Guide to the Algarve

Last update: June 2023

Algarve: Best Golf in the world in 2020

Sun, Beaches and Fun

In the Southern Region of Portugal, the Algarve - Faro District - is the main tourist destination in Portugal and one of the most popular in Europe. Faro, the capital of the district, is the starting point to discover this beautiful Region.

Guia do Algarve, Top de Portugal © RTA
Algarve Guide, Top of Portugal © /RTA

Where to go? Windward or Sotavento?

In Barlavento there are the most popular and beautiful beaches: Praia do Carvoeiro, Ferragudo, Praia da Rocha, Albufeira...

In Sotavento, in addition to some beautiful beaches, especially in Loulé (Almancil, Quarteira, Vilamoura) and the Ria Formosa of Faro, the Capital of the Algarve, which dominates the landscape.

Algarvian coastline: sun, beach, fun, shopping, rest, leisure, nature and walks. This is the Algarve!

From Aljezur to Vila Real de Santo Antônio, there are two hundred kilometers of coastline, where, from west to east, the headlands, cliffs and sand meet the warm waters of the Atlantic. In this beautiful region are some of the most beautiful beaches from Portugal and Europe.

Coast, Barrocal and Mountain - The facets of geography, with its landscapes and charming villages.

Loulé, Algarve © RTA
Loulé, Algarve © / RTA

Algarve International Destination

In addition to the Portuguese, the Algarve is one of the favorite destinations for the British, Germans, Dutch and tourists of other nationalities.

Beaches of the Algarve

The beaches of Algarve, considered some of the best in Europe, attract most of the tourists who visit the region. There are about 200 km of coastline, from Rio Guadiana to Costa Vicentina, with an international airport in between.
And all this beauty is found just 277 km south of the capital, Lisbon. In a straight line, the distance is of only 217 km! Which means that in about 3 hours of travel the visitor will be enjoying of the sun and the beauties of Algarve

Find out more: Beaches of the Algarve

Guia de Portugal
Praia da Marinha Beach, Lagoa © /RTA


Located in the south of Portugal, the Algarve is bathed to the south by the Atlantic Ocean, limited with Spain, to the east, by the Rio Guadiana, to the north, it borders with the Alentejo and to the west, equally with the Atlantic Ocean.

How to get to the Algarve

Located around 270 km south of Lisbon, there are several ways to get to the Algarve: by by car, by train (train) or by bus (bus). The duration of the journey is approximately 3 hours on a trip.

Find out more: How to get to the Algarve

Viajando pelo Algarve, Região Sul de Portugal © Gogle Earth Pro
Travelling through the Algarve, Albufeira, Southern Portugal © Google Earth Pro

Area and Population

With 4,960 km², the Algarve currently has a population of close to half a million population. The main urban agglomerations are Loulé, Faro, Portimão, Olhão and Tavira.

Discover the Algarve

Cozinha Algarvia, Algarve, Sul de Portugal © RTA
Algarvian Cuisine, Algarve, Southern Portugal © RTA

Flavors of the Algarve

The Algarve is known for its delicious cuisine based on fish and seafood. sea, Mediterranean cuisine and traditional Algarve cuisine, the highlight of which is the cataplana.

Learn more: Algarvian Cuisine and Gastronomy

What to see in the Algarve

Beautiful beaches, cliffs, rocky outcrops and blue or greenish sea are characteristics of the coast Algarve, from Barlavento to Sotavento.

However, the Algarve is much more than beautiful beaches: landscapes nature, nautical sports, golf courses, hot springs, spas and many other attractions that make this region of Portugal one of the most visited places in Europe.

Find out more: Attractions of the Algarve

Golfe no Algarve, Sul de Portugal © Algarve Promotion
Golf in the Algarve, Southern Portugal © Algarve Promotion

What to do in the Algarve

Active holiday lovers have a wide choice of activities during their stay in the Algarve: hiking, trails, cycling, horse riding, walks and excursions. There is no shortage of options to take advantage of make the most of your vacation in the region.

Find out more: What to do in the Algarve

A bit of history

The Algarve has a rich history, marked above all by the Moorish occupation and the Reconquista Christian. It was the last territory to be incorporated into the Kingdom of Portugal.

From the Algarve to the World
"It was from here that the Portuguese set out to meet other peoples and cultures in the 15th century…" [Visit Portugal]

"In the middle of the 13th century, the Algarve lands were the last in Portugal to be conquered from Portuguese rule. Muslim. After long advances and retreats, the Christian reconquest has the precious collaboration of the Knights of the Order of Santiago, led by D. Paio Peres Correia, for in the reign of D. Afonso III put an end to the Arab presence in Algarve and unite the region to the kingdom of Portugal. In addition to Silves, Tavira and Faro, the current capital of the Algarve, are definitely taken to the Moors. Thus was founded the Kingdom of Portugal and the Algarves.

Later, at the beginning of the century. XV, the beginning of the Portuguese maritime expansion gives new vigor to the lands and Algarve people. Lagos and Sagres are forever linked to the Infante D. Henrique and the Discoveries. Even today, at Ponta de Sagres, a gigantic stone finger points to the Atlantic ocean in a clear allusion to the courage of the Algarvian navigators, such as Gil Eanes, who made sea in search of new worlds to give to the world" [Visit Algarve].

Algarve must-see

Diversity of landscapes, beautiful beaches and inviting sea, summer paradise and unforgettable holidays make Algarve the right choice for a successful holiday.

Find out more: Algarve unmissable

Where to stay in the Algarve

The Algarve hotel network is one of the most complete in Portugal: luxury or other categories, apartments and houses for seasonal rent, visitors can choose your accommodation according to your profile.

Find out more: Where to stay in the Algarve

Esportes no Algarve, Sul de Portugal © Images of Portugal
Sports in the Algarve, Southern Portugal © Images of Portugal

Sports in the Algarve

There are several sports activities that can be practiced in the Algarve, with highlight for water sports and golf, among others.

Find out more: Sports in the Algarve

Health in the Algarve

In Algarve numerous visitors take advantage of their holidays to undergo small treatments and care at the various care centers and spas throughout the Algarve region.

Find out more: Spas in the Algarve

Spas no Algarve, Sul de Portugal © / Algarve Promotion, ilustração
Spas in the Algarve, Southern Portugal © / Algarve Promotion, illustration

Live in the Algarve

A highly touristic region, very focused on the European summer (Jun-September), the Algarve it has a relatively higher cost of living than in other regions of Portugal.
For this reason, most likely, living in the Algarve will cost more than in the rest of the country, perhaps with the exception of Lisbon.

In fact, to better take advantage of income in their countries of origin, many Europeans choose Portugal and the Algarve, which even though it is expensive, is still less expensive than, for example, Scandinavia or in Switzerland.

Researching a lot before making this option is an imperative necessity.
Learn more: Live in Portugal

Working in the Algarve

Algarve's economy rests essentially on tourism, with seasonality a hallmark of activity in the region. The high season in Europe, which runs from June to the end of September, increases the demand for workers, especially - but not only - in activities geared towards tourism: waiters, cooks, drivers and other jobs.

To work as a waiter, in direct contact with the public, it is advisable to at least know how to speak a little bit of English, or French, or German. This can help a lot in your job search. Algarve.

Salaries do not vary much in relation to other regions of the country. Considering the current minimum wage of 760 €s (R$ 4,233.00 in May 2023) monthly, with tips this could reach 860 €s (BRL 4,790.00, at the exchange rate of 5.57 reais per euro).

Learn more: Work in Portugal

Study in the Algarve

As for living and working in the Algarve, studying in the region does not escape the same basic considerations, such as accommodation and food, in addition to travel (transport).

The University of the Algarve (UAlg), with eight faculties, offers a series of courses to students from all over the world. Students from Portuguese-speaking countries (CPLP) benefit from a price more affordable part of the annual fee (tuition), which is between 1,500 and 4,500 €s, according to the course. This payment can be divided into ten monthly installments.

Learn more: Study in Portugal

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