No-one can say where Central Algarve finishes and West Algarve begins, but for our purposes here, we shall say it is at Portimao. After Faro, it is the second largest town in the Algarve and an important commercial and fishing centre.
A few kilometres East is the fishing village of Alvor where the shallow waters of the lagoon are great for swimming.
Heading West is the more traditional seaside resort of Praia da Rocha where there are great beaches, plenty of bars and restaurants and cheap accommodation.
Further West is the historic town of Lagos, probably the best known of the all the West Algarve resorts. It is a walled town with a natural harbour, has some great beaches and is rich with the history of Henry the Navigator.
Another 10km West again is the resort of Praia da Luz, with a great beach and plenty of water-sports plus opportunities to explore the wild and rugged countryside of the West Algarve.
At the most South Westerly corner of the Algarve is the village of Sagres and Cape St. Vincent, where the landscape and coastline become more rugged. Sagres is much less commercialised with fewer hotels and restaurants.
Or, if you feel the need to escape from the summer head, simply head 22km inland from Portimao where nestling in the pine-clad foothills of the Serra de Monchique mountains, you will come across little town Monchique. Famous for its curative waters at the Thermal Spa just a few kilometres to the south at Caldas de Monchique.
But wherever you go, don’t go there without your Lonely Planet Guide to the Algarve.