- Coastline You’re in safe sands
- Coast life Paddling, putting, pottering
The southerly Algarve is Portugal’s sand-flanked footnote. An ever-mild climate and broad beaches lined with shallow bays make it the country’s postergirl for seaside family holidays, with a smattering of surfers attracted by its Atlantic rollers.
Lagos, in the western Algarve, is one of the region’s main towns, founded on centuries of seafaring – it is as popular as central Albufeira, a lively port town with family-friendly beaches east and west, although not as big as city-by-the-sea Faro, the area’s centrestage capital. Sagres offers a more traditional slice of Portugal on the Algarve's westernmost tip. Super-groomed golf courses provide the greenery nearer the coast, but inland the Algarve is also home to cork forests, nature reserves and pretty hilltop villages such as Monchique, Alte and medieval Silves. Make the most of your coastal location to indulge in superb seafood and sun-blessed rosés.
Do go/Don’t go
This sunny spot sees little rain throughout the year. Temperatures peak between July and September, ranging from 26°C to 35°C. Spring and autumn are quieter and pleasantly balmy, and winter never gets more nippy than around 10°C.
Planes Faro airport is the region’s air hub, served by connections from across Europe (www.ana.pt).
Trains International rail services serve Lisbon Oriente station, from where you can pick up a regional train to Tunes, Albufeira or Faro (www.cp.pt).
Automobiles By car, from the north, take the A2 towards the Algarve; the E1 via Seville across the border is the simplest option travelling west from southern Spain.
- Taxis Ranks are restricted to hub stations and larger towns, so book with your hotel where possible. Cabs are an affordable way to get around – especially for fare-sharing families – look for a set list of prices at the rank or inside the vehicle. Can’t see one? Agree a price up front.