1 Blessed with some of Europe’s best beaches and year-round sunshine, the Algarve is a favourite among beach bums and serious surfers alike. For the latter, the south-west corner – west of Lagos on the south coast and north to Arrifana on the west coast – offers the better breaks. A choice of beaches along adjacent coastlines means you’ve a good chance of finding surfable waves in most conditions.

2 The ridiculous concentration of resorts kitted out with world class sporting facilities has seen parts of the Algarve dubbed Sportugal. It has some of the best golf courses to be found in Europe, as well as year-round tennis and leisure centres. To make the most of the weather, though, scuba diving, windsurfing, horse riding and surfing are also good to go.

3 When you get jack of packed beaches and Brit-centric resorts (and you will), grab a car and head inland. The sparse rural landscape and striking towns offer a glimpse of a more authentic Portugal. Check out the imposing fortress at Silves, the Moorish capital of the Algarve, or head for the hills around Caldas de Monchique, a 19th century spa town. For some cooling calm, the inland reserve of Barragem de Arcade is a short drive from the coast.

4 Laws preventing large scale development along the coastline west of Lagos to Sagres mean this area remains the most unspoilt. Imposing jagged rock formations create a distinct landscape, the eroding sandstone cliffs providing private grottoes perfect for some nude sunbathing. Best admired by boat from Lagos and Portimão.

5 The coast boasts a high standard of eating and drinking, with seafood featuring prominently on menus. Don’t leave without trying – pressure cooked seafood and strips of ham.

The essentials

Time from London 3 hours
Getting there easyJet fly daily from Stansted to Faro.
What to say Para ir a o praia? (How do I get to the beach?)
Price of a beer Around €2.50 for a bottle of Sagres