7 Awesome Reasons To Run In The Algarve
The Algarve region has, over the years, established itself as a fantastic running destination. Located in the southernmost part of Portugal and surrounded on two sides by the Atlantic Ocean, The Algarve attracts millions of tourists every year. A combination of small fishing villages, stunning beaches, never-ending cliff paths, and vast rural areas, The Algarve is the perfect running holiday destination.
A travel budget of €150 a day got us running and living like kings for a week.
Whether you are an avid runner or just starting your running journey, here are the some of the reasons why you should consider The Algarve as your next running destination:
1. It offers a variety of running options
You can literally start your run from almost every town, resort, or hotel. The only notable exception are the centre of the old towns due to the narrow roads and crowded areas during high season (May - October); yet, like any other destination, you can still run in these areas during the early hours of the day. But the best running locations are just outside the town centres, minutes away by car.
The Algarve offers a wide range of options from easy country roads to challenging and technical trails:
Beach Running - stretching from the Spanish border to the most western point in Europe, there are runnable stretches of sand and dirt everywhere.
Cliff Paths - while not suitable to the faint of heart, cliff paths provide stunning views while providing a wavy and, at times, challenging workout. While most of the cliff edges are well marked, it's important to stay alert a keep a safe distance.
Country Roads - away from the town centres, The Algarve is very rural and offers some great roads with little to no traffic.
Trail Running - surrounded by national parks, the entire region offers great trail running. Places like Reserva Natural fo Sapal de Catro Marim by Faro and Costa Vicentina to the west are always as safe bet.
Boardwalks - most resorts along the coast have wide boardwalks along the beach. They are a good option for early morning runs. You can combine boardwalk and beach running to create some interesting routes.
2. It has a wide range of accommodation types
You will not have a problem finding the right accommodation for you and your family. From trailer parks to luxury resorts, runners can easily find a place that meets their requirements and budget pretty much anywhere in the region. It all depends on what you are looking for.
We stayed in central Algarve, that got us within 60 minutes of most running spots in The Algarve.
If you are renting a car, make sure to get the Linha Verde (toll road) transponder. It will save you time and money. We drove over 1200km (750 miles) and the total cost was €56.
Always remember to use a well established tour operator when selecting and booking your accommodations. Like any other desired destination, The Algarve is also the target of holiday rental scams. If the price is too good to be true or your are requested to pay via an unusual method, look elsewhere.
3. It's one of Europe's most affordable destinations
The Algarve provides you an excellent value for your hard earned cash, especially when compared to many of the other established running holiday destinations around the world. In fact, Portugal is still one of the most affordable destinations in Europe. With an average daily accommodation cost of just under €100 for double occupancy and daily food cost of €30 per person, the region offers an option for every budget.
We did enjoy good food and wine at dinner, Yet, our travel budget was €150 per day, divided as follows:
4. It has great weather year-round
Due to its geographical location, The Algarve is gifted with a temperate climate and warm weather that makes it a fantastic running destination. All year round, the Algarve enjoys one of the best climates in Europe. With only a short period of rainfall (it normally rains between November and March) and long hours of sunshine, the region offers great running weather. If you wish to avoid high temperatures, crowded beaches and premium prices, the Summer may not be right time to visit The Algarve. Yet, if you are training for a race in warm weather or have the Summer free, The Algarve will not disappoint.
5. It has something for everyone, even non-runners :)
Since running 24 hours straight should be left for the ultra marathoners and not everyone in your family may enjoy running as much as you do, any good running destination has to offer more than just running. It has to offer great entertainment.
The Algarve is also the home of several national parks, golf courses, water parks, and attractions where you and your family can relax and have fun or experience high adrenaline adventures. A quick online search will return options from extreme skydiving to relaxing boat rides. If you enjoy a round of golf, The Algarve features some of the top courses in Portugal.
6. It is safe and welcoming
The Portuguese people are known to be welcoming, helpful and easy going; The Algarve is no exception. It offers a relaxing and unique vibe when compared to other Mediterranean locations in Italy, France or Spain.
Due to early morning workouts, we are always out and about before everyone else and safety is always a concern. During our stay, we felt safe being out before the sunrise, using street parking and running on stunning; yet, very secluded locations. Even when we were 'uncertain' of our location (aka lost), we easily found someone willing to help.
English is spoken in many of the tourist areas; but, knowing a few words in the Portuguese language will get you a more authentic experience.
7. The Portuguese Cuisine
If you are not careful, The Algarve can turn your running holiday into a foodie's overload in no time. That said, Portugal's food is often described as simple and delicious; its simplicity makes it easy to find options runners won't regret during their next workout and its taste makes it a breeze to replenish the calories spent during your long runs. While the majority of restaurant menus offer a variety of fresh seafood, we found it easy to find vegetarian and vegan options.
Portugal is known for its pastry. Remember to save space for dessert when ordering your meal as portions are generous and satisfying. Pastel de Nata and coffee was our dessert of choice.
We truly hope you give The Algarve a try and enjoy it as much as we did. It was our first visit to Portugal; but definitely will not be the last...