The Geography of the Algarve

Located on the western extreme of the Iberian Peninsula, in the south of Portugal, the Algarve is easily distinguished from the rest of the country. Not only because of its peripheral location, but also for its morphological and geological features.

The Algarve region covers 6% of Portugal’s total area and it’s 5,000 km2 wide. On the north side it is limited by the Alentejo, on the east the Guadiana River separates it from Spain and on west and south it is bathed by the Atlantic.
Due to its diversity, conditioned by the geology, the Algarve can be divided in three main regions: the Mountains (Serra), the Barrocal (place full of ruts, crags or caves) and the Littoral.

On the Littoral you will find beaches that work as a magnet for tourists from all over the world. On the Vicentina Coast (that begins a little before Sagres and spreads to the north) one can feel the presence of nature in the dark steep cliffs cut by small beaches. The south coast is attractive and invites to the pleasures of sun and sea. It offers small beaches wrapped by coloured cliffs and huge beaches framed by pine trees.

Inland you will find Barrocal that is the orchard of the Algarve, with its many green shaded almond trees, fig trees, orange trees and a rainbow made of flowers.
This is the place to find whitewashed houses, with laced chimneys and views that spread to the ocean.
Further north you’ll find the range of mountains. Not a range of high peaks and ravines, but a chain of round shapes that spread to the horizon like a petrified smooth sea.

The Littoral is a narrow strip near the coast and it is also the best place to find the best agricultural lands, most of the regional economic activity and the major urban centres.
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