Located in the southern region of Portugal, Algarve proudly stands as one of Europe’s premier destinations for unforgettable, amazing vacations. The Algarve boasts a well-deserved reputation for its delectable cuisine, captivating landscapes and villages, idyllic beaches, and year-round sunshine (more than 3,000 hours of sunshine and blue skies every year!).


Each year, thousands of holidaymakers flock to our enchanting corner of the world, with a significant number hailing from the UK, drawn by the mere 2.5-hour journey. While many quickly come to appreciate the Algarve’s charm as a top-notch destination, only some are privy to its intriguing historical quirks.


In this article, we will delve into five captivating facts about the Algarve, some of which might even surprise our fellow countrymen and women from other regions of Portugal.


#1 – Algarve is Filled with Natural Thermal Springs

Algarve is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty, spanning from the pristine coastline to the rugged hinterlands, complete with lush forests and scenic natural reserves. What remains relatively undiscovered by many visitors is the Algarve’s hidden treasure of natural thermal springs (and there are a lot of them!).


Known as “Fontes Naturais” among the locals, these thermal springs are scattered throughout the Algarve, offering the region’s residents a well-kept secret of healing and rejuvenation. From the eastern to western reaches of the region, you’ll encounter various public bathing spots supplied by these geothermal springs.


#2 – Algarve Has A Lot Of Blue Flag Beaches

While the Algarve is renowned for its pristine beaches, it might surprise you to learn that it holds the title of having the highest number of Blue Flag beaches in all of Portugal. Over the years, the Algarve has consistently upheld its stellar reputation for maintaining its beaches with the utmost cleanliness, accessibility, safety measures, and eco-friendliness.

In the year 2022 alone, an impressive total of 86 beaches and four marinas proudly earned the prestigious Blue Flag accolade, solidifying the Algarve’s commitment to offering top-tier coastal experiences.


#3 – Algarve is One Of The Least Populated Areas in Europe

Algarve attracts a significant number of holidaymakers each year, but it may come as a surprise that the region is relatively thinly populated. In fact, the Algarve stands out as one of the least densely populated areas in Europe, with an approximate count of only 76 residents per square kilometer. This starkly contrasts with the United Kingdom, where the population density is significantly higher, at around 267 residents per square kilometer. This stark difference in population density helps explain why the Algarve remains a preferred destination among British, French, and German tourists! 


#4 – Algarve’s Age of Discoveries

During the Age of Discoveries spanning the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal’s Algarve region served as the birthplace of many renowned explorers. Among these exceptional individuals, Vasco da Gama stands out as the first European to reach India by sea, while Gil Eanes achieved the remarkable feat of navigating beyond the previously shrouded Cape Bojador, challenging superstitions and taboos. Additionally, Pedro Alvares Cabral is credited with being the European discoverer of Brazil. This era undoubtedly brimmed with excitement, marked by extensive exploration and advancement.


Notably, the wealth amassed from Portugal’s colonies during this period played a pivotal role in financing ambitious construction endeavors in the Algarve. These included the creation of fortified towns like Silves and Faro, alongside the construction of opulent churches and monasteries, exemplifying a flourishing era of development and architectural splendor.


#5 – Algarve Has An Amazing Culture and Cuisine

From Algarve captivating traditional dance performances and music festivals, numerous opportunities await you to completely immerse yourself in the rich local culture while you explore this enchanting and picturesque region of Portugal. 


For instance, you can delve headfirst into the delectable culinary traditions of the Algarve, indulging your inner food enthusiast. Classic dishes like caldeirada, a savory fish stew, or pastéis de bacalhau, beloved codfish cakes, stand as just two examples of local Algarve cuisine that has been cherished and passed down through generations in the area. These culinary delights are the perfect way to savor the region’s essence after a full day of exploration.