Rolling golden beaches, rippling azure waters and a pace so relaxed that days seem endless - welcome to the Algarve.

Famed for its glorious coastline home to a dizzying number of intricate rock formations, the Southern tip of Portugal has long been a destination of choice for sun worshippers and those looking to switch off. The Algarve paints many different pictures, though strangely enough, it's the one truest to the regions heritage that often gets forgotten. Adjust your compass point and head just west of Faro to find yourself in an altogether more serene setting. The cities tired tourist traps are replaced by pastel-hued landscapes, lush, green expanses and a peppering of laid-back fishing villages.

Speaking to the locals, their love of the ocean runs deep. There's surf shops and fish restaurants aplenty and the crystal clear water provides you with a never ending supply of Insta-moments, whether you're snapping simple beach scenes or flower-bordered goat paths. When it comes to must-sees however, you can't leave without visiting Sagres. Once regarded as the end of the world, rumour had it that after sunset the sea turns to fire and the gods come out to play. Though we can't confirm that, we can attest to fabulous scenery and some great spots for wine-fuelled romancing.

If you long for days lazing around in little more than swimwear, you'll soon see the Algarve as a dreamy home from home. The same goes if you're happier on two wheels, or if the spa is your natural habitat. There's no denying that the Algarve has most bases more than covered. Particularly when it comes to those that revolve around self-indulgence (our favourite). 

The clock ticks slower and the air is that little bit quieter - the perfect equation for exploration.

The further south-west you travel, the more immersed in the surf culture you'll become; the clock ticks slower and the air is that little bit quieter - the perfect equation for exploration. Aside from riding the waves, hiking is another natural choice - with the sound of lark song sweeping past on the breeze and the sun 

dancing on the horizon you'll soon be seduced by the Algarve's timeless qualities. If you like your adventures a little less sedate, look no further than Luxury on Two Wheels, a company that does exactly what it says on the frame. Think top of the range bikes delivered to a location of choice and a smashing post-ride feast. If exploration of the mind, body and soul is more your thing, the spa at Vila Vita Parc is just the ticket. Afterwards, why not push the boat out and charter the on-site yacht for the afternoon?

If you're here for sun, champagne and very little else, Quinta do Lago's Conrad hotel ticks all the right boxes. Its trump card is the enormous roof garden suite - a stunning sanctuary enveloped in calming neutral colours complete with infinity pool in the living area. 

You'll never be far from luxury in this charming Portuguese region but it's the type of luxury you can escape from with a carve of a wave or a quick rotation of the pedals. The emphasis here is on freedom and as a result, the area makes for one of the most chilled destinations in Europe.

Visit The Algarve Portugal 2015 Discover and Escape Surf Sea Spa Luxury Hotel

Where to stay

Vila Vita Parc Resort & Spa

Perfect for: Laid-back luxury with a spa that your senses will thank you for and vistas your camera will adore. Be sure to charter the resort's own yacht while there.

Best Room: Vila Praia for the cliff-top ocean views and the must-have poolside furniture.

Conrad Algarve

Perfect for: Grandeur on tap - super slick new property with impeccable service and a can-do attitude for your every need. Don't forget to eat at Gusto by Heinz Beck.

Best Room: Without a doubt, the rooftop suite. Palatial surroundings with an infinity pool in the living room.

Martinhal Beach Resort & Hotel

Perfect for: Boho beach vibes aplenty. Martinhal is a stones throw from "the end of the world" and in easy reach of some great walks, check-in and switch-off.

Best room: The beach-front villas ensure that you're at one with the sea while still in touching distance of the bar.

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