Outside of the summer season, days in England are often wrapped in long hours of darkness and unpredictable climates. The majority of the winter is spent encased in duvet cocoons and thick socks, seeking refuge from the cool temperatures of the outside world. But in Portugal’s southernmost province, temperatures remain warmer than in the rest of the country throughout the year.
Perhaps best enjoyed during the off-peak season, the Portuguese Algarve is not only quieter but air travel is cheaper too. From autumn through to spring, the province is usually bathed in sunshine and opulently populated with fruits, nuts and vegetation. With a little extra breathing room, there is plenty to see and do.
Skirted in sandy coastline, boats can be taken from Lagos to explore the beautiful grottos and beaches only accessible by boat, and dolphin watching tours can be booked to view the coast’s abundance of sea life. Surf schools run throughout the year, and are able to provide equipment for hire. Slightly west, Espiche houses a large and scenic golf course upon which golfers can enjoy an 18-hole, par 72 course surrounded by the Monchique Mountains and local vineyards. The clubhouse contains a restaurant and bar from which food and drink can be enjoyed looking out over panoramic views of the surrounding area.
A short drive inland leads to clusters of small villages and towns steeped in tradition and culture. Old market towns brimming with local groceries, and mountains richly doused in agriculture frame the inner regions of the Algarve. Heading inland is perfect for those who would like to experience rural Portugal.
By Molly Lennard-Jones