According to The Move Channel, the leading independent international real estate website, Portugal has surpassed Spain and France and is now one of the best markets in Europe for prospective buyers.
And it´s not hard to imagine why, especially, if considering buyers who wish to invest or rent in the Algarve. No shortage of gorgeous beaches, sandy stretches and golden cliffs, warm blue sea and inviting and generous people who will make you want to stay, way after the holidays finish.
Silves, with its prevailing signs of the Arab heritage, Lagos, which still guards its Discoveries traces, Albufeira and Portimão, the meccas of bubbly days and wild nights, Tavira, known for its traditional architecture, and Faro, the region´s capital, a city that deserves a long look and be discovered as the best city in the Algarve.
So, why is the Algarve the best holiday place to come with family, friends or on your own? Well, for many reasons, actually. It´s a region of hidden delights: in the centre, you can find beautiful beaches in the cliffs; travelling east, time has stopped and remains untouched by the mass tourism you´ll find in other cities by the coast. All in all, it´s about nature and the sea. Plus, wherever you go, you´ll find welcoming people, amazing food, loads of sea and sun to rest and entertain the children and a wide array of hotels that cater to every pockets and tastes.
Now that you´re fully equipped with the main information, let´s indulge in some insider tips.
The Algarve is mostly popular in the summer but it´s actually great to visit all year round, depending on what you look for. If it´s just the beach, by all means, choose summertime. But if you´re willing to do more than just engage in sea and sun, explore other options.
Winter is always good, especially if you come from a cold country, like many north Europeans that visit the region starting in October. For us, Portuguese, it gets chilly, but for someone who´s used to negative temperatures, it can be kind of spring. Apart from Christmas and New Year, winter is very quiet and accommodation is cheaper.
Spring is spring. It´s a beautiful season, even more in the Algarve. With warmer temperatures, you can explore the region by bike, walking, hiking, just being outdoors is refreshing. There´s green fields and almond trees flowering everywhere. The tourism starts to come out of hibernation and restaurants, bars and all seasonal activities begin to open.
Obviously, summer is the queen season of the Algarve. It´s in full bloom, vibrant, especially in July and August. Some simple things can be tricky, like finding a space at some of the beaches, or a table to have dinner, but it´s a warm energy that comes from the mix of Portuguese and foreign, vacationing together. September is calmer, the region cools down and rests.
The best way to get around is by car. Best option: rent one. Don´t even bother looking for taxis, buses or train. Roads are pretty good and rental prices are mainly very affordable.
And wherever you go, there are some delicacies and great food you really must try.
If you try any of the many restaurants in the Algarve, be sure to taste the small dish of marinated carrots and olives. It’s a must everywhere you go and for a good reason. It´s delicious! Next, "Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato", which are clams Bulhão Pato, fresh seafood cooked in lemon, garlic and coriander. Nowhere else you´ll find it this good.
As a main course, go for the fresh fish – just any fish is good, really – the piri-piri chicken – regular chicken with a secret hit sauce – or cataplana, ideal for groups, made in copper pots for seafood and fish dishes or meat, tomato and pepper and onion broth. Mouth-watering.
For those with a sweet tooth, try the fig cheese, "Queijo de Figo", a tradicional sweet with no cheese at all. Its name comes from the shape of it. The ingredients are figs, sugar, almonds, fennel, cinnamon and chocolate. Wonderful. And, of course, the coloured marzipan cakes you´ll see literally everywhere.
Drinks wise, the incomparable medronho. A potent liqueur, distilled from the berries of the strawberry tree. A bit strong but delicious.
Still reading this at home? Book a stay now and enjoy all this and much, much more!