The Rough Guide to the Algarve

The Rough Guide to the Algarve

by Matthew Hancock


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781858288314
Publisher: DK Publishing, Inc.
Publication date: 08/26/2002
Series: Rough Guides Mini Guide Series
Edition description: REV
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 4.12(w) x 5.68(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Matthew Hancock is a freelance journalist writing regularly for national newspapers, mostly on Portugal, including The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent, and High Life (British Airways' in-flight magazine). Hancock is also the author of Rough Guide Directions: Madeira, Lisbon, and the Algarve. He is the coauthor of The Rough Guide to Portugal.

Read an Excerpt


International flights call at the coast’s main airport at the regional capital Faro, a picturesque and historic harbour town lying on the edge of important natural wetlands. These are protected by a series of sandy offshore islets - the ilhas - which front the coastline virtually all the way to the Spanish border. The sweeping beaches on the islets can be reached from Faro itself and the ports of Olhão and Fuzeta.

Just west of Faro lies a series of pupose-built resorts including Quinta do Lago, Vale de Lobo and Vilamoura, each with grand beaches and a brace of golf courses and sports facilities which has led the area to be dubbed Sportugal. North of Faro there are the impressive Roman ruins at Estói and the attractive market town of Loulé, while further inland lie small villages and walking country round the mountain ranges of the Serra do Caldeirão.

The eastern Algarve starts at Tavira - one of the region’s most instantly likeable towns within reach of another glorious offshore island beach - and covers the area up to the Spanish border at Vila Real de Santo António, taking in the smaller coastal resorts of Cabanas, Altura and Manta Rota as well as the high-rise Monte Gordo. The verdant Guadiana river valley marks the border with Spain, bolstered by impressive fortresses in the villages of Alcoutim and Castro Marim. West of here lies some of Portugal’s wildest areas, a mountainous barren landscape of small agricultural villages.

Central Algarve includes the region’s most popular resorts, as well as one of its largest towns, the functional port of Portimão. The coast contains the classic postcard images of the province - tiny bays, broken up by rocky outcrops and fantastic grottoes, at their most exotic around the major resorts of Albufeira, Armação de Pera and Carvoeiro. This stretch also contains some of the region’s biggest - if most developed - beaches at Galé, Praia da Rocha and Alvor, along with smaller resorts near great cove beaches such as Ferragudo, São Rafael and Praia da Marinha. Inland, the Moorish capital Silves, is en route to the Serra de Monchique, the highest mountain range in the south, with great walks through the cork and chestnut woods, remote villages and a beautiful old spa village in Caldas de Monchique.

The western Algarve embraces Lagos, one of the region’s liveliest historic towns which lies within reach of more fine beaches; and continues up to the cape at Sagres - site of Henry the Navigator’s naval school. In between, development is restricted around the former fishing villages of Luz, Burgau and Salema, each with cliff-backed beaches. Quieter still are the string of villages along the rougher west coast, where the cooler waters of the majestic beaches near Vila do Bispo, Carrapateira, Aljezur and Odeceixe are part of the Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina.

Table of Contents




Getting there                

Red tape and visas        

Health and insurance     

Costs, money and banks           

Information, websites and maps



Getting around  


Eating and drinking       

Sports and outdoor pursuits       

Trouble and police         



THE GUIDE                  

1 Faro and around         

2 The eastern Algarve    

3 The central Algarve     

4 The western Algarve   













Vila Real de Santo António        




Praia da Rocha





1 Western Algarve         

2 Central Algarve           

3 Eastern Algarve          

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