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Welcome to the Algarve

Photo: Alvor Marina

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Luz WebCam

Live view of Praia da Luz from the WebCam located at the
Habana Cafe in Luz

Live BeachCam from Beach Bar, Costa Teguise,Lanzarote

Click here to see Costa Teguise

Salema WebCam

Live view of Salema from the WebCam located at the
Atlantico Restaurant, Salema

Martinhal WebCam

The Harbour of Sagres and view on the fantastic Martinhal Resort

Live Current Weather, Burgau
Weather Station, Burgau, Algarve

Live Current Weather, Almancil
Weather Station, Almancil, Algarve

Live view of Espiche, Lagos, Algarve

Espiche, Lagos

Map of the Algarve, Portugal

algarve map

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Arrivals and Departures-Bristol Airport

Bristol Airport

Met Office Volcanic Ash Advisory Centres

Met Office Aviation Advisory Service

Holiday-Weather forecast for the Algarve

Algarve Weather Forecast

Live Music in the Algarve!

Live Music

Holiday homes to rent direct with the owner!

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Website displaying information on all the main areas (30+) of the AlgarveAlgarve Uncovered

Videos of the Algarve (Algarve Channel 5)

Pre-20th-Century History

British expats are following a long tradition of settlement. Phoenicians came to the Algarve first and established trading posts about 3000 years ago, followed by the Carthaginians. Next were the Romans, typically industrious during their 400-year stay - they grew wheat, barley and grapes and built roads and palaces (check out the remains at Milreu, near Faro).

Then came the Visigoths and, in 711, the North African Moors. They stayed 500 years, but later Christians obliterated as much as they could, leaving little trace of the era. However, many place names come from this time, easily spotted by the article 'al' (eg Albufeira, Aljezur, Alcoutim).

The Syrian Moors called the region in which they settled (east of Faro to Seville, Spain) al-Gharb al-Andalus (western Andalucía), which later became 'Algarve'. Another Arabic legacy is the flat-roofed house, originally used for drying almonds, figs and corn, and to escape from the night heat. Trade boomed, particularly in nuts and dried fruit, and Silves was the mighty Moorish capital, quite independent of the large Muslim emirate to the east.

The Christian Reconquista began in the early 12th century, with the wealthy Algarve as the ultimate goal. Though Dom Sancho I captured Silves and territories to the west in 1189, the Moors returned. It was not until the first half of the 13th century that the Portuguese clawed their way back for good.

Modern History

Two centuries later the Algarve had its heyday. Prince Henry the Navigator chose the appropriately end-of-the-earth Sagres as the base for his school of navigation, and had ships built and staffed in Lagos for the 15th-century exploration of Africa and Asia - seafaring triumphs that turned Portugal into a major imperial power.

A city from 1540, Faro's brief golden age slunk to a halt in 1596, during Spanish rule. Troops under the Earl of Essex, en route to England from Spain in 1597, plundered the city, burned it and carried off hundreds of priceless theological works from the bishop's palace, now part of the Bodleian Library in Oxford.

Battered Faro was rebuilt, poking its head over the parapet only to be shattered by an earthquake in 1722 and then almost flattened in the 1755 big one. In 1834 it became the Algarve's capital.

Recent History

The Algarve coastline is 155km (96mi) long and consists of five main regions. The leeward coast (or Sotavento), from Vila Real de Santo António to Faro, is fronted by a chain of sandy offshore ilhas (islands). The central coast, from Faro to Portimão, features the heaviest resort development.

The rocky windward coast (or Barlavento), from Lagos to Sagres, culminates in the wind-scoured grandeur of the Cabo de São Vicente. There's the hilly, green interior, which rises to two high mountain ranges, the Serra de Monchique and the less-visited Serra do Caldeirão, the Costa do Ouro (Golden Coast) which edges the Costa de Sagres (Bay of Sagres), and the Costa Vicentina, which stretches north from here. (Extract from Lonely Planet)


The Algarve is hilly, but traversed with rich valleys. Its highest point is the mountain range of Monchique, with a maximum altitude of 906m (Peak of the Fóia). It is composed of 5,412 square kilometres with approximately 410,000 permanent inhabitants (density of 76 inhabitants per square kilometre). This figure increases to over a million people at the height of summer due to an influx of tourists.

The region is also the home of the Ria Formosa lagoon, a nature reserve of over 170 square kilometres and a stopping place for hundreds of different birds.

The Algarve is a popular destination for tourism, primarily because of its beaches, Mediterranean climate, safety and relatively low costs. The length of the south-facing coastline is approximately 155 kilometres. Beyond the westernmost point of Cape St. Vincent it stretches a further 50 kilometres to the north.

The coastline is notable for picturesque limestone caves and grottoes, particularly around Lagos, which are accessible by powerboat. Praia da Marinha, Lagoa was classified as one of the 100 most beautiful and well preserved beaches of the world. There are many other beautiful and famous summer places such as Albufeira, Vilamoura, Praia da Rocha, Lagos, Armação de Pêra, Alvor, Monte Gordo Tavira,Salema and Sagres. It is also host to the annual Algarve Cup invitational tournament for national teams in women's football.

The Algarve's Climate

All year round, the Algarve enjoys the best climate in Europe. With only a short period of rainfall (it normally rains between November and March) and long hours of sunshine (the highest in Europe), the Algarve region is blessed with the perfect weather for tourism.

During the summer months, temperatures are quite high, which greatly favours the so-called "Beach Tourism". The Algarve is a veritable paradise for bathers. It is a region endowed with beaches of fine white sand all along its extensive coastline and a calm sea with water temperatures of around 22°C in the summer period.

Due to its relief and geographical position, the Algarve is influenced climatically by the European continent, North Africa, the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean. The maximum temperatures in the Algarve vary, throughout the year, between 15ºC and 31°C and the temperature never falls below zero in the winter. This is why tourists from Northern European countries increasingly seek out the Algarve, where they can enjoy long hours of sunshine.

Average temperatures

Air temperature in summer: 24ºC to 29ºC Air temperature in winter: 15ºC to 18ºC Seawater temperature in summer: 21ºC to 24ºC Seawater temperature in winter: 15ºC to 19ºC

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