Look beyond the white-sand good looks of Portugal’s tourism darling to uncover its rich heritage, wrapped up in rolling greenery, pretty villages and, of course, secret beaches. Our tailor-made holidays take in the best of the region, from pousada self-drives to stays in the Algarve's premiere coastal resorts.
The Algarve's natural wonders
Indeed, while you’ll know the Algarve for its luxury hotels, there’s plenty in the breaths between sandy sunsets. Its verdant interior sweeps into river-plied valleys, with wildflower-lined hills covered in those iconic cork trees, twisted double under the sun. The delightfully unspoilt western coast is an altogether different proposition, with old growth forests rising into mountain peaks.
The Algarve's west coast
It all tumbles down into a spectacular coastline; the wild cliffs of Sagres’s southwestern tip are a wild contrast to the palm-tree-fringed sands of Praia da Roch and Vale do Lobo. There’s even a vast system of intertwining lagoons at Olhão’s Ria Formosa Nature Reserve whose islands and waterways are host to everything from colourful flamingos to the world’s largest population of seahorses.
A fascinating culture meets fabulous food
But it’s not just an idyllic natural world that impresses. Perhaps enticed by the Algarve’s seemingly never-ending supply of sun, everyone from the Romans to the Moors have left their mark in grand villas and evocative whitewashed towns. But the region has a civilised charm all of its own. And, from waking up in near-ancient castles to nights spent in historic palaces, the pousadas let you stay right among it.
Pousada Convento Tavira
In between, you’ll discover medieval church towns hidden among green fields and hide out in quaint fishing villages such as Tavira, where just-caught delicacies are served up in traditional restaurantes. In fact, the Algarve is a gastronomic treat, with perfectly sunned fruits and vegetables complementing such delicacies as tuna steaks and razor clam rice.