The beaches of the Algarve are legendary. These soft, sandy stretches are lapped by sparkling Atlantic waves and punctuated by red, rocky outcrops that were made for climbing, exploring and rockpooling. Add in the glorious Mediterranean climate, the fantastic cuisine and the friendly – and family-oriented Portuguese – and it’s little wonder why so many families around Europe take cheap flights to the Algarve as often as school term times allow.
Faro Airport is the gateway to this part of Portugal. The centre of the Algarve is considered best for families and those who’d like to play a round (or 20) of golf. Popular resorts include Vilamoura, Albufeira and Portimao.
The east – popular spots include Tavira and Olhao – is best for couples holidays.
The west is wild and is best suited to independent travellers. There are some fantastic towns in this corner of Portugal such as Sagres, Luz, Alvor and Lagos. When you get to historic Cape St. Vincent you’re at the most southwestern point of Europe.
The climate is Mediterranean. Summers are hot – reaching 30 degrees or hotter in July and August – and winters are blissfully mild. Most of the rain falls between October and January.
The Algarve is popular year-round with spikes in visitors during the European school holidays. July and August, mid-to-late October, Easter and early June are among the busiest times.
November and January/February are low-season times when flight prices and hotel rates are lower. This is the rainest and coolest time of year though.