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 Algarve is the Southern-most region of Portugal, with a length of about 200 km from the Spanish border to the Western-most point Cabo da Sao Vincente (about 9º West of Greenwich), near the city of Sagres. The area is about 5000 km2, and has about 450 000 inhabitants, out of about 10 million in the whole of Portugal. The name Algarve stems from the Moors that came out of Africa, and who colonized a large part of Spain, coming ashore in the South of Spain on the coastline known as Andalucía. Andalucía ends in the West at the big river Rio Guadiana, which is also the present border between Spain and Portugal. The river presented a physical boundary, so the region west of there was simply named Al Garb -literally "to the west", and hence the name of Algarve was born.


Algarve is a very popular tourist destination, with more than 7 million visitors yearly. The biggest attractions are the very pleasant weather, fabulous beaches, good food and wine, lower cost of living, and last but not least pleasant people. The largest cities are Faro with the main airport, Portimao, Lagos, and Albufeira, the latter became the first major Portuguese tourist destination in the 70-ties.More inland cities are Loulé, Silves with an impressive medieval fortress, and the arch-typical Portuguese small cities of Alte and Querenca.


The main sources of income are the tourist industry, citrus farming, and the wine industry. Ceramic tiles - azuleos - are also well known and heavily used for decorations, both inside and outside of buildings.


There are many cultural remains from previous ages. The Romans ventured West, and you will find Roman stone bridges still in use, like the one in Tavira and in Silves. But it is the Moors that has left the greatest impact on architecture, as well as on buildings from that period (roughly year 700 - 1500).


The Algarve faces the Atlantic ocean both towards the South and West. The Western coast takes the brunt of the big ocean, and in this area big waves and surfing is a common sport.

The Southern coastline is somewhat sheltered, and the sea may become heavy here as well. But for most of the time conditions for swimming is good in temperatures well into the 20-ies until late October. The tide is between 1,5 and 3 m. This in combination with very clean and fine-grained golden sand, makes the beaches ideal for walking at low tide.


Geographically, the coastline is rocky towards the West, and is in that area you find the iconic  sheltered Algarve beaches among the rocks. From about the midpoint of the Southern coast towards the East, the land is lower and the sandy beaches more dominating. And it is here you find Praia Grande, about 7 km long from the city of Armacao de Pera and Eastwards. In contrast to most other places, there are only two small beach restaurants over a distance of 5-6 km.


But in my view, the most attractive part of the Algarve is the People living there.


The "Home Base" for the Algarve pictures has been our apartment in the city of Armacao de Pera. This is an old community with fisheries and tourism as the sources of income.

Map of Algarve