Summer is when the Algarve is at its busiest. But the region has plenty to offer all year round, in terms of leisure activities, sport and also experiences that enable you to discover the history of one of the sunniest parts of Europe.
The mild climate outside the height of the summer offers an opportunity to really get to know a region that is so distinct from the rest of Portugal. Here are some tips!
Sport, adventure and nature
The arrival of autumn does not mean the end of opportunities for sport and outdoor adventures. The mild temperatures are a veritable invitation to explore the Algarve’s landscapes on safari – on horseback, by bicycle or on foot.
For keen cyclists and walkers there are signposted routes such as the Via Algarviana, Grande Rota do Guadiana and Rota Vicentina.
From September to November the Algarve receives thousands of migratory birds, which can be observed in unique natural settings such as the Lagoa dos Salgados (a lagoon near the VidaMar), the Ria Formosa estuary, the Sagres peninsula, the marshes near Castro Marim, or the Ria de Alvor.
At the Algarve’s western end, winter is a particularly good time for surfers to visit. From November through March the waves measure up to 2 metres to 4.5 metres high.
History, culture and flavours
Over the centuries the Algarve’s culture has been shaped by a variety of European and Moorish influences. The castles at Silves, Loulé, Castro Marim and Paderne, the cathedral at Faro and that city’s old town and municipal museum, the fortress at Sagres, the Roman ruins at Milréu and in Vilamoura, the replica of the caravel Boa Esperança in Lagos, and the Islamic baths of Loulé are all well worth visiting.
The Algarve’s cuisine is another great way to get to know the region, with a vast range of traditional dishes such as grilled fish, xerém (cornmeal porridge), arroz de lingueirão (rice with razor clams), cataplana (fish stew) and feijoada de búzios (beans with whelks), as well as stuffed dried figs and egg-and-almond sweets such as Dom Rodrigo and morgado de amêndoa,
Traditional food markets such as those in Quarteira, Algoz, Loulé, Olhão and Lagos are not only housed in buildings full of local charm, but are great places to find the fresh ingredients for most of these recipes.
Algarve wines have also been winning ever more international plaudits. Several vineyards are open for visits, tastings and in some cases even art exhibitions, with the Quinta dos Vales, oustide Lagoa, just one example.