The Algarve is the Arabic word (al gharb) which means "the west" is the southernmost region of mainland Portugal. With an area of 5412 sq km and a population of 451 005 inhabitants (Census 2011) (0.06% of Europe's population and 4.27% of the population of Portugal).
The Algarve is the most important tourist region of Portugal and one of the most important in Europe. Its temperate Mediterranean climate, characterized by mild winters and short summers and long, hot and dry, warm and calm waters that bathe its southern coast, its natural landscapes, historic and ethnographic and delicious and healthy cuisine are attributes that attract millions of domestic and foreign tourists every year and that make the Algarve the most visited region and one of the most developed in the country.
Tourism is the main economic activity in the Algarve, which is based on the profits of its offer remarkable economic growth thanks to the appealing climate.
The Faro International Airport, located in the capital of the region and opened in 1965, was the major impetus for the claim as the Algarve resort internationally. The Algarve has beautiful beaches and natural landscapes, which combined with the temperate Mediterranean climate makes it the most touristic province of Portugal. Today, the road links make it anywhere in the Algarve is less than an hour away from the airport. Currently the airport is the second busiest of Portugal (behind the airport Portela), having transported 5.5 million passengers in 2007.
Most tourists come from Portugal, UK, Spain, Germany, Holland and Ireland, but also registers a strong presence of French and Scandinavians.
Featured in Vilamoura, one of the best known resorts of Europe next to Falesia beach (Loulé municipality), Albufeira, considered the capital of tourism, to Praia da Rocha in Portimão and Praia da Marinha in Lagoa . Lagos is also one of the cities with the largest presence in the Algarve tourist. Its beaches are considered the best in Portugal.