In the 1960s the Algarve became a very popular destination for tourists, mainly from the United Kingdom. It has since become a common destination for people from Germany, the Netherlands and Ireland. Many of these tourists own their own property in the region. There are Algarve-based publications and newspapers written in English specifically for this community.
Tourist attractions in the region include its beaches, Mediterranean climate, safety, cuisine and relatively low costs. Well-known beaches in the Algarve range from Marinha Beach to Armação de Pêra. A well-known spa town is Caldas de Monchique. In addition to its natural features and beaches, the Algarve has invested in the creation of a network of golf courses.
In 1807, while Jean-Andoche Junot led the first Napoleonic invasion in the north of Portugal, the Algarve was occupied by Spanish troops under Manuel Godoy. Beginning in 1808, and after subsequent battles in various towns and villages, the region was the first to drive out the Spanish occupiers.
The establishment First Portuguese Republic in 1910 marked the end of the Kingdom of Portugal and the Algarve.
There's always a great range of Algarve Events throughout the year, so whenever you decide to book your holiday, you'll be sure to catch something going on! The Autódromo Internacional do Algarve (Algarve Motor Park), near Portimão, held its first event in October 2008 with the World Superbike Championships and has a calendar of motorsports events. There are powerboat championships, car rallies, motocross events, sailing and golf championships. The Algarve also knows how to party and celebrates with festivals throughout the year. Mardi Gras (normally in February) sees carnivals across the region with the most spectacular taking place in Loulé; Liberation Day (April 25th) celebrates the end of a dictatorship in Portugal; medieval festivals are held in Silves, Lagos and Castro Marim; special Easter festivals take place in São Brás de Alportel and Loulé. There is a famous Sardine Festival in Portimão and Seafood Festival in Olhão and of course - Christmas and New Year in the Algarve, with New Year's Eve parties and fireworks in all of the main tourist resorts. During the summer months we can expect open-air concerts, beach parties, jazz festivals and a whole host of other fantastic events!
Getting to the Algarve
British Airways offers daily flights from London Gatwick to Faro, with a number of low cost carriers also providing regular flights.
Car hire is available as soon as you exit along with taxis at a reasonable rate.