Portugal's golden lining
The Algarve stretches right along Portugal's southern edge, from the Spanish border in the east to the Atlantic Ocean in the west. Its best asset? The rugged coastline – it alternates between sweeping sandy bays and hideaway coves backed by honey-hued cliffs.
When it comes to picking a place to base yourself, you've got bigger towns spread out along the coast, and quiet hamlets and sleepy fishing villages dotted in between. Each one offers up something different, from Vilamoura and its chic marina and duo of beaches, to the village of Porches, famous for its handcrafted ceramics.
The year-round climate means the Algarve caters for more than just the beach crowds – it’s one of the best places in Portugal for golf, and since it rarely gets cold, you can hit the greens any time. Another upside of the climate? The fantastic fresh cuisine – expect locally grown fruit and veg, and seafood suppers you can see being hauled off the boat.
With such a short flight time from the UK to the Algarve this is the ideal place to spend a few weeks as a family. Play golf and tennis, hike or bike through the local countryside or hop from fishing village to fishing village and find your favourite.
Flights from the UK to the Algarve take around 2 hours 40 minutes.
Summers in the Algarve get pretty scorching, so beach-goers can expect the mercury to top 30°C in July and August. The shoulder months of April, May and October stay at a pleasantly toasty low 20s, and even in winter, things rarely drop below 15°C – ideal for year-round golfers.
Currently visas are not required for UK citizens travelling to Portugal.
A service charge won’t typically be added to your restaurant bill in the Algarve, so it’s common to leave a tip of around 10% of the bill. The same goes for taxi drivers – aim for 10% or round up your fare to the nearest euro. Tipping is not expected for bar staff, hotel porters or maids, although a euro or two would be appreciated for excellent service.
The official language of Portugal is Portuguese. English is widely spoken too, so getting by is easy.