It's the most popular tourist destination in Portugal, and a holiday in the Algarve will provide you with beaches galore. If you want to take in the seaside views, head to the idyllic city of Albufeira, and Lagos is also famed for its beaches. Of course, no visit to the Algarve would be complete without some quality time in the city of Faro, which has got beaches, ancient buildings and an active and bustling nightlife. There are often lots of students making merry, but you can always settle into some of the quieter bars and enjoy the city vibe.
There are plenty of direct, cheap flights to the Algarve courtesy of carriers such as Ryanair, Thomson Flights and easyJet. They fly from a variety of UK airports including Bristol, London Stansted, Bournemouth and Glasgow Prestwick, and average journey time is between two and a half to three hours. Faro Airport is located close to the city of Faro itself. Shared shuttle bus services are available from the airport to major resorts in the Algarve and can be booked in advance. Car hire and private taxis are also readily available.
Speaking of car hire, this could well be the most convenient way of exploring on your Algarve holiday, as the public transport system isn't terribly extensive. There is a rail network, but to really get between resorts and explore the stunning countryside, there's no substitute for having your own private mode of transport. Have a look around online and compare prices for different car hire firms to get yourself the best possible deal. It's important to remember that the Algarve gets very busy during the peak season (Summer through to early Autumn) and you really have to arrange car hire well in advance or risk going car-less.
Holidays in the Algarve are incredibly popular, which means there's all kinds of accommodation to choose from. Prices will increase over the peak holiday season, but it's well worth visiting during the Winter and early Spring periods. Yes, it won't be anywhere near as hot as the peak period, but chances are it'll be perfectly mild and there'll still be plenty of attractions to explore and you may well get big discounts on both flights and accommodation.
You don't need to splurge to enjoy yourself on a holiday in the Algarve. There are plenty of well-priced, informal restaurants offering traditional dishes, like the famous piri piri chicken. You can also opt for fresh locally caught seafoodwhy pay more at high-end tourist traps when you can get proper, Portuguese food instead?
Updated 23rd July 2014
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