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The Algarve

 

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The Algarve is somewhat different from the rest of Portugal. Its climate and vegetation are different as is the charming personality of its people. Friendly and hospitable,the Algarvians have welcomed visitors from different cultures for many years.The inhabitants of the Algarve have a relaxed attitude towards visitors and are happy to help in any way to make your stay as enjoyable and stress free as possible.

Beyond the famous beautiful beaches lie many of the Algarves greatest treasures.Charming fishing villages, historical monuments, churches, famous landmarks and spectacular countryside.Flowers and fauna distinct to the area vary greatly as you travel further inland or up through the mountainside.

There is plenty to see and do for those who wish to get off the beaten track and see the real Algarve like a local.The more adventurous holidaymaker may enjoy a variety of water sports or take to the air! Activities range from deep sea diving to skydiving!

Food & Wine are the pride of Algarve with fresh fish and seafood available daily, traditional Algarvian cuisine includes many meat dishes too with or without the addition of the world reknowned 'Piri-Piri' hot sauce! Melt in your mouth desserts and pastries adorn every restaurant and coffee shop. Liqueurs made from local fruits and berries are popular too! A warm welcome to the Algarve ...

Algarve... Wherever you look, the colours of the mountains and sea are always with you, creating the impression of a water-colour dotted with highlights of gold, green and blue.

The region is an extensive and pleasant one, with a Mediterranean climate, marked by the smell of the sea at low tide and the scent of wild flowers.
A stroll through the tangled web of narrow streets, alleys and steps to be found away from the coast is the best way of getting to know this part of the region. But you can also easily lose yourself in the vastness of the coastal strip.

Here the backdrop is composed of some of Europe's most beautiful beaches, from where you can admire the rocky coastline and the playful shadows they cast on the sand.
After the enchantment of the landscape, you can discover the aromas and flavours of the traditional Algarve cuisine.

The menu may consist of fish and shellfish, with such dishes as caldeirada de peixe (fish-stew) or cataplana de ameijoas (clams steamed in a copper pan), or you can enjoy the traditional mountain food of stewed chickpeas and cabbage. The range of choices will also include the famous regional delicacies, such as figs, almonds, carobs and the brandy made from the locally grown medronho (arbutus-berry), distilled up in the hills in old copper stills.

As you travel across the Algarve, amidst its hills and plains filled with places of great ecological interest, rich in biodiversity and ecosystems, you will feel as though you are passing through an area full of different traditions, unchanged for many centuries.

The handicraft is skillfully manufactured by the local craftsmen, who make use of longstanding, ancestral techniques and produce an excellent range of pottery, woven baskets, copper and brass articles, or other pieces made of linen and jute.
Only a step away from the tranquil peace of the inland region is the excitement of the Algarve nightlife. Bars, discos, marinas and casinos guarantee visitors the very best kind of entertainment.

The region's architectural heritage is something you cannot afford to miss.The whitewashed houses, with their brightly-coloured mouldings and remarkably beautiful chimneys, the church belfries and the museums, all reveal particular memories of the ancestors of the Algarve people and help to make this such a special destination.

Also to be recommended is the range of outdoor sports that are available, whether you're playing golf on lush green courses or enjoying some physical exercise at some of the region's excellent facilities, whether you're on the coast or perhaps up in the hills, where, after the rigours of winter and even before the first signs of spring, the land is covered in a pinkish white blanket, produced by the blossom of the almond-trees scattered across the horizon.


HISTORY


The first occupants of the Algarve were traders and rulers that established their colonies on the coast. In the history of the Algarve's largest fact what happened was: the five centuries of Arab occupation, visible in the architecture of the area, such as chimneys and tiles, and where the name of many regions Algarve beginning with 'Al'. The Algarve was once part of the Roman province of Lusitania. The Roman presence left traces in Faro, Vilamoura and Boca do Rio.

After many battles, the Algarve was reclaimed by the Christians. Since 1249, and until the proclamation of the Republic, the Portuguese monarchs were styled "King of Portugal and the Algarve".

Also important in the history of the Algarve was the Age of Discovery and the 1755 earthquake. In 1755 a terrible earthquake destroyed a large part of the Algarve, leaving only ruins of the most historic buildings. In the reconstruction of the major cities, the administrative center moved from Lagos to Faro. Tremors of destruction felt everywhere and led to the loss of many important buildings. But even this stopped the Algarve that despite all odds, rebuilt the Algarve and made it what it is today: a wonderful holiday resort by the sea!

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