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Algarve, PortugalFast Facts
Location: At the southernmost region of Portugal.
Best time to Visit: Can be visited throughout the year. Summer and spring are long while the winter is short but mild.
You need to come at Faro airport (IATA Code: FAO, ICAO Code: LPFR). You can find flights to Algarve from most of the European countries.
Many European tourists come down to Algarve by their car. You can reach Algarve from the capital of the country, Lisbon. British tourists also come here after crossing channel by ferry or by tunnel. You can also come across to Santander in northern Spain by ferry and then drive down to Algarve. Those who are coming down from France, should come into the eastern part of Spain, from where they can take the wonderful North/South Spanish Motorway to Seville.
You can also reach Algarve by train from Lisbon by Comboios de Portugal trains. This is also a cheaper mode of transportation in Portugal. For further information, call 808-208-208 or visit www.cp.pt.
Coach services are available from most of the European countries to Algarve. Though this journey could be too much demanding.
Algarve is synonymous with the sun, sand, beach, and beach resorts. However, remember Alagarve is huge with an almost 200 km of coastline with 48 beaches, 4 marinas and a number of coves. So when you are thinking of Algarve, think beyond Albufeira. Remember that the most popular beaches, wonderful that they are, can get very crowded and you may ultimately miss out on the relaxation — the reason you want to go there in the first place. Vale de Parra is only five minutes from Albufeira, and is yet a calm and tranquil village. You will have the usual bars, restaurants and private villas, as well as excellent views of the marinas, and supermarkets. But, you can also chill out at the poolside with a wonderful BBQ. Similarly Guia, at about seven km. to the North West, is a wonderful place to relax. Do not miss its special delicacies - Chicken Piri Piri, which is bar-b-qued chicken with a light 'chilli' liquid put on it, served with chips and a wonderful oregano mixed salad. Of couse, you can always head back to Albureira for the usual beach activities and parties.
With an area of 5412 square km, this southernmost region of mainland Portugal is known to the whole world for its scintillating beaches. The calm seawater, fantastic coastlines, and exquisite beach resorts and spas could easily mesmerize any traveler, no matter where he/she has come from. During the 1960s, Algarve became pretty popular with the tourists mainly from Britain. Since then, there was no looking back for the place, as the popularity of the place started growing day by day and it became a popular tourist destination for the tourists from countries like Germany, Netherlands, and Ireland. Not only for its marvelous beaches, Algarve has also become popular its wonderful golf courses and the amazing spas in the beach resorts.
Algarve in Portugal is divided into two horizontal zones, namely Barlavento (west) and Sotavento (east) and also into three vertical zones, namely Litoral (coastline), Barrocal (hinterland) and Serra (hills). It is an idyllic dry place surrounded by hills, sea and the river Guadiana. Besides its scintillating beaches, the natural beauty of Algarve is also complimented by a number of rock formations that divide the beaches to create fascinating private paradise. The nature gets at its panoramic best when the beautiful sand cliffs, merged with pine trees, encircle some of the beaches. It creates an awesome scene which makes its beauty just incomparable.
In fact, Algarve has some of the best beaches in the world, many of which have got 'Blue Flag' award. There are also many 'Accessible Beaches' where even the people with reduced mobility can visit. The beaches have facilities like ramps, footpaths, walkways, handrails, adapted toilet facilities, parking places, lower bars, and support facilities like bars, first-aid posts.
For the safety of the visitors, there are several beach flags placed in the beaches in Algarve which carry different meanings. Green flags indicate that swimming is permitted on those beaches. On the other hand, swimming is forbidden on the beaches that have Yellow flags. You cannot swim or enter into the water of a beach that has Red flag. Beaches that are temporarily unattended carry Blue & White striped flags.
Central Algarve Beaches:
Like beaches of other parts of Algarve, the Central Algarve beaches remain the busiest during the summer. There are beaches in Praia de Armaí§í£o de Píªra. There are also some smaller cove beaches under the cliffs at Armaí§í£o de Píªra. Albufeira has always been pretty popular for its wonderful beaches like Praia dos Pescadores, Praia do Tíºnel, and lovely bays of Praia da Oura and Olhos d'ígua. There are also the golden sands of Falíésia.
Western Algarve Beaches:
The western part of Algarve has got some of the most beautiful beaches of the region. Especially after the extension of A22 motorway, a number of tourists come to discover the beauty of the western Algarve beaches. Carvoeiro has a number of fantastic beaches. The beauty of Praia da Marinha, Praia de Vale Centeanes, Benagil, and Praia do Carvoeiro are just unimaginable. Ferragudo is known for its beaches on the seaward coast. Lagos has some award winning beaches like the famous Meia Praia. There are also some quiet beaches like Castelejo, Arrifana, Amado, Bordeira, Clerigo and Odeceixe.
Eastern Algarve Beaches:
The water of the eastern Algarve beaches is slightly warmer as it is closer to the Mediterranean. Instead of finding cliff, one can find the eastern Algarve beaches backed by gentle dunes. Reach Praia de Cacelha Velha, a beautiful sandpit, by boat.
Though there are only two official nudist beaches in Algarve, but there surely are some more beaches for the nudist, which are not officially approved. The two official nudist beaches are Adegas beach and Praia do Homem Nu. Among the unofficial nudist beaches, there are Praia da Bordeira, Praia do Beliche, Praia Cabanas Velhas, Praia das Furnas, Praia do Zavial, Praia dos Pinheiros, Praia do Trafal, Praia da Fuzeta, and Praia de Aní§í£o.
There are three popularly known gay beaches in Algarve which include Cavalo Preto, Praia Grande, and Quinta do Lago and Faro Island.
To get the real feel of the Algarve, you have to be there. However, the following links will give you an idea on how it feels to be there. Enjoy viewing!
Related Links :
http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=e06SbVlSlck: For an authentic feel of surfing and sunbathing experience in Algarve, and a view of the surrounding cityscape and some extremely interesting studies of nature, watch this video!
http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=WHCvH0yrPNE&feature=related: Another interesting video on the sights and sounds of Algarve. Great production and lovely narrative gives an authentic feel to this video on the activities at the most glamorous beaches of Portugal through an exciting slideshow. Check it out!
http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/aliandcam/travels2005/1152046020/tpod.html: A very detailed and informative traveler's account of a visit to Algrave. A nice collection of pictures as well!