Tuesday, October 21, 2008
In the next posts I will be telling you about the different regions of Portugal to help you in your next Portuguese vacation.
I will start off with probably the most well known part in all Portugal, the Algarve.
The Algarve Region was close to the epicenter of the 1755 earthquake which destroyed most of the coastline by a tsunami. Fortresses were destroyed, along with homes which lay in the lower lands. The tsunami created by the earthquake which was felt as far away as France and Northern Italy left a trail of destruction in Mainland Portugal. The Algarve and Lisbon areas were hardest hit because of their close proximity to the epicenter. Buildings were brought down by the large tremors, which were then left burning by many fires which broke out.
The years upon years of reconstruction has paid huge dividends to the area. Many of the southern Portuguese districts see tourists as an important part of the local economy. The Portuguese, especially in the south of the country, value tourists and will warmly welcome everyone. Your next Portugal vacation can be one of beauty and serenity, or a wild party that never stops.
Many tourists who vacation in Portugal may be familiar with the Algarve region in southern Portugal. The Algarve is a hot tourist destination for many Europeans because of its beautiful beaches, warm weather and safety. The Algarve´s southern facing coastline is 155 kilometers, and stretches a further 50 kilometers to the north. During the Algarve´s peek tourist season, the population more than doubles from an approximate 410,000 people to just over a million. That means that in the summer, there are more tourists vacationing in the Algarve than there are locals.
The Algarve is divided into 16 municipalities. Albufeira, Lagos, Monchique and Faro are probably the most touristic areas of the Algarve region. It´s important to note that the Faro District and the Algarve Region are co-existent, and contain the exact land mass of one another.
In the capital city of Faro, you will find the region´s international airport and many other administrative buildings. Most people who vacation in Portugal will land in Faro and then drive to the numerous resorts from there.
Lagos is very popular with tourists because of it´s scenic grottoes which are easily accessible by boat. Lagos also has a booming nightclub district which is very popular with the younger crowd. It is said that once you have visited Lagos, you will not want to leave. It is one of the true vacation paradises in the world.
The municipality of Albufeira has gone through a major reconstruction in the last 10 years, with many resorts, and newly built condos in the area. Most of course facing the water which stretches out into the horizon.
The Algarve region´s highest point, is the mountain range of Monchique, which has an altitude of 906 meters. It also has a nature reserve (Ria Formosa Lagoon) with attracts 100´s of different species of birds. The Algarve is also well known for its abundance of figs, almonds, oranges and cork.
You can start your Portugal vacation in the Algarve, but don't forget, the 'real Portugal' as they say, is in the North of the country and I will tell you about it in later posts.