What to do
If you want to see more than the, admittedly magnificent, beaches and sea of the Algarve, we suggest some places you really should not miss:
Faro - The region's capital boasts some splendid monuments - the Cathedral, the Convent of Nossa Senhora da Assunção, and some extremely interesting museums such as the Museu Infante Dom Henrique and the Museu Etnográfico.
Lagos - Lagos was formerly the capital of the southern part of the Iberian Peninsula, and was the last port before the Portuguese caravelas set off for their long sea journeys, during the great Discoveries of the 16th century. The Governor's Palace and the Portas de Portugal e do Postigo are attractions not to be missed. Other places of interest are: the Museu Regional, the Pau da Bandeira Fort and the old Slaves' Market. The Lagos Marina is the first stopover for boats coming in from Western Europe to the Algarve, and is thus much sought after on the way in and out of the Algarve by sea.
Monchique - Wander amongst the charming townhouses, clustered on the hillside, discover the wealth of little churches and stop for a refreshing break at the nearby Monchique Spa.
Portimão - In this fishermen's town, a visit to the main church (Igreja Mãe) and the Town Hall is a must. Just outside the town, you cannot miss the bustling
Sagres - Five centuries ago here in Sagres, Prince Henry the Navigator founded the Navigation College, essential to the Portuguese Discoveries and seafaring future. The famous Sagres fortress with its wind rose - a giant rose-shaped compass, of 43 metres in diameter, is well worth a visit. At continental Europe's south westernmost tip, the imposing St Vincent Cape stands guard, a vast horizon in which sea and sky are one.
Tavira - Apart from the irresistible golden beaches nearby, Tavira itself is authentically and vividly picturesque with its views over the River Gilão and its Roman bridge. The typical Algarve rooftops and chimneys are unique - stroll along the Travessa de Dona Brites, where the medieval houses with Gothic doors and windows will enchant you.
Vilamoura - The Algarve's main bustling resort is where it really all happens: beaches, marina, bars, restaurants, shopping arcades, casino, innumerable hotels, several golf course, riding centre, tennis courts and shooting range. Who could wish for more?
Nearby the Hotel Tivoli Marina Vilamoura - Cerro da Vila - Museum and Archeological dig. Roma Park Golf - mini golf, with two 18-hole golf courses.
Other places of interest - Albufeira, Alcoutim, Aljezur, Almancil (the magnificent church of São Lourenço, a true Baroque masterpiece), Alte, Cacela, Carvoeiro, Castro Marim, Estombar, Lagoa, Loulé, Moncarrapacho, Ponta da Piedade, Porches, São Bartolomeu de Messines, Vila do Bispo and Vila Real de Santo António.
Shopping - Visit the Marina de Vilamoura's shopping arcades and do not miss a trip to Faro.