When to visit the Algarve
The Algarve is truly a year round destination. Spring and summer is long and winter is short but mild.
This is the region in Portugal with the best climate. Whilst there is snow and negative temperatures in the northern areas of the country, in the Algarve the sun beds wait for you. Winter is also the best time of the year to find ‘out of season’ inexpensive accommodation. Winter starts on the 21st of December and ends on the 19th of March.
Summer (21st of June to the 21st of September) is the high season par excellence and also the most crowded time of the year. Tourists eager for a sun tan head for the golden sands of the many splendid beaches.
Spring and autumn open and close the bathing season and are usually warm enough to take you to the beach if you get tired of exploring the many other enchantments the Algarve has to offer.
Each season has its advantages. The golf courses are open all year round, so it is up to you to decide if you prefer to play during the warmer months of July and August, or the cooler sunny months of April through to the end of October. The Algarve’s beaches may also be enjoyed throughout the year. Many are not only known for their fantastic infinite white sand and blue cool waters, but also for their seaside restaurants, offering a great gastronomic experience. Explore the local arts and crafts during all seasons. The Algarve is famous mainly for pottery, which can prove to be an extremely interesting experience.
Opening Hours in the Algarve
Shops are opened from Monday to Friday, between 09.00hrs and 19.00hrs, with lunch break from 13.00hrs to 15.00hrs.
On Saturdays, shops open only in the morning, from 09.00hrs to 13.00hrs.
The exception is the shopping centres that do a 10.00hrs to 22.00hrs stretch 7 days a week.
The large Supermarkets also stay open until 22.00 hrs, 7 days a week.
Banks are usually opened from Monday to Friday, between 08.30hrs and 15.00hrs. Exchange houses operate everyday between 09.00hrs and 13.00hrs and from 14.00hrs to 19.00hrs.
Algarve Electricity Information
The local current is 220 AC and the connection is made by a two-pin plug.
Travellers from the USA will require a voltage converter.
Travellers from the UK will require a plug adapter and this is best bought in the UK, as they are hard to find in the Algarve.
Medical Care in the Algarve
There are numerous health clinics all over the Algarve area and some are equipped with emergency service facilities, but most of them deal with less serious situations. Some of the private clinics have emergency services too but in an emergency most tourists will visit the 24-hour hospitals in Faro, Portimão and Lagos.
Medical insurance is strongly advised, even though EU citizens can obtain a refund of most medical costs by using form E111 (available from Health Offices in your country).
There are many English-speaking doctors and dentists. Your Hotel will always be able to recommend one.
The local chemists (farmácia), recognisable by a green cross sign, will have just about anything you may require and there is always one open after hours in each area. The location of the 'duty' chemist is displayed on every chemist’s window.
Emergency Numbers in the Algarve
National Emergency Number: 112
Lagos Hospital: 282 763 034
Portimão Hospital: 282 450300
Faro Hospital: 289 803 411
289 899 900 (Faro)
289 701 399 (Olhão)
282 760 611 (Lagos)
Train station: Tel. 282 762 987 - Bus station: Tel. 282 762 944
Tourism information centres:
Lagos: Tel. 282 763 031
Sagres: Tel. 282 624 873
Aljezur: Tel. 282 998 229
Faro Airport: 289 800 800
Lagos: Tel. 282 762 930
Faro: 289 822 022
Olhão: 289 702 144
Portimão: 282 417 510
Tavira: 281 322 022