Villa Álvares
Great things to do near Villa Álvares
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.


A church with a difference
Visit the spooky Chapel of Bones, (Capela dos Ossos) at Alcantarilha near Guia whose walls and ceiling are clad with approximately 1,500 skulls. The chapel adjoins the church.


Play a round of golf!
The Algarve is renowned for the quality of its golf courses, offering challenges for every standard of player. Close by is the renowned Herdade dos Salgados course. Tel: 00 351 289 583 030


Wine tasting
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 adegadocantor@mail.telepac.pt 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).


Take to the seas!
Take a boat trip to experience dolphin watching with Dream Wave (Albufeira Marina). info@dreamwavealgarve.com. Tel (00 351) 962 003 885/ 962 003 801. (They provide jet ski and boating trips to the caves and dolphin watching).


Silves
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.


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.


Try Canoeing
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.


Go ride a horse!
Horse riding is available at the stables of the Quinta da Saudade, on the road from Vale de Parra to Pera. The rides take you either across country or down to the beach, although horses are not allowed on the beach in the peak months. Tel: 00 351 963 942 012.


Birdwatching
Nearby Lagoa dos Salgados is one of the most important freshwater wetlands on the Algarve and, as such, is one of the prime birding spots on this coast. Noteworthy migrants include the Spectacled and Subalpine warblers, Northern Wheater and whinchat, whilst among the residents you might see the Waxbill, Crested Lark or Sardinian Warbler, to name but a few!


For a day out with a difference drive inland to the Barragém da Bravura
which is a huge man made lake just north of Lagos. Surrounded by woods of cork oak and eucalyptus, it is a great place to enjoy a picnic by the side of the lake and enjoy the sight of fields of wild flowers.


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.


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.


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’.


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.


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.


Discover the interior of Algarve on an organised safari trip with a guide.
The vehicles are 2 seater buggies, you drive yourself and you explore the beautiful countryside back from the coast. www.buggysafari.net. Tel: (00 351) 96 67 30 356


Visit the attractive fishing village of Ferragudo,
which sits at the mouth of the Rio Arade, on the opposite banks to Portimao. 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.


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!


Go to the beach!
The Algarve is renowned for its wonderful beaches of soft golden sand. Most have parking areas, toilets and restaurant facilities and during the peak months most of them have lifeguards on duty. There are so many to choose from but a particular favourite on this part of the Algarve is Praia Grande just by Armaçao de Pera.


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