Portugalâ€™s Algarve has gone from being a cheap holiday destination for British tourists, to an attractive European family getaway, to an increasingly upmarket resort area. We just told you about Europeâ€™s first 6-star hotel
opening up in the region soon, andÂ a growing number of luxurious and more sophisticated design hotels are popping up like mushrooms along the coast.
The rich and the famous have taken notice, and this year saw familiar faces like Hollywood actor Tim Robbins and French actress Catherine Deneuve descending towards the southern Portuguese shores. Joining the crowds then came Olympic medalist Michael Phelps, who flew straight from Beijing to Algarve for a few days of rest by the beach after his record-breaking performance in this yearâ€™s Olympics. It was reported that he spent â‚¬5,000 in drinks in just one night, but you donâ€™t have to spend that much or be a celebrity to enjoy the best of Algarve. There are many reasons why you should go there this month, and these are the top 10:
1. The August crowds are gone, prices have gone slightly down,Â and the weather is still great! Summer goes on in September in Algarve, and in fact, lasts through October.Â TheseÂ are the most enjoyableÂ weeks in the region.
2. I stayed at the Memmo Baleeira Hotel last year and will return again next time Iâ€™m in Sagres. The rooms look out over the pool standing on top of a cliff which also offers a view to the coast that was known as â€œthe end of the worldâ€ to the ancient Europeans before Prince Henry the Navigators’ exploration of the oceans. Even cooler is the modern design all throughout the hotel, including in the wellness center and spa.
3. An alternative to Memmo Baleeira is Pousada de Sagres, just a few steps away. It does not have the all-modern design but offers the elegance andÂ top-notch service that the Pousadas de Portugal chain is known for. Look from your window or stand by the pool and youâ€™ll see Prince Henry the Navigatorâ€™s fortress in the distance, which you may visit later in the day. Even better news is that in September there are good deals you canâ€™t get during the traditional summer months.
4. I have stayed in six Pousadas de Portugal so far and the Pousada de Tavira was one of my favorites (which I wrote about here). Being housed in a former 16th century convent, it has the historical feel of other pousadas, but the contemporary dÃ©cor gives it a light and fresh atmosphere which is just what you want when youâ€™re so close to the beach. And speaking of the beach, the little island of Tavira just outside the town of Tavira is perfect under the still-warm September sun, minus the summer overcrowding!
5. Another sign of Algarve moving towards satisfying the more refined tastes of the modern traveler is Monte Dâ€™Oiro Refugio Design Hotel. Itâ€™s located just outside Lagos, arguably Algarveâ€™s most beautiful town and with the best beaches. Every detail from the breakfast room to the outdoor swimming pool combines characteristics of the Algarve with stylish modern furnishings. A hotel of this calibre would cost you about 5 times more anywhere else, so the time to book it is now.
6. You no longer have to go to Miami or St. Tropez to experience the ultra-cool Nikki Beach. Now open in Algarveâ€™s Vilamoura, this beach club and lounge is the place to see and be seen. Surrounded by the famous marina, you can relax in luxury at the lakeside restaurant and then stay all night long for drinks. It’s only open until October, so if you donâ€™t want to have to wait until next year, go now.
7. Once youâ€™ve been-there-done-that at Nikki Beach, head to Amo-te Pine Cliffs. Located in the Sheraton Pine Cliffs Resort, this 2-year-old space is one of the new places to be at night. The ambience may feel slightly formal when you look at some of the people but overall it manages to maintain a casual attitude in service. Have a caipirinha or a sangria as you listen to house music, or move to the more chilled-out zone in the open air.
8. From Septemer 26 to the 28th, the Grand Prix of Portugal Powerboat P1 World Championship will take place in Praia da Rocha, the postcard beach by the city of PortimÃ£o. As if there werenâ€™t enough reasons to come to this big and beautiful beach, now you can watch the powerful boats cutting through the waves at speeds of over 160 kph in an exciting and spectacular contest.
9. Also in PortimÃ£o, the Formula Windsurfing World Championships will take place from September 9th to 14th. Itâ€™s the worldâ€™s largest annual windsurfing event, for which only the finest international windsurfers quality. Watch the thrilling competition from the beach, and work on your late-summer tan while youâ€™re at it.
10. What would Algarve be like without golf? The two words are almost synonymous, as this is one of the top golfing destinations not just in Europe, but of the entire world. Check out the deals for this month at the Dona Maria San Lorenzo Resort, where you can golf in the stunning 18-hole course, or if youâ€™re not into that, simply stay in the hotel with its breathtaking views of the Atlantic and world-class facilities at incredibly affordable prices. You have no excuse for not taking advantage of it.
See GoLisbon’s complete Algarve guide for all the information you’ll need about visiting Portugal’s southernmost province where it’s summer almost all year long.