For a day out with a difference,
visit the nearby Parque Natural da Ria Formosa, which stretches along 37 miles of coastline east of Faro from Olhao to Tavira. It was created to protect the ecosystem of the area and is an important breeding area for wetland birds.
When in Rome……
don’t forget to sample the many different types of port wine! Chilled white port makes an interesting aperitif and can be a serious rival to sherry. Accompanied by some delicious local olives, it’s a great way to preface a supper of freshly grilled sardines!
Visit the most south westerly tip of Europe at the Cabo de Sao Vicente,
which has reputedly the most powerful lighthouse in Europe. To watch the sun setting here is a truly memorable experience.
Faro is the regional capital
and has a delightful old town, which is well worth spending an afternoon or early evening having a wander around. Stop for a drink and ‘people watch’ along the Rua de Santo Antonio, which is lined with shops, bars and restaurants.
Go to the beach!
You can catch a boat from Olhao to one of the small islands just offshore where the uncrowded white sandy beaches are reportedly some of the best in Portugal. There are beach bars and restaurants available.
It is worth taking a trip to the border with Spain at Vila Real de Santo Antonio,
on the banks of the river Guadiana, which forms the border with Spain. Explore the twin castles of Castro Marin which were strategically placed to protect the settlement for many centuries.
Explore the very local town of Loulé
and witness craftsmen at work in many traditions such as copper, tin, brass and wrought iron mainly in the streets around where the market is held. Other items manufactured locally are shoes, cane furniture, pottery, wax candles and harnesses. Many a fascinating hour can be spent watching the craftsmen plying their trade.
Capture the atmosphere of Faro,
steeped in history, by taking a walk around the old town, which is encircled by medieval walls. Evidence of the rich history of the town can be found in the Museu Arqueologico including a Roman floor mosaic and a collection of Moorish oil lamps. A visit to the Cathedral is a ‘must’.
The delightful town of Tavira is well worth exploring
as it is considered by some to be the most charming town in the region. It is sited on two sides of the River Gilão and spanned by an elegant Roman bridge. As you wander around the narrow streets, take note of the portas de reixa, which are Arabic style lattice panelled doors. One of the claims to fame of the town is that it has some 40 churches!
Visit some charming inland villages.
Alte is a popular village with white washed houses and narrow cobbled streets. Explore the charming little shops and then relax in the shade with a picnic by the Fontes and have a refreshing swim in the freshwater pool.
Take your budding Lewis Hamiltons go-karting.
Karting Algarve at Almancil offers karts for adults and children along with other activities such as mini boats, trampolines and radio controlled cars. An exciting day out for all of the family. Located on the EN125 at Almancil. Kartodromo de Almancil. Tel: (00 351) 289 399 899. www.kartingalgarve.com. Open from 10am daily.
The Algarve is a stop off point for migrating birds and as such is a haven for birdwatchers. One of the most important sites is the Parque Nacional do Ria Formosa, close to Faro and the wetlands are considered to be amongst the most important in Europe in terms of birdlife. Amongst the species that have been spotted are white stork, flamingo, hoopoe, stone curlew, Caspian Tern, Iberian Chiffchaff…..
Go to Lisbon!
Yes, it is possible to do – the fast train from Faro will take you to the centre of the city within 3 hours, giving you time to use one of the City sightseeing bus tours, which have guided commentaries. You can jump on and off wherever you like, thus enabling you to explore the sights and attractions that interest you.
A delightful beauty spot to visit is Quatro Aguas
just southeast of Tavira, which has lovely views of the lagoon. There are some very good seafood restaurants to try. The regular ferry departs here for the Ilha de Tavira, the sand dune island stretching 11 kms, popular in the summer months for its excellent swimming
The village of Guia
is renowned for the number of restaurants famous for serving the typical Algarvean dish of chicken piri piri. Naturally, they all claim to be the best but you can be assured that they are all very good and represent excellent value for money.
Visit a water park.
There are several along the Algarve coast, the nearest to the property being Aquashow Algarve at Quarteira. (Tel: 289 389 396). Open daily from 10am – 5.30pm (7pm in August). It is also a bird park with birds of prey and tropical birds such as parrots and macaws.
Visit the Quinta da Miradouro winery near Guia to sample the Vida Nova wines specially produced for Sir Cliff Richard. Tours are available but must be pre-booked on 00 351 968 776 971 or email@example.com but if you simply wish to purchase you can visit Cellar Door Shop. Opening hours for both are Monday to Friday 10am – 5pm (closed for lunch 1-2pm).
Visit the World of Sand.
This international sand sculpture festival is usually held between May and October. Reportedly the biggest sand city in the world, this fascinating and spectacle will amaze all members of the family! There are sand sculpture activities for children and it is illuminated by night. Take Exit 8 off the A22 (Algoz/Pera), or from EN125 at Pera and follow signs.
Visit the Museu dos Frutos Secos in Loulé
– an unusual museum, which focuses on early harvesting methods for figs, carob and almond fruit. Indulge yourself afterwards at the exciting Pastelaria Baguetomania, just off Avda 25 Abril. You only pay as much as your plate weighs.
Learn about the traditions of the area
- visit the museum in Sao Bras de Alportel which houses a collection of traditional Algarve clothing throughout history and an exhibition about how cork is produced.
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