Leisure & Sports > Algarve
The Algarve Region
The Algarve is one of the most important tourist regions of Portugal and Europe. Its temperate Mediterranean climate, characterized by short mild winters and long Summers hot and dry. Warm and calm waters that bathe its southern coast, its natural landscapes, historic and etnographic and delicious and healthy cuisine are attributes that attract millions of tourists from home and abroad every year, and this makes the Algarve one of the more developed regions of the country.
Currently, tourism is the economic engine of the Algarve. The old traditional province has some of the best beaches in the South of Europe and offers exceptional conditions for outdoor sports and other activities.
The Algarve is the third richest region of the country, with a per capita GDP of 87% (EU average). It occupies an area of 5.412 km2 and it resides 434 023 inhabitants (2009).
The Algarve is bordered by Alentejo to the North, South and West by the Atlantic Ocean, and to the East by the Guadiana river marking border with Spain. The highest point is situated in the Serra de Monchique, with a maximum altitude of 902 meters (Pico da Foia).
Tourism is the main economic activity of the Algarve region, giving remarkable economic growth. Thanks to the appeal of the weather and improved living conditions the Algarve is the only area of the country, outside of Lisbon and Oporto, registering a growth in populattion.
Faro International Airport, is located in the capital of the region and opened in 1965. This was a great boost for the Algarve as a seaside resort at international level. The Algarve has beautiful beaches and natural landscapes, which coupled with the temperate Mediterranean climate makes the most visited province in Portugal.
Today, the road links make the Algarve less than an hour's journey from the airport. Currently the airport is the second busiest in Portugal, having transported 5.5 million passengers is 2007.
Most tourists come from Portugal, Spain; United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands and Ireland, but there is also a strong presence of French and Scandinavians.
Although the great tourist demand is due primarily to vacations, sporting events of recent years, have contributed to a serious increase in visitors.
During the Summer the Algarve triples its population, 2.2 million in 2010 visited the Algarve.