Algarve, Portugal

Algarve, Portugal

Found on the south coast of Portugal, the Algarve region offers some of the most astounding beachfront vacationing in Europe, and is a must-visit destination for any Royal Holiday member looking for some sophisticated oceanside fun. The area’s shining beaches are matched only by its inland amusements, where zoos, water parks, golf courses, and outdoor activities dot the landscape, as well as dozens of charming villages and towns. No matter when they visit, Royal Holiday members will find the Algarve teeming with opportunities for excitement and relaxation.

The Royal Holiday affiliate in the region, Clube Praia da Oura, is located just east of the Albufeira city center in the middle of the Algarve, which makes it the ideal home base for exploring every corner of the coastline. Clube Praia, perched on a cliff with magnificent views of the Atlantic, offers Royal Holiday members a full range of room options, from studios to presidential suites, all with balconies, kitchenettes, and the other amenities members expect from a top-tier condominium resort. Just a short walk from the beach, the resort also features swimming pools, a full gym, tennis courts, and other entertainment options.

While ruins near Vila do Bispo suggest that the Algarve was inhabited long before the beginning of recorded history, the region has since been part of many empires and countries that have left behind their buildings and their cultures. Indeed, the area’s name itself comes from the conflict-laden past; when the Kingdom of Portugal took the region from the Islamic Moors in the 1100s, its name remained the Portuguese equivalent of its former Arabic title, Al-Gharb. Today, the Algarve has become one of Europe’s tourism capitals, with the population tripling during the peak months of summer.

Most visitors come to enjoy the beaches, and Royal Holiday members will likely want to spend some time soaking up the sun, either on the shoreline or on one of the numerous islands strung along the coast. Water sports are popular, with jet skis, sailboats, and catamarans all available. The Algarve region is also well known as an excellent destination for dolphin watching, with the best opportunities found at Mar Ilimitado at Sagres. Royal Holiday visitors traveling with children will want to head to one of the numerous waterparks in the area, such as Alcantarillha’s Aqualand and the Slide & Splash at Estombar. Others will want to walk inland from the beach to find excellent local cuisine, especially in seafood capitals like Olhão.

In addition to its many amusements, the Algarve has just as many opportunities for culture and sophistication as other European destinations. Royal Holiday members looking to relax will find numerous excellent spas, the most prominent of which are clustered around the Monchique Thermal Baths. Famous cities like Lagos, Silves, Faro, and Tavira all contain historical treasures to uncover, while Royal Holiday visitors looking for some urban excursions will do well to spend a day in Albufeira or Portimão. Perhaps the best way to experience the Algarve, however, is to hike part of the 186-mile stretch of the Via Algarviana, a coastal walking route that snakes along the entire length of the region from the Spanish border to Cape St Vincent.