The name Algarve is a derivative of "al-gharb", an Arab word meaning "land beyond". The Moors gave it to this beautiful country after conquering the Iberian Peninsula in 711. The name Algarve means "vacation paradise" for thousands of visitors that come to visit and revisit this sunny countryside.
Good new roads have opened this beautiful country for easy exploration from the West coast and all the way into Spain. The new motorway begins at the border of Spain and goes all the way to Lagos. It takes just over one hour to cross from end-to-end. There is also a motorway from Lisbon.
The main airport is at Faro in the middle of the Algarve coastline.
The South coast has an ideal climate, and many lovely sandy beaches. It is especially popular in summer but you will always find delightfully uncrowded beaches even near the busiest places. The West coast is more rugged, with steep tracks down to the beaches. This area is much less developed than the south coast, but with road improvements can now be easily reached.
Inland from the coast there are hills with the highest point Foia (902 mts.). Just below it lies the well known small town of Monchique - a gem of the Algarve. Local friuts that can be found on sale in the local market are grown there. The local drink "Medronho" that is best drunk in one of the many local taverns is brewed here.
Algarve is a great place to visit all year round. In January and February the coast is covered in white with almond blossom. It is also the season for the sweet juicy Algarve oranges. In March, orange trees and of acacias are in bloom. April is coloured with wild flowers and many colourful birds. May and June is when you see bare barks of stripped cork trees. July is the time of cherries, strawberries and melons. August and September - for grapes, figs and almonds. November is for chestnuts. And in December it is time to start picking oranges.
The rural villages and markets, cafe, restaurants, natural springs and historical sites, sandy beaches, busy coastal towns with modern tourist industry - all offer a perfect holiday and you are sure to be accompanied by good weather.