The Algarve
Considered the still unspoilt identiy of the Algarve. The area's calm lies in long kilometer stretches of the Ria Farmosa estuary that spoils much of this area small islands and pristine soft sand beaches. Many towns have retained their old-world character thanks to more rigorous building restrictions than elsewhere on the Algarve. Cobbled streets and orange-tree-edged squares of towns such as Moncarapacho, Vila Real and Tavira (undoubtedly one of the Algarve's prettiest towns, all white-washed buildings, distinctive rooftops and decorative azulejo facades) to the former fishing villages of Cabanas and Santa Luzia (where octopus is a local speciality). Seafood lovers and those looking for peaceful tranquility and a laid-back way of life will find thier refuge here.
No more than 30 minutes out of Faro, the famed Golden Triangle - comprising the exclusive resorts of Vale do Lobo, Quinta do Lago and Vilamoura - offers luxury living in the Algarve's most prestigious postcodes. Here you'll find impressive homes built around the standard-setting golf courses that make these resorts so desirable. And that's not the only draw: between them, the resorts are also home to tennis clubs, nature trails, resident-only beaches, Portugal's largest marina (with moorings for over 1000 vessels), riding schools private medical centres and even a casino, meaning every possible desire is more than catered for.
An enchanting combination of spectacular scenery, historical heritage and vibrant local communities has made the Western Algarve one of the most sought-after spots on Portugal’s southern coast. From the sun-drenched beaches to the cooler hills, the bustling towns to the end-of-the-world-esque south-west tip. It was from Lagos many of Portugal's famed explorers set off for the New World, including Henry the Navigator and Vasco da Gama. Today it's the perfect starting point to explore the dramatic coastline - complete with coves, caves and rocks stacks - of beautiful beaches all the way down to secluded Sagres where you can gaze out to sea at the most south-westerly point of continental Europe. It is here also that yogis, surfers and creative-types live side by side with locals bringing a gentle bohemian vibe to the area.