Faro is the regional capital and has a delightful old town,
which is well worth spending an afternoon or early evening having a wander around. Stop for a drink and 'people watch' along the Rua de Santo Antonio, which is lined with shops, bars and restaurants.
The Algarve is renowned for the quality of its golf courses, offering challenges for every standard of player. There are plenty of courses to choose from in the vicinity.
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.
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.
For a day out with a difference,
visit the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa, which stretches along 37 miles of coastline east of Faro from Olhao to Tavira. It was created to protect the ecosystem of the area and is an important breeding area for wetland birds.
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 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.
Horse riding and trekking are available at Cegonha Vilamoura,
with rides and trekking for all abilities. Also nearby is Pine Trees at Vale do Lobo, situated on the road between Vale do Lobo and Quinta do Lago.
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.
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.
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.
Needing some retail therapy?
Visit the Algarve Shopping Centre, which is on the EN125 at Guia and is well signposted. As well as a great variety of shops, there are bars and restaurants for those who need a little respite from carrying those heavy shopping bags and to resting those weary feet. It is open from 10am to midnight 7 days a week.
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.
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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).
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.
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.
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 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.
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