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.
The nearby village of Estoi is famous for its Roman ruins at Milreu dating from the 2nd Century.
They are about a 10 minute walk out of the village. The 19th Century Estoi Palace and Gardens are also well known and attract visitors to see the ornamental fountains and the blue and white tiled terraces.
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.
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.
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…..
Santa Luzia is known as the octopus capital of the Algarve,
testament to which are the hundreds of covos, or pots, that can be seen stacked by the quay, ready to be used. Needless to say, the day’s catch features quite prominently on the menus of the local restaurants.
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’.
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.
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.
Buy some ceramics to take home.
The region is famous for its wide range of pottery, ranging from simple glazed brown dishes and tableware to the highly coloured and intricate ranges of ornamental plates, jugs and bowls, to name a few. There are several pottery shops to be found all along the EN125.
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 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 the Pego do Inferno
7kms northwest of Tavira this spectacular series of waterfalls stretch over 2 kms is well off the beaten track. It can be reached by a series of wooden walkways and wooden bridges. There are picnic areas and the pool is a great favourite with families who can enjoy a dip in the crystal clear waters.
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.
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.
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.
Spend a day at Zoomarine
– one of the biggest attractions on Algarve. It is both a theme park, Aquarium and there are water shows with dolphins, seals and sea lions to entertain all ages. It is on the EN125 at Guia. www.zoomarine.com . Tel: 00 351 289 560 300.
Explore the town of Lagos,
famous for its sea faring traditions and the former capital of the Algarve. Take a rest in the Praça Infante Dom Henrique and enjoy a well earned cool drink.
Take a boat trip!
Trips leave from Vilamoura Marina, Faro and Albufeira to the different beaches and the Islands. It is also possible to charter a yacht from Vilamoura Marina and enjoy a day sailing around the beautiful coastline.
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