Step out onto the street and explore Ferragudo..
Very much a working village, the quayside is dotted with fishermen’s huts, artisans’ workshops and a sprinkling of excellent fish restaurants. The nearby sandy beach of Praia Grande is home to an excellent windsurfing school. Narrow cobbled alleyways wind their way uphill to the impressive church with great views.
Take a leisure cruise and see this magnificent coast from the sea
The itinerary might include stopping off at a sandy cove for a barbecue and for swimming and snorkelling. Details of all of the cruises on offer can be found along the quayside at Portimao.
The Portimao Retail Park is worth a visit for some retail therapy. Shop until you drop at the many outlets in air conditioned comfort. It is situated on the Urbanizacao Vale which can be found either by exiting the A22 motorway at Junction 4 or from the EN125 at Sitio de Chao das Donas. It is about 2 kms north west of the town.
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 the Sitio das Fontes
just a few kilometres north of Estombar, between Lagoa and Portimao. This old mill sits on a branch of the Rio Arade and has been made into an ecomuseum and includes the miller’s house, the old mill and the working waterwheel. There is a picnic area, children’s play area, amphitheatre and an environmental education area established to help preserve the surrounding wetlands.
Viis 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.
Nearby Carvoeiro is a bustling village
with an attractive sandy cove beach, framed by ochre coloured cliffs on either side. This is a popular spot for families and has a comprehensive range of restaurants to suit all pockets.
The hamlet of Sesmarias is a very short drive from two golf courses,
Quinta da Gramacho and Vale da Pinta. For non golfers there are tennis courts, a beauty salon offering massages, manicures, pedicures etc and an outdoor pool, along with bars and restaurants. So, the whole family can enjoy a day of leisure. Tel: 00 351 282 340 900. www.pestanagolf.com
Visit the Museu do Rancho Folclórico do Calvário in Estombar.
It consists of a collection of objects that have been used on a daily basis for craft and agricultural activities. Rua do Rancho, Estombar. Open 14.00 – 18.00 Monday to Friday.
Go to the beach!
There are some delightful beaches very close by, amongst them Praia dos Caneiros which is a delightful sandy cove. There is a renowned restaurant here, too, a firm favourite with the locals!
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.
The castle town of Silves is worth spending a day exploring.
The Cathedral, built in red stone, and the Moorish castle both offer beautiful views over the orange and almond groves below.
Monchique is a spa town
set in the hills planted with cork, eucalyptus and fruit trees. There are some lovely walks through the woods with stunning views of the mountains. Pamper yourself with treatments in the Spa Hotel Termal in Caldas da Monchique.
Go to a water park!
The whole family will enjoy a day at Slide and Splash water park. It is on the EN125, just west of Lagoa. It is open from the beginning of April until the end of October and open from 10am to 6pm daily.
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.
Try sardines along the quay at Portimao
– freshly caught and simply served with salad and local wine. Explore the narrow streets of the old quarter with their fascinating shops, some specialising in leather goods.
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…..
This can be arranged on the protected lagoon of the Ria de Alvor, for both experts and beginners. This is a great activity for all of the family. www.outdoor-tours.com. Tel: (00 351) 282 969 520 for more information and to book.
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!
The Autodromo Internacional do Algarve opened at the end of 2008. It is just off the A22 between Portimao and Lagos and is well signed. Check out the events for this forthcoming season on www.autodromodoalgarve.com for both cars and motorbikes. The petrol heads in the party will love the experience.
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