HalalBooking guide to halal-friendly holidays in the Algarve
Located on Portugal's southernmost coast, the Algarve region is known for beautiful unspoilt beaches, quaint fishing villages and fantastic weather, making it an exciting and exotic location for your next Halal holiday. The name derives from Iberia as the Muslims called the region "Algarve" which means "the West" in Arabic as it was west of Al-Andalus. The Muslims of Andalusia (the Moors) conquered Lagos in the Algarve in 716 with Silves as the region's capital. The Moors were expelled after the Reconquista, in which the Christians once again took control of the Iberian Peninsula, where they would rule to this day.
The Algarve region is a cluster of many cities and fishing villages. Its capital, Faro, is one of the most popular tourist destinations during the European summer. There is much to tempt you to the city, including an abundance of water sports, tennis and golf, leisurely strolls on the beach and delicious cuisine. This affordable and thriving holiday destination is made up of 25 towns along the coast - you can choose between a relaxed atmosphere, a bustling city and an authentic fishing village experience. Walking down the piers or the cobbled streets, you will feel right at home as the friendly locals prepare for their day, the fishermen ready their rods for the day's catch and the market people open their stalls full of fresh fish and handmade niche souvenirs. Watch as the whitewashed buildings and glazed tile roofs set the backdrop for an Algarve halal holiday to remember.
Practical information before visiting the Algarve
The most popular option to get to the Algarve from anywhere is to fly to Faro Airport (FAO). From there, the centre of Faro can be reached by bus, taxi and train. The airport is not far from the centre of Faro and the bus is perhaps the most affordable option. From Faro, the rest of the Algarve can be reached via train and bus. You can also rent a car from the airport and travel around Portugal, enjoying the beautiful views.
Portugal's Mediterranean climate is best enjoyed from April to June and from September to October. Blessed with year-round sun and clear skies for most of the year, the Algarve is a popular destination for halal winter breaks to get your dose of vitamin D.
The Algarve for the halal-conscious traveller
Moorish culture and influence have shaped the Algarve - places like Lagos, Tahira and Aljezur will take you back in time as you visit the striking 10th-century Moorish architecture. There is so much to say about the influence of the Moors; The features of agriculture, architecture, medicine and mathematics show how they shaped the way forward. The names for certain types of fruit and vegetables were derived from the Arabic language and are still used today in countries such as Portugal and Spain. They brought their skills and experience to the land and planted orchards of olives, oranges, figs, pomegranates and others which all have the benefits of good nutrition and two of which are mentioned in the Qur'an - olives and figs.
Another Arab contribution to Portuguese life are the decorative tiles called "azulejos". There is a museum in Lisbon that highlights the integral part of azulejos in Portuguese heritage and commemorates the contribution of the Moors.
Many of the old mosques were converted into churches during the Reconquista. The Algarve today has a small Muslim population, so there are not many mosques or halal food. The only mosques are in Faro, Albufeira and Portimão. If you're travelling around, be sure to pack a travel mat and a water bottle for ablutions.
Sites to visit in the Algarve
Take a boat to the legendary Bengali Caves, only accessible by boat. They are the perfect little retreat to forget all the worries of everyday life. The breathtaking blue waves crashing into the cave make for a unique sight that you will not forget. You can also go kayaking there for your dose of leisurely activity.
Praia do Camilo
Praia de Camilo in Lagos is perhaps one of the most famous beaches in the Algarve. The crystal clear waters can be reached down about 200 steps down the hill, but your efforts will be rewarded with stunning views. Splash around and enjoy family fun at this scenic and secluded beach.
Ponta da Piedade
The Algarve is home to some of the most beautiful coastlines in the world and the Ponta da Piedade is no exception. This natural formation can be viewed while climbing the cliffs or on boat tours available from many ports and beaches. There is no public transport to the area, so you will need to either drive or take a taxi before descending for your hike.
Marinha Beach is not only one of the most beautiful beaches in the Algarve, but worldwide. The beach itself is quite small but the walk up the cliffs above and the little nooks and crannies of the caves are worth the hike for some stunning coastal views.
Zoomarine is a marine park that offers family fun and showcases ocean life. Enjoy the thrilling rides, mesmerising aquarium, 4D cinema and even swim with the dolphins - an unforgettable experience for everyone!
A short drive from Faro is the city of Olhão. The city today resembles many North African cities, a symbol of the Moors who once ruled the Algarve. The architecture is unchanged but striking in its appearance and is a must-see place that stands out from the other cities. However, there aren't many sites that have much history during Moorish rule, but the well-known terracotta roofs are a reminder of history.
Halal food and restaurants in the Algarve
Algarve cuisine is varied and delicious, some of which was influenced by the Moors in the past. Halal food can be difficult to find in the Algarve apart from a few kebab stalls or Indian/Kashmir food. However, there is a wide range of vegetarian options such as pizzerias and brunch spots with fresh bread and vegetarian breakfast dishes.
As the Algarve is a coastal region, the local restaurants mainly sell delicious seafood. During your halal holiday in the Algarve, be sure to try the fresh fish and vegetables on offer in the cosy and niche eateries. Take a tour of the citrus orchards and indulge in the fresh fruit available on site. Sample the bounty of seasonal fruit in the markets and shops as an ode to the foundations of verdant gardens laid by our Moorish ancestors. Pomegranates, figs, olives, nuts and fresh juices are not only exotic, they are also beneficial and have meaning in Islam. Sample the famous Algarve fig tarts and copious amounts of fresh bread and pastries for breakfast.
Halal-friendly properties in the Algarve
Choose from over 500 Algarve properties available for your Muslim-friendly holiday on HalalBooking using our halal-friendly filters to find your ideal holiday accommodation. Choose from ‘Book Now, Pay Later’ and ‘Free Cancellation’ options and get the flexibility you deserve on your halal holiday with HalalBooking. Tailor your holiday to your liking with hotels serving halal food on site or nearby. Make sure your holiday has what you need with alcohol free stays and spa and wellness centres. Many tourists in the Algarve choose to stay in villas to give the whole family privacy and the freedom you deserve during your holiday.