This is the last posting of Europe, where the continent ends and gives way to the vast ocean. It is no great surprise that history’s great explorers used this part of the world from which to launch daring expeditions. The Algarve has inspired men and women for centuries, and continues to do so as we hurtle towards the third decade of the 21st. Writers, poets, artists, explorers, revolutionaries, ordinary men and women — the Algarve has stirred something in them all.
Of course, there isn’t a huge amount of stirring done at the beach. The sun, sea and sand is what this part of Portugal is most famous for. The utter relaxation that comes with lying on the beach is best experienced here, with a cold cerveja in hand and a good book to keep you company. Travel isn’t always about the intrepid — sometimes it is about regeneration.
So what do you think of when someone mentions the Algarve? Do you think of picturesque fishing villages, home to Europe’s friendliest people and its most alluring corners? Do you think of the history, centuries of conflict and co-existence that has created something truly unique? Do you think of the architecture, of the churches and castles that make similar setting look positively amateur by comparison? Or do you think of the beaches, of the coves and caves, the search for serenity and the tranquility of time? The Algarve makes poets of us all.