Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year and to celebrate the beginning of the festive season, we’re bringing you the “Mercury Holidays’ 12 Destinations Advent Calendar” – every day we’ll be taking a look at a top destination and what makes it the perfect place to visit with family, friends or enjoy a little you time.

So, let’s take a look what’s behind door number 5…

The Algarve Package Holidays

Situated on the stunning coastline of Portugal, the Algarve is a haven for those looking for both an active and relaxing winter sun holiday. From perfect sandy beaches and incredible lakes, to family-run restaurants and an impressive variety of shopping outlets; the Algarve offers its visitors an incredible array of resorts to explore and countless things to see and do. With so much choice in the Algarve, it’s tricky knowing where to stay and visit, but don’t worry, we’re here to highlight a couple of our favourite resorts

Advent Calendar Fact: If you like spice, then you’ll be interested to know that Peri Peri sauce (Piri Piri) originates from Portugal…Nandos anyone?  

Albufeira - Algarve - 12 Destination Advent Calendar

Located in the middle of the south coast of Portugal, Albufeira offers holidaymakers the ideal location to sit back, relax and bask in the Mediterranean sun. Popular with all ages, this once Roman town has become a firm favourite amongst tourists. The town is divided into two sections, the old town and the Strip; the old town is a stunning white section of the town with cobbled streets and over a hundred restaurants offering delicious traditional food created from local produce. If you’re looking for a full-on party atmosphere, then The Strip is for you! With a vast selection of clubs, pubs and bar; the part of the town is guaranteed to meet all your needs. 

If you’re want something a little more low-key, then the old town is the perfect choice for you; with plenty of history and culture to explore, this part of Albufeira lends itself to a more tranquil and easy-going type of lifestyle. We recommend heading to the main square, Lego Duarte Pacheco, where you’ll find many quaint bars and restaurants; perfect for enjoying a drink and watching the world go by.

Located in the west of the town, you’ll find the relatively new marina of Albufeira; here you can take a stroll and enjoy the sights of the wonderful coloured buildings, the blue, green, pink and orange hues of the houses are a huge contrast to the simplistic white houses seen in the old town.

Advent Calendar Fact: Initially occupied by the Romans, Albufeira used to go by another name – Baltum.


Jet Ski - Vilamoura - Algarve - Mercury Holidays

Just a twenty minute drive from the airport, Vilamoura is a fantastic resort with a stunning marina and offers a plethora of activities, beaches and restaurants suitable for all those who visit. For tourists who love to feel the rush of adrenaline rush, we suggest hopping on a Jet Boat and experiencing something akin to a water roller coaster! Navigated by an expert pilot, you’ll be treated to a range of tricks, spins and break stops – not for the faint hearted, this is an activity full of fun and laughter. If the idea of going at the rate of knots isn’t for you but you’d like to go out to sea, book a spot on a Dolphin Safari and Cave Tour. This unforgettable experience leaves from Vilamoura Marina with an experienced captain in the search for dolphins. If you’re lucky enough to spot them, you’ll be able to observe these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. After the encounter, you’ll cruise to a selection of beautiful caves and rock formations –  a perfect opportunity for some great holiday snaps and videos. The entire experience lasts about two hours and a popular choice for tourists.

For the history buffs out there, a trip to Cerro da Vila is an ideal opportunity to learn about the Vilamoura of long ago. In the late 2nd Century, Vilamoura was controlled by the Roman Empire under Julius Caesar and the land was primarily used for agricultural purposes. Cerro da Vila was an expansive villa complex with sunken baths, salt tanks, a burial tower and stunning black and white patterned mosaics. Although, a lot of the original features have been lost over time, visitors are still impressed with the organisation of the pool, heating and sauna system, and find the entire excursion extremely interesting.

Advent Calendar Fact: In Roman times, Vilamoura was an important location for the production of fish paste known as ‘Garum’.

If you’d like to take a look at our range of hotel offering across the Algarve, simply click the link below.

Discover The Algarve


The Algarve Fact File:

Algarve Map - Portugal - Mercury Holidays

Geographic size – 1,929 square miles

Population – 451, 006

Number of beaches – 100+

Average temperature – November to April 18 degrees, May to October 25 degrees.

 Hotel of The Day:

Holiday Inn Algarve

Holiday Inn Algarve - 12 Destinations Advent Calendar

This 4-star hotel occupies a prime beachfront location in the resort of Armação de Pêra with stunning panoramic views of the ocean and is surrounded by fishing villages. It is within walking distance to a selection of shops, cafés, restaurants, and entertainment of the resort. A regular bus service operates to nearby towns and villages.


Missed out on our other days? Take a look here!