Central Algarve

This is most commercialised part of the Algarve and has everything that most tourists want. It stretches from Faro in the east to Portimão in the west, not much more than 60 km across and has the largest concentration of hotels and apartments in the country and a selection of sporting and leisure activities to suit everyone.

Most people who come to the Algarve on holiday will fly to Faro and then head off somewhere and miss out on all the history and architecture that this vibrant town has to offer.

A short distance North-west of Faro is Almancil which serves as the focal point for the resorts found along the costal stretch. This is the heart of the Algarve’s 'Golden Triangle' formed by Quinta do Lago, Vilamoura and Loulé, where you will find some of the best golf courses in Europe. Between Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo are the smaller luxury developments of Dunas Douradas and Vale do Garrão. And at the centre of everything lies the most popular resort in the Central Algarve, Albufeira

Travelling further west you’ll find the resorts of Armação de Pera and the quiet village of Porches, famed for it's pottery. Further west is Carvoeiro, a pretty little resort that retains the charms of the fishing village that it once was. Further north and inland about 13km, is the historic town of Silves, once the capital of the Algarve, lying on the banks of the River Arade.

On the other side of the Arade estuary, and strictly in West Algarve is Portimao, a busy fishing port and an important commercial centre in the Algarve and its off-shoot the lively Praia da Rocha. Just down the road is the quieter fishing village of Alvor.

But wherever you go, don't travel anywhere without your Lonely Planet Guide.