Over the last few decades, the Algarve has become the premier tourist destination in Portugal. Travelers from around the world flock there every summer for the gorgeous golden sands, rolling hills, and breathtaking cliffs. It’s not all about the beaches though, the quiet castle towns offer their own beauty and charm for you to take in, and the golf courses of the Algarve are world renowned. There is really a wide variety of things to do and see from town-to-town, so let’s take a look at the five best towns to visit and what they have to offer.
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Known for its abundant nightlife and young crowd, Lagos has a reputation as a bit of a party town, but there is more to it than just the vibrant party atmosphere. The stunning coves and beautiful, sweeping beaches attract surfers in to catch the amazing waves and then hit the clubs and bars when the sun goes down. Picturesque homes and cobblestone streets, along with a rich history, are a must for sightseers, and Lagos is known for being an excellent destination for backpackers as well.
Tavira is referred to as the Venice of Portugal, thanks to the Rio Gilao running through its center and the elegance of the homes and buildings within. That’s not all that Tavira has to offer for those seeking beauty and history in architecture, there are castle ruins, 37 churches, and a multitude of 16th-18th century buildings to be seen. Finally, the Igreja da Misericordia, a renaissance monument built in the 1540s, is a must see with its striking arched, carved doorway that is topped with magnificent statues.
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This gorgeous town is centered in Serra de Monchique, Algarve’s forested mountain range. It’s a nice contrast to the coastal regions that the Algarve is known for. It is known to be a great region for hiking, horseback riding, and bicycling, but it also features lesser known but no less rewarding experiences in hidden spas and a private zoo for endangered species. It really is a great region to visit if you are looking for a more laid back and relaxing experience in the Algarve.
Silves’ two biggest attractions are the Castle and the Museu Municipal de Arqueologia. The Castle, restored in 1835, has a fantastic view over the town and nearby countryside. As you walk around its sandstone walls, you can see the site’s Roman past in the unfinished archaeological digs throughout. The Castle is believed to have been built in the 11th century, and shows evidence of its Moorish occupation with its deep well and water cistern.
The Museu Municipal de Arqueologia was founded after a Moorish well, over three times as deep as the one in the Castle, was discovered, along with numerous archaeological sites in the area. The museum displays pieces from prehistoric, Roman, and Moorish times, and has one glass wall that displays a supporting fort wall of the building.
Located on the southernmost end of the Algarve, the Faro is a great place to visit if you are looking for entertainment and nightlife, with a little sightseeing and history thrown in. If you are a younger traveler, the Rua do Prior features multiple bars and clubs with students from the area keeping them going every night, especially on weekends. The Taverna da Se is an in-crowd bar that you will also find to be going strong every night of the week. If you are looking for a more low key bar, A Capelinha is a beautiful outdoor bar centered around a fountain where you can enjoy excellent sangria while browsing the internet on the computers they have supplied.
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As to the entertainment aspect, you can find drama, music, and dance at the Teatro Lethes, a building that was built in 1603 and adapted into a theater in 1874. If football is your thing, Faro has its own team, the SC Farense, and you can catch one of their games at the 30,000 seat Estadio Intermunicipal do Algarve.
Finally, if you want to do some sightseeing, be sure and check out the Se. The Se was finished in 1251 on the site of a former Roman temple and Visigoth cathedral. It features several of the old chapels and gate, as well as beautiful tile work, a baroque organ, and beautiful carvings. You also can climb on to the rooftop and get a magnificent view of the surrounding town and countryside.
As you can see, no matter what kind of holiday you have planned, the Algarve has something to accommodate you. The Algarve villas are amongst the best type of holiday accommodation available in the region and the Owner’s Direct website has a lot for you to choose from.
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