The Algarve isn’t just for Summer! 

Do you picture the Algarve as an idyllic spot to spend summer days lazing on the beach before enjoying long, al fresco suppers as the sun sets? You’re certainly not wrong. But it’s also a fabulous place to spend the winter. In fact, winter in the Algarve delivers a whole host of benefits that the summer tourists never find out about.

Quiet beaches 

In the winter months, the Algarve’s stunning beachscapes take on a totally different feel. The sun still shines and the sea still sparkles, but the crowds of tourists have vanished. This means you can enjoy long, quiet beach walks, curl up on the sand and read a book, picnic by the shore… the Algarve’s beaches are yours to enjoy often in near solitude. You could even get a tan in December on warmer days. Alda Filipe, Sales and Marketing Director at Kronos Homes, points out:

“Portugal is just a short flight from the UK, but its climate is worlds apart. Owning a home close to the beach here means year-round potential for enjoying the great outdoors. From lazy summer days of playing on the sand and swimming in the ocean, to long coastal walks as the winter sunlight shimmers on the water, the beach is somewhere to enjoy in every season.”

Attentive service

Catching a waiter’s attention in a Portuguese restaurant in the midst of the summer madness can be a challenge. However, visit an establishment even semi-frequently over the winter months and you’ll be greeted as an old friend before too long. Attentive service can make even a weekday lunch feel special, and over the winter there’s no pressure to hurry your meal ready for the restaurant to turn the table. I recall eating at a beach restaurant one December where the diner at the next table enjoyed a lengthy nap after lunch, putting his feet up and snoozing while the ocean lapped quietly at the shore in front of us.

Resort living 

The benefits of spending winter in the Algarve are slowly being understood by an increasing number of people. At Amendoeira Golf Resort, for example, the number of owners using their properties as permanent homes has jumped from below 8% in 2020 to nearly 20% now. 

Resort living means access to a wide range of facilities, just moments from your home. At Amendoeira, residents have access to two swimming pools, six tennis courts, two padelcourts, a fully equipped gym, a one-kilometre jogging track, a football field built to FIFA’s standards and two five-a-side football pitches. There are also two challenging 18-hole golf courses, a nine-hole course, a driving range, a putting green and a golf academy. For people who work from home, it’s the ideal way to balance work life with relaxation and wellbeing – moments after you close the laptop, you can engage in a wide choice of activities without setting foot outside the resort. It’s the ultimate convenience.

Gastronomic delights 

The winter season brings a host of new flavours to the table. Al Sud, at Palmares Ocean Living & Golf, is one of the newest Michelin Star venues in the Algarve, having picked up its first star just seven months after opening. The seasonal menu includes rabbit with Monchique black pudding, apple and daikon, and a delightfully rich, comforting açorda made with John Dory, roe and garlic.

Luxury for less

The Algarve already has a reputation as one of Europe’s most affordable holiday destinations. The Post Office’s Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer 2022 ranked it the third best value holiday destination in the world. Meanwhile, the World Travel Awards 2022 voted Portugal as the Best Tourist Destination in Europe (for the fifth year in a row) and the Algarve as Europe’s Leading Beach Destination. 

The Algarve delivers a rare blend of luxury and affordability, with beautiful spas, luxury hotels and Michelin-starred restaurants all available for far less than you might expect – particularly during the quieter winter months. This is particularly beneficial for those seeking wellness benefits during the shorter, darker winter days. Christina Hippisley, General Manager of the Portuguese Chamber of Commerce in the UK, observes:

“The Algarve is wellness embodied in a region. From its clean air to the pace of life to the ample opportunities to keep fit, it has the perfect outdoor lifestyle to appeal to buyers tired of the stress and pollution back home. The abundance of luxurious spas and wellness centres is an added bonus, while the local gastronomy is both healthy and delicious. It’s a very special place to live for those focused on their personal health and wellness.”

I think, for me, what really appeals about the Algarve in winter is the sense of calm. You can find the space to feel the warmth of the sun on your face while feeling at peace with the serenity around you. Nothing is rushed. It’s like the whole region releases a long-held breath after the hectic summer months. If you need space to ground yourself this winter, the Algarve is where you’ll find it. 

Written by: Louise Taylor

Louise Taylor is a professional freelance writer whose content covers travel, tourism and languages. She has a particular interest in overseas property and is happiest when writing about Portugal and Spain.