the sunshine, magnificent scenery and beautifully kept fairways that make up a marvellous golf environment. Some courses require a handicap certificate, but others do not and there are opportunities for players of all abilities, with golf clinics offered by some clubs, aimed both at those wishing to learn and those seeking to improve their game.
The coastline is a plethora of golden beaches; there are long wide sandy bays, backed by impressively rugged cliffs, with tiny coves tucked behind rocky headlands - and almost every kind of beach in between, from the Algarve's western tip to the Spanish border. Southern Portugal is certainly rich in attractions for the visitor, but its beaches remain high on the list of the Algarve's greatest assets.
Apart from the beaches, the sea and the natural landscape that makes the region a great place for holiday relaxation, there are plenty of other attractions for the avid sightseer, not to mention the sporty types and the shopaholics. There are a number of churches, castles and museums to visit in Faro, including the beautiful Cathedral and the ancient city of Lagos is also steeped in history.
Hiring a car would probably be a good decision, if you envisage spending some of your holiday exploring the region. Each individual resort has its own shops, bars, restaurants and nightlife and the sections on Vale do Lobo, Vilamoura, Quinta do Lago, Carvoeiro etc. will tell you more about what you can expect when you get to these specific areas.
The wonderful weather puts outdoor pursuits on top of the agenda, so golf, tennis, hiking, cycling and horse-riding are among the list of popular activities. For watersports, the marinas of Lagos and Vilamoura are hard to beat. Up to 12 hours of sunshine a day also makes eating al-fresco very appealing. Not so much a sport, but a very enjoyable pastime nevertheless.
People and Culture
The Algarvians are as warm and hospitable as the weather. You will find them a generous, gentle people who hold their traditions very dear to them. As a result of the influx of tourists from the UK, they have embraced the English language, so communication does not usually present a problem. From May to October, various fairs, carnivals and festivals offer a light-heated insight into the Algarvian nature.
The Algarve is relatively unspoilt by tourism and there are plenty of local restaurants with tasty dishes - at local style prices - as well as more sophisticated cuisine within the luxury resort areas. One of the most famous restaurants is Rui, to be found on the entrance to the walled city of Silves, which was the capital in Moorish times.
Fish is undoubtedly the food for which Portugal is best known and Algarve villa holidays give you the opportunity to get in amongst the locals and shop for fish varieties that you may have never even heard of, let alone cooked before. The markets, with fresh fish, meat, fruit and vegetables are always great fun, but you should plan to arrive early for the best produce. The Portuguese wines are excellent value, a Vinho Verde for a fish course and a red Alentejo for the meat course are highly recommended.