The relaxed charm of Eastern Algarve is irresistible. The further east you travel the more laidback it becomes. The Ria Formosa natural park stretches along the coast forming delightful sandbar beaches reached by boat and even by a vintage train at Barril. Above the coast, rolling hills meet the unspoilt mountains of Serra do Caldeirão.
The east has many gems such as Castro Marim near the Spanish border with its ruined castle and fort watching over the Guadiana River, and Tavira which is a delightful town with its Roman bridge, picturesque castle and steep cobbled backstreets overlooked by ancient clock towers. There is also Vila Real de Santo António which is the border town with Spain and whose large square and long, straight streets with their distinctive black and white cobbles are quite striking.
Just east of Faro is the lesser known Olhão, a fishing port with a traditional market and pretty water-front gardens. The East offers simplicity rather than luxury and natural activities rather than amenities. Its climate is less windy and generally 2-3 degrees (Celsius) warmer than the West due to its closeness to Spain.
THE DIFFERENT ALGARVE REGIONS
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