Map of the Algarve

A guide to the Algarve

Guia is a beautiful village in the Algarve, Portugal, with delightful holiday villas that have an aura of peace and tranquility, while being just a short distance from lively Albufeira and the many popular holiday attractions. Guia, Portugal has it all, including white glistening sandy beaches, action-packed water parks, world class golf resorts, Moorish castles, interesting museums and superb shopping experiences.

The Algarve is fortunate to enjoy one of Europe`s best climates making it an ideal holiday location. Warm sunshine combined with Atlantic coastal breezes make the temperature comfortable for your whole family. Beaches are long and sandy with space to relax and enjoy the moment. There are plenty of water activities including scuba diving, fishing, and even banana boating.

The Algarve offers some of the best choices for local and international cuisine at affordable prices. The town of Guia is home to the best Piri-Piri chicken houses in the Algarve and is as popular with locals, as it is with tourists. Enjoy a relaxed mood in Portugal and savor the long, lazy lunches and friendly dining. Children are most welcome and extremely well catered to as it is a very kid friendly place. Seafood and fish are a well loved specialty of the region, including chargrilled sardines, clams, lobster, squid and swordfish.

Vilamoura MarinaVilamoura marina is worth a visit for a touch of class and ambiance. This vivacious and exclusive yachting marina entertains visitors day and night with its vibrant bars, boutiques, restaurants and casinos. Fun day excursions run from the marina, including pleasure cruises and dolphin viewing tours.

Boat trips are popular in the Algarve. Small fishing boats from Carvoeiro and Benagil will take you along the beautiful coastline, exploring caves along the way. It is a great way to dive into the refreshing sea waters and see a bit more. Larger boats offer cruises to beautiful serene beaches and fishing trips, many including traditional seafood lunches.

If you enjoy breathtaking scenery and the great outdoors, the Algarve is truly a beautiful region to explore. The Monchique Mountains have spectacular views, delicious restaurants, craftwork outlets and even cottage distilleries, famous for medronho, a strong locally produced alcohol which comes from the arbutus tree.

As the weather is warm and the climate sunny, visitors to Guia can find plenty of water-based attractions, making it ideal for family holidays. The Slide and Splash water park near Lagoa and has a ton of fun water slides and rides. There are also many childrens areas and restaurants. Aquashow Family Park near Quarteira is a water park full of pools, waves, slides and watercoasters and also home to exotic birds. The Algarve is popular for surfing, wind surfing and kite surfing with equipment hire and lessons readily available.

Nothing starts a holiday better than stepping into the sunshine and walking into a beautifully looked after villa that will be your home for a week or two. When the accommodation has been carefully selected and meets the highest standards the holiday can begin in earnest.

Portugal, which offers miles of sandy beaches, acres of lush golf courses and enough adventure for all the family is no different and to make it a holiday to remember everything starts with selecting that dream villa.

The key thing to remember while you select you accommodation is what you want from your holiday. All it takes is a little bit of time before departure and everything you need will be at your fingertips.

For a truly enjoyable holiday it is important to make sure that the villa or apartment on offer is near a town that has something on offer for everyone, no matter what age, but also that there are restaurants and bars in easy walking distance so that you don`t have to depend on the car when you want to relax.

While the miles of golden beaches do hold a certain allure, for those lazy days accommodation with a pool can be an absolute lifesaver. It provides the opportunity to escape the crowds into a cooling sanctuary.

Many villas in Portugal now offer top-of-the-range facilities such as computers, internet access and flat screen TVs, which means that although you are on holiday you can check in on the world from time to time. There is no reason to compromise on the facilities just because it`s a holiday.

One of the other important things to check up on is piece of mind. This comes in the form of security features. If the family are going to be away from the villa enjoying one of the countless activities on offer in Portugal no one wants to be worrying about the accommodation. A lot of privately run villas provide up-to-the-minute security features so your valuables will be safe and sound.

The effort of doing a little bit of research before choosing your home away from home will be richly rewarded as you sit in one of the carefully manicured gardens, poolside, sipping a chilled drink.

Research can be easy and does not have to be time consuming, many companies supply private villa holiday information on a wide range of villas of all shapes and sizes, sure to meet every holidaymakers needs.

The stunning views of Portugal are made to be explored by car, as around every new corner a different and equally spectacular vista appears. If on holiday car hire is the most convenient way to find your way around the country, as many of the gems are hidden off the beaten track. Driving in Portugal is straight forward but being forearmed with a few tips will make the experience even easier.

Portugal is not littered with motorways but this is part of its driving charm. There is one four line highway connecting Lisbon to Porto which runs for 590km. The remaining main trunk ways are two lanes with single lane roads feeding in. As with the rest of mainland Europe driving is on the right with a city speed limit of 56kph, open roads 88kph and highways 120kph. Unmarked traffic cars are common, as are radar traps so be aware and stick to the limits.

As in the UK it is compulsory to wear seatbelts back and front and no child below 12 is allowed to travel in the front. The parking laws are quite distinct and state that parking is not allowed within 18 meters of junctions and 15 meters of a bus stop. Free parking is available in blue disk areas, but you must display a disk which is available from the police. Cars should always be parked in the direction of the traffic.

Fines can be given immediately and payment is due immediately so be prepared. Using a phone and drinking is also illegal whilst driving and the laws are very tight so don`t drink anything before getting behind the wheel. It is also illegal to overtake on the right hand side if on a multiple lane carriageway and is subject to a fine if caught.

18 is the legal minimum age to drive in Portugal but you may find car hire companies state different ages on rentals, so you do need to check in advance. Keep all documentation on you regarding your car and your right to drive. You also need to ensure there is a warning triangle on board in case you break down. A reflector jacket should also be kept in the vehicle for the same reason; if hiring a car check these have been provided for you before setting off.

To fully enjoy this country the best way to get around is by car hire Portugal style, as the companies are experts in the laws and legalities and will explain everything to you. Then all you need to do is load up the picnic basket and the towels, hit the open road and enjoy Portugal at its best.

Warm sunshine and crashing ocean waves need not be out of reach in these austere times. While six-star hotels may appear far out of reach very little beats the simple pleasure of a family camping holiday - and if value for money is high on the agenda very few countries can beat Portugal.

While many people will automatically think of soggy fields and driving rain it doesn`t have to be like this. It doesn`t even have to mean crushing into campsites on the French Riviera.

Nestled among the high-end golf courses, pine forests and beautiful sandy beaches of Portugal are the perfect alternatives in the shape of well catered for campsites ready to provide for your every holiday need.

Western Portugal combines lush natural surroundings filled with fragrant flowers and the golden Atlantic beaches within easy reach. The country offers some of the best value for money and beautiful unspoiled countryside into the bargain.

Many campsites provide a wide variety of amenities including swimming pools, tennis courts, or bike rentals to explore the countryside. This means that miles of popular sand can be in easy reaching distance from a comfortable family getaway.

One of the regions north of the Portuguese capital is the Tagus Valley. This area includes wonderful natural beauties such as a 700-year-old pine forest stretching over more than 100 square kilometres and beaches hemming the vast Atlantic such as Praia de Viera, or San Pedro De Moel, which draw tourists from all over the world.

A criss-crossed network of cycle and walking paths link the beaches with the forest making this the perfect nature getaway, without compromising the opportunities to get a bit of sun-worshipping done.
During July, August and September the Feira da Arte Doce or Feira da Gastronomia festivals in Lagos are in full swing. These give gourmands the chance to taste some of the beautiful food and wine on offer from local producers.

One of the main towns in the region, Leiria not only provides a wide variety of markets but also a selection of restaurants in which to while away lazy afternoons.

In addition to the food, sport and adventure on offer in this corner of Portugal, history buffs will find plenty to amuse them. Just a short hop north of Leiria in the town of Marinha Grande, the church of Milagres boasts azuleia tiles that date back to the late 1700s. The baroque church is said to be the site of a miracle that saw a paralysed local restored to full health.

For easy access to the region and all the amenities you would expect from a family-friendly campsite Eurocamp San Pedro de Moel Holiday Park offers a range of accommodation including two bedroom mobile homes and five berth chalets. From a site like this it is easy to drink in the wonders of Western Portugal.

Passports, check. Liquids, check. Flight number, check. Hand luggage the right size, check.

While the news is filled with stories about chaos at airports and new security protocols seem to be expanding the queues on for hours there are a few easy ways to make your trip to Portugal stress-free from the very beginning. Don`t let the holiday start on the wrong foot by panicking at the airport.

In order to stop that heart sinking feeling as you search through your pockets for your passport hoping that it is not still on the sideboard at home simply keep all your travel documents in a folder that you can access easily in your hand luggage. This way you avoid any unnecessary fumbling at check-in or security.

Included with all your documentation it is best to keep a crib sheet of all the essential information like boarding times, gate numbers and flight numbers. This way no one will be caught out sprinting to the gate at the last minute.

No matter how we feel about it everyone now knows that large bottles of liquid won`t be allowed on the plane. This includes toothpaste, shampoo, or even that bottle of water you just bought at the shop. The best way to avoid this is keep hold of any small containers you have around the house and before you leave for the airport transfer what you will need for the holiday into them. If you have everything in less than on hundred millilitre containers you will avoid that embarrassing moment at security as strangers search your bag. Oh and don`t forget to seal them in a zip-lock bag. These can be bought in bags of twenty-five or fifty at supermarkets so you don`t have to shell out a pound in the airport.

Before you even leave the house a handy way to make sure you won`t fall foul of the ever-tightening baggage restrictions and have to stump up any money for those extra kilos is to pack your bag the night before and use your bathroom scales to weigh it. All weight restrictions will be on the airline`s website.

These simple steps and turning up in plenty of time, most airlines recommend two hours, should make travel through airports a breeze and give you the added satisfaction of watching other people stress out.

A little bit of foreknowledge can also go a long way so make yourself familiar with what`s available at your departure airport; UK airports are all listed on the internet. Start the holiday without the usual panic through the airport and the holiday will be all the more rewarding.

AlbufeiraIncreasing numbers of travellers from the United Kingdom are making Portugal one of their top destinations for a winter getaway. The south of the country provides warm weather and a mild maritime climate for most of the year and a trip to this land of superb seafood and vinho verde can do a lot to dispel dark wintry feelings at home.

Of course, the further south one travels in this, one Europe`s least populated countries, the warmer it becomes and many travellers favour a trip to the Algarve. The main urban centre here is Albufeira, which is also close to Lagos and Faro, where the region`s main airport is located.

Facilities in Albufeira are plentiful, with marinas and golf courses if a more active kind of break is being sought. There are two beaches in Albufeira itself, but the whole Algarve region is blessed with sandy beaches.

Praia de Rocha is one of these beaches and is known for being the venue of the annual beach soccer tournament Mundialito de Futebol de Praia. However, for people of a more cerebral disposition, the historical attractions of Forte de Santa Catarina are also nearby.

With over 200 kilometres of coastline, the Algarve also has many quaint villages and quiet spots where life slows down a little. Temperatures in winter time usually average 25 degrees centigrade, with freezing point of zero degrees a very rare experience indeed for residents.

That really is the beauty of Portugal: there is so much to do for different types of people. Whether it is a beach break to beat the winter blues that is being sought, or a cultural break with great food and wine, the Algarve can provide it.

Lagos, for example, has the typical night life and busy tourist facilities one might expect from a seaside resort, but it is also rich in history. It was a key location in the Portuguese Age of Discovery and the famous sailor Henry the Navigator called it his home. There are also many protected sites for those who are interested in the natural wildlife and raw beauty of the region.

Accommodation is also plentiful and covers most budgets, as should be expected from a place with such as strong focus on visitors. Self-catering villas are a good option for travellers and there are many of these in the region, often run by British ex-pats, with perhaps somewhere close to the village of Guia being first choice for this type of villa accommodation.

Climate

The Algarve Climate

All year round, the Algarve enjoys the best climate in Europe. With only a short period of rainfall (it normally rains between November and March), and long hours of sunshine (the highest in Europe), the Algarve region is blessed with the perfect weather for tourism.

The Algarve is a veritable paradise for bathers. It is a region endowed with beaches of fine white sand all along its extensive coastline and a calm sea with water temperatures of around 22°C in the summer period.

 

Due to its relief and geographical position, the Algarve is influenced climatically by the European continent, North Africa, the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean. The maximum temperatures in the Algarve vary, throughout the year, between 15ºC and 31°C and the temperature never falls below zero in the winter. This is why tourists from Northern European countries increasingly seek out the Algarve, where they can enjoy long hours of sunshine.