Seeing the True side of the Algarve

Seeing the True side of the Algarve 1Algarve – Photo Courtesy: Nina Vossen

Some times when we go on holiday somewhere, it is hard to truly experience what the place or country is really like. We get a false impression of where we stay as we are usually in a tourist area which can give you a false impression. If you really want to get to know a place then you need to get away from the trappings of the tourist industry and really immerse yourself in the local culture and also its people. By doing this you can not only have one of the best holidays in your life, but you also get a true reflection of what the place and the people are like as well. Ideally, you will require more than the usually two weeks that people go on holiday for, so that you can explore everything that takes your fancy.


The Language


Seeing the True side of the Algarve 2Beautiful Olhos d’Agua, Algarve – Photo Courtesy: Sue Elias

One of the best ways to get to know a population, and the country that they live in, is by learning the language. There are plenty of courses that you can take using the internet where you can learn Portuguese for when you visit the Algarve. Learning and speaking the language when you are on holiday will go a long way with the locals who, even though may speak English or whatever your native language is, will appreciate you making the effort to speak with them in their own language. By striking up a conversation with some of the locals, you may even be able to find some new friends who can show you the Algarve from a local person’s perspective; taking you to places and showing you sights which are frequented mainly by locals rather than tourists.


The Time of Year


The Algarve is a year round resort as it gets great weather all year round being situated in the southernmost point of Portugal. In the winter, you can get temperatures of 25°C whilst in the summer it can get as high as 45°C. If you can come in the low season then you can still get some great weather but you can avoid some of the crowds.


Seeing the True side of the Algarve 3Cliffs of the Algarve – Rock formations in the south of the Algarve, Portugal. Photo Courtesy: Sebastian Fuss

The Algarve gets, on average, 300 days of sunshine a year, so the weather is pretty much guaranteed. So you will need to avoid the summer months and also Christmas and New Year as well. Any time of the year that the schools are on holiday, you will also need to avoid as these are not only busier times, but more expensive times to visit as well. One of the best tomes to visit may be October where you still have a warm temperature, although you may get some rain, but there are also fewer tourists visiting as well.


Where you stay


Where you stay can also have a big influence on the side of the Algarve that you see. If you are staying at a hotel with lots of other tourists then it is hard to get away from that scene and immerse yourself in the local culture. It is hard to know what the local culture is sometimes when surrounded by tourists and places which cater towards them.


Seeing the True side of the Algarve 4Cacela Velha, Ria Formosa, Algarve – Photo Courtesy: Carlos Pinto

A good way to avoid this is to try renting an apartment in an area well away from all of the tourists. You may even be able to rent a house as well in an area where you find mainly locals or expats. This should help you see how the locals live and experience a different side of the Algarve. This is where speaking a bit of Portuguese can really come in handy as you can try talking to your neighbors and get some advice from them as to where you should go and what to see. They may even take you out to their local favorite restaurant and introduce you to some of their friends which can be a great way to experience the local hospitality and also the cuisine as well.

Ideally, you will need to go on holiday in the Algarve for at least a month to really get to see a different side of the Algarve and get to know some of the locals. You never know – you may just make some friends for life which will keep you coming back for years to come.


Ted Hunter has written this article for Travel Republic. Ted is a keen travel writer who likes to share his stories and experiences in his blogs that he writes.

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