With a unique micro-climate, the Algarve really comes into its own in spring. The wild flowers bloom, the blue sky days are a preview of the summer to come and the beaches warm up during the daytime under the late spring sun.
It may not be as warm as North Africa, but temperatures around Faro can reach the late teens, even in February and March and from then on, the only way is…up!
Every beach in the Algarve is different, and there’s a golf course to suit every playing level, so here’s a quick look at southern Portugal’s highlights, as we travel east to west along the stunning Algarve coast…
One coastline, many different beaches
200 km of varied coastline is one of the Algarve’s main draws and whereas the Costa del Sol can still boast an impressive 160 km, the southern Spanish coastline is not nearly as diverse geographically. The Algarve, on the other hand, has everything from protected bays and little fishing villages to national park beaches and high cliffs. The coast’s windiest point – Cabo St. Vicente, by Sagres, is a favourite with kite surfers, with its famous landmark lighthouse and dramatic winter storms.
As you head west, from Faro, along the coast, the beaches become more subject to seasonal currents, and the temperature fluctuates, too. Main town beaches like Faro, Albufeira and Lagos are likely to be a few degrees warmer – especially in winter – whereas the more exposed, west-facing beaches at the Algarve’s furthest tip are cooler and windier, providing excellent surfing and kite surf conditions.
The best-known beaches
Starting near the Spanish border, working your way west, the main beaches are:
Tavira, Praia do Barril, Praia da Armonia and Praia Verde.
The Central Algarve’s best known beaches – located between Faro and Albufeira – include:
Praia da Falesia
Ilha de Faro
Praia da Gale
Finally, working westwards, some of the best known beaches include:
Praia da Rocha
Praia da Luz
Into the swing of things: Golf
Some of Europe’s best loved timeshare resorts, including Pestana, Hilton and the Four Seasons, are located along the Algarve, often close to a course or overlooking one – so this region is a no brainer if warm sunshine, Blue Flag beaches, a great round of golf and exhilarating walks are your idea of a battery-charging break!
While the Costa del Sol has more courses per head than any other European destination, the Algarve has more than its fair share of super golf courses, which is one of the reasons it attracts a lot of celebrity golfers and athletes, particularly in the spring and autumn.
While the Central Algarve region dominates with more coursees than the east or west, the entire coastline is dotted with clubs and courses to suit all player levels. Rounding up the golf course count, here are the best known courses and clubs in the region:
Eastern Algarve Golf Courses
§ Benamor Golf Course
§ Quinta da Ria Golf Course
§ Quinta de Cima Golf Course
§ Colina Verde Maragota Golf
§ Castro Marim Golf & Country Club
§ Monte Rei Golf & Country Club
§ Quinta do Vale Golf Resort
Central Algarve Golf Courses
(Between Albufeira and Faro)
§ Balaia Golf Village Sitio da Balaia
§ Oceânico Faldo Golf Course
§ Oceânico O’Connor Jnr Course
§ Pine Cliffs Golf
§ Salgados Golf Course
§ Oceânico Laguna Golf Course
§ Oceânico Millennium Golf Course
§ Oceânico Old Course
§ Oceânico Pinhal Golf Course
§ Oceânico Victoria Golf Course
§ Vila Sol Spa & Golf Resort
§ Vale do Lobo Ocean Golf Course
§ Pinheiros Altos Golf Course
§ Quinta do Lago North Golf Course
§ Quinta do Lago South Golf Course
§ Vale do Lobo Royal Golf Course
§ San Lorenzo Golf Course
Western Algarve Golf Courses
Golf courses between Sagres and Albufeira are classified as part of the Western Algarve.
§ Parque da Floresta Golf
§ Boavista Golf Course
§ Palmares Golf Course
§ Pestana Alto Golf Course
§ Pestana Gramacho Golf & Pestana Vale da Pinta
§ Morgado do Reguengo Golf Course
§ Le Meridien Penina Golf
§ Pestana Silves Golf Course
§ Vale de Milho Golf Course
If you’re heading to the Algarve for a late winter timeshare break, there are a number of events on at the moment such as the famous Carnival festivities which take place next weekend. Cyclists won’t want to miss the 41st Algarve Tour. See what’s on where at www.visitalgarve.pt