• Salema


Portugal's warm and dry south coast, the Algarve still holds elements of Portugal's Moorish past — groves of almond and orange trees, and white-domed buildings with blue trim, traditional azulejos tiles, and pointy chimneys — reminiscent of the region's minaret heritage. Stretching for some 100 miles, the region has beach resorts along the water's edge and rolling green hills dotted with orchards farther inland. The coastline varies from lagoon estuaries in the east (Tavira), to sandy beach resorts in the center (from Faro to Lagos), to rugged cliffs in the west (Sagres). It's well-discovered as a tourist destination, and if you go to the places featured in brochures, you'll find it paved, packed, and pretty stressful. Still, there are a few great beach towns left, mostly on the western tip, and this part of the Algarve, the south coast, is part of any sun-worshipper's dream.