Looking for a European vacation filled with world-class food, beautiful weather, stunning beaches, and affordable prices? Look no further than the Algarve in Portugal.

Lesser-known than Lisbon and Porto, this seaside region is popular with Europeans but still relatively little-known to Americans.

Get in the know! Read on to learn all about this burgeoning hotspot in the south of Portugal.

The Algarve: The Details

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Located on the southern coast of the Iberian Peninsula, the Algarve is nestled between mountains and the shore. The coastline is dotted with beautiful limestone grottoes, giving the area an old-world and picturesque look.

Temperature-wise, the Algarve has a very mild climate, with warm winters that rarely dip into freezing territory and moderate summers that typically don’t get too much higher than the 80s.

Since it’s located in Portugal,  the Algarve is part of the European Union. Because of this, it’s a popular spot for EU citizens to visit or even buy holiday homes. It’s been a popular, traditional destination for British, German, and Dutch travelers.

Gorgeous Beaches in the Algarve

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The beaches are one of the biggest draws of the area. Featuring postcard-perfect shorelines punctuated with craggy rocks and gorgeous blue waves, they’re beautiful — and perfect for a variety of seaside activities.

For sunbathers, the temperate weather and sun ensures the perfect tan. For surfers, Amoreira is a prime spot for catching some waves.

Resorts abound, including the much buzzed-about Tivoli Carvoeiro Algarve Resort, newly renovated and featuring a gorgeous spa. Or, maybe you’ll keep it simple and just stop into one of the many beachside bars for a cocktail and watch the world go by.

Arts and Culture

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The area is noted for its ceramics, including hand-painted pottery and hand-painted ceramic tiles. There are a variety of charming shops offering these wares, and some even offer workshops and classes.

But crafts aren’t the only art you’ll see in the Algarve. If you’re able, try to catch a dance performance. Corridinho is a unique type of dance that is native to the area.

Religious Tourism

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Religious tourism is a big deal in the Algarve. Every year, thousands make pilgrimages to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Piety, the patron saint of Loulé. Another popular pilgrimage? The site of the apparitions of Our Lady Mother of Goodness.

Food and Wine

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When you come to the Algarve, bring your appetite.

Feeling fancy? Lucky you. There are several Michelin-starred restaurants in the area.

However, many would argue that the best way to eat in the Algarve is far simpler (and cheaper): Focus on fresh seafood, which is a specialty of the area. You can enjoy clams, cockles, and fish cooked simply and taken from the sea just minutes before. Pro tip: Pair it with a Portuguese wine or a local Super Bock beer.

Another specialty of the region is piri piri chicken. It’s made using piri piri, a spice mixture from South Africa. Packing heat and a little sweetness, it makes for a simple yet memorable meal.

Whether it’s a fancy restaurant with white tablecloths or a hole in the wall, you’re not going to be disappointed with the food you eat in the Algarve.

Ready To Take Flight?

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With gorgeous beaches, an incredible food scene, and plenty of culture, the Algarve has all the makings of the next popular getaway for the jet-set and is still under the radar for most of the world. Why not take advantage of this hidden gem while you can?