KITESURFING HOLIDAYS - THE ALGARVE
The land of sun and sea, the Algarve is on the southern tip of Portugal, at the southwest tip of Europe, and bathes in sunshine 300 days a year. In fact, the Algarve has the highest sun exposure rates in Europe, and hardly any rain. The coastline extends over 200 kilometres, more than 70% of which is natural reservation.
THE SET UP:
Long dunes and lagoons are abundant on the east coast, the central coast is rich in sheltered beaches and picturesque rock faces, while sharp cliffs and big waves rule in the west. When conditions allow, however, it's possible to kitesurf almost anywhere along the Algarve coast, providing you can find enough beach space.
The Algarve is hugely popular, and not just with kitesurfers. The massive appeal to kiters and surfers alike in the Algarve is that there are simply so many options for riding. If you find one beach is rammed (which can be difficult to imagine with such big and open beaches) with either other water users or beach goers, then drive a further five minutes down the road and it's likely you'll find somewhere much quieter, but equally fun and rewarding.
The winds can vary a lot, from southwest right through to southerly through northwest and northerly. But the Algarve doesn't suffer from this - it actually excels with so many different spots on offer that work in the different conditions. Expect anything from 12 to 35 knots and onshore to cross-offshore winds.
All levels of boardriders will find something, from big winter wave riding at spots like Carrapateira, right through to flat water cruising in the summer afternoon lagoons that form at Alvor. You can even get a boat to Ria Formosa to explore the island chains littered with sandbanks, lagoons and alleyways that head to the open ocean. The secret is to be flexible and take advantage of the varied conditions.
WIND & WEATHER:
May to September see the best winds – expect regular 12 to 20 knot breezes that can get ramped up to 35 knots in the afternoon. In the summer temperatures range from 24 to 31°C and in winter from 15 to a pleasant 20°C.
The water temperatures are lovely too: 21 to 24°C in summer and 15 to 19 in the winter. The Algarve features all water conditions from butter flat ideal for learning, through to waves for the more experienced riders.
Extreme Algarve's kitesurfing courses are based on the standards of the International Kiteboarding Organization (IKO) and along with their IKO instructor, safety boat and guaranteed small groups they aim to get you progressing as quickly as possible.
You can choose to just have lessons, or go on one of their 'Kite n Stay' Packages, which includes lessons and accommodation.
(00351) 91867 4079
OFF THE WATER:
As well as enjoying impressive sunshine rates, the Algarve also benefits from a very stable economy, so all the luxuries you might expect are available. Accommodation ranges from five star excess to budget hostels, with everything in between. Fresh seafood is served in abundance in restaurants along a coast that also offers a range of other culinary delights, from traditional Portuguese to your everyday pizza houses.
For those hungry for night life, the Algarve will always be a good option, particularly in peak season (June, July and August), and a little more selectively in the off season when you should head to places like Sagres, Lagos, Portimão, Albufeira, Vilamoura, Faro, Tavira and Monte Gordo.
• Picturesque coves and beaches.
• Surfing lessons.
• Traditional Portuguese Food.
Faro (FAO): Faro is in the Algarve.
Lisbon (LIS): 230 kms from the Algarve.
Sevilla (SVQ): 180 kms from the Algarve.
Portugal has excellent transport and infrastructure, so travel via plane, car, bus or train. It's helps to hire a car though, to give you the flexibility to take advantage of all that's on offer here. You can do this at the airport or in the towns.
The Algarve in Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algarve