The Algarve Region of Portugal

One of Europe’s best Mediterranean beach vacation hotspots is the Algarve region in southern Portugal.  This region has been very popular with other Europeans, especially with visitors from the Britain, where a Brit pass or Eurail global pass can mean a quick and affordable beach vacation from the colder climate of the UK. While not as popular as Spain, France, Italy or Greece, its gives you smaller crowds and a more laid-back style to enjoy.

Going back thousands of years you would find this place ruled by the Phoenicians and later the Moores, making the Algarve one of the oldest port and trade regions in recorded history.  Algarve translates to “the west” and is one of few areas of Europe that has an Arabic name, showing its early settlers’ roots.

The Algarve region has milder temperatures when compared to its Mediterranean neighbours.  This makes this area perfect for sports and other outdoor activities with its milder summer weather.  You can find a variety of amazing spots for golf or tennis, plus beautiful grottos and cliff-sides to hike.

If you are a seafood fan, the coast of Portugal is your best bet. White tuna is a favorite, with mackerel and swordfish being popular as well.  Piri-piri spicy chicken is also a local favorite and most food dishes feature heavy use of fruit and veggies.  Even though they are not as well-known for their wines as their neighbouring countries, you are sure to enjoy their selections of red wine.

Here are some favorite beach towns and areas you must visit if you get to tour this coast. Praia de Odeceixe is a crescent shaped beach known for being a prime surfing spot. Castro Marim is anice town with three main beaches and also features a beautiful countryside full of wild flowers, orchards and gardens. Albufeira features a vibrant nightlife, shopping and great golf to accompany its beautiful beaches. Go to Tavira for its attractive architecture along with its beaches to match. Faro is your best bet for sun any time of year.  Other than beaches, it showcases this coastal area’s history with amazing museums, cathedrals and architecture. It also features a 30,000-seat football stadium called Estádio Algarve and the Ria Formosa Lagoon, a nature reserve that houses hundreds of flora and fauna. As you can see Portugal has a lot to offer, so plan your train tour today!

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