Algarve, Portugal

The Algarve is located on the south-western side of the Iberian Peninsula, surrounded on two sides by the Atlantic Ocean. The Guadiana River marks the eastern border with neighboring Spain, and to the north it borders the agricultural region of Alentejo. The southernmost region of the continent is separated into three different strips of land with special characteristics and beauty:

Litoral, the small coastal area, where most tourist activities are concentrated,
Barrocal, the fertile agricultural area between the coast and the mountainous highlands, and
Serra, the mountainous area, which covers half of the total Algarve territory of almost 5,000 square kms

The geographical position of the Algarve leads to a unique bioclimatic climate. Although located in the Atlantic, the climate is more Mediterranean: more than 3000 hours of sunshine per year and low rainfall, especially during the winter.



Castro Marim
Monte Gordo
São Brás de Alportel
Vila do Bispo
Vila Real de Santo António


Other destinations

Ria Formosa Natural Park, Lagoon landscape along the eastern Algarve from Faro to Cacela Velha near Tavira
Sapal de Castro Marim and Vila Real de Santo António Nature Reserve, near the Guadiana River, the border of the Algarve with Spain
Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina Natural Park, one of the biggest national parks in Portugal
Serra de Monchique, with the highest elevation in southern Portugal, Fóia (902 m) and Caldas de Monchique, a famous spa resort
Sagres Biogenetic Reserve between Ponta de Sagres and Cabo de São Vicente
Cabo de São Vicente, The most southwestern point of the European continent - a sacred place from times gone by
Ponta da Piedade, Lighthouse and bizarre rock formation on the Gold Coast near Lagos



The mild, almost Mediterranean climate of the Algarve and the fantastic coastline of around 200 km with more than 150 excellent beaches have contributed to making the Algarve the most popular holiday region in Portugal. More than 40% of the total turnover of the Portuguese tourism sector is generated in the Algarve.

The diverse landscape offers a variety of vacation options for every taste:
The sands of the Sotavento Algarve from the Spanish border to the lagoon landscape of the Ria Formosa with endless flat and wide beaches are ideal for families with young children.
The lagoons and adjacent islands of the Ria Formosa, a unique ecosystem, stretches from Tavira to Faro, the capital of the Algarve.
The Algarve's "Golden Triangle" with the world-renowned golf and holiday resorts Quinta do Lago, Vale do Lobo and Vilamoura is sought after by golfers and other discerning tourists.
The rocky coastline of the Western Algarve between Albufeira and Lagos with dramatic rock formations, beautiful sandy beaches, hidden caves and rocky bays has particularly contributed to the image of the Algarve as the perfect holiday destination.
The lonely west coast, the so-called “Costa Vicentina” between Sagres and Aljezur, exposed to the Atlantic wind, is popular with surfers, paragliders and other extreme sportsmen as well as lovers of untouched nature.
The uninhibited hills and mountains of the Serra, whose hot springs have been known since Roman times, are ideal for climbing and cycling and many other outdoor activities.
Almost unknown and untouched by tourism is the undulating landscape along the lower reaches of the River Guadiana, the Algarve's border with Spain, where several golf resorts have only recently been built.


Getting here

By airplane
Flights from many European cities arrive at Faro International Airport in three hours. With about six million passengers transported annually, this airport is the third largest in Portugal after Lisbon and Porto. In the winter period, the number of flights to Faro is reduced from many destinations. For this reason, it might be advisable to opt for Lisbon airport. The A22 motorway (subject to tolls) connects Lisbon Airport to the Algarve (transit time: around 2.5 h). Regular express bus services connect the center of Lisbon to the most important locations in the Algarve (journey time to Faro: 3h 15 min). In addition, an economical rail connection to Faro is proposed (travel time: approx. 3h).

By car
From the north, the A2 motorway leads to the Algarve (trip subject to tolls). Travel time from Lisbon to the A22 north of Albufeira is just over two hours; the distance is 240 km. Coming from Spain, the A49 leads to the A22 near Castro Marim. Travel time between Seville and the border between the two countries is an hour and a half; the distance is 145 km. In the Algarve itself, the A22 motorway (Via do Infante de Sagres) runs from east to west, from the border with Spain to the city of Lagos. Since 2011, trips on this motorway are subject to tolls; the tariff depends on the distances traveled and are charged electronically.

Electronic tolls: Owners of vehicles with foreign registration plates can choose one of the following payment methods for electronic tolls on the A22:

Toll Card: This is a card purchased with pre-loading of amounts between €5 and €40. The card is valid for one year and before the first use it must be activated via an SMS indicating the registration number.
Toll Service: It is a prepaid ticket, comparable to a vignette, with a fixed cost of €20 and unlimited use for 3 days.
Easy Toll: Automatic payment by credit card (Visa or Mastercard), the amount in question being debited from the account associated with the card.
Via Verde Visitors: Electronic device for hire, which can be used both at electronic tolls and on motorways with traditional tolls.



By car
In the Algarve itself, the A22 motorway (Via do Infante de Sagres) runs from east to west, from the border with Spain to the city of Lagos. Since 2011, trips on this motorway are subject to tolls; the tariff depends on the distances traveled and are charged electronically. Estrada Nacional 125, which is almost entirely a road parallel to the A22, has been very busy since the introduction of tolls, especially at rush hour, as many Algarve residents avoid the motorway for cost reasons.

by bus
Through its network of buses, the company EVA Transportes connects the cities of the Algarve from Aljezur in the far west to Vila Real de Santo António on the border with Spain.

Transfast: Lagos - Faro
Interurban Career: Aljezur - Vila Real d.S.A.
Coast Line: Albufeira - Lagos
In addition, the company maintains the urban bus network and a road connection to Seville.

By train
'Algarve Line': The railway section runs through the region between Lagos and Vila Real de Santo António. The single-track railway line between Lagos in the west and Vila Real de Santo António on the border with Spain has a length of almost 140 km and started operating in 1912. The gauge with a width of 1,668 mm is compatible with that of the lines railways in Spain. However, only in the North, East and Northeast of Portugal there are three border crossings. The old ferry connection from Vila Real de Santo António to Ayamonte no longer exists.

The route between Tunes and Faro is electrified; Modern trains such as the Intercidades and Alfa Pendular also run here, taking passengers from Faro to Lisbon in just over three hours. On the other routes, only railcars with three carriages circulate and the journey from Lagos to Vila Real de Santo António lasts up to 3 hours and 45 minutes. Many train stations are outside the towns. Railway timetables in Portugal and ticket prices can be found on the Comboios de Portugal website.

Of boat
From Faro, Olhão and Tavira, boats depart regularly to the islands of Ria Formosa. In addition, there are connections between some locations on the edge of the Ria Formosa and the beaches on the barrier islands. From Vila Real de Santo António and Alcoutim there are river connections with the Spanish side of the Guadiana River, more precisely to Ayamonte and Sanlúcar de Guadiana.



Albufeira: Paderne Castle
Alcoutim: Moorish Castle
Aljezur: Moorish Castle
Castro Marim: Castle and Fortress, Casa do Sal Museum
Faro: Vila-Adentro, the historic old town with Catedral Sé, Palacio Episcopal and Museu Arqueologico, Palácio de Estoi, Milreu (Roman Village near Estoi)
Lagoon: Convent of São José
Loulé: Municipal Market, Castle with Archaeological Museum, Islamic Baths, Church of São Lourenço (Almancil), Cerro da Vila (Roman Village in Vilamoura)
Sagres: Fishing Port, Fortress of Sagres with Rose of the Winds, Fortress of Beliche
Silves: Castle, Sé Cathedral and Archaeological Museum
Portimão: Fortress of Santa Catarina (Praia da Rocha), Nécropolis de Alcalar,
Tavira: Castle, Convent of Graça, Camera Obscura in Torre de Tavira, Tuna Fishing Museum, Church of Misericórdia
Vila do Bispo: Montes dos Amantes (Megalithic Route), Ermitage de Guadalupe (Raposeira)
Vila Real de Santo António: Marquês Pombal Square, Cacelha Velha Fortress



Beaches: With 210 km of coastline and more than 150 beaches, the Algarve has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. Magnificent transparent waters, spectacular cliffs with discreet bays, endless sandy beaches protected by dunes, and a mild breeze coming from the Atlantic make this region truly unforgettable.

Water sports: The windy west coast of the Algarve, the Costa Vicentina, is especially popular with surfers, kite surfers and paragliders. Around Sagres and Lagos there are a large number of surf camps and in many other places in the Algarve courses for beginners and advanced surfers. Portimão with its new marina on the estuary of the River Arade is an excellent area for sailing, where several international competitions take place. And the marinas at Vilamoura, Albufeira and Lagos offer a wide range of water sports including sport fishing and whale watching.

Golf: For many years the Algarve was considered one of the best and most popular golf destinations in Europe. Golfers can choose from 38 golf courses with different profiles and characteristics, located between the Guadiana River on the Spanish border and Lagos in the Western Algarve. All of these golf courses offer an enjoyable year-round golfing experience due to the excellent standards of maintenance and the mild Algarve climate.

Hiking: The diverse landscape of the Algarve offers ideal territory for hiking and trekking. There are a series of trails along the coast, in the fertile landscape of the Barrocal and in the mountains of the Serra. Especially in the Serra de Monchique and Costa Vicentina, the large nature reserve on the western coast, trekking tours, bird watching excursions and donkey trails are available.

Cycling: The Algarve is a very popular year-round area for mountain bikers as the mountainous landscape of the Barrocal and Serra provide the ideal terrain.

Motor sports: Faro is proud to be a motorcycling capital. Every summer thousands of motorcyclists from all over the world come to the capital of the Algarve for a week for the International Motorcycle Concentration, organized by the Moto Clube de Faro.



The Portuguese language belongs to the group of Romance languages, a branch of the Indo-European language family. Along with Spanish, Catalan and other languages spoken in the Iberian Peninsula, Portuguese represents the Ibero-Romance languages. Portuguese is a world language, spoken by more than 215 million native speakers. In the Algarve there is a regional dialect variant, which makes it difficult to understand, since the Portuguese language itself is not easy to understand for foreigners.

In tourist areas it is easy to communicate in English; menus in restaurants are usually multilingual. For trips to the interior of the country, however, it is advisable to take a phrasebook with the most important terms. Also in case of an unforeseen encounter with the Police, the English language may not always be useful. Also, be wary of unpleasant remarks in your mother tongue: Many Portuguese grew up abroad and may understand more than you'd like!



Generally safe; however, basic precautions are necessary.



Doctors and dentists: When it is essential to seek medical assistance, it can be useful to communicate in your mother tongue to provide important clinical information about your health status. There are a number of multilingual medical and dental clinics in the Algarve, many of which have a network of specialist doctors. However, there are clinics that do not accept credit cards for payment. Some of these offices are available 24 hours a day, although medical fees for consultations and treatments outside of normal hours are much higher.

Hospitals: In the cities of Lagos, Faro and Portimão there are public district hospitals and also private or private hospitals for outpatient treatments as well as for inpatient treatment. In public hospitals, health care is relatively inexpensive. Generally, payment is made in cash and in most cases, the staff does not speak English. The service at the modern and well-equipped “Hospital Particular do Algarve” is very diverse, based in Alvor and Portimão and, since 2009, with a branch in Faro (Gambelas). In addition, with Clínica Particular in Algarve Shopping – Albufeira (Guide), International Health Centers Albufeira, Clínica Medchique in Monchique and Clínica Particular in Vilamoura. In these institutions, credit cards are accepted and communication in English is not a problem.

Health Centers: In the Algarve municipalities there are Health Centers as a central place for outpatient treatments, so the influx of patients is quite large. As in all public service institutions, when entering, the user has to take a password and wait for his turn. The waiting time can often be long. For emergency cases, health centers have a 24-hour service. In addition, in the parishes there are “health extensions” of these centres. All of these public health institutions require advance payment and do not accept credit cards. Also, communication in English is not always possible.

Pharmacies: In the 16 municipalities of the Algarve and in most parishes there is at least one pharmacy, in which you can normally communicate in English. Payment by credit card is not always possible.

Urgency and Emergency: The Emergency and Emergency Network of the Algarve has a pre-hospital emergency device equipped with 4 SIV ambulances, based in Lagos, Loulé, Tavira and Vila Real de Santo António, 3 emergency and resuscitation vehicles based in Portimão , Albufeira and Faro and 1 INEM helicopter based at the Loulé heliport, and an Urgent Patients Guidance Center (CODU).



In Roman times the region was called Kinetic (Cyneticum) after the name of the native Indo-European people, the Cinetes or Conium (Cynetes or Conii in Latin).

The toponym Algarve (pronounced [aɫˈɡaɾv(ɨ)) originates from the Arabic expression الغرب (Algarbe) which means "the west", "the west". In fact, the full expression was Algarbe Alandalus (Gharb al-Ândalus or Algarbe Andalusino (Al-Gharb Al-Àndalusi) name attributed to the current Algarve and Lower Alentejo during Muslim rule, meaning "Western Andalus", as it was the western part from Moorish Andalusia.



Pre-roman era

In pre-Roman times it was inhabited by the Coni, Cunei or Cinetes, a people (formed by several tribes) of linguistic and ethnic affiliation possibly Celtic or Iberian, whose territory included the entire current region and even the south of the current district of Beja. This ancient territory of the Conians ran from the mouth of the river Mira to the mouth of the Guadiana, along the coast, and from the mouth of the river Mira, passing through the area of the sources of the river Sado and the Terges and Cobres streams until the confluence of the latter with the Guadiana and going down the right or west bank of that river again to its mouth, through the interior, thus covering the entire area of Serra do Caldeirão (also called Serra de Mu) and its plateau.

According to José Hermano Saraiva, the conii or cynetes (coni, in Latin, or cinetes, in Greek), as attested by the toponyms Conímbriga and Coina, had moved south due to the pressure exerted by other peoples and, like the Lusitanians , were Celtic. The territory of this people was located very close to an ancient civilization native to the Iberian Peninsula, that of Tartessos (which developed in the west of present-day Andalusia), in the basin of the Guadalquivir River (former Betis). Because of this, the Conians were greatly influenced by this ancient culture or were even part of this civilization. Furthermore, it is possible that they were related to the Tartessians, although some authors of classical antiquity, such as Strabo and Pliny the Elder, deny this. They were also influenced by Mediterranean civilizations (Greek, Roman, Carthaginian) even before Roman times and were one of the most culturally advanced peoples in the current territory of Portugal and even in the Iberian Peninsula at that time, as they already knew the written language, having even created and developed its own script, the southwestern script, which can also be called conic script.


Roman era

Before the definitive integration of the Conians into the Roman Empire, during the period from about 200 BC. By 141 BC, these were under strong Roman influence but enjoyed a high degree of autonomy. Due, in part, to their favorable relationship with the Romans, the Conians had had some conflicts with the Lusitanians who, under the leadership of Caucenus (Kaukenos), the Lusitanian chief before Viriatus, had for some time conquered their territory, including capital, Conistorgis (location still unknown, on a hill north of Ossonoba, present-day Faro, or perhaps Castro Marim) in the year 153 BC. Due to this conflict with the Portuguese, on the one hand, and due to the cultural influence of Mediterranean civilizations on the other, unlike many of the pre-Roman peoples of Portugal, they were allies of the Romans for some time and not their opponents, differing from the attitude of other peoples such as the Lusitanians, the Celts and the Galicians, who were strong opponents of the Roman conquest.

Despite this, a little later, in the context of the Lusitanian wars, in the year 141 BC, the Konians revolted against the Romans, together with the Turduli of Beturia (also called Betures), but were defeated by Fábio Máximo Serviliano, Roman proconsul. , and definitively integrated into the Roman Empire.

In the centuries that followed, the native population (Konians) was strongly Romanized, adopting Latin as a language, and culturally, politically and economically integrated into Roman civilization and its empire. The Algarve, then called Cyneticum (Kinetic), was part of the Roman Empire, integrated first in the province of Hispania Ulterior and later in the province of Lusitania, for more than 600 years, from around 200 BC. until the year 410 AD, boasting relevant cities such as Baesuris (current Castro Marim), Balsa (close to Tavira), Ossonoba (current Faro), Cilpes (current Silves), Lacobriga (current Lagos) and Myrtilis (current Mértola)) , at this time, also belonged to the Cyneticum.

During Roman times, it had a significant cultural and economic development (agriculture, fishing and processing), based mainly on its strong agricultural production. At that time, the region mainly exported olive oil and garum (a condiment made from fish), products that were highly prized in the Roman Empire. Its geographical location was also important in terms of supporting maritime shipping routes between Roman ports on the Mediterranean Sea and those on the Atlantic Ocean in Hispania, Gaul and Britannia.

The Guadiana (Anas) and Arade (Aradus) rivers served as river navigation routes in contact with the interior and would continue to be so for many centuries. Also, in terms of geographic location, it was important that the region was just west of Bética (which corresponds, in large part, to the territory of present-day Andalusia), one of the most culturally and economically developed provinces of Hispania and the Roman Empire ( region of origin of important figures such as the scholar and philosopher Seneca, the agronomist Columela and the emperors Trajan and Hadrian).

All these factors contributed to the prosperity of the Algarve for many centuries. In cultural terms, Roman times also witnessed the spread of Christianity in Hispania, including Lusitania and the current Algarve from the mid-1st century, but it would be from the 4th century, with the publication of the Edict of Milan, in the year 313 AD. by Emperor Constantine (who granted freedom of worship to Christians), that Christianity would spread further and gain significant importance in the region with the conversion of much of the native population, although animist or pagan religions remained for a few more centuries.


Visigoth Kingdom

Although the Iberian Peninsula was conquered by the so-called barbarian peoples (Vandals, Alans, Suebi and later Visigoths) at the time of the barbarian invasions, Roman culture and Christianity remained. In 511 the Visigoths and Ostrogoths were forced to move to Castile. In 531, after the death of Amalaric, son of Alaric II, the old Visigothic structure disintegrated and, with the fusion of Roman and Germanic elements, a new culture began to emerge in the central and northern part of Hispania, the former Roman province. In the year 552, the Algarve region was reconquered by the Byzantine Empire (then ruled by Emperor Justinian I) from the Visigoths, a government that lasted until 571, when King Leovigildo conquered it again for the Visigoth Kingdom.

After the annihilation in 585 of the Swabian Kingdom, headquartered in Braga, and the decision, in 589, at the Third Council of Toledo, on the abandonment of Arianism and the adoption of Catholicism, a conversion that aimed to ensure the power and dominion of the Visigoths in the Peninsula Iberia, as well as the destruction of Byzantine strongholds in Cádiz and the fight against Basque separatism, Recaredo and his successors managed to forge a new Hispanic identity. The importance of the Visigoth presence, despite its short duration, both in terms of genetic legacy and literary and linguistics, was such that, according to Ramón Menéndez Pidal in his A Epopeia Castelhana through the Ages, «The laurel aristocrats of the kingdom of Toledo, the Goths, will be at the origin of national literature». The Visigoth Kingdom effectively dissolved in 713 as a result of the Muslim invasion.

From the Visigoth period there are several sources and evidence (whether from Christian or Arab writers) that refer to a magnificent cathedral in Ossonoba (now Faro), but whose remains have never been found. Ossonoba.

Archaeological excavations in Silves unearthed various pottery utensils, as well as fragments of pots, bowls and frying pans with Visigothic finishes. A Visigothic capital was also found in the same city, and is now on display at the Municipal Museum of Archeology in Silves. Another Visigoth capital was discovered in the Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Rocha (in Porches, near Lagoa). Around the Algarve, some Visigoth necropolises were discovered, such as Poço dos Mouros, in Silves and lesser known ones in Vila do Bispo, Lagos, Albufeira, São Bartolomeu de Messines and Loulé. Several objects, from those intended for religious practices (Christian and pagan) to personal hygiene utensils, decorations (earrings and jewelry) and weapons were found throughout the region. According to archaeologist Mário Varela Gomes, it was believed that the scarcity of archaeological discoveries was due to the short Visigothic presence in the region and the geographical and geological circumstances that kept the Algarve isolated for a good part of its history, but recent research shows that much is unknown. due to insufficient archaeological efforts aimed at expanding excavations, as well as due to a general lack of interest in studying the presence of Germanic peoples in the territory, a lack of interest shared by the municipalities. It is, despite the little material available for analysis, in Gomes' opinion, it is unquestionable that these peoples had a considerable impact on the region, leaving a legacy that should be better understood.


Islamic period

In the decades that preceded the Muslim invasion, several councils, the result of an alliance between Church and State, had started a series of persecutions that had the Jewish community as a target. In 654, King Recesvinto adopted several austere provisions against the Jews. In 681 Ervigius forced them to choose between conversion to Christianity or exile. In 693, Égica imposed a ban on trade with Christians, an attitude that, according to the Syrian historian Ali Nasrah, greatly harmed the Jewish community, which was then considerably numerous and well established in the Iberian Peninsula. Still according to Nasrah, who relied on a wide variety of documents and evidence that corroborated his reasoning, such events impelled the Jews to weave, in the beginning of the eighth century, together with their North African co-religionists, a plan that had as its intention the expulsion of the Visigoths. Indeed, the Arab invaders entrusted the Jews with the task of guarding the cities that fell under Muslim power, while their armies advanced.

In the year 711, a Muslim army, led by Tárique, sets out to conquer the Iberian Peninsula. Rodrigo, the last Visigothic ruler, from a dynasty that dated back to 476 AD, raises a resistance but his forces prove unable to stop the advance of the Arab troops. In the following year, in 712, the governor of Ifriquia, Mussa ibn Nossair, with the aim of finalizing the conquest, reinforced Tarique's army, which was, at first, small in number. According to Ignácio Olagüe, a professor at the University of Madrid, the occupation of a good part of the Iberian Peninsula by the Muslims did not take more than three years to materialize.

After the success of the invasion, also facilitated by the constant disputes that occurred within the nobility and royalty of the Visigoths, the Muslims maintained the territorial structure of 'provinces-duchies' and 'provinces-counties' under a different denomination, the Coras, from Arabic kūrah. In the Algarve was located Cora de Ocsonoba, circumscribed to the north by Beja. Subsequent to the occupation, the Muslims adopted various Iberian, Roman and Roman-Hellenic traditions and customs, also assimilating multiple aspects of Visigoth art, art already orientalized due to Byzantine influences. After the year 715 and until 1249, the region was under the dominion of Islamic peoples, from Arabs and Berbers to native populations converted to Islam, although Christianity continued to be practiced by the Mozarabs — Christians who, in exchange for a tax, had the right to practice their religion under Muslim rule. The Berbers, who lived in the plateaus on either side of the Guadiana and Tagus rivers, constituted the largest population among Muslims. Composed mainly of cultivators, some exercised in the cities more humble trades, while others occupied high social positions.

The Algarve, like the rest of the Iberian Peninsula occupied by the Moors, went through periods of conflict, but it also went through phases of high cultural, artistic and economic development, in continuity with the characteristics inherited from Roman times. Silves became the capital of a Muslim taifa kingdom after the fragmentation of the Caliphate of Córdoba.

The Spanish and Portuguese regions formerly known as Algarbe Alandalus (Arabic: الغرب الأندلس) were the most important Muslim center of the "Islamic Hispania" era, thus being the core of Islamic culture, science and technology. At that time, the most prominent town in the region was Silves. Historian Alexandre Herculano commented that «compared with Lisbon, Silves was much stronger, and in opulence and sumptuousness of buildings ten times more remarkable.»

The Algarve was the last piece of territory in Portugal to be definitively conquered from the Moors, in the reign of D. Afonso III, in the year 1249.

The occupation of Portugal by Muslim peoples left a remarkable architectural, linguistic (in several Arabic words that were introduced in the Portuguese language and in the regional Algarve vocabulary), gastronomic and cultural legacy, being such influence more visible in the Algarve and Alentejo, where the presence was broader and more lasting, a presence shared with the Spanish region of Andalusia, with which, due to an almost identical heritage, in comparison with other more distant and culturally disparate Portuguese regions, the Algarve shares greater similarities. There are, as remnants of this occupation, several fortifications, such as the Castle of Silves, the Castle of Aljezur, the Castle Belinho, the Castle of Paderne, the Castle of Loulé, among others. Although significant, the long presence of Muslim peoples in the Algarve was not enough to change the dominant type of population or alter its ethnicity. The linguistic influence, though considerable, left no trace in the syntax. Linguists estimate between three hundred and six hundred words that the Berber, Arab and similar peoples left in the language, namely to designate vegetables, horticultural products, water and irrigation systems, as well as some terms associated with trade.


Reconquest - Portuguese period

According to some historical documents, the definitive conquest of the Algarve and the expulsion of the Moors in the reign of King Afonso III, namely the capture of the city of Faro, was carried out in a relatively peaceful manner. D. Sancho I, had previously conquered parts of the Algarve region, when he besieged the city of Silves in 1189 and with the help of a fleet of other European crusaders, conquered the same, including his father D. Afonso Henriques, had defeated the Moors nearby at the Battle of Ourique.

Dom Paio Peres Correia, master of the Order of Santiago, was responsible for the final reconquest of the Algarve, especially the castles of Silves, Paderne and Faro. However, only in 1267 — in the Treaty of Badajoz — was the possession of the Algarve recognized as Portuguese territory, due to the pretensions of the Kingdom of Castile.

Interestingly, the official name of the resulting kingdom would often be called the Kingdom of Portugal and the Algarve, but two separate kingdoms were never constituted.

Once the reconquest of the region was completed during the reign of D. Afonso III, the Algarve was included in the Christian kingdom of Portugal, important charters were granted, as well as incentives for the population of the region coming mainly from the north of the country, but also from beyond the Pyrenees. The region was quite relevant in the following centuries, especially from the 15th century onwards due to the odyssey of Portuguese maritime exploration, the exploration of the African coast and the conquest of Moroccan cities, under the command of Infante D. Henrique. This was based in the region and part of the organization of discoveries was carried out in the Algarve. The territory, due to favorable conditions for navigation, was one of the first bases of Portuguese maritime expansion in the 15th and 16th centuries, from which some expeditions departed, with the port of Lagos being one of the most important at that time.

With the end of the Portuguese presence in African squares, the region again entered a certain decadence, accentuated by the destruction imposed by the earthquake of November 1, 1755.

The prime minister of King D. José I, the Marquis of Pombal, tried to carry out a division, never recognized by the Roman Papacy, of the diocese of Faro into two bishoprics: Faro and Vila Nova de Portimão. The limit between them was the Quarteira stream and its extension in a straight line to the Alentejo.

During the period of the French invasions, the Algarve was the focus of revolts in defense of Portuguese national sovereignty, such as the Olhão revolt (in 1808).

The Algarve was the scene of several reactions against the occupying forces, the most famous episode being the reaction of the people of Luz de Tavira against the French looters when they tried to take the gold from the local Church.

During the Liberal Wars that began with the seizure of power by D. Miguel I and the reaction of the liberal forces led by the Duke of Terceira, they chose the Manta Rota region as the landing place for the military forces that later moved to Lisbon.

The Kingdom of the Algarve was dissolved in 1834, with the extinction of the post of Military Governor of the Kingdom of the Algarve and the district of Faro instituted the following year, despite the title of King of the Algarves remaining in the royal title at least until 1910.

Subsequently, the Algarve began the 20th century as a rural, peripheral region, with an economy based on the cultivation of dried fruits, fishing and the canning industry. However, from the 1960s onwards, the tourism industry exploded, thus completely changing its social and economic structure.

Since the dawn of the kingdom, it constituted a well-defined and individualized region, not only in geographical terms but also from an identity point of view, with historical, climatic, ethnographic, architectural, gastronomic and economic characteristics of its own.

Currently, tourism is the Algarve's economic engine. The former traditional province has some of the best beaches in Southern Europe, and exceptional conditions for the practice of outdoor activities and sports.

The Algarve is the third richest region in the country, with a per capita GDP of 87% (European average). It occupies an area of 4,996 km2 and has a population of 467,495 (2021).



The Algarve borders the Alentejo region to the north (sub-regions of Alentejo Litoral and Baixo Alentejo), to the south and west to the Atlantic Ocean, and to the east the Guadiana River marks the border with Spain. The highest point is located in the Monchique mountain range, with a maximum altitude of 902 m (Pico da Foia).

In addition to Faro, the population centers of Albufeira, Lagoa, Lagos, Loulé, Olhão, Portimão, Quarteira, Silves, Tavira and Vila Real de Santo António also have the category of city. Of these, all are county seats with the exception of Quarteira.

The western part of the Algarve is called Barlavento and the eastern part is called Sotavento. The designation is certainly due to the prevailing wind on the south coast of the Algarve, the historical origin of this division being uncertain and quite remote. In antiquity, the Romans considered the region of Cape Cúneo to be in the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula — which ran from Mértola through Vila Real de Santo António to the cove of Armação de Pêra — and the region of Promontório Sacro — which included the rest of the Algarve.

Internally, the region is subdivided into two zones, one to the West (the Barlavento) and the other to the East (the Sotavento). With this division we can register a clear mirror effect between the two zones. Each of these areas has 8 municipalities and a so-called main city: Faro is to Sotavento what Portimão is to Barlavento. Likewise, each of them has an important mountain range (the Foia, in the Barlavento, and the Caldeirão, in the Sotavento). Rivers of similar importance (the Arade in Barlavento and the Guadiana in Sotavento).

A main hospital in each of the zones guarantees health care throughout the Algarve. In terms of infrastructure, the International Airport is in one area and the International Autodrome in another. Finally, on a sporting level, the historic Algarve footballers Sporting Clube Olhanense (representative of Sotavento) and Portimonense Sporting Clube (representative of Barlavento) meet regularly in the Primeira Liga of Portuguese football. The Olhanense team rose to the 1st League in 2009, while the Portimão team rose a year later, in 2010.



One of the main distinguishing features of the Algarve region is its climate. The climatic conditions that common sense generally attributes to the Algarve's climate can be found in all their splendor in the Barrocal and on the south coast, especially in the central region and in the eastern Algarve. A set of basic characteristics sum up the climate of the region, especially in the barrocal and on the south coast: long and hot summers, mild and short winters, precipitation concentrated in autumn and winter, reduced annual number of days with precipitation and a high number of hours. of sun per year. The average annual temperature on the east coast and in the central region of the Algarve is the highest in mainland Portugal and one of the highest in the Iberian Peninsula, around 18°C, taking into account the 1961/90 climatological normals. Precipitation is essentially concentrated between October and February, and is often torrential. Annual averages are less than 600 mm in much of the coast and in the Guadiana valley, and exceed 800 mm in Serra do Caldeirão and 1,000 mm in Serra de Monchique. In the coastal region there are 5 dry months, and between June and September the fall of precipitation is very infrequent.

The climate of the Algarve, according to the Köppen classification, is divided into two regions: one with a temperate climate with a rainy winter and a dry and hot summer (Csa) and another with a temperate climate with a rainy winter and a dry and slightly hot summer (Csb). . With the exception of the Costa Vicentina and the mountains of Monchique and Espinhaço de Cão, the entire Algarve region has a temperate Mediterranean climate of the Csa type. On the coast of the eastern Algarve, tropical nights (nights with a minimum temperature of 20 °C or more) are frequent during the summer period. In fact, the highest minimum temperature ever recorded in Portugal belongs to the meteorological station of Faro: 32.2 °C, on the 26th of July 2004. Snowfall in the Algarve region is very rare and is more likely to occur in the Foia. The last time there was snowfall on the Algarve coast was in February 1954. In the early morning of February 1, 2006 it snowed in the Caldeirão mountain range, and in the morning of January 10, 2009 it snowed in the Monchique mountain range.

The Algarve spring is an inconstant season: some years it is fleeting, short, in others longer, stealing space from the summer or the winter; sometimes rainy and cool, or hot and dry, or still sunny but windy. In March and April, temperatures rise slowly, moving towards summer values; during the day these oscillate between 9/12 °C and 19/22 °C. In both months the average precipitation is around 40 mm, in a total for both months of about 20 days with precipitation equal to or greater than 0.1 mm.

One of the main climatic characteristics of the Algarve region is the existence of long, hot and dry summers. From mid-May onwards, the fall of precipitation on the south coast and barocal becomes a rare event, and the maximum and minimum temperatures abandon the mildness of spring to reach summer values. June is a dry month, with average rainfall below 10 mm and average temperatures ranging between 16 °C and 26 °C. July and August are the two hottest and driest months of the year. The fall of precipitation is an infrequent event, and several years may pass without a fall of precipitation during these two months. Average temperatures range between 17/19 °C and 28/30 °C. The highest temperature recorded in summer is 44.3 °C at the Faro/Aeroporto station on the 26th of July 2004. September still has marked summer characteristics. Temperatures fluctuate between 16/18 °C and 26/29 °C. Sometimes the first autumn rains can occur at the end of September; for this reason, the average rainfall this month is around 15 mm.

The first rains after summer, which occur regularly during the month of October, characterize the beginning of autumn. After the first rains fall, the days may still remain warm, but the nights gradually start to get cooler. Sometimes there are weeks of sunny days, bathed in a sweet and unmistakable light: this is the so-called São Martinho Summer. Occasionally, summer conditions last for part of October. In October, temperatures fluctuate between 13/16 °C and 23/25 °C. The rains that fall during this month are often torrential: a substantial part of the month's total precipitation can accumulate for just one day, followed by several days of sun and clear skies. The average rainfall in October is around 45/70 mm. November is the second wettest month of the year, with an average rainfall of around 75/90 mm, generally concentrated in a small number of days. Temperatures drop slightly during this month, ranging between 10/12 °C and 18/21 °C.

The unmistakable Algarve winter can be briefly characterized by three adjectives: short, rainy and mild. December is the rainiest month of the year. Stormy days, marked by heavy rain and thunderstorms alternate with mild, sunny days with clear skies, great for outdoor activities. Average precipitation is around 90 to 120 mm, and average temperatures range between 8/10 °C and 16/18 °C. January is the month with the lowest temperatures of the year: as a rule, these vary between 6/8 °C and 15/17 °C. The average rainfall is around 70/80 mm. Already in February, the temperatures gradually start to rise, and at the end of this month the spring conditions begin to make themselves felt. Temperatures range from 7/9 °C and 16/18 °C, and average rainfall is around 45 to 70 mm. Occasionally, during the winter, the Algarve region is plagued by short colder periods, in which minimum temperatures reach values close to 0 °C and maximum temperatures do not exceed 10 °C. However, these meteorological events are rare.


Fauna and Flora

Cabo de São Vicente is located on a bird migration route, allowing seasonal observation of a variety of avifauna. The predominant vegetation in the Algarve Barrocal is the Mediterranean scrub, characterized by the abundance of plants resistant to the lack of water.

The subsoil of the Algarve is inhabited by several endemic species, unique to the Algarve, some of them discovered recently. The most emblematic species of the subterranean fauna of the Algarve are the giant pseudoscorpion from the Algarve caves (Titanobochica magna) and the largest terrestrial cave insect in Europe, the Squamatinia algharbica.

Other plant species, strictly endemic or not, bear the name of the Algarveː
- Cistus algarvensis Sims, Bot. Mag. 17: t. 627 (1803).

- Helianthemum algarvense Dunal, Prodr. [A. P. de Candolle] 1: 268 (1824).

- Herniaria algarvica Chaudhri, Rev. Paronychiinae 346 (1968).

- Limonium algarvense Erben, Mitt. Bot. Staatssamml. München 14: 503 (1978).

- Linaria algarviana Chav., Monogr. Antirrh. 142 (1833).

- Ophrys algarvensis D.Tyteca, Benito & M.Walravens, J. Eur. Orch. 35(1):65 (2003). Syn. : O. omegaifera subsp. algarvensis (D.Tyteca, Benito & M.Walravens) Kreutz, Kompend. eur. Orchid. 110 (2004).

- Rhododendron algarvense Page, Prod. Southhampt. gard. 38.

- Sideritis algarviensis D.Rivera & Obón, Anales Jard. Bot. Madrid 47(2): 500 (1990).

- Stegitris algarviensis Raf., Sylva Tellur. 132 (1838).



In 2021, the Algarve registered 467,343 inhabitants, concentrating 4.5% of the resident population in Portugal, which comprises only one sub-region, consisting of 16 municipalities and divided into 67 parishes. The population center of the region is located in Faro, with more than 67 thousand inhabitants and a population density of 334 inhabitants per km2, being the second most populous municipality and the second municipality with the highest population density in the region.

The population of the Algarve has increased by 6.7% since 2020, around 30 thousand inhabitants more compared to the year 2020, where a population of 437,970 inhabitants was recorded through estimates. Compared to the 2011 census, which recorded 446,140 inhabitants, the region's population decreased by around 4.7%. Due to the financial crisis, the region recorded a negative balance between 2009 and 2020, going from 445,824 inhabitants in 2009 to 437,970 inhabitants in 2020, reducing the population by 2.8% in eleven years. As of 2020, the number of inhabitants managed to increase in the region, standing at 467,343 inhabitants in 2021.

The Algarve is made up of 16 municipalities, with Loulé being the most populous municipality in the region, with more than 72 thousand inhabitants, followed by the municipality of Faro with more than 67 thousand inhabitants, the municipality of Portimão with just under 60 thousand inhabitants, the municipality de Olhão and the municipality of Albufeira with both more than 44 thousand inhabitants.

The ten most populous municipalities in the Algarve are all located on the coast. The ten municipalities account for close to 430 thousand inhabitants. As for population density, the municipality of Olhão has the highest population density in the entire region, with 341 inhabitants per km2, followed by the municipality of Faro with 334 inhabitants per km2, Portimão with 328 inhabitants per km2, Albufeira with 313 inhabitants per km2 and Vila Real de Santo António with 308 inhabitants per km2.

The Algarve has 11 official cities.

The largest city in the region is the city of Portimão, with just under 50 thousand inhabitants and a population density of 651 inhabitants per km2, followed by the cities of Faro, with more than 46 thousand inhabitants and a population density of 619 inhabitants per km2, the city of Loulé, with more than 24 thousand inhabitants and a population density of 227 inhabitants per km2, the city of Quarteira, with more than 24 thousand inhabitants and a population density of 640 inhabitants per km2 and the city of Lagos, with more than 23 thousand inhabitants and a population density of 811 inhabitants per km2.


Geographic accidents

Serra de Monchique
The Serra de Monchique is located in the western part of the Algarve, where the highest point in the region is located — Foia — which is 902 m above sea level. This is also one of the most prominent spots in Portugal. The parent summit is called Picota and is 774 m above sea level.

Serra do Caldeirão
The Serra do Caldeirão forms the border between the Algarve coastline and barrocal and the plains of Baixo Alentejo. It is part of the old massif, consisting of schist-grouvaque, rock that originates thin and not very fertile soils. Its highest point is located in Baixo Alentejo, close to the border with the Algarve, where it reaches an altitude of 580 m; in the municipalities of Tavira and Loulé it has several points where it exceeds 500 m.

Guadiana river
The Guadiana River is the natural border between the Algarve and Andalusia, and therefore between Portugal and Spain. The river rises at an altitude of around 1,700 m, in the lagoons of Ruidera, in the Spanish province of Ciudad Real, with a total length of 829 km.

The hydrographic basin has an area of 68,200 km², largely located in Spain (about 55,000 km²).

This river is navigable to the Alentejo village of Mértola, constituting a relevant tourist attraction.

Arade river
It rises in Serra do Caldeirão and passes through Silves, Portimão and Lagoa before flowing into the Atlantic Ocean, in Portimão, immediately east of Praia da Rocha.

At the time of the Portuguese discoveries, it was navigable as far as Silves, where there was an important port. Today, due to the enormous silting up, only small boats can get there.

Ria Formosa
It is a salt marsh that extends across the municipalities of Loulé, Faro, Olhão, Tavira and Vila Real de Santo António, covering an area of around 18,400 hectares along 60 km from the Ancão river to the beach at Manta Rota.

This is an area protected by the status of a Natural Park, granted by Decree-Law 373/87 of December 9, 1987. Previously, the Ria Formosa had the status of a Nature Reserve, established in 1978.



Comparison with the rest of the country
The Algarve Region represents around % of national exports and % of the national economy. Thanks to investments in tourism, and the region having received several qualifications as "Best European Destination", it has become a competitive region and is the region with the most tourists in the country. The Algarve Region has, after the Metropolitan Area of Lisbon, the North Region, the Center Region and the Alentejo, the fifth largest regional economy in Portugal. Even though it is the fifth richest region in the country, it is today the second region where people have the highest income of all seven national regions. In 2019, the difference between income per inhabitant in the Algarve, compared to the Lisbon Metropolitan Area, is around €4,000.

Financial crisis
The region was hit by the global recession in 2009 and the Eurozone Crisis in 2011 and 2012. While the region's GDP first exceeded €7.5 billion in 2010, it fell in 2012 to €7.1 billion €, thanks to the crisis. The region only managed to recover €7.5 billion in 2014, and with strong economic growth it reached €10 billion in 5 years. In terms of GDP per capita, it reduced from €16,900 in 2009 to €16,100 in 2012, but thanks to strong economic growth it managed to reach €20,000 in 2017, thus increasing the income of each inhabitant by €4,000, with a duration of 5 years.

Gross Domestic Product
Over the years, the Gross Domestic Product of the Algarve grew with its entry into the European Union, with investments made in tourism and infrastructure.

Evolution of GDP in the Algarve
Data for 2009 and 2019 show that the GDP of the Algarve region grew by 38%, from €7.4 billion in 2009 to €10.2 billion in 2019. dropped, for example in 2011 and 2012, where a decrease close to 5.4% was recorded. The reason for the economic downturn was the financial crisis. Compared to national GDP data, the regional economy of the Algarve has gained more and more importance over the years. As of 2015, the weight of wealth produced in the Algarve stood at 4% of the national GDP.

GDP by sub-region
The Algarve Region is made up of a single sub-region, with the same name. Hence there are no data to compare the sub-regions of the Algarve, because there is only one.

GDP per capita by sub-region
The Algarve Region is made up of a single sub-region, with the same name. Hence there are no data to compare the sub-regions of the Algarve, because there is only one.



Until the early 1960s, the Algarve was a region characterized by precarious, poorly paid jobs and a poor quality of life. Tourism, propitiated by the inauguration of Faro International Airport in 1965, was the great impetus to the obsolescence of several activities practiced until then and promoted the gradual specialization of the economy, events that changed the paradigm of underdevelopment that defined the region. Tourism then became the main economic activity in the Algarve, leading the region to assert itself as a seaside resort of international recognition, based on the profits of its offer a remarkable economic growth. Thanks to the appealing climate and the improvement in the living conditions of the population that have been seen in recent decades, the Algarve is the only area in the country, along with the large urban areas of Lisbon and Porto, to register a population growth.

The Algarve has beaches and natural landscapes that, together with the temperate Mediterranean climate, make it the most touristic region in Portugal. Nowadays, road connections mean that any point in the Algarve is just over an hour away from the airport. Currently, Faro airport is the third busiest in Portugal, having received more than 8.6 million passengers in 2018.

The majority of tourists come from Portugal, the United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands and Ireland, and there is also a growing presence of visitors from France. In the first half of 2019, there was a growth of 62%, 30.6% and 14.6% in the Italian, Brazilian and American markets, respectively.

Vilamoura, next to Falésia beach (Loulé municipality), Albufeira, considered the "tourism capital" of the Algarve, with some of the best-known tourist complexes in Europe, Praia da Rocha, in the municipality of Portimão, and Praia da Marinha, in the municipality of Lagoa, are the most popular destinations for tourists. Lagos is also one of the cities with the greatest tourist presence in the Algarve. Some of its beaches are considered the best in Portugal and even in the world, and it also has a wide range of bars, restaurants and widely recognized hotels. In recent years, the region of Tavira has increasingly become an important tourist centre, thanks to its valuable cultural and scenic heritage. At the end of the eastern Algarve, there is also Monte Gordo, one of the oldest tourist spots on the Algarve coast; the old fishing village is now located in the middle of the gulf of Cádiz, and as such is bathed by the warmest waters in the country: not infrequently during the summer season the sea water temperature reaches 26 °C.

There has been considerable growth in the Local Accommodation sector in recent years, stimulated by a growing demand from people with less purchasing power and who, therefore, cannot stay in hotels. The Algarve has approximately 32 thousand legal local accommodations, from apartments and houses for rent to hostels and guest houses, which employ more than 20 thousand people and generate around 980 million Euros per year. About half of these establishments are located in the municipalities of Albufeira, Loulé and Portimão. The tourists who most seek this type of accommodation are British, Portuguese and French, followed by Germans, Spanish and Brazilians. Studies show that the flexibility and conditions of these accommodations, from the hospitality of the hosts, who are more willing to interact with guests, the often central location or close to the beach, the permission of pets, the possibility of organizing events, as well as the price-quality ratio, make them more appealing to a niche market that is focused on avoiding the high prices and stricter conditions of large hotel units.

Although tourist demand is mainly based on the beaches of the region, this has been increased due to the holding of important sporting events, such as the European football championship Euro 2004, which had three of its games in Faro, the volleyball world championships that have taken place in Portimão, world golf championships and even the passage of the biggest Rally in the world, Lisbon–Dakar in 2006 and 2007. Musical events have been gaining weight, namely the Algarve Summer Festival and the Portimão Air Show — an air festival that had the its first edition in 2008 and which, at the initiative of the city of Portimão, also came to color the skies of the Algarve and fill the city at a time of low tourist demand. Nature tourism, namely that specialized in hiking (notably the Rota Vicentina and Rota da Água, in Monchique) and bird watching (the Ria Formosa being highly sought after for this purpose), has registered substantial growth in recent years, favored mainly by tourists from central and northern Europe. Investments in the health tourism sector were also verified, currently being a segment in considerable expansion.

During the seasonal season, there is a large expansion in the Algarve's resident population due to tourist stays, with situations in which the number of inhabitants tripled.

Despite the development brought about by the advent of tourism, which improved, to a certain degree, the quality of life of the Algarve population, it also aroused strong criticism from several personalities who disapprove of the cultural mischaracterization, the disproportionate increase in the cost of living in relation to the purchasing power of the inhabitants, the reduced diversification of the economy, the desertification of the interior and the massification of the literal, as well as the environmental impact that mass tourism and civil construction brought to the region. The Algarve biologist and architect Fernando Silva Grade, in his book The Algarve as we destroy it, condemns the extensive ecosystem damage, the neglect of and destruction of traditional architecture and the obsolescence of the cultural legacy, made possible by the massive tourist demand. In a tone of dissent, Silva Grade commented, on the proliferation of the tourism and civil construction sector, “The Algarve, a paradigm of this situation, continues to diligently bury all the memories and signs of its ancestral culture. And, after having razed virtually all its cities, towns and villages, it is now committed to disfiguring the last remnants of the carnivorous fever of concrete.” In 2008, Miguel Sousa Tavares pointed out that «In many, many cases the reason why the Alentejo coast and the western Algarve were plundered, without value or shame, has only one name: corruption. The greed of speculators and developers, dependence on real estate chambers and unbridled corruption have killed the landscape».

The insolvency of Thomas Cook, the second largest European tour operator, in 2019, had already raised unfavorable considerations regarding the lack of alternatives to the tourism industry, which, in the face of a crisis that affected the sector, would leave the Algarve region vulnerable to unemployment. The seasonal nature of tourist demand and the low remuneration of jobs dependent on this industry, as well as real estate speculation, which made it difficult to acquire housing and long-term leases, are other aspects that were the target of negative opinions by some analysts.

Other criticisms allude to the destruction of unique houses and villas in the region to make way for tourist establishments. Fernando Grade denounced the inability of many mayors and municipalities to take measures in order to overcome the problems arising from dependence on the tourism sector.


COVID-19 in the Algarve

In 2020, as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the dependence that the region has on tourism, the Algarve went through a wave of unemployment. In fact, in April 2020 there was a 124% increase in the number of subscribers to the Institute of Employment and Vocational Training, compared to the same month of 2019, making it the region in Portugal economically most affected by the disease. In May 2020, the number of unemployed registered with the IEFP registered an increase of 202.4%, compared to May 2019. Already weakened by the economic interruption and a substantial stagnation of the tourist flow, namely international, as a result of the COVID Pandemic -19, the tourism industry in the Algarve was additionally and considerably affected by the mandatory 14-day quarantine imposed on British tourists (who represent around 30% of tourists who visit the Algarve annually) when returning to the United Kingdom from mainland Portugal.

In December 2020 there were approximately 31,000 unemployed in the Algarve, an increase of more than 60% compared to 2019, making it the second region in the country most affected by unemployment. In January 2021, the global average occupancy rate/room did not exceed 7.6%, a decrease of 78.9% compared to January 2020. same month of the previous year. Several hoteliers point to a slow tourist recovery, claiming that pre-pandemic levels will not be resumed in less than five years. Entrepreneurs in the region criticized the government's response to the effects of the pandemic crisis, referring in particular to the support they consider generic, without taking into account the particularities of the Algarve economy, as well as the lack of perspective of opening the borders. They also pointed out that 80% of businesses are closed, and many of them, due to bureaucracy, are without access to financial support. In March 2021, according to Madalena Feu, regional delegate of the Institute of Employment and Vocational Training, there were more than 33,000 unemployed people in the Algarve.

The crisis in the tourism sector also caused a considerable increase in needy families. The Food Bank in the Algarve recorded a 74% growth in requests for assistance. Between April and December 2020, the same institution distributed food, in an amount that amounted to three and a half million euros, to more than 10 thousand new families that started to need food assistance. With the worsening of the crisis, caused by the dependence that the Algarve has on tourism, it is expected that the number of new needy people will increase. In March 2021, the Algarve region recorded the lowest incidence of Covid-19 cases in the country. However, the Algarve continues to be the region financially and socially most affected by the pandemic, with the highest unemployment rate in Portugal. Faced with the adversities arising from the pandemic, several political parties and entities alluded to the need for the region to invest in other sectors, thus creating alternatives to mass tourism, namely with investments in the areas of agriculture, fishing, new technologies and renewable energies.

In June 2021, with the placement of mandatory quarantines on English and German travelers upon their return from Portugal, as a way of containing the transmission of the Delta variant of Covid-19, the sectors linked to tourism in the Algarve recorded an abrupt and considerable drop in tourists from its two largest markets. With the inclusion of Portugal on the red line in Germany, there has been an increase in the number of cancellations of stays in the region, and flights from Germany are arriving in Faro with half of the passengers. Despite the concern of businessmen with the lack of tourists, the cost of tourism in the Algarve remains high.



The traditional agricultural products, worth noting, are the production of dried fruit (figs, almonds and locust beans), arbutus brandy and also the production of cork, particularly in the northeastern regions of the Algarve. There is also the production of cork and citrus fruits, whose production is quite relevant, the largest orange orchards are located in the municipality of Silves, especially in the parish of Algoz, the Algarve orange is very sweet and enjoys great fame not only nationally and internationally.

In the image you can see one of the images for which the Algarve is best known. Almonds are widely used in the region's gastronomy, especially almond sweets, exported throughout the country and abroad, which are another landmark of Algarve culture.



For most of its history, the Algarve region suffered from serious deficiencies in land access to the rest of the country, due to security problems and the presence of mountain ranges that separated it from the Alentejo. The situation only started to improve at the end of the 19th century, with the development of roads and the construction of a railway line. Due to the problems of access by land, and the presence of an extensive coastal strip, maritime and river transport were of great importance in the region, the main river axes being the Arade and the Guadiana. The Arade River served an extensive region in the interior center of the Algarve, with emphasis on the important city of Silves, while the Guadiana linked the Alentejo and the Sotavento interior to the coastal strip. The Algarve had its own road network throughout the territory, but it was still in a very incipient state, serving mainly to connect the region to the Alentejo. One of the main axes linked Faro to Vila Real de Santo António, where the boats that traveled along the Guadiana to Mértola docked.

Consequently, the south coast of Portugal has become an important point of contact, departure and arrival, for fishing activity of vital economic importance, for trade and maritime exploration. As a result of this dependence on the sea, the consumption of fish and shellfish formed, more than in other Portuguese regions, the food base of the Algarve population. The second largest industry in the region was agriculture, which was practiced not only by the inhabitants of the interior, but also by the coastal fishing communities, at certain times of the year.

The fishing industry, namely due to the creation of several canning factories, played an important role in the economy of the Algarve during a considerable part of the 20th century. At national level, the fish canning industry was born in Vila Real de Santo António, in 1865, with the inauguration of a tuna canning factory in olive oil, Ramirez. In 1917 there were 80 canning factories in the Algarve region employing 7872 people. With the arrival of tourism in the 60's of the last century, mainly with the advent of its mass form in the 80's and 90's, a good part of the canning factories closed, starting to have a growing bet on the exploitation of fish among the tourists who visit region. The cities currently most dedicated to fishing are Olhão, Tavira, Portimão and Vila Real de Santo António, with emphasis on fishing for sardines, horse mackerel, tuna, swordfish and the famous cuttlefish that gave rise to the famous recipe: cuttlefish algarvia. .



The Algarve's gastronomy dates back to the historical times of the Roman and Arab presence, constituting, along with the region's climate, one of the main points of tourist interest. The ingredients used reflect the fresh flavors of the sea and the pleasant, strong aromas of the countryside.

From the famous "arroz de razor clams" from Faro, from the beautiful grilled sardines from Portimon to the sweet "Dom Rodrigos" from Lagos, there are wonders for all tastes. The village of Monchique stands out in this chapter because it is known for its pig farming, proof of which are the well-known sausages made with pork (sauce, black pudding made with flour or farinheira, black pudding and chorizo) and hams, exhibited annually at the Feira dos Enchidos and at the Ham Fair, respectively. The arbutus brandy produced in this region is also very well known, with its own brand, which attracts people from all over to taste it. Liqueurs made with products from the region are also in demand.

Below is a list of some of the best delicacies:

typical dishes
fed horse mackerel
Leg of lamb in the pan
Pork with clams
Maize porridge, better known as Xarém
Algarvian peas with eggs
stewed partridge
Fried rabbit
Assadura à Monchique
grain stew
Algarvian stuffed squid
Algarve cuttlefish
Octopus in the oven with ribs
Tomato tuna steaks
Algarve-style fava beans
Soup with clams
garlic gazpacho

Don Rodrigo
bridal mattress
Fig and Almond "Cheese"
Nun's "Throats"
Tacho cake
Fine sweet (marzipan, eggs and sugar, almond)
Fig and almond stars
egg white pie


Local products

In this region, several products with Protected Designation of Origin are produced, including:

Honey from Serra de Monchique DOP
Sal de Tavira PDO or Flor de Sal de Tavira PDO
And products with Protected Geographical Indication such as:

Sweet potato from Aljezur (IGP)
Citrus do Algarve (IGP)


Mining extraction

The rock salt mine, located in Loulé, emerged during the geological mutation that resulted in the separation between Europe and Africa, which created the Mediterranean Sea, 250 million years ago, even before the Jurassic era.

The covering of an enormous mass of salt water by the land in a relatively short period resulted in the enormous clod at least one kilometer deep that today extends east of Loulé and it is not known where it ends. There are those who say that branches of this salt line could reach the vicinity of Barcelona, where there is a similar deposit. Starting 90 meters below the surface — after a layer of limestone (1 to 45 meters) and another of gypsum (45 to 90 meters) —, the mine has already been explored to a depth of 313 meters, but the enormous man-made galleries they are located on two levels, at 230 and 260 meters deep. The first gallery is located 64 meters below sea level. Previously carried out with the power of dynamite, pickaxes and pneumatic hammers, currently, salt extraction is carried out with a drilling machine that workers call "roçadora". After this work, the trucks that circulate inside the galleries (some larger than a common road tunnel) take the ore to a machine that breaks it down and takes it to the material transport shaft, up to the surface. A significant part of production is exported, where it is mainly used to manufacture de-icer for European roads. The mine was discovered half a century ago, thanks to a hole made in a property in Campina de Cima.

Currently, and after decades of increased production, the Loulé mine is reducing its production, however, the company that operates it intends to include the mine in the tourist itinerary of the Algarve region. The salt produced, more "salty" than that used in kitchens, is not suitable for human consumption. For the new "tertiary" tasks, equipment such as a multimedia section will have to be installed underground, between 230 and 260 meters deep, in which visitors are explained what the mine is and what it is for. Other infrastructures may also be built, such as a restaurant, sales areas based on salt stones (rock salt stone can be used to make lamps, sculptures and paperweights, for example), in addition to having to open new wells for install elevators to replace the "cages" through which workers now descend and ascend.



The University of Algarve is a public higher education institution that has a teaching staff of 700 professors for more than 10nbsp;thousand students.

The University has the following campuses:
Campus of Gambelas (Faro)
Penha Campus (Faro)
Health Campus (Faro)
Portimão Campus (Portimão)
It has the best infrastructures at national and international level, investing heavily in the area of scientific research, namely in the areas of biology (fauna and flora), developing a variety of practical activities in the Ria Formosa Natural Park. The University of Algarve prepared to inaugurate the Medicine course in the academic year 2009/2010.



The Volta ao Algarve brings the best cyclists in the world every year, including Alberto Contador in 2009, 2010, 2011 and Lance Armstrong in 2004. Clube Ciclismo de Tavira won the Volta a Portugal in 2008, 2009 and 2010 with the Spanish David Blanco, and in 2011 by Ricardo Mestre, Algarvio, born in Castro Marim. The Algarvio José Martins, born in Albufeira, won the Tour of Portugal in 1946 and 1947. Louletano Sports Club also won the Tour of Portugal with the British Cayn Theakson in 1988. In 1947 and 1948, José Martins from the Algarve won the Tour of Portugal . In mountain biking, the region also stands out for having the largest cycling school in the country at Clube BTT Terra de Loulé.

The Algarve football clubs with the most history are Sporting Clube Farense, Sporting Clube Olhanense, Portimonense Sporting Clube and Lusitano Futebol Clube. The historical milestones at national level are the presence in the Cup Final of Sporting Clube Olhanense and Sporting Clube Farense, and at international level, the presence of Portimonense Sporting Clube and Sporting Clube Farense in the UEFA Cup.

Beach football
In the summer, it is customary to take place in Praia da Rocha, in Portimão, the Mundialito de Futebol de Praia and the Portuguese stage of the European Beach Soccer League.

Although the region is not represented in the first division of national volleyball, several international championships have been held in recent years at the Portimão Arena.

beach volleyball
Due to the excellent beaches in the region, beach volleyball is also a popular sport. Highlight for the national and international tournaments in Armação de Pêra, Ferragudo and Praia da Rocha. Registration for a stage of the national beach volleyball championship in Lagos in 2008.

The Algarve has a growing offer in terms of golf courses, which is why it has become one of the main destinations worldwide in terms of the practice of this sport.

The capital of the Algarve is known for being the capital of motorcycles in Portugal. In Faro, the biggest motorcycle gathering in Europe takes place every year, which is organized by the Moto Clube de Faro. The association was created in 1979, having been legalized on February 5, 1982.

Currently with more than 400 members, it is recognized by the European Motorcycling Federation (FEMA), organizing several events annually, of which the biker rally stands out, which started with 200 participants in 1982, and which currently has more than 30,000. largest event of its kind in Portugal, with participants coming from all over Europe, namely Spain, France, United Kingdom and Italy, being one of the great tourist attractions of the city.

Motor racing
The Lisboa–Dakar Rally took place in two consecutive years (2006 and 2007) in the Algarve region. The Rally de Portugal took place in 2007 at Estádio do Algarve. It is expected that the new Autódromo Internacional do Algarve will attract new competitions that will put the Algarve on the route of the great championships of the sport. To date, it has already received some Formula 1 pre-season training, and the last round of the Superbike World Championship at its inauguration.


Works and projects

In 2004, the Estádio do Algarve was inaugurated in Parque das Cidades, between Faro and Loulé. Built for Euro 2004, the stadium is used by Sporting Clube Farense and Louletano Esportes Clube. It has also been used for football finals, such as the Cândido de Oliveira Super Cup, the League Cup final, and for other events such as the Algarve Summer Festival and the Rally de Portugal.
It was with a major sporting event — the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup — that the Portimão Arena opened its doors in September 2006, a Multipurpose Pavilion with capacity for 8,000 people, 5,325 in the case of large musical shows and 3,028 in a sporting environment , and equipped with valences such as an auditorium with 174 seats, meeting and support rooms, training rooms, press room, medical office, among others, equipment that brings together all the conditions for holding the most varied and important sporting events , musical, cultural or business and which has been asserting itself as a unique space in the south of the country. In addition, he was nominated for the best space at national level for holding congresses.
Inaugurated in 2008, the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, located in Portimão, with a total cost of 250nbsp;million euros, including the circuit itself, a kart track, a technology park, a five-star hotel, a sports complex and apartments.

Under construction
The tender for the construction of the new Hospital Central do Algarve, which will help the overcrowded Hospital Distrital de Faro and the Hospital do Barlavento Algarvio in Portimão to respond to the increase in affluence registered in recent years, particularly during the summer, has been successively postponed. The infrastructure, which will be located in Parque das Cidades, next to Estádio do Algarve and between the cities of Loulé and Faro, is not identified as a priority by the current government.