Located in the South west extreme of Europe, famous for its unique coastal landscapes and white sandy beaches, the Algarve was the last region of Portugal to be conquered from the Moors in the mid-12th century. The region is not only famous for its beaches, sun and sea; it also holds a very long historical and cultural heritage from which remain old bridges, castles and city walls.
After the Moorish conquest, the Algarve “Al-Gharb” became the Kingdom of the Algarve, and annexed to the Kingdom of Portugal after that. Nevertheless, influences and signs of Moorish presence are still visible throughout the region. In fact both Algarve and Alentejo (the greater region to the North of the Algarve) were of Muslim origin, the whole region was known before as “Gharb Al-Andalus”, it means The West of Al-Andalus because this was the western part of the Muslim Andalusia, and one of the most important Muslim centres.
Due to the proximity with the North of Africa, the Algarve region has a warm and mild climate throughout the year. It’s home to unique natural reserves, parks and beautiful coastal areas and a lovely countryside worthy of exploring by anyone looking for an adventure. In the Algarve you can still visit one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Portugal: the Ria Formosa – one of three protected areas where you can experience great nature tourism activities and tours.
Information & Facts
You can use footpaths and cycle trails to get to know the region, such as the Algarve Way inland or the Vicentine Route along one of the best preserved coastal stretches. And boat rides are another ecological way to observe the flora and fauna.
Taxis and local bus services are good and fairly cheap compared to the UK
Overall the Algarve region is fairly crime-free, like most of the whole country. It’s common to see police on the streets, and specially during the high summer season Nevertheless be alert and aware for the common petty theft, mainly avoid leaving valuables exposed in your car and never carry large amounts of money with you. In case you need assistance you can use the Algarve Tourist Help Line: (+351) 808 78 12 12.