This depends very much on your personal preference, because all regions have their advantages. In general, there are more facilities closer to the coast and life is quieter and more rural away from the coast. Also, nature around the beaches gets rougher and more rocky the more you go to the west.
But the differences between the regions are really not that big and it is easy to pay visits to the various areas by car. The distance from the Spanish border to the utmost western point with the landmark lighthouse is only 170 km / 106 miles.
- West Algarve is the area from Portimão all the way to Sagres and can be considered the luxurious part of the Algarve, although is the most rural and, especially during winter, it can seem deserted. This region is known for its stunning caves and breathtaking sea views where the Atlantic coastline blends with the Mediterranean.
- Central Algarve is the area from Faro until Portimão. Although the Algarve is not densely populated, this is the most populated area and therefore in winter, there is always something going on.
- East Algarve is the area from Faro up to the border with Spain where the town of Vila Real de Santo Antonio is. This area is more relaxed and traditional than the rest of the Algarve. It has some fantastic unspoilt sandy beaches, ideal if you want to have long walks in the beach.