With its winter popularity growing and in particular, as proven by our website statistics, with the number of visitors from the US in November and December peaking and representing almost 12% of the total number of visitors (in comparison to the number of visitors in July and August being a roughly 2%), and the same happening with visitors from Canada and other cold climates such as Sweden, its clear that many are discovering the Algarve’s secrets.
One of the reasons why the Algarve might be so appealing to people from cold climates is its mild weather, with the average temperatures ranging between 10 and 15degC in most coastal cities, between January and March. While it might not be beach weather, the dry and warm conditions make it excellent for exploring outdoors whether it is a gentle stroll along the ravishing beaches or something more active like mountain biking or kayaking. The fact that there are only a few days of rain (the Algarve has more than 300 days of sun per year) make it ideal for those wanting to run away from a merciless Winter in central or northern Europe and North America. Because you never get to experience the exhausting heat of the summer, where during most days temperatures rise above 30degC, winter makes it the perfect opportunity to explore the beautiful region of the Algarve. Nature lovers will definitely want to explore Ria Formosa, perfect for birdwatching, or to hike along the characteristic cliffs and coves of the Algarve.
Precisely due to its unique climate, a popular facility in winter is its world class golf courses. In the Algarve the seasons are reversed for golf with July/August being low season, and September/October and February/March being high season. In fact Portugal has been recently voted the world’s best golf destination and many of these award winning courses are in the Algarve where you can also find Portugal’s Best Golf Hotel 2017. Golf courses with breath-taking views over lagoons and the ocean make this one of the most sought out regions during winter.
Winter also has the advantage of not being very touristic because most people have to work and kids are in school, which means you will be able to visit the Algarve away from the busy crowds that flood the region between June and September. Enjoy the quietness of the beaches and have an ice cold beer at the local cafés by the sea.
Because winter is low season for tourism, it means prices overall will be much lower than in the other months of the year. During winter the rental prices drop hugely. For example a large 6-bedroom villa for 14 people might be 2500€/week in peak season, but in winter it is only 500€ making it about 5€ per night per person (based on 14 people). Even smaller properties work out to be excellent value with a budget of 10€ per night per person giving you a good range of properties to choose from. We have even received feedback from Canadian visitors stating that the rent is so cheap here during the winter that it is actually cheaper to fly to Portugal and rent somewhere for the winter than to pay Canadian heating bills!
Due to being off-season during the winter some facilities are closed, however the season is extending a little each year as the popularity of the Algarve grows, meaning for example this year there are more boat companies operating throughout the winter than ever before.
The Zoomarine family theme park in Guia, close to Albufeira, is one establishment that have decided to extend its working schedule. Zoomarine combines the attraction of a water park with the enchantment of an aquarium, where besides pure fun you will also learn a lot. Visiting it outside summer season means you will be able to enjoy most of the shows and rides without the crowds. The same goes for the water park Slide & Splash, another attraction that has decided to stay open for longer than usual this year and where outside of the summer you will not be faced with extended queues.
Apart from these, both the Krazy Word, a zoo where it is also possible to play paintball or crazy golf, and Lagos Zoo are open throughout the entire year for families to spend a great day. Take the opportunity to discover the local animals such as the endangered and secluded Iberian Lynx.
Winter also has the advantage of being the best season for surfing. Whether you are an experienced surfer, or just starting, the Algarve has some of the best waves in the world. Giant swells for the most daring hearts and small waves with a lot of foam for the beginners make this a popular stop for people wanting to give it a go or for professional surfers looking for the next big heat.
The overall quality of facilities in the Algarve is excellent and continues to grow each year.
For example the number of Michelin starred restaurants continues to grow see here:
And Portugal and many of our hotels have been voted the best in the world see here:
Charismatic and charming cities such as Tavira, Faro, Albufeira, Portimão or Lagos manage to conserve some of its Roman and Moorish influences, with Roman ruins from the 4th century and buildings and walls dating back to the 11th century. Let your imagination fly to the beginning of the overseas conquests while visiting the fortress of Sagres and see first-hand where Infante D.Henrique first launched its ships in 1415 and initiated the Discoveries that would shape the face of the world forever.
Algarve’s many bars and pubs will meet all budgets and tastes and give a lively vibe to this unique atmosphere in Europe.
Finally, check the programme known as “365 Algarve” for any cultural event. An initiative designed by the Secretary of State of Culture and Tourism with the Algarve Tourism Region, its purpose is to inform and to shift the cultural paradigm, improving the touristic experience. Every family member is sure to find something to enjoy!
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