Sports and outdoors Algarve 2011, a guide to outdoor and sports activities available in the Algarve region of Portugal.
Golf in Algarve is fantastic, this area is a true golf Mecca. Facilities are first class and there is a great choice of excellent golf courses including Alto golf designed by Sir Henry Cotton. Balaia golf course is popular with beginners. Castro Marim and Benamor are both par 71 courses. Gramacho golf course at Pestana Carvoeiro is a nine hole. The Parque da Floresta is a challenging par 72 and Pinheiro Altos offers woods and water courses. There is the Penina golf academy if you want to improve by the Penina Championship course. The Quita da Ria par 72 is located near the Ria Formosa nature reserve. Quinta do Lago par 72 has often hosted the Portuguese open. Salgados has a hair raising fourteenth coastal hole. San Lorenzo golf club is ranked by World Golf magazine amongst the best five golf courses in mainland Europe. Sheraton Pine Cliffs is a par 33 nine hole by the sea with an interesting last hole. The Old Course in Vlamoura has been going strong since 1969. Villa de Milho is a challenging nine hole and Vila Sol an 18 hole with an additional 9 hole loop. The Royal Course, Vale do Lobo is a par 72 with cliff top interest. The 27 hole Palmares course near Lagos, designed by Robert Trent Jones II, is in a wonderful setting by the sea.
Windsurfing in Algarve is particularly popular at Praia de Salema and Praia do Matinhal where westerly winds are prevalent.
Fishing in Algarve is interesting as the deep waters off-shore attract marlin and sharks and from June to September Big Game Fishing is available.
Walking in Algarve can be lovely. The Benagil-Senhora da Rocha trek along the coast offers beautiful sea views from the top of the cliffs. The Burgau trek from Luz to Salema is another popular coastal walk. The three hour climb up Rocha dos Soidos will get the heart racing and you can visit one of the Algarve’s most charming villages Alte at the same time. The dune walk at Esteveira is another variant. You can really test yourself in the Serra da Monchique hills on the Monchique – Foia – Monchique 11km circuit or there is the Penina circuit for experienced walkers. The Tavira National Forest offers a shady option.
Horse riding in Algarve is very nice in the woodland by Bensafrim near Lagos or you can mount a Lusitano and try a coastal trek.
Bird watching in Algarve has lots to offer. From Cabo de Sao Vecente you can expect to spot a wide variety of birds including griffon, Egyptian vultures, eagles and storks and in the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa/Sao Lourenco and Quinta do Largo you will come across spoonbill, flamingo, purple gallinule, teal and pintail. The Reserva Natural do Sapal is home to plovers and wading birds.
Tennis in Algarve is also very big and there are numerous academies in the region as well as prestigious tournaments.
Cycling in Algarve is popular and bicycle hire is readily available, you can road cycle or explore tracks in the countryside.
Sailing in Algarve is readily available with everything from trips in schooners to dingy hire. There are often race events in the area.
Surfing in Algarve is big news and there are surf competitions all summer long. Praia do Armado is a favorite for big Atlantic wave breaks. Praia da Arrifana is another hot spot.
Kayak outings allow you discover the wildlife of the Barragen de Bravura, a freshwater reservoir.
Scuba diving is highly reputed around the Ponta de Sagres where you can explore caves and tunnels. There are also historic ship wrecks to explore off the Algarve coast. The rocky shores are also excellent for snorkeling.
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