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The Algarve

Soaring cliffs, sea caves, golden beaches, scalloped bays and sandy islands draw over four million visitors to the Algarve each year. Surrounded on two sides by the Atlantic, it's a paradise for surfers, especially along the refreshingly undeveloped west coast.

In the south, tourist hotspots harbouring massive conglomerations of holiday villas and brash resorts have action-packed activities – from splashy water parks to water sports – and vibrant nightlife spanning beach bars to sizzling nightclubs. Natural treasures here include the bird-filled lagoons and islands of the protected Parque Natural da Ria Formosa, stretching for 60km from west of the capital, Faro, to the enchanting fishing village of Cacela Velha.

Up in the hilly hinterland are historic castle towns and whitewashed villages, rolling countryside covered in cork, carob and almond trees and citrus orchards, rural farmhouse restaurants, and the wonderful Via Algarviana hiking trail crossing the region's breadth.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout The Algarve.