The Algarve: From Port Town To Holiday Hotspot
Portugal’s Algarve region is nowadays renowned for being one Europe’s most enduringly popular tourist hotspots. With miles of stunning beaches, beautiful mountaintop vistas, family-friendly activities, charming towns and a warm climate to boot, it is perhaps no surprise that the southernmost region of Portugal has shown itself to be a favourite among holidaymakers. The many holiday villas which have sprouted up along the coast over the past decades are testament to the thousands of people who love to call the Algarve home for a few weeks every year, but how did this picturesque region become the holiday haven that it is today? The history of the Algarve is a colourful and interesting one, and there are a great number of fascinating historical sites that still attract tourists to the region to this day.
In the sixth century BC, Portus Hanibalis (nowadays known as Portimao) was founded and became a popular Mediterranean trading port. Over four hundred years later in the second century BC, a Roman occupation left behind many Roman ruins including bath complexes and fishing salt tanks, especially in the towns of Vilamoura and Praia da Luz. These ruins are still a major tourist attraction for many in the area, and are overlooked by some beautiful modern Algarve villas, popular with holidaymakers.
Visigoths and the Moorish invasion saw power over the Algarve change hands numerous times over the next thousand years, and in the 12th century, the Moorish reign came to a close as a result of a military campaign by the Kingdom of Portugal. The King of Portugal, Afonso III, began referring to himself as the King of Portugal and the Algarve, and this title was in use until as recently as 1910, when the proclamation of the Portuguese First Republic meant that the existence of the Algarve as a separate state in Portugal came to an end.
The great Lisbon earthquake and the consequence tsunami of 1755 destroyed many of the Algarve’s largest cities and caused mass reconstruction throughout the entire area. This left many of the towns with a very distinct architectural style which many tourists come to marvel at.
The Algarve wouldn’t see such mass regeneration again until the 1960s, when the surge in the availability of air travel meant an influx of holidaymakers and tourists from Britain, Holland, Ireland and Germany. Northern Europeans have little experience of the mild Mediterranean climate and the long stretches of south-facing coastline, so the Algarve firmly cemented itself as the holiday destination for many Britons. Tourism plays a large part in the economy of the Algarve region; the property market is in full swing due to the popularity of Algarve holiday villas, there is continuous investment in leisure facilities such as golf courses and spa retreats, and thousands of seasonal jobs are created every summer by the arrival of holidaymakers looking to enjoy the natural delights of the region.
Please direct press queries to Rebecca Appleton at Dakota Digital. Email or Tel: 01623 428996.
About Premier Holidays: Premier Holidays is a British company specialising in luxury holiday villas and apartments for the discerning traveller looking for a different holiday experience. Premier Holidays was founded in 1994 initially specialising in high-end villa holidays to Lanzarote and Fuerteventura and has subsequently grown into one of the most trusted and established villa holiday specialists in Europe.