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.
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 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.
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
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.
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.
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 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…..
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.
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.
Horse and Pony rides are available from Centre Hipico Quinta Almadena, Sao Bras de Alportel. Tel: (351) 289 997 118. www.clubsantamaria.com.
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.
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.
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.
The castle town of Silves is worth spending a day exploring.
180 The Cathedral, built in red stone, and the Moorish castle both offer beautiful views over the orange and almond groves below.
Loulé is famous for its lively Saturday market
where it is possible to buy some great bargains in leather and textiles. It is also well known for its crafts and you can watch artisans wood carving, making lace and painting pottery and tiles.
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.
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.
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!
Have you visited Belo Horizonte?
Click here to suggest a Great Thing you've done nearby ...