Algarve – Portugal

The Algarve is a breathtaking region located in southern Portugal. It is best known for its year-round sunshine, pristine sandy beaches as well as a varied landscape that includes charming villages (with a touch of Moorish ancestry), dramatic cliff formations and impressive fertile grounds. These features combined with a vast number of activities on offer, make this enchanting location one of the most popular vacation destinations in Europe.

For sun-worshippers wishing a respite from traditional beach holidays, the Algarve is full of wondrous remnants of its historic past; visit the Alcalar to discover Neolithic tombs or venture into the peaceful Alcoutim , a 14th-century castle nestled near the picturesque Guadiana River. Other favorites include Aljezur — the remains of a once-mighty Moorish castle and Cova dos Mouros, a delightfully curious theme park located in a prehistoric copper mine.

Mealtimes present the perfect opportunity to sample many of the local delights found abundantly in this region. Due to its enviable climate and close proximity to the sea, the Algarve boasts both fresh seafood options while its changing landscapes brings forth a wide selection of game and assorted regional agriculture such as olives, figs, and almonds. The cuisine itself is (for the most part) traditional Portuguese with a touch of Goth and Moorish flavoring.

Mega Sandcastles in The Algarve

I was lucky enough visit The Algarve, Portugal when the annual Fiesa Sandcastle competition was on – this was certainly one of the most special things I have been to.

Fiesa 06 was held in the town of Figuera de Foz, which is about 45 minutes by car from the popular backpacking party town of Lagos (my home at the time) and quite close to the more major town of Pera. The Algarve competition is one of the largest sandcastle sculpting competitions and exhibitions in the world with over 800,000 visitors annually and more-than 30,000 tons of sand used.


We arrived at dusk so that we could walk around while it was still daylight and then take in the sculptures again once it turns dark and they light them all up with a fantastic array of colours.

The theme for this amazing spectacle this year was “Mythologies” and it featured a whole spectrum of amazing creations from from the creation of Rome to the Fall of Mankind in the Garden of Eden, the Nordic sagas, the fall of Troy, and even the whole spectrum of Greek gods and goddesses. Each sand sculptures had small notices describing its theme (in Portuguese and in English), and another crediting the sand artists responsible for the construction. It really is a very professional exhibition (something not necessarily akin to Portugal).

Krishna at Fiesa

You get a proper sense 0f the dedication of the sculptors when you see the huge Egyptian Pharaoh’s Empire that was then purposefully slightly broken to represent the decay of the modern phenomenon. It must be heart-breaking purposely destroying all that hard work – something that is done at the end of each competition.


The Algarve features award-winning beaches that cater to its discerning clients’ every whim. Popular water sport activities include parasailing, snorkeling, and scuba diving while simply basking in the glorious sunlight provides an option destined to become a local pastime. Land lovers have an equally impressive variety of choices including world-class golf, horseback riding, mountain biking and tennis. Come sundown, the cosmopolitan vibe found at the beachfront bars and clubs keep guests entertained and energized long into the night.

Why We Love it

Despite its privileged location and obvious enchantments, the Algarve retains a rather calm and inviting demeanor evident in its beautiful architecture, scenery and time-honored traditions. Visitors will leave this optimal holiday destination with a sense of total relaxation and perhaps a new understanding of the gracious Portuguese hospitality.

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