A typically huge, sand-island beach on the eastern Algarve coast, Ilha de Tavira, out of season.
Algarve Beach Holidays
This collection of Portugal Beach information and photos focuses on the Algarve on the country’s south coast because that’s where the weather is more consistently sunny, the water is calmer and general facilities are foreign tourist oriented. However, Algarve waters will still be chilly compared tto the Mediterranean and sometimes choppy too.
Surfers mostly head for the west coast, serious windsurfers too as the Atlantic Ocean off Portugal’s west coast tends to offer consistent wind and good waves – sometimes great waves – even if the sea is really cold.
Algarve’s disappointing hinterland
Another stretch of dull Algarve road. We’re on the road to nowhere. . .
The Algarve region is Portugal’s number one tourist destination but sadly lacking in natural beauty inland – or perhaps we should say unspoilt natural beauty. Once away from the shore the region’s landscapes and architecture range from disappointingly bland to appallingly shoddy and unnattractive.
Apart from the appealingly bleak coast, uncrowded beaches and cute fishing villages in the southwest – such as Olhao, Fuzeta and Sagres, and the far east section along the Guadiana River – most of the Algarve is a messy, residential wasteland with scattered, unattractive over-development, with blocky new houses and apartments replacing the pretty, tiled, dear departed old villas.
Aljular in the Algarve. Photo by Kyle Taylor
Even the reputedly scenic Monchique area is a dull series of low pine-clad hills bisected by heavy traffic. Lake District or Alps this is not. Not even close.
That being said most sun-starved north Europeans are primarily interested in the Algarve’s beaches, which are generally big, soft, clean and well serviced, while the weather is the best in Portugal. And if you need vernacular style and a little culture with your sand and sun, head for Lagos or Tavira.
But before we venture onto the beaches there is something else tourists need to be aware of, at leats those who are swimming ‘off piste’. Rip currents.