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In a region as spread out as Algarve, there is no shortage of things to do or places to see. This southern area of Portugal is best known for its resorts, beaches and golf courses, but visitors can experience much more than that. With a focus on tourists, Algarve is the perfect place to combine adventure with relaxation. Forbes Travel Guide picked out the five best activities to take on during your stay in Algarve:
1. Head to a spa in Caldas de Monchique. A popular spa stop, the waters in the Monchique Mountains are rumored to have healing properties. Spend a day relaxing in one of the area’s many luxury resorts, such as Villa Termal.
2. Spend a day at the beach. Algarve’s popularity as a tourist destination is partly due to the area’s amazing beaches and temperate climate. A trip to Algarve usually means spending a day or two playing in the sand and enjoying the region’s beautiful beaches. Popular spots for shore fun include Olhos de Agua, Praia da Coelha and Falesia Beach.
3. Check out the underwater world of Faro. If you’re interested in diving into the history of Algarve (literally), take an underwater tour off the coast of Faro, the southernmost city of Portugal. Look into companies like Hidroespaco that have experienced dive teams who can guide you through shipwrecks and other underwater sights, including reefs and submerged ruins.
4. Fortress at Sagres. Constructed during the 15th century, the Fortress at Sagres was built by Prince Henry the Navigator, destroyed by 1587 and then rebuilt in the 1780s. The imposing structure also includes a historic monastery and chapel, and it offers impressive views over the surrounding cliffs.
5. Visit Tavira. Built along the waters of the Rio Gilão, this charming old town offers visitors plenty of interesting architecture and quaint cobblestone streets. Take a walk through the area and check out the old Roman bridge and hilltop castle. It’s a quiet escape when you’re ready to get away from the Algarve beaches for the day.