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.
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.
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.
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.
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 da Falésia, where the sands stretch for over 3 kilometres.
Vist 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. The Cathedral, built in red stone, and the Moorish castle both offer beautiful views over the orange and almond groves below.
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.
with treatments in the Spa Hotel Termal in Caldas da Monchique. Tel: 00 351 282 910 910 for details of treatments and prices. Afterwards, have a wander around the little shops selling handicrafts, locally produced honey and medronho.
Brush up your tennis skills
at one of the many tennis centres and academies in Vilamoura and Val 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. Then go back to the house and put your newly acquired skills into practice!
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.
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 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....
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..
The Algarve is renowned for the quality of its golf courses, offering challenges for every standard of player.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Have you visited Casa das Pedras?
Click here to suggest a Great Thing you've done nearby ...