Al-Gharb - The Land in the West! Because it formed part of their realm, the southernmost province of Portugal was thus named by the Arabs who occupied it and everywhere, there are castles which the Christian kings built during the Moorish Wars.
Tavira had numerous rulers, among them Romans and Greeks who established a trading centre. Unobtrusive elegance is an indication of the prosperity of bygone times and due to the city’s 30 well-preserved churches, it is referred to as The City of Churches.
Olhao is a busy fishing port, the tiled benches on its shoreline offering a relaxed view of the day’s activities. Its fishermen are said to be the most courageous in the region and in 1808, some of them crossed the Atlantic in a small boat until they reached Rio de Janeiro.
Faro is the capital of the Algarve, the heritage of numerous cultures that possesses its own unique atmosphere. Near the Baroque cathedral, the attractive centre of the old town has been well preserved and demonstrates Faro’s historic and dazzling past.
Portimao not only boasts a fishing port but also one of Algarve’s most beautiful beaches. When the Carthaginians came here from the Mediterranean, they built a harbor for their ships, the Portus Hannibalis.
The sleepy small town of Silves, formerly known as Xelb, was once the splendid capital of the Moorish Al-Gharb. The castle area is a reminder of its former Arab occupation and Christian Crusades. From the huge red sandstone Moorish castle there’s a breathtaking view across the green hills of the surrounding landscape.
The region has 300 days of sunshine each year, a breathtakingly beautiful landscape, isolated bays with red rocks, golden sandy beaches and crystal blue sea, picturesque villages and castles with a fascinating history. That is the Algarve!