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Algarve…. where the climate is mild and sunny all year round! There’s no shortage of high-quality beaches either. Sandy stretches as far as the eye can see, framed by golden cliffs, virtually deserted islands marking the boundary between Ria Formosa and the sea, and small coves sheltered by the rocks. The ocean, in every shade of blue and mostly calm and warm, invites you for long swims and to indulge in water sports.
All around the region, you will find the chance to discover some of the charms and secrets of Portugal’s history, which time has not yet managed to erase: from traces of the Roman presence to evidence of the long legacy of Muslim times, from the Christian reconquest to the epic period of the Portuguese discoveries.
More than five centuries of Moorish influences left their indelible imprint upon the region, beginning with its actual name: Al-Gharb, meaning The West. The long Moorish occupation of the territory, which lasted from the 8th to the 13th century, is still to be noted in the names of the towns and villages, in the region’s agriculture, in the architecture of the monuments, the lacework patterns of the balconies, roof terraces and chimneys, or the whitewashed houses still to be seen in many Algarve villages.
At that time, Silves was the central focus of the region because of its strategic geographical location.
In the mid-13th century, the Algarve was the last part of Portugal to be reconquered from Muslim rule. In the reign of Dom Afonso III, the Arab presence in the Algarve was brought to an end and the region was joined to the kingdom of Portugal.
Besides Silves, the cities of Tavira and Faro, the present-day capital of the Algarve, was definitively conquered by the Moors. This marked the foundation of the Kingdom of Portugal and the Algarve.
Later, in the early 15th century, the beginning of the Portuguese maritime expansion brought a new lease of life to the Algarve and its people. Since then, Lagos and Sagres have remained forever linked to Prince Henry the Navigator and the Portuguese Discoveries. Even today, at the headland known as the Ponta de Sagres, a giant stone finger can be seen pointing towards the Atlantic Ocean in a clear allusion to the courage of the Algarve navigators.
Many marks of this remote past, which is still very much present in the soul of the Algarve’s inhabitants, are to be found scattered all around the region.
Silves preserves traces of its Arab past and Lagos from the time of the Discoveries. More cosmopolitan Portimão and Albufeira are bustling towns by night and day. Tavira is a showcase for traditional architecture and Faro, the gateway to the region deserves a long stop to discover its beautiful historic center.
To relax, you can have various treatments in the spas, thalassotherapy centres and Thermal Baths. There are also many internationally acclaimed golf courses where you can enjoy a spot of exercise. And hotels, tourist villages, resorts, from the simplest to the most sophisticated.
You can use footpaths and cycle trails to get to know the region, and boat rides are another ecological way to observe the flora and fauna.
At the table, you will be delighted with the fresh fish and seafood, either grilled or in a casserole, which you can enjoy on a simple beach terrace or in the most refined Michelin-starred restaurants.
Come and visit this beautiful region!
Enjoy your holiday in Algarve all year round!
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