Relax on the terrace by the pool and drink in the lovely vista of the sparking Atlantic Ocean.
At night the twinkling lights of the fishing boats and the brightly lit cruise liners gliding silently by on the far horizon are a spectacle to enjoy from the comfort of your chair.
Explore the nearby sandy beach of Olhos d’Agua
which is flanked by cliffs topped with umbrella pine trees. Visit when the tide is out and you should see the unusual spectacle of fresh water springs amongst the rocks.
The delightful town of Tavira is well worth exploring
as it is considered by some to be the most charming town in the region. It is sited on two sides of the River Gilão and spanned by an elegant Roman bridge. As you wander around the narrow streets, take note of the portas de reixa, which are Arabic style lattice panelled doors. One of the claims to fame of the town is that it has some 40 churches!
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
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.
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.
Take a boat trip from Albufeira Marina
See this dramatic coast from the sea as you cruise westwards– rock formations, cliffs and caves, as well as seeing the delightful sandy beaches. You might even spot some dolphins during the voyage! Full day, half day and fishing trips are on offer. Algarve Seafaris. www.algarve-seafaris.com. Tel: 00 351 289 302 318.
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.
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.
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.
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…..
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.
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 email@example.com 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).
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
The new Autodromo Internacional do Algarve opened at the end of 2008. It is just off the A22 between Portimao and Lagos and is well signed. Check out the events for this forthcoming season on www.autodromodoalgarve.com for both cars and motorbikes. The petrol heads in the party will love the experience.
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