2000 has seen Alvor transformed with the untidy water front turned into an attractive esplanade beside a sandy beach.

If any one place on the Algarve deserves to be called paradise, it is the lagoon at Alvor. As the sun sinks towards the distant shadow of Ponte de Piedade the yachts and fishing boats become silhouettes against the blazing sunset.

The village of Alvor, its twisting streets and small squares stands not on the beach but on a sheltered tidal lagoon. This is a great place for children to play and a favourite with locals when summer beaches become crowded.

The beach is only five minutes walk away, a broad band of golden sand backed with the apartment buildings which provide comfortable modern accommodation.

In the evening holidaymakers stroll the narrow streets and lanes of the old village to choose from the many attractive restaurants. As to be expected, fish is the speciality dish in this charming village from where the fishermen set out each night.

Alvor is only a few minutes by bus or car from the busy town of Portimao. Visitors on self catering may find it worthwhile to make a trip to the shopping centre on the outskirts of Portimao.

For a night out join the crowds around the bars and restaurants of nearby Praia da Rocha. This is package holiday land and Rocha bustles well into the early hours.

A hire car opens the opportunity to see the Algarve and its cheaper to hire online before you leave. Alvor is a great location for a winter break as there are several apartment complexes which stay open.

The village is close to the Penina estate, considered by many to be the holy grail of Algarve golf. The course was originally designed by Sir Henry Cotton who lived on the estate. The even terrain and mature woodland make the courses well suited to the hotter months when many other courses are just too exposed.

Evening life centers around pubs and restaurants and is more relaxed than hot. The resort is popular with young families and the mature. If you like it loud and late try Lagos or Praia da Rocha.

Most of the accommodation in Alvor is let to the holiday companies throughout the summer and there is a wide choice of holidays available in the brochures.

Finding accommodation in high season can be difficult and you are recommended to book in advance.

Alvor has a bus service into Portimao but connections to other parts of the Algarve may be difficult to find. If you want to see much more than the beach consider a hire car.

The village has good local shops which stock both local and international brands.