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WEST ALGARVE

 

The West Algarve region (the Algarve from the Arabic word (الغرب, al gharb) meaning "The West") is the south western part of Portugal, within the province of Faro; offering breath-taking cliffs, natural bays and grottos, beautiful beaches, picturesque whitewashed villages and towns and average annual sunshine of over 3 000 hours.

The West Algarve is a Mediterranean region reaching out into the Atlantic Ocean, but its beauty does not only lie on its coastline and beaches but the interior is rich with flora and fauna, as the inland areas have mineral rich soil and rolling landscapes. All year round, it offers scenery of natural beauty, from the almond and orchid blossoms of January to the May and June jacaranda blooms together with cork trees being harvested. July is the fruit-bearing month with a wild abundance of cherries, strawberries and melons flooding the markets while August and September is harvest season for grapes, figs and almonds. December is the time of the famed Algarve oranges.

Europe's south-western tip is also home to highest point Foia, 902 meters above sea level, near the village of Monchique. This mountainous region had been a favoured site of the Roman era inhabitants, because of the many terraces and granite stonewalls. This has become the source of the many local products that are sold in the village marketplace. Another well-known delicacy is the Medronho, a locally brewed alcoholic beverage from indigenous fruit.

There are also some fantastic walks in this rugged region. It’s on these trails that you’re most likely to spot some of the diverse wildlife, which ranges from 200 bird species to pond turtles and wild boar. In early summer, you’ll see the ragged nests of storks capping every spire and chimney, while brilliantly plumaged bee-eaters flash yellow and green across the path.

The West Algarve coastline provides hundreds of sandy islets, salt lagoons, steep cliffs, sandy bays and coves separated by mysterious grottoes and strange rock formations. Further west, the coast gets progressively wilder. Five of the region’s best beaches lie on the west coast, and the topper is Praia da Bordeira. Flanked by low hills, it is not only broad but also deep, with its soft sand merging into extensive dunes. Behind the dunes lies rolling countryside, with not a building to be seen from the beach, while the nearest village, Carrapateira, lies 3km away. Visiting bathers share this protected area with a multitude of seabirds and old men paddling in plaid shirts and rolled-up pants to hunt shellfish at low tide.

If you’re an avid golfer don’t miss a chance to play at one of the many fantastic courses the West Algarve has to offer. Golfing in an exotic location adds an extra experience to the playing in a natural shaped and unique designed golf course.

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Recommended events

All through the year, there are festivals and sporting events going on across the Algarve. The Mardi Gras festivities during February offer carnivals in several cities. Local celebrations are held on Liberation Day, April 25th. There is a Seafood Festival in the town of Olhão, and at Portimão the Sardine Festival takes place. Easter holiday festivals are held at São Bras de Alportel and in other cities. Summer entertainment includes jazz festivals, open-air concerts, and beach parties. During Christmas and on New Year’s Eve, the entire Algarve coast lights up with fireworks.

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