The hamlet of Sesmarias
is a very short drive from two golf courses, Quinta da Gramacho and Vale da Pinta. For non golfers there are tennis courts, a beauty salon offering massages, manicures, pedicures etc and an outdoor pool, along with bars and restaurants. So, the whole family can enjoy a day of leisure.Tel: 00 351 282 340 900. www.pestanagolf.com
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.
The Portimao Retail Park is worth a visit for some retail therapy. Shop until you drop at the many outlets in air conditioned comfort. It is situated on the Urbanizacao Vale which can be found either by exiting the A22 motorway at Junction 4 or from the EN125 at Sitio de Chao das Donas. It is about 2 kms north west of the town.
Play a game of tennis!
Tennis courts are available at the Carvoeiro Clube de Ténis at Mato Serra, Sesmarias. Tel: 00 351 282 357 847.
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 Sitio das Fontes,
just a few kilometres north of Estombar, between Lagoa and Portimao. This old mill sits on a branch of the Rio Arade and has been made into an ecomuseum and includes the miller's house, the old mill and the working waterwheel. There is a picnic area, children's play area, amphitheatre and an environmental education area established to help preserve the surrounding wetlands.
is one of the main wine producing areas of the Algarve. Pay a visit to the Adega and sample some of the excellent local wines. The Adega Cooperativea de Lagoa is located on the EN125. Tel 00 351 282 342 181. Wine tasting tours are from 09.00-12.00 and 14.00 - 18.00
Nearby Carvoeiro is a bustling village
with an attractive sandy cove beach, framed by ochre coloured cliffs on either side. This is a popular spot for families and has a comprehensive range of restaurants to suit all pockets.
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.
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.
Go to the beach!
There are some delightful beaches very close by, amongst them Praia dos Caneiros which is a delightful sandy cove. There is a renowned restaurant here, too, a firm favourite with the locals!
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 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.
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.
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.
Vist the Museu do Rancho Folclórico do Calvário in Estombar.
It consists of a collection of objects that have been used on a daily basis for craft and agricultural activities. Rua do Rancho, Estombar. Open 14.00 18.00 Monday to Friday.
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 follow signs.
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.
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.
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!
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