Local Attractions 
Places of Interest on the Algarve

Tourism and related activities are extensive and make up the bulk of the Algarve's summer economy. Fish, seafood and fruit production, which includes oranges, carob beans, figs and almonds, are important activities in the region.

Albufeira



Once a peaceful fishing village, it keeps its narrow streets in the old town and whitewashed houses perched over a charming beach. Shops, bars and restaurants fill every corner, but there are is also the old castle, the buildings which still preserve Moorish arches and interesting churches, like the one of São Sebastião. The old town has lots of live music playing in the bars around the main square.

Faro



This town is the capital of the district, with a medieval wall and a large number of monuments: Cathedral (Roman-Gothic origin), Nossa Senhora da Assuncão Convent (Renaissance), São Francisco Church (16-18th centuries). Museums to visit: Infante Dom Henrique, Regional Ethnographic, Ramalho Ortigão and Antoniano (next to the Santo António do Alto Hermitage). Other places worth visiting are the beautiful churches of São Pedro da Misericórdia and Nossa Senhora do Carmo.

Carvoeiro



Carvoeiro, with its charming sandy cove, is an old fishing village which became a popular holiday resort. There are a number of restaurants along the main street and the road parallel to it.

Lagos



Although this is essentially now an important tourist town, there are still many architectural signs of its ancient past, even a building dating originally back to around 1445 which is recorded as being Europe’s first building used as a slave market. The walls of the town in the most part remain after sections were restored, and there is also the famous 17th Century "gold" church of Santo António. Lagos has a new marina with a number of cafes and restaurants around the side where you can sit and watch the world go by.

Monchique/Caldas de Monchique



On the road up to Monchique from Portimão is the village of Caldas de Monchique that was developed in Roman times as a Spa. Here a visitor can try the curing elements of the sulphur smelling hot spring water that emerges at a constant temperature of 32º.

For fantastic views of the area take the road up to Foia – on a clear day you can see for miles.

Portimao



This was an old fishing village that has grown significantly over the years. There are a number of walks in the hills. Portimao is surrounded by a number of beautiful beaches, particularly Alvor and Praia da Rocha.

A boat Marina was recently opened adjoining Praia da Rocha and here there are a further choice of bars and restaurants in which to pass the evening.

Silves



Stones of different times and cultures overlap in this town: the castle, with its famous water cistern and walls, is of Arab origin; the Gothic Cathedral (having undergone several restoration works) was built on the site of an ancient mosque and the 12th century bridge was built where a Roman bridge formerly stood.

Tavira



Tavira along with Lagos is one of the most architecturally attractive towns in the Algarve and its origin dates back to around 2.000 BC. During the occupation of the Algarve by the Moors this town was considered of great importance due to its fishing industry.

With its inviting long beaches, typical roofs and chimneys, this picturesque town offers a beautiful view over the Gilão river and its Roman bridge. In the suburbs, in the small village of Luz there is a Renaissance church, which has been a pilgrimage place for many centuries.

Vilamoura

This is a modern, purpose-built resort where everything has been planned. The huge range of facilities include a number of golf courses, a busy marina and a casino.

Vila do Bispo/Sagres



It was here that five centuries ago Prince Henry set up a school of navigation, which played a crucial role in the Portuguese Discoveries. You can visit the magnificent Fortress (originally built in the 14th century, and later altered) and the 15th century Rosados-Ventos (a 43m diameter compass rose). Nearby, on the extreme south-western tip of the European continent is Cabo de São Vicente (Romans' Promontorium Sacrum), opening on to a vast horizon of sea and sky.