The Algarve region constitutes the most important touristic region of Portugal and is one of the most important in Europe. Its Mediterranean temperate climate characterised by mild winters and long summers that are hot and dry, with warm and calm waters that bathe its South coast, its natural landscapes, historic and ethnographic heritage and delicious and healthy food are attributes that attract millions of domestic and foreign tourists every year.
The Algarve borders the Alentejo region to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the south and west, and the Guadiana River to the east marks the border with Spain. The highest point is in the Serra de Monchique.
The western part of the Algarve is called Barlavento, and the eastern part Sotavento. With this division we can register a clear mirror effect between the two zones. Each of these areas has 8 municipalities and one main town, each of them has an important mountain range - Fóia in the Barlavento and Caldeirão in the Sotavento, rivers of similar importance are the Arade in the Barlavento and the Guadiana in the Sotavento. A main hospital in each of the areas guarantees health care throughout the Algarve. In terms of infrastructure, the International Airport is in one area and the International Autodrome in another.
One of the main distinctive features of the Algarve region is its climate. The climatic conditions that common sense usually attributes to the Algarve climate can be found in all its splendour, a set of basic characteristics that sum up the region's climate long, hot summers, mild, short winters, rainfall concentrated in autumn and winter, a reduced annual number of days with rainfall and a high number of hours of sunshine per year. The average annual temperature in the Algarve is the highest in mainland Portugal and one of the highest on the Iberian Peninsula at around 18 °C. The entire Algarve region has a temperate Mediterranean climate, and tropical nights (nights with a minimum temperature of 20 °C or more) are frequent during the summer period.