Portugal is one of the most beautiful countries in Europe and it’s not surprising it’s becoming an increasingly popular holiday destination. It offers the wonderful weather, stunning beaches and usual tourist attractions you can find in many European countries but it’s not quite as touristy as Spain, as showy as France or as expensive as Italy.
Quiet and Cultured
If your idea of a good holiday involves some sigh seeing then the Algarve is not going to disappoint, with so many quaint towns and villages you’re never more than a stone’s throw away from a simpler pace of life. It’s only the past ten to twenty years that the majority of the Algarve has become such a hotspot for tourists and as a result much of the region is unspoilt by modern holiday complexes.
The ruins of Silves Castle is over twelve centuries old in some parts and offers stunning views over the town of Silves and costing only a couple of Euros to get in makes it the perfect place to explore for an hour or two. Standing right next door to this beautiful relic is Silves Cathedral with a whole host of stunning artefacts on display, whether you’re religious or not it’s hard not to feel a little humbled as you’re wondering around this Gothic building.
Fun In The Water
With just over 100 miles of coast there’s plenty of fun to be had in and on the water and one of the more popular water activities are dolphin boat trips. You can’t go anywhere in the Algarve without coming across leaflets and promotions for boat trips to see the pods of dolphins that live just off the coast.
As cheesy as it may sound this really is something the whole family can enjoy no matter what your age. Most these trips take your right out to where they know the pods have been sighted that day and you can watch as the playful dolphins swim around and under the boat almost close enough to touch – this really is a stunning sight. If you’re not used to the intense Algarve heat you’ll find a few hours flying across the Atlantic waters very refreshing, just don’t forget you still risk being burnt by the sun even if you can’t feel it.
Sun, Sea & Sand
If your idea of a great holiday is nothing more than putting your feet up for a week or two and working your way through a new book on a hot sandy beach then you’re going to be spoilt for choice. The Algarve boasts some of the most stunning beaches in Europe with most offering white gold sand and crystal clear waters that edge slowly out into the Atlantic making it perfect for paddling or going for a swim.
The more popular beaches have a selection of sun loungers and parasols you can hire for a small fee which is recommended as the intense heat doesn’t take long to get to those who aren’t used to it.
Although the Algarve maybe relatively new to the tourism table it still has plenty to offer if you’re after some excitement and a fun day out. There are two main water parks in the Algarve, AquaLand and Splash & Slide – although Splash & Slide doesn’t look quite as publicised and it’s a lot harder to find it definitely has the most to offer. Don’t try following the directions or the map on the back of their flyer, just look for the huge colourful slides (which you should see from the main road) and use your common sense.
The great thing about both these water parks is they have a great children’s pool and slides that are perfectly suitable for younger children and plenty of larger slides to keep the adults entertained all day too. You can leave your stuff in one of the lockers and pop back when you need some cash to get something to eat or drink.