Solo travel has garnered a lot of interest among tourists these last few years, and the trend doesn’t show signs of slowing down anytime soon.
However, with more planning freedom comes more responsibilities, meaning that solo travelers need to be extra thorough when choosing their destination and itinerary.
If you’re planning on going on a solo trip to Europe this fall, there’s one idyllic region in Southern Portugal that you won’t want to miss out on, and there are several reasons why.
Algarve is home to over 100 beaches, featuring some of the most beautiful coastlines in the country (and the world).
There’s a striking contrast between the soft, golden sand and vibrant turquoise water that’ll leave even the most experienced traveler stunned.
However, the breathtaking beaches aren’t Algarve’s only natural asset. The rolling hills adorned with villages and colorful vineyards feel like something right out of a movie.
Hikers will also find themselves right at home here – with such a diverse terrain and so many hiking trails scattered all across the region, the only hardship will be choosing which one to experience and which ones to forgo.
While all of Portugal is famous for its culinary marvels, this region boasts a particularly flavorful and diverse collection of local dishes that every foodie should get to try at least once.
Conquilhas à Algarvia (a clam dish), for instance, is a must-try if you’re ever in the area. The clams are freshly sourced and cooked with garlic, onion, and Portuguese sausage.
If you’re not a fan of seafood, try to find a place that serves Leitão, a dish that comprises succulent pork that’s been cooked for 24 hours after having been marinated with a rich mix of herbs and spices.
For dessert, try a Dom Rodrigo, usually made using egg threads, ground almonds, cinnamon, and simple syrup – the perfect ending to a traditional Algarvian meal.
Don’t let the great food and gorgeous scenery fool you; the Algarve boasts some of the most reasonable prices in all of Portugal.
For instance, let’s compare Faro, the region’s capital, and Lisbon.
According to Numbeo, local purchasing power is 15.2% lower in Lisbon than in Faro, and that’s due to the notable pricing differences for goods and services.
A 3-course meal at a mid-priced restaurant only costs around 40€ (~$43) in Faro, whereas that same exact meal in Lisbon would set you back 50€ (~55$), marking a 25% jump.
Though Portugal as a whole is known for offering affordable prices by Western and Southern European standards, Algarve is one of its particularly cheap regions (again, going by the same standards), so vacationing here as a solo traveler shouldn’t strain your budget too much.
True to Southern European fashion, the Algarve boasts a Mediterranean climate that brings long, dry summers and mild winters, making the region the perfect destination for those who want to pack light.
With Algarve experiencing well over 300 sunny days a year and average temperatures that range between 20°C (68°F) and 25°C (77°F), you won’t even have to say goodbye to summer just yet.
The beaches here are still going at full force even in late September and early October, so whether you’re looking for a last-minute beach getaway or just a warm autumnal retreat, this is the perfect place for you.
A Wealth of Experiences
Lastly, there’s so much to do and see in Algarve that even if the prices aren’t as low as, say, somewhere in Eastern Europe, you’ll still get a lot of value for your money.
For starters, this is the perfect place to go surfing, as the region is home to some renowned surfing spots like Praia do Zavial and Praia do Amado, fit for enthusiasts of all experience levels.
Boat and jet ski rentals are abundant here, so if you’re a fan of water-based activities, the Algarve is the place to be.
You can even take part in a dolphin-watching tour, which will provide you with the experience of a lifetime.
Most of these boat tours last 2-3 hours and are priced at 30$-45$ per person, so they’re certainly manageable in terms of budgeting.
If you’re not much of a sea person, you can take a bike tour, go hiking, or take one of the many outdoor fitness classes in the area.
One thing’s for sure – you’ll never run out of things to see and do in Algarve.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com