The name «Algarve» derives from the Arabic word «al ghab» which means «the West» and represents the southernmost region of Continental Portugal bounded on the north by the Portuguese region of the Alentejo, east by the Guadiana River and west and south by the Atlantic Ocean.
This region is known for its destinations that provide excellent vacations to the thousands of tourists who visit the Algarve during the summer, making it the main tourist attraction in the country.
Tourism and your services are the Algarve's economic activities, causing the country to receive around 10 million visitors annually. In this region, productivity is higher than the national average.
Algarve is known for your temperate climate, with maximum temperatures all year round, making it a warmer region of the whole territory, where precipitation it's very scarce.
Is divided into 16 municipalities: Aljezur, Vila do Bispo, Monchique, Lagos, Portimão, Silves, Lagoa, Albufeira, Loulé, Faro, your capital, São Brás, Olhão, Tavira, Alcoutim, Castro Marim and Vila Real de Santo António.
The Architectural and Cultural Heritage of the Algarve shows a richness with bigs influences from different peoples and cultures, from Phoenician and Islamic archaeological vestiges, like a religious architecture with marks of the Gothic, Manueline, Renaissance and Baroque periods.
The urban clusters are divided between the coastal cities, with big affluence in the bathing season, the crowded beaches and the nightlife, as is the example of Albufeira and Portimão. However, the Algarve is also being rewarded with waves of natural wealth, which offer tranquility, like Fuzeta, a coastal fishing village that is surrounded by deserted beaches.
The mountain range that separates the Barrocal Algarvio from the Alentejo is marked by the humid, yet mild climate. It's constituted by rounded elevations, like the Mountain of Monchique that has 902m of heigth, the Mountain of Caldeirão with 589m of height, as well as the waterways and the forest and the variety, the composition by cork trees, chestnut trees, oak trees and arbutus trees.
The barrocal, which makes the transition between the mountains and the coast, is rich in fields composed of almond trees, carob trees, fig trees, orange trees, willows, thyme, rosemary and stems, and this is the area that provides most of the region's products.
Craft is known for dwarf palm baskets, leather belts and bags, copper, iron, brass or clay pieces and pieces of linen or cotton.
The Algarve coastline represents a narrow strip along the coastline that is divided between the Costa Vicentina and the South Coast. The Costa Vicentina has a natural wealth, with large cliffs and modest villages that rely on agriculture and fishing.
The south coast can be divided into two parts, the Barlavento and the Sotavento. The first one, having a very developed tourism sector, including large cities, vast population and the largest number of tourists during the bathing season.
On the other hand, Sotavento is endowed with cities with smaller dimensions, it's s more centered in the traditional sectors of agriculture, fishing and shellfish, but also receives a significant number of tourists looking for less crowded beaches and good restaurants.
Among the hills, the barrocal and the coast line, the Algarve has five protected areas:
Alentejo southwest and vicentina coast
– It’s a natural park since 1988, and is divided by the regions of Alentejo and Algarve. In the Algarve has partially the municipalities of Aljezur and Vila do Bispo.
Rocha da Pena
- It became a protected landscape in 2010, is located in the parishes of Salir and Benafim, and has a maximum altitude of 479m.
- It is a natural area in the barrocal area of the Algarve in the municipality of Loulé.
Marshland of Castro Marim and Vila Real de St. António
- It's a natural reserve since 1975, and it’s an alluvial plain on the right bank of the Guadiana river.
- Natural Park since 1987, extends along 60 km of the Algarve coastline, between Ancão (Loulé) and Manta Rota (municipality of Vila Real de Santo António). Link