Explore the town of Olhao
one of the most important fishing ports along this coast. The town once had close trade links with North Africa which is reflected in shape of the town’s cube-shaped houses with flat roofs and external staircases. Reward yourself with a fantastic lunch of the day’s catch of the day at one of the many seafront fish restaurants.
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.
Play a round of golf!
The Algarve is renowned for the quality of its golf courses, offering challenges for every standard of player. There are over 30 courses along the length of the region.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 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.
Horse and Pony rides are available from Centre Hipico Quinta Almadena, Sao Bras de Alportel. Tel: (351) 289 997 118. www.clubsantamaria.com.
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.
Brush up your tennis skills
at one of the many tennis centres and academies in Vilamoura and Vale do Lobo. Take your own racquets. If you are lucky you might be there when some big names are in town to participate in a tournament.
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 Fortress of Cabo de Sao Vicente
was built in the 16th century in order to protect the coast from the frequent attacks by Moorish pirates. From here it is possible to see the famous lighthouse, which was built in 1904. To watch the sun set here is a truly memorable experience.
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.
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.
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.
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