Take a leisure cruise and see this magnificent coast from the sea.
The itinerary might include stopping off at a sandy cove for a barbecue and for swimming and snorkelling. Details of all of the cruises on offer can be found along the quayside at Portimao.
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.
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, especially in nearby Porches.
Lagoa 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
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 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.
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.
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.
There are fantastic opportunities to be enjoyed at nearby Praia da Marinha, a sandy cove backed by warm-coloured limestone cliffs. There is a diverse range of marine life to be explored such as sea anemones, starfish, octopus and cuttlefish, to name but a few.
Play a round of golf!
You are just a short drive from 2 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.
A church with a difference
Visit the spooky Chapel of Bones, (Capela dos Ossos) at Alcantarilha near Guia whose walls and ceiling are clad with approximately 1,500 skulls. The chapel adjoins the church.
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.
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 well worth exploring.
It's only a short drive away and is a pleasant way to spend an afternoon. The Cathedral, built in red stone, and the Moorish castle both offer beautiful views over the orange and almond groves below.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Have you visited Laranjeiras?
Click here to suggest a Great Thing you've done nearby ...