"The Algarve", derived from the Arabic word al-Gharb, meaning The West, is an area of outstanding beauty on the southern tip of Portugal. It occupies an area of approximately 5000 square Kilometres and has a permanent population of approximately 451000. The population triples in season to a.5million as the holiday home owners take advantage of the hot summer sun. The Algarve also attracts around 7 million visitors a year making tourism by far the biggest industry.
The municipal capital of the Algarve is Faro and it is also the international gateway boasting a very efficient airport flying to locations throughout Europe.
The Algarve is Portugals gem stone and people that visit here generally come back time and time again. The Algarve is a very safe holiday destination with very low crime rates and is generally very family friendly.
The coastline in the Algarve is one of the major draws and the variety from the natural park of the Ria Formosa to the dramatic cliffs and seacaves of the western Algarve keep p+peopled enchanted time and time again. If you are visiting the Algarve you simply need to do at least one boat trip! We have several recommendations on this website for you and will be glad to advise more.
Inland the Algarve is also truly stunning with Almonds, Figs, Oranges, Lemons and all kinds of exotic fruits growing in abundance. The best way to get close to the "interior" is on a buggy or a Jeep safari and we have several options listed on the site for you.
The Portuguese are a very hospitable people and incredibly welcoming, The Algarve in the south of Portugal is an area that generally you will find most people are able to speak English to a very high standard.
Humans have been present in southern Portugal dateing back to the Paleolithic and Neolithic periods. The presence of megalithicstones in the Vila do Bispo area provides us with evidence of this.
The Cynetes, influenced by Tartessos, were established around the sixth century BC in the Algarve. They would have been strongly influenced by the Celtici.
The Phoenicians established ports of trade along the coast around 1000 BC. The Carthaginians founded Portus Hanibalis—known now asPortimão—around 550 BC.
The Roman Republic had spread through the Iberian Peninsula in the second century BC and many Roman ruins can still be seen in the region, particularly in Lagos. Roman bath houses and fish salting tanks were discovered near the shore in several locations, particularly the ones near Vilamoura and Praia da Luz.
In the fifth century the Visigoths took control of the Algarve until the beginning of the Umayyad conquest of Hispania in 711. when the Moors conquered Lagos in 716, it was named Zawaia.
Faro, which the Christian residents had called Santa Maria, was renamed Faraon, which means "settlement of the knights." This was on account of the conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, For several years, the town of Silves was the regional capital.
In the mid-13th century, during the Reconquista, the Kingdom of Portugal conquered the region in a series of successful military campaigns against the Moors. Al-Gharb became the Kingdom of the Algarve, but battles with Muslim forces persisted. It was not until the early 14th century that the Portuguese finally secured the region against the subsequent Muslim attempts to recapture the area. King Afonso III of Portugal started calling himself King of Portugal and the Algarve. After 1471, with the conquest of several territories in the Maghreb - the area considered an extension of the Algarve - Afonso V of Portugal began fashioning himself "King of Portugal and the Algarve", referring to the European and African possessions.
Prior to the independence of Brazil, the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves (1815–1822) was an official designation for Portugal which also alluded to the Algarve. Portuguese monarchs continued used this title until the proclamation of the First Portuguese Republic in 1910. Between 1595 and 1808, the Algarve was a semi-autonomous area of Portugal with its own governor, as well as a separate taxation system.[verification needed].
In the 15th century, Prince Henry the Navigator located himself near Lagos and conducted various expeditions which established the colonies which combined comprised the Portuguese Empire. It was also from Lagos that Gil Eanes set sail in 1434 to become the first seafarer to roundCape Bojador in West Africa. The voyages of discovery brought Lagos fame and fortune. Trade flourished, the local economy boomed, and Lagos became the capital of the historical province of Algarve in 1577 and remained so until the year of the terrible Lisbon earthquake in 1755. The earthquake damaged many areas in the Algarve and a tsunami destroyed or damaged coastal fortresses, while coastal towns and villages were heavily damaged with the exception of Faro, which was protected by the sandy banks of Ria Formosa lagoon. In Lagos, the waves reached to the top of the city walls. For many Portuguese coastal regions, including the Algarve, the destructive effects of the tsunami were more disastrous than those of the actual earthquake.
In 1807, while Jean-Andoche Junot led the first Napoleonic invasion in the north of Portugal, the Algarve was occupied by Spanish troops. Starting in 1808, and after many subsequent battles in various towns and villages, the region was the first to drive out the Spanish occupiers.
The establishment first Portuguese Republic in 1910 marked the end of the Kingdom of Portugal and the Algarve and the begining of what we see today.