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Getting To Know The Algarve

Flying to the Algarve for the first time? Here's an introduction to this popular European destination. The region's name comes from the Moors, who called it 'Al-Gharb'. This means 'the west'. This geographical inaccuracy is not as strange as it first seems: the Algarve is west of Andalusia. Once the Moors had lost control, the Algarve was a kingdom in its own right and that status was commemorated in the dominion ruled by Portuguese kings until the turn of the 20th century: the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves. Most visitors know nothing of this and come in search of the region's other attractions.



Algarve Climate

The Algarve is a major tourist destination. The mild winter climate makes it a favoured second home location for Brits and northern Europeans; even in winter temperatures of up to 25 degrees Celsius have been recorded. And the scorching summers (around 40 degrees) are enough of a draw to bring millions to its shores in July and August. Those temperatures make it a perfect place to lie on the beach - and the Algarve has more than its fair share of beautiful beach resorts. Whether you're in search of seclusion or feel a bit more social, you can find a beach that suits your mood. Albufeira is one of the best known resorts, but there are many others.

Beyond the Beach

Away from the beaches, there are plenty of other activities on offer to holiday makers. An event with a difference is the Silves Medieval Fair, where people dress up in appropriate garb, eat Middle Eastern food and enjoy old-style entertainment, like jousting. The Moorish Nights celebrations of the region's past are also worth watching. Apart from festivals, other activities on offer include a full range of water sports, as you would expect from a beach holiday resort. Paddleboarding, kayaking, kitesurfing - it's all on offer in the Algarve. And you can also explore sea life at Zoomarine Algarve (which is a great family activity), walk along the boardwalk at Alvor or tour the region by buggy or quad bike.

To round out your stay in the Algarve, there are two treats you should not miss. The Algarve has a reputation for great fruit, so try out the figs, oranges, almonds and strawberries. It's also a wonderful place to enjoy fresh fish such as bream, sole, sardines and more - a feast for seafood lovers!

Marian Jaime writes for Suntransfers whose taxis from Faro airport will give your Algarve holiday a great start.

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