Algarve; a region of many facets

It is true that the Algarve might not be as popular a backpacking destination compared to Thailand and central Europe. However, as I was in search of a heavy dose of sun and sea on my gap year, the Algarve’s call was too strong to ignore…and not a million miles away.

The Algarve is an incredibly popular destination for tourists, so it is easy to be caught out amongst the numerous tourist traps. So be warned and be wise; if it is too good to be true, it probably is. However, in my opinion, this excludes the following:

Water Sports

Although the Algarve’s sun-kissed beaches are busy, they are not near the levels of the inner city: providing you with an adequate escape from the hectic city environment. The beaches of the Algarve are famed for their water sport opportunities which you’d be mad to pass up. For the adrenaline junkies: jet-skiing and windsurfing are incredibly popular. However, as I was still tired from the flight (not scared), I opted for the tranquil experience of scuba diving in Lagos. The transparent waters allows for excellent visibility and an incredibly memorable experience.

Golfing

Golf is an incredibly popular pastime in the Algarve due to year-round fantastic weather and the gorgeous greenery that make up the courses. After my day of swimming with fishes, I was ready to show those golf balls who’s boss and attempted to show off my impressive swing. The less said about my final score the better… Due to the prestige of some of the golfing courses, it is wise to book online to avoid disappointment/expensive ‘on-the-day’ prices.

Markets

Having had quite enough of the tourists on the beaches and golfing resorts, it was high time for me to come off the beaten track and on the road to Quarteira market. I really got a feel for the ‘local’ Algarve as I watched the residents sell their wares at various stalls. However, crime is rife in these marketplaces, so make sure you keep an eye on your wallet…or the bargains you bagged might come at a bigger price than you realised…

Food and Wine

Dining in the Algarve is an experience like no other; the food and the wine are simply out of this world. As a student and therefore an avid cheese enthusiast, I was keen to try out some of the local cheeses. Highly recommended: queijo da Serra. Simply divine.

The Algarve isn’t just for sun-seeking tourists: there’s plenty more to do on the beach than lie down. So make sure you pack your snorkel, golf clubs and appetite and the Algarve will be your perfect gap year escape.

Author Bio: Jade Eva

Jade Eva is an English Literature student who has read books based in all the corners of the world. But now she wants to see it for herself. From Verona to Vegas, Peru to Portugal, Jade will see it all!

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