The area offers sea, harbour, lagoons, nature reserves and many sporting activities. Originally a fishing village, Alvor retains much of its charm despite the influence of tourism, with narrow cobbled streets and small terraced houses running down to the quay- side. A wonderful promenade runs along the harbour front where from its western end a paved footpath leads to the saltpans and mudflats that make the estuary of interest for nature lovers.
Golfers are spoilt for choice with Alto Golf which runs between two valleys and was designed by Sir Henry Cotton. Penina being the first golf course. Palmares is a course perfectly blending beach and mountain scenery. Boa Vista golf near Lagos and Morgado do Reguengo a new course laid out through undulating countryside.
Alvor is popular with everyone from kite surfers, mountain bikers, bird watchers, walkers or sun worshippers. Alvor beaches are breathtaking with many hidden coves for some pictureque sunbathing.
Fish restaurants line the quayside and the smell of the barbeques will lead you in the right direction. Many restaurants are scattered throughout the Village - expensive cuisine to budget family meals - from Portuguese & Italian to Chinese and Indian. The Alvor nightlife is refined in the early hours of the evening when families and couples are still roaming but builds up later with a fantastic atmosphere.
Only 5km from Alvor, Portimao's principal draw is its wide esplanade alongside the river which is made for an effortless stroll. There are many kiosks selling boat trips ranging rom scuba diving to shark fishing. Head up river towards the bridge to discover a number of sardine restaurants lining the harbour wall. A local dish called Cataplana - which takes its name from the traditional hinged copper vessels in which it is cooked - is fish stew with clams although the recipe can vary. Enjoy the local figs and almonds used in many of the desserts.
Narrow streets either side of the main shopping area reveal numerous small resturants which serve small economical and tasty lunches.
Portimao welcomes large cruise liners. The harbour has a marina with colourful apartments surrounding yachts of all sizes.
Portimão and Alvor Tourism Guide
Silves is known as the centre of citrus fruits and cork production. The castle with its sandstone walls casting a sepia wash over the town below is a stark reminder of Silves once powerful past.
Enjoy a boat trip up the river to Silves. Sailing down the Arade River from Portimao it is 1-1/2 hours and is a trip through time, passing spots where trading posts once stood, remains of old towers and vestiges of the Roman presence. It was on this stretch of river that the crusaders landed. Before that in 966 a Viking fleet had come intent on plundering the area.
Silves Tourism Guide
Is 17 km from Alvor (20 mins drive). Great for socialising. It is a vibrant, young town with narrow winding back streets. Very popular with back packers, lots of quirky bars and great night life. Close to all the major attractions e.g the marina, sea for sailing, boat trips for dolphin watching and beaches.
Although the earthquake of 1755 caused great damage the streets and squares have retained their style. The ancient walls are steeped in history and it is possible to walk around them. It is a pleasure to walk along the promenade.
The lovely beach of Meia Praia stretches for 2.5 miles and offers a range of water sports. Across the bridge is the marina where expensive yachts are moored.
Lagos Tourism Guide
Great for surfing. The town is very close to the western shoreline which gets the full power of the Atlantic sea. There are many surf schools offering lessons, they know all the best spots for beginners so no need to worry about 10ft waves looming over you.
Sagres and Vila do Bispo Tourism Guide
The road up to the mountains of Monchique are steep and winding and at almost every turn you encounter a stunning panorama of sea and mountains. Drive through plantations of eucalyptus, cork oak, chestnut and strawberry trees along with hundreds of types of colourful wild flowers in spring. The road is dotted with typical chicken piri-piri restaurants, choose one with a panoramic view. At the end of the meal have a drink of medronho, the heady spirit made in copper stills from the fruits of the strawberry tree.
Local dishes are made with home-made sausages and presunto(ham) cured using centures-old methods. Enjoy the spiced sausage in a bread roll (Pao com chourico). Monchique honey has a well-established reputation due to the forest flowers; used in cakes and desserts.
A walk through the steep streets of the town centre is rewarded with views of magnificent hills, glimpsed between houses and moments of sunlit calm in unexpected corners. Stroll in the peaceful woods and sample the local spring water.
Monchique Tourism Guide
Faro is the main airport for The Algarve and the administrative centre for the region which was at one time Silves. The city has both Roman and Arab ruins but most of the attractive older buildings have been destroyed by the catastropnic earthquake of 1755. During the 500 years of Moorish occupation the city was an important trading port. The old part of Faro, still surrounded by Roman walls, is attracting tourists from all over the world.