The Algarve in a nutshell
The Algarve has a Mediterranean climate of long hot summers and mild winters. Spring and autumn are particularly beautiful and, being slightly out of the main tourist season, extremely peaceful.
Portugal, and especially The Algarve, offers an out-of-doors lifestyle - the weather is hot in the summer and pleasingly mild the rest of the year. There are ample opportunities along the beautiful coastline for all manner of water sports and the rolling power of the Atlantic draws many surfers to its long beaches. Portugal is famous for its golf courses and has exceptional facilities for, arguably, its favorite sport.
Golf is a huge attraction all-year round in the Algarve and buyers are also drawn to the Algarve for the long rental season it offers. People, who want their holiday home to make money when they are not using it, can reasonably expect to rent out their properties from Easter to late October.
Home to five championship golf courses as well as an equestrian centre and 875-berth marina, Vilamoura is set to see investment of €1bn as it enters a new phase of development adding 5,000 new residential properties.
There is a deep-rooted respect throughout the country for ancient traditions, most commonly expressed through religious festivals. Festas are held throughout the year – often celebrating Saints days but also harvest, gastronomic or sporting events. During Festas expect prayers, processions, fireworks, eating, drinking and a good deal of merry making.
Food and wine
Food and local produce are fresh and delicious – especially the seafood. Local wines deserve to be taken seriously. After decades of investment many of the reds have established an attractive and distinctive style of their own – especially the wines of the Douro. While great whites are fewer, most regions do produce good bottles. Of course the famous Vinho Verde should not be missed - usually white, light and slightly carbonated.
Portugal is one of the oldest nation states in Europe. Its foundation in 1139 pre-dates that of Spain by nearly three hundred and fifty years. The Roman Empire arrived in about 216 BC bringing nearly four centuries of stability and prosperity. As the Roman Empire collapsed the Visigoths took over. From 711 Portugal saw five centuries of Arab rule, this left a legacy that is still visible in the regions architecture, lattice chimneys, azulejos, orange groves and almond trees. Moorish rule remained undisputed for nearly three hundred years until Alfonso Henriques defeated the Moors at Ourique in 1139.
It was during its Age of Discovery that Portugal made its mark on the rest of the known world. This astounding period of conquest and exploration began in the Algarve, when Henry the Navigator set up a school of navigation in Sagres. The real breakthrough took place in 1498 when Vasco da Gama reached India - Portugal now controlled the Indian Ocean and the spice trade, and established an eastern capital at Goa. In 1500 Pedro AlvaresCabral reached Brazil and Portugal became a mercantile super power.
Healthcare along the Algarve is excellent. Some of the best available is provided by Grupo HPA Saude Private Health who has three hospitals in the Algarve.
There are numerous good schools with great facilities, which provide an excellent education for the children of both nationals and expatriates in Portugal. The Algarve regions are particularly well served by two of the most outstanding – The Nobel International School Algarve and St Julian’s in Lisbon (easily accessible from the Algarve).
What set the Algarve apart during the downturn was the continual investment in infrastructure. The upgrade of the coastal A22 motorway (stretching to Lagos and opening up the western Algarve), the improvement to the E1 (to Lisbon and Porto) and the €32m expansion of Faro Airport have helped boost economic confidence. Further development is planned at Vilamoura and Quinta do Lago.
Portugal is extremely well connected to Europe and the rest of the world. Daily flights direct to and from Faro International Airport and Lisbon International Airport.
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