Why is the Algarve such a popular destination? Yes, it’s because you can get cheap flights from most UK airports and Yes it’s because the weather is good pretty much all year round. Oh, and Yes, it’s because it has a huge number of golf courses. But the next time you go to the Algarve, have a day away from the beach and take in some of the Algarve’s more traditional attractions.
Portugal has an impressive history, and this is reflected in the surviving buildings in the marina town of Lagos. Take a break from the sun by visiting the cool, historic churches of Santa Maria of Misericórida, Santo António and Säo Sebastiäo and then relax at the marina – a great day out.
Many of Loulé’s most impressive buildings were destroyed in the Algarve’s great earthquake of 1755, but sections of the castle, dating back to the 12th century, remain. Loulé is inland from the Algarve coast, so it’s a great opportunity to take a short drive inland – particularly on Market Day, when the town is busy and full of life.
Most tourists fly into Faro and drive straight out to their holiday destination. Few bother to come back during their stay and take a look at the historic buildings and fascinating museums in the town. As the Algarve’s capital, there’s a lot to see within its medieval walls, including the Roman-Gothic cathedral and the Infante Dom Henrique Museum. Get to Faro before your flight home to catch it at its best.
Sagres is the most south-westerly point of Europe and is commonly known as “the end of the world” by locals. It’s best to visit Sagres when the weather is good, but walking out to the rocks jutting into the Atlantic on a rainy, blustery day really makes you feel at one with the elements, and it’s worth the drive along the Algarve coast to get there.
Set slightly inland from the popular coastal destinations, Silves is a beautiful historic town, with Phoenician, Roman and Moorish influences making it a great day out. It boasts what is probably the most intact castle in the area, and its cathedral was built on the site of a Moorish Mosque. Narrow streets and hidden cafes make Silves a real “must visit” destination.