Why Algarve, Portugal should be your top travel destination in 2021
Portugal emerged from the initial lockdown and subsequent restrictions with its reputation as one of the safest and most stable countries in the world undamaged. Portugal was the first European country to be receive the Safe Travels certification from the World Travel & Tourism Council and Algarve beaches were voted the world’s best beach destination at 2020’s World Travel awards. Although Portugal was severely impacted by the virus in late 2020 and early 2021, in recent weeks the country's infection rate has lowered dramatically and is now among the lowest in Europe. The procedures that were in place in 2020 to make the Algarve such a great and safe place to visit, are in action to ensure visitors in 2021 have a fabulous Algarve and Portugal experience.
Portugal now accepts negative Antigen tests (taken within 24 hours before boarding), as well as PCR tests (taken within 72 hours) for entry into the country.
The things that have made the Algarve such a popular destination over the years are even more important now. The climate delivering daily doses of vitamin D and sunlight to lift our spirits; healthy, locally sourced food to enjoy; small villages and open spaces to explore and clean air to breath; amazing caves to discover, ancient castles and pretty churches to explore, endless beaches to stroll. We gave you 19 reasons to visit the Algarve in 2019, and in 2021, they will still hold true.
See below reasons why the Algarve is an excellent destination in a world with Covid 19.
Vast beaches mean plenty of space for everyone
Portugal is open for non-essential travel from most of the EU, the UK and the USA., and has adhered to the EU Covid Certificate programme, to facilitate travel within the EU.
Why the Algarve is an excellent destination in 2021
Beaches – the Algarve is justly famous for its magnificent beaches. They are beautiful and varied, from long expanses of fine sand to picturesque and secluded cove beaches. Some are only accessible from the sea which ensures they are less frequented, others are so vast that social distancing is not an issue - check out these Algarve beaches to escape the crowds. And there are so many beaches in the Algarve that even during the busiest season, it is possible to find a quiet, sparsely populated beach. For 2020, measures were in place to define the “load capacity” for each beach to ensure safe social distancing for beach-goers.
Fly and Drive – with so many different experiences to enjoy across the region, from the rugged Costa Vicentina to the calm lagoons of the Ria Formosa, a fly drive holiday makes sense in the Algarve. By hiring a car you can avoid the use of public transport and explore at will. Check out these scenic drives in the Algarve. And if you want to keep your carbon footprint down, Kwako hopes to launch its 100% electric car hire service soon at selected resorts. These small cars are perfect for local exploring.
Private transfers – there are many companies offering airport transfers in the Algarve. A private transfer ensures that you travel only with your family or travel group, limiting points of contact with others. Transfer companies will follow guidelines from the Portuguese authorities regarding coronavirus with limited capacity in each vehicle and passengers can travel only in the rear seats, not next to the driver. Yellowfish Transfers, for example, guarantees the cleaning of each vehicle before and after each service. They supply masks and hand sanitizers on board and their drivers are monitored for symptoms before working.
Villa holidays – holidaying in a private villa is a very popular option for many visitors to the Algarve. A home from home, you share your holiday villa only with your travel companions, with days spent by the pool and evenings spent enjoying relaxing al fresco meals. Some villa rental companies such as Blue Sky Villas offer concierge services, taking care of the details of your stay so you don’t have to leave the villa anymore than you want to. They offer a shopping service and bring your shopping to you. They also ensure impeccable cleaning of the villa before you arrive and during your stay and there are masks supplied at their properties for your use. You can opt for independent villas or stand alone villas within low-density resorts such as Quinta do Lago or Vale do Lobo.
The VILA VITA Collection offers some amazing ocean-front villas near Albufeira and at the small and tranquil fishing village of Salema as well as villas located within the resort itself. All are beautifully styled, and offer the level of quality and service that is the hallmark of VILA VITA. And all have the most amazing sea-front locations, just a few steps, literally, from beautiful beaches. VILA VITA Parc was also the first hospitality institution to receive a Covid Safe certificate following an independent audit by the Associação Portuguesa de Certificação (APCER). Check out this amazing villa near Albufeira - it may just be the ultimate beach villa.
VILA VITA Collection, Salema
Open air activities – many of the activities that people enjoy in the Algarve are open air activities and life can be lived outdoors to a great extent thanks to the wonderful climate. With clean air to breathe and plenty of vitamin D to absorb, being outdoors in the Algarve is good for you.
Boat trips and kayak tours are especially popular in the region. The amazing coastline, such as the wonderous grottoes of Ponta da Piedade and the amazing Benagil cave, is best enjoyed from the sea. There are many companies offering boat trips to explore the coast and there are private yachts available for charter too. Businesses offering such activities follow protocols issued by the authorities to ensure the safety of participants and boat capacity has been reduced to ensure more space for everyone. A sea breeze, warm sunshine and stunning views are good for both your physical and mental health, and the Algarve has a seemingly endless supply of all.
Walking and biking - There are some superb trails to explore the countryside and coastal routes on foot or by bike. Population density is low in the Algarve, particularly inland, so keeping your distance is not an issue. Check out these best walks and some scenic drives to enjoy.
Off-road adventures – the very nature of off-roading means you’re not in a crowded, urban area. Join a fun jeep safari with Alsafari or Portitours and explore the countryside in guided 4-wheel drive jeeps. All these activities follow the guidelines issued by the health authorities regarding capacity for vehicles and use of masks.
And don't forget, that outside dining is the norm at Algarve restaurants for much of the year. You can enjoy delicious fresh food in the open air, with tables spaced apart, enjoying the lovely views. There are some fabulous beach restaurants and beach bars in the Algarve, such as NoSoloÁgua where you can dance in the sand and dine beneath the stars, with plenty of space for everyone.
It is obligatory to use masks in Portugal inside public spaces - eg. supermarkets, public transport. You should use a mask when entering a restaurant if you are dining inside, but can remove it once seated at your table.
Clean & Safe stamp – Turismo de Portugal launched a voluntary Clean & Safe stamp that businesses display upon declaring adherence to cleaning and hygiene requirements set out by the Portuguese authorities for the prevention of coronavirus, giving customers confidence that there are health and safety measures in place for their protection.
Health Services – the Algarve offers both public and private health services. There are some small private clinics such as Orange Medical Centre in Albufeira or larger private health care companies such as HPA (Hospital Particular do Algarve). The national health service (SNS – Serviço Nacional de Sáude) has its issues as do all national health services, but it is widely considered to offer good service. Euro Health Consumer Index ranked Portuguese healthcare as the 13th best in Europe in 2018, up from 20th place in 2015, ranking higher than the UK, Spain, Italy, and Ireland.
Flights – there are plenty of flights in and out of Faro airport and other Portuguese airports to make it easy to come to the Algarve from Europe, the USA and further afield.
See you soon, we hope.