The controversial development planned by Finalalgarve on the site of an important wetlands area at Salgados near Silves is the subject of a legal challenge from a number of environmental groups.
Opponents to the development for a golf complex and resort include Bill Oddie and the RSPB, and an online petition against the development has over 32,000 signatures.
If you would like to find out more about this controversial development please read the Save Salgados article at Algarveblog.
To sign a petition against the development... sign here
Ryanair have announced new flights from Aberdeen, Cardiff, Newquay and Belfast to Faro Airport for Summer 2017. The Algarve and Spain have seen a big increase in holiday visitors in 2016 mainly due to passenger concerns regarding security.
Torrential rain has caused widespread flooding across the Algarve. Heavy downpours throughout Sunday caused widespread destruction with many of the resorts seeing streets flooded and cars swept away. An elderly man drowned when his car was submerged.
10cm of rain fell in the regions capital Faro on Sunday, and many of the resorts including Albufeira have insufficient drainage to deal with such huge volumes of water. Better weather is forecast later this week.
The Algarve's capital city Faro is overlooked by most of the summer visitors who flock to the nearby resorts. The city has a vibrant marina and attractive old town with narrow cobbled streets and small cafes and bars nestled in the shade.
Julie Dawn Fox has some inside information on this vibrant Portuguese city.
Back in 2011, the A22 motorway which connects the Spanish border at Ayamonte to the western Algarve became a toll road.
Unlike most of the toll roads in Spain, this motorway does not have entry and exit payment booths, so following a number of enquiries we have put together an information page on the payment methods options if you are planning to use the A22 toll road.
The Algarve is a wonderful location for those with a passion for walking and hiking. In the heat of the summer short coastal walks are probably the order of the day, but from September to May the region has a wonderful climate for walking.
Depending on your preference, there are rugged coastal walks to the west, flatter walks along wetland areas to the east, and beach walks just about anywhere.
Julie Dawn Fox describes some of the best walking locations in this beautiful region of Portugal. Read more about walking in the Algarve.
The England football team have been "warm weather training" in the exclusive Vale de Lobo resort near Almancil this week. The unexpected "cold snap" (temperatures reached a maximum of just over 20 degrees Celcius on Wednesday) is hardly arctic weather, but the team had been hoping for warmer temperatures to help acclimatise to the conditions they are likely to face in Brazil during the world cup in June.
The team trained wearing several layers of clothing, and much has been made of the fact that it was warmer in the UK. In fact London only recorded a maximum of 20 degrees on the same day, so this looks like a case of selective journalism. It was actually a couple of degrees warmer in London than the Algarve last Sunday, but parts of the UK were experiencing very warm weather which didn't last.
If you are a planning to visit the Algarve and have been put off by reports of bad weather, don't worry - UK temperatures were back to normal later in the week (cold and damp), and the weather in the Algarve climate has returned to the norm for the time of year (warm sunshine).
If you are travelling with Ryanair to Faro from Bournemouth Airport, there have been significant increases in long stay parking charges at Bournemouth since the new arrivals building was opened recently. Significantly lower prices are available by booking parking in advance online.
If you do not pre-book, the first day of parking is charged at £25 and subsequent days are charged at £ 20 which can run into a large bill if you are away for a couple of weeks.
If you are looking for weekend break ideas in the sun then the historic city of Faro has plenty to offer, and provides excellent transport links to the main resorts of the Algarve. Faro is very different to most of the resorts of the Algarve. The city doesn't particularly cater for tourism, but offers a great insight into Algarve life.
The old town area in the city centre is virtually tourist-free for most of the year, and is the perfect place to spend an hour or 2 away from the crowded beaches.
Faro has an attractive marina, an indoor food market and some of the best shops and restaurants in the Algarve.
To discover the city you can take the tourist train from the marina. If you have sea legs, boat trips around the Ria Formosa nature reserve and beyond are also available from the marina.
If you are thinking about travelling somewhere warmer than the UK this winter, the Algarve climate boasts some of the warmest temperatures in mainland Europe at Christmas.
Christmas is very much a family affair in Portugal, with the 24th of December being the major day of celebration. The main Christmas meal is eaten on the 24th in the evening - this traditional meal usually consists of bacalhao (dried cod fish prepared in a variety of ways). On Christmas day, the typical Portuguese table consists of a roast meal (usually turkey) and arrangement of traditional cakes and puddings (iguarias) which includes rabanadas (bread fried in egg and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar).
Most shops will be closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, although some of the main supermarkets will open for a short period on Boxing Day.
So what will the weather be like if you visit the Algarve in December? Well although some of the main resorts will be quiet, winter tourism means that the Algarve holiday season never really ends. Winter days in the Algarve are longer than in the UK, and from 12-3 temperatures typically peak at around 15-18 degrees Celcius (around 10 degrees warmer than in the UK). Nights can be a bit chilly, but nothing in comparison to the UK.
Christmas is a great time for hiring a car in the Algarve, and driving west along the coast road towards the resorts of Alvor and Lagos, or why not explore the wild coastal scenery of Sagres.
If you want a break from the UK this Christmas, we have some ideas of places to visit in the Algarve.
An animal rescue sanctuary in the Algarve requires urgent funding or it faces closure. The sanctuary is located in Estômbar close to the popular holiday resort of Portimao. The shelter was established by a British couple Peter Lee Lander and Nan Richardson, but the land is now being sold as Nan has recently passed away, and Peter is suffering from ill health.
Local volunteers are attempting to raise enough money to buy the land which has running costs of around € 2000 per week.
If you would like to help please make a donation via refugiodosburros.org
Card fees, ATM charges and poor exchange rates can end up adding a significant "hidden cost" to your holiday budget. In the past taking large amounts of cash or travellers cheques on holiday was the only option. Today, credit cards, debit cards, ATM withdrawals and online money exchanges offer cost-effective alternatives. Normally exchanging pounds for Euros in the UK will cost you around 2-3% of the amount you are changing. Exchange rates at banks and at the Post Office are likely to be less favourable than changing money on line e.g. at the Post Office, and rates are likely to be worse if you try to exchange money at the airport. Changing money in Portugal is not likely to get you the best deals. One of the main advantages of not taking large sums of Euro cash on your holiday is to reduce the risk of theft, and for this reason credit cards and debit cards would seem to be a better approach. Before travelling it is worth checking with your bank or credit card company to find out whether there is a transaction charge for withdrawals or payments abroad. Generally a charge of 1.5-3% of the transaction is charged for all withdrawals and payments. thisismoney.co.uk have some great ideas for saving money on your holiday.
The unusually cool spring weather has been blamed for a fall in "year-on-year" tourist trade in the Algarve this Easter. The high pressure weather system stuck over northern Europe has caused temperatures in the Algarve to struggle reach the seasonal average, and resulted in an unusually large amount of rain in the region.
The rain is has been unwelcome for the tourist industry, but is much needed in the Algarve which often has no rainfall from mid May until September.
The last month has seen the Euro steadily strengthening against the UK pound, yesterday reaching its highest position since October 2011, with an exchange rate of 1.15 Euros to the pound.
With the UK firmly in the grip of recession, and the UK government under pressure regarding current national debt levels, many fear that the pound may fall further.
The rise of the Euro is unwelcome news for the tourist industry in the Algarve. UK tourists provide a large injection of revenue to the Algarve economy during the summer months, and a weakening pound may cause UK tourists to consider taking holidays in the British Isles.
The rise of the Euro may also be attributed to recent economic figures which show a slight improvement in the Eurozone financial landscape.
Irish airline Aer Lingus has announced a new route from Shannon to Faro Airport next summer. With additional flights from Cork Airport also confirmed, this will provide a boost for the Algarve economy which has been badly affected by the recession in Europe over the past couple of years.
The tri-weekly flights from Shannon to Faro commence in May, and can be found for as little as € 60.
More on new Shannon to Faro Airport route.
The beaches of the Algarve have won the prestigious 2012 World Travel Association (WTA) "Top Beach Resort" award.
More about the 2012 WTA Awards.
Aside from the sun and beaches, many visitors to the Algarve cite the local seafood as a major reason for visiting the region. However, high levels of toxins in the Ria Formosa which is one of the major shellfish resources in the Algarve resulted in a ban on harvesting in August and September 2012.
Local fishermen who were banned from fishing during this period are now to receive compensation from the Portuguese government.
The European recession has had a devastating effect on many local communities throughout southern Europe. The Algarve has been no exception, and there has been an increase in crime affecting holiday visitors who provide easy prey for local criminals.
The background to the problem is the social-economic landscape in Portugal. Unemployment levels in the Algarve have increased significantly over the last 5 years bringing many of the social problems associated with poverty such as drug abuse, muggings and burglary. The economic downturn has left local residents competing for fewer jobs, and the rates of pay have decreased significantly. An influx of migrants from other areas such as Brazil, Africa and Eastern Europe has exacerbated the situation. The welfare state in Portugal is very basic, with many people having no income and unable to claim benefits leading.
There have been a number of high profile incidents involving attacks on tourists in the last couple of years, and the resource-stretched Algarve police forces are prioritising the busier tourist resorts. Some of the worst affected resorts for crimes against tourists have been Albufeira, Quarteira and Vilamoura. The eastern and western resorts have been less noticeably affected, and generally experience less crime.
Below are a few sensible precautions to follow when you are on your holiday in the algarve or anywhere else for that matter -
Over 100,000 foreign registered vehicles have been charged for the new A22 toll road during the busy tourist months of July and August. The controversial new electronic toll system has been greeted with a mixture of anger and confusion by locals and visitors, partly due to the lack of payment points and the overly-complex payment methods.
Following the conversion in 2011 of the A22 Algarve motorway to a toll road, the N125 which runs parallel to the A22 has received a huge increase in traffic as drivers look to avoid the new charges.
Now due to budgetary cutbacks, improvements to the N125 have been permanently suspended which is not good news for drivers in the Algarve. If you have experienced problems with the A22 or N125 please let us know and we will publish your comments.
The number of visitors to Faro Airport was slightly down for the first 6 months of 2012. Although the decrease is small (around 0.1%) it will be a concern for the Algarve tourist industry.
With the Euro reducing in value against the UK pound combined with an erratic UK summer it is anticipated that passenger numbers for the second half of 2012 may be an improvement on 2011.
Tourists in the Algarve are being warned to watch out for thieves who use diversionary tactics to carry out thefts of personal possessions from cars. Unscrupulous criminals are targeting tourists by slashing tyres and then playing the role of "Good Samaritan" by offering assistance in changing the wheel. Whilst the victim is distracted, an accomplice of the "Good Samaritan" steals items from the car.
The Portuguese football team will be playing a friendly against Panama in the Algarve Stadium near Faro on August 15th.
If you are on holiday in the Algarve during this week, tickets should be available on the night as the stadium has a capacity of over 30,000.
The UKs track and field athletes are undertaking their final preparations for the Olympics at a German resort in the Algarve close to the Spanish border.
The Robinson Club Quinta Da Ria in Monte Gordo to the east of Tavira is located in a quiet setting away from the larger Algarve resorts. The warm weather experienced by the Algarve is ideal for fine-tuning prior to the Olympics which start later this week. The base is used regularly by British athletes for warm weather training, particularly in the winter months.
UK stars such as Jessica Ennis have been using the resorts excellent facilities to perform their final preparations for the games which start on Friday. One notable absentee is triple-jumper Phillips Idowu who is making his own preparations for the games much to the chagrin of the British Olympics Association.
Read more on this story from The Daily Telegraph
The bill for the recent fires which damaged a large area of countryside between São Brás de Alportel and Tavira could be as high as € 10 million according to local Portuguese authorities.
The fires were finally put out at the weekend, but there is a danger of more fires breaking out with the very dry weather which is typical in the Algarve at this time of year.
A large area of the burned land was used for cork production, with many small businesses being destroyed with the fire.
Although the major tourist resorts were unaffected, visitors to the Algarve should not discard cigarettes from cars.
Photo copyright algarvedir.com
A fire has decimated a large area of countryside between São Brás de Alportel and Tavira in the eastern Algarve. The fire has destroyed a large area of countryside and several homes. read more.
With the peak holiday season approaching, temperatures in Faro are rising. 5 out of the last seven days have seen the maximum temperature surpassing 30 degrees, with a high of 34 degrees centigrade last weekend.
The pound has risen to a its strongest position against the Euro for nearly 4 years. The current exchange rate of 1 UK pound to 1.27 Euros is great news for holiday visitors to Portugal. The Eurozone financial crisis has caused the pound to steadily strengthen against the Euro for nearly a year, and combined with low prices in the Algarve it really does make sense to visit Portugal.
Read more about Algarve prices.
In December 2012, the popular A22 motorway which stretches from the Spain border to Lagos in the western Algarve became the Algarve's first toll road. Many tourist visitors will be discovering this for the first time during this summer's holiday season.
The main problem is that there are no booths for payment of the toll charge. Instead post-payment of the toll should be made at local post offices and other payment points. For tourists with rental vehicles this scheme is unworkable, especially for those who are on their way back to Faro Airport for a return flight.
You can read more about the A22 payment confusion here
A tourist was seriously injured when part of the roof at Faro Airport collapsed during storms. Check with your airline for flight delays.