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Armação de Pêra

Destination Weddings in Algarve

At the very southern tip of Portugal is the beautiful Algarve Region with miles and miles of beautiful white-sand beaches, great weather year-round, and a perfect mix of the modern and the ancient.

Algarve runs right across the lower tip of Portugal, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Spanish border.  This was the last region of Portugal to be captured from the Moors.  This region was not added to the modern country of Portugal until 1292.  Because of this there is still a great deal of Moorish influence in the architecture of many of the ancient Castles, Palaces, and Churches, and even today many of the homes in this region are whitewashed and then painted with brightly-colored designs, a carry-over from the days of Moorish conquest.

The capital of the region is the beautiful walled city of Faro, one of the southern-most cities in Portugal. If your interest lies in ancient architecture, including Roman ruins, then you should definitely make plans to visit this romantic city.

Ancient churches and monuments abound in Faro alongside a modern airport and several five-star hotels and fine restaurants.  As with many seaside communities in Portugal, Faro is a blend of the ancient and the ultra-modern. It is possible to spend the day exploring everything from ancient Roman ruins and Renaissance Churches and then spend the evening at a modern club, dancing and dining on a moonlit deck overlooking a romantic beach and the peaceful Atlantic Ocean.

If you are into water sports or if you are looking for a community that has been planned from the very beginning to pamper you and provide for your every whim, then Vilamoura, just to the west of Faro, may be what you are looking for.  You won’t find ancient monuments and 400-year-old-churches in Vilamoura.  Vilamoura is the largest tourist complex in Europe, catering to thousands of happy tourists each year.

Come to Vilamoura to relax, or to be as active as you want.  The city has dozens of top-notch golf courses, every water sport you can think of, five-star accommodations at every turn, hundreds of the finest restaurants you’ll find anywhere, and a nightlife that continues until dawn 365 days a year.

If you are looking for miles of unspoiled white-beaches then head a little further west to the ancient town of Lagos.  Jutting out into the ocean is one of the most colorful and interesting promontories anywhere, the Ponta da Piedade.  What makes this promontory so special are its many caves, each one ripe for exploring.

The promontory also shelters one of the most beautiful bays, the Bay of Lagos, which has some of the clearest water you will find anywhere.  This is truly a diver’s or snorkeler’s dream come true. 

Traveling in the opposite direction from Faro, toward the east, you’ll find the quaint town of Travira.  Outside of town are gently rolling hills covered in fig and almost trees, while closer to town are acre after acre of orange trees; in the springtime the sweet scent of orange blossoms fills the air and intoxicates the soul.  The architecture is almost all 18th century, with beautiful rooflines and stately chimneys, but if you stroll hand-in-hand down the romantic Travessa de Dona Brites you can marvel at the gorgeous medieval-style houses with their Gothic windows and arched portals.  And for the true romantics there is always the famous Roman Bridge which spans the beautiful Gilao River – a truly memorable sight at sunset.

Further east, very near the Spanish border, is the sleepy village town of Castro Marim.  Here you’ll be surrounded by peace and quiet as you lay on the nearly empty sand beaches and play in the warm costal waters.  Just a short walk along the beach and you will find yourself face to beak with hundreds of bright pink Flamingos,  casually eating a meal in the shallow waters.  The hills surrounding you are almost alive with millions upon millions of bright wild flowers which lead into picture postcard farms and orchards.

So whether you are looking for the total pampering that you’ll find in the tourist resort of Vilamoura, or the peace and serenity of Castro Marin – or virtually anything in between, then head south to the surprising and romantic Algarve Region of Portugal.