Glassy morning wakeboarding or surfing sessions are the perfect way to kick the early hours off, then it's over to an afternoon of regular 25 knot wind speeds for some kiting action, changing spots a few times a week. Loads of off-the-water entertainment too and all just a short hop from anywhere in Europe
The Algarve coastline extends over 200 kilometres, more than 70% of which is natural reservation. Find long dunes and lagoons on the east coast, sheltered beaches and picturesque rock faces on the central coast and sharp cliffs and big waves in the west where the coastline opens up to the power of the Atlantic. The Algarve is hugely popular with bathers in the high season, however, Portugal's south and southwest areas offer many more kiting options and less crowded beaches. All levels of rider will find something here, whether it's big winter wave riding at spots like Carrapateria (which is nice and mellow in summer), or flat water cruising on the lagoons at Alvor. Alternatively there's the hidden delights of Ria Formosa, only a short boat ride away where you're free to explore the island chains that are littered with sandbanks, lagoons and alleyways that head to the open ocean. Local knowledge is key here to get the most out of the spots as they change a lot with the tides.
WIND, WEATHER AND WATER:
March - September offers the best winds on the south coast; November - March on the west coast. Expect regular 12 - 20 knot breezes that can ramp up to 35 knots in the afternoons, still blowing as late as 7pm. The key is to be flexible as there are plenty of spots that work in the different winds, including the famous Levante wind that comes from Tarifa. West or southwest sea breezes are kiteable on most beaches on the ocean side, but pay attention to forbidden kiting signs as the beaches can be packed. Summer temps range from 24 - 31°C / 75 - 88°F and in winter, 15 – 20°C / 60 - 68°F. Water temps: 21 - 24°C / 70 - 75°F in the summer, 15 - 19°C / 59 - 66°F in the winter. Sun lovers will be right at home here with the highest sun exposure rates in Europe - 300 days a year and hardly a drop of rain.
The Algarve is 180 kilometres from Sevilla and 230 kilometres from Lisbon. Transportation is excellent, whether by car, bus, train or plane, so kiting day trips or scenic exploration is easy to organise and hassle free. Car hire is recommended to really take advantage of everything, though. Taxis are easy but expensive.
Currency: Euro (€) - £1 = €1.2 / US$1 = €0.8
Everything from camp-sites to five star boutique hotels, all set along the stunning Portuguese coast-line. Apartments are very common and basing yourself at Albufeira is a good bet to be within a drive of most places and activities.
FOOD AND DRINK:
Excellent restaurants dot the coast offering traditional Portuguese to fresh seafood and more. At night you'll be spoilt for choice in the Algarve during peak season (June, July and August). Head to Sagres, Lagos, Portimão, Albufeira, Vilamoura, Faro, Tavira or Monte Gordo for more life in the off-season.
Places like Lagos are unspoilt gems, retaining small town charisma yet teeming with action at night and satisfying the hungriest of outdoor enthusiasts by day. The Algarve's cities are stunning and you can easily spend days getting lost in them and discovering hidden restaurants, museums and shops. Why not hire a mountain bike? The scenery is spectacular.
Faro (FAO): is in the Algarve, 20 minutes from the beach. Lisbon (LIS) is 230 kilometres from the Algarve, Sevilla (SVQ) is 180 kilometres away.