The Algarve, Portugal’s southernmost region, is known for its Atlantic beaches and golf resorts. Whitewashed fishing villages on low cliffs overlooking sandy coves were transformed in the 1960s and now its central coast between Lagos and Faro is lined with villas, hotels, bars and restaurants. The region's western Atlantic coast and rugged interior are less developed.

Beaches range from Praia da Marinha and its dramatic sea stacks to Amado, a remote surfing favorite. The sandbar Tavira Island is a popular sun-worshiping destination, but also features the lagoon refuge Ria Formosa Natural Park. Scuba, sailing and dolphin-watching expeditions leave from points along the southern coast. The Via Algarviana hiking trail traverses the province, winding through olive groves, cork oak forests and market towns. Historic sites include Silves’ Moorish castle and the 16th-century fortress at Cape St. Vincent, Europe’s southwesternmost point. Clams with coriander and almond pastries are regional specialties.


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