Vilar do Golf Resort - Local Info


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Local Info

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Local Information Quinta do Lago Ria Formosa Nature Reserve Most visitors’ first view of the Algarve is the panorama of salt pans, marshes, barrier islands and lagoons which come into view as the aircraft banks before landing at Faro airport. For the vast majority heading for holiday’s beaches, this also their last view of one of the most important wetland areas in Europe. The Nature Reserve covers an area of 18.400ha, and stretches along the coast, from Quinta do Lago west Faro, all the way to Manta Rota. The Ria Formosa is a lagoon separated from the sea by a coastal dune system, which is broken up by various natural and artificial inlets. It includes a narrow strip of land and a series of coastal dunes running almost parallel to the mainland, formed by peninsulas and sandy barrier-islands which serve to protect the salt marshes, channels and islets. Geological Origins of the Ria Formosa: About six to seven thousand years ago, the level of the sea was much lower than it is now and great quantities of sand (30-40 meters deep) gradually accumulated along the base of the platform, forming submerged ridges and their gradual migration towards the continent with the rising of the sea level. At the same time as this process was happening, the rivers deposited large amounts of sediment which created the salt marshes and islets that can be observed today. Protection Statute: The Ria Formosa is a protected area carrying the status of “Natural Park”. It was legally established by Decree Law in 1987 with its own Management Plan and with the following objectives: To preserve the lagoon system; to protect the fauna and flora of the region; To protect migratory species; To establish orderly use of the territory and its natural resources, thus contributing to its economic, social and cultural progress. The protected area of the Ria Formosa Natural Park extends through the districts of Loulé, Faro, Olhão, Tavira and Vila Real se Santo António, covering an area of approximately 18.400 hectares along 60 kilometers of coastline, from Ancão to Manta Rota. For more information about the birds, please contact reception desk. Vilar do Golf Empreendimentos Turisticos, Lda. Quinta do Lago 1


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Faro The foundations of Faro started in Roman times, when the town was called Ossónoba. During the 9th century it was the capital of a short lived princedom, ringed with defensive walls and later the name changed to Santa Maria then to Harune. Finally in the middle of the 13th century Faro became part of Portuguese territory, completing the Christian reconquer of Portugal. In 1540 Faro was made a city and in 1577 became the city of the Episcopal Se when the Bishop of the Algarve from Silves to Faro. Faro, capital city of the Algarve, offers so much more than just a landing point in Portugal. It is a city full of history, great shops, restaurants and cafes aplenty, theatres and galleries, great beaches and the Ria Formosa nature reserve on the door step. The central area is really quite compact with everything within easy walking distance. 'Cidade Velha'; the oldest part of the city - is on the eastern side of Faro marina. Walk through the arch (Arco da Vila) by the Tourist information Algarve office at the end of the Manuel Bivar gardens and follow the narrow, cobbled street, Rua do Municipio into the tree lined Largo de Sé. Faro Cathedral, in the middle of the square, may not look very grand from the outside, but inside is another story - the intricate gilded carving, decorated tiles (azulejos) and works of art are well worth seeing. It originates from the 13th/14th centuries (although much of the inside decoration is 17th century) and, despite having to be repaired after being ransacked and set alight by the Earl of Essex's men in 1596 and damaged in the earthquake of 1755, still has the original doorway and two original chapels. If you don't mind, a bit of a climb, walk up the steps in the tower and get a tremendous view of Faro and the other buildings in the square - it's a good chance to get a bird’s eye view of the typically Portuguese pyramid shaped roofs (tesouro) on the 17th century Episcopal Palace (which is in the square facing the Cathedral.) The Palace is still the official residence of the Bishop of Faro so is not open to the public. Vilar do Golf Empreendimentos Turisticos, Lda. Quinta do Lago 2


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The building along the adjoining side of the square is the Episcopal Seminary that was built at the request of the then Bishop of the Algarve, Francisco Gomes de Avelar, during the 18th-19th centuries. The Bishop was also one of the main people (with the backing of the Marquis of Pombal), who did much to restore the city of Faro after the earthquake and his statue stand in one corner of the Largo de Sé. Outside of the 'Cidade Velha', following the water front around the corner from Faro marina is Porta Nova pier where you can get a ferry to the island beaches. Thoroughly enjoyed the boat ride through the Ria Formosa - about a 30 minute trip each way - gently pottering through the calm waters in between the marshy outcrops, spotting a few birds along the way and generally watching the world go by. Take a chance to get another view of Faro - from the seaward side. The streets leading away from the Manuel Bivar gardens take you into a mainly pedestrian, shopping area where the streets crisscross at various angles and cafés and restaurants sit around cobbled squares! As you move further away from the water front, the modern office and apartment blocks appear and the hustle and bustle of working Faro starts. If you like shopping, don't miss out on Forum Algarve shopping mall - it's on the main road (EN125) approaching from Faro airport side of town. It's got a really good selection of shops, cafés and restaurants and the central square is open air. At Christmas, apart from a rather spectacular large silver Christmas tree, there was also an outside icerink! Many visitors to the Algarve miss out on the delights of Faro as it is often a transitional place for arriving at the airport and moving on to the destination resort. However, it really worth a visit. Almancil This village west of Faro straddles the EN125 and consists mainly of bars and restaurants serving the surrounding private developments. But just to the east you will find São Lourenço, one of the Algarve’s most interesting churches. The church has a gilded altar and is covered with blue and Vilar do Golf Empreendimentos Turisticos, Lda. Quinta do Lago 3


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white 18th century tiles, depicting the life of St Laurence. Loulé The beginnings of Loulé are uncertain, some historians putting it as far back as 400BC, but others say its origins are Roman. It is a fact that when the Arabs invaded the Algarve in 715, Loulé was already an important town. It has been a part of Portugal since 1249 after the Algarve was recaptured from the Moors and in 1291 King Dinis established the Algarve's only medieval fair in Loulé, a sign of the wealth of the region. Loulé is an interesting town some 16km to the north of Faro. The landmark church of Nossa Senhora da Piedade - a modern dome shaped building reminiscent of a space ship - can easily be seen on a hill, just to the west of the town, from the A22 motorway. It is a large town with all the usual amenities you would expect to find - a great selection of shops, numerous banks, art galleries, swimming pools and sports pavilion to name but a few! Loulé is famous for its Saturday morning market, and there are trips available from most resorts in the Algarve if you don't have a car. It also has a really good daily market in the Arabian style market hall on Praça da República (open every morning except Sunday). Although it is quite a big town, all the areas that visitors will probably want to see are in a relatively compact area. It is a good idea to use a map as on a first visit (from experience!) it is easy to turn down the wrong street and walk a lot further than you may want to! Entering Loulé from the south west there is a roundabout with a statue of 2 cyclists - turn to the left and the road will go past a Modelo supermarket and on towards the Nossa Senhora da Piedade Church. The road to the right leads to the centre and as it goes up the hill, just before traffic lights at the top, there is an archway through the old walls on the left which leads through to Largo da Matriz. Vilar do Golf Empreendimentos Turisticos, Lda. Quinta do Lago 4


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In the middle of this small square is the main church of Loulé, Igreja de S.Clemente and to the left of the square is a small, peaceful garden, Jardim dos Amuados (Garden of Sulks), which is an ancient Arab cemetery. From the back of the church follow Rua Matriz, turn left and you will arrive at the market building - you can't miss it! Make sure you get here in a morning, while it's open as the selection of produce is excellent - there are all sorts of treats to tempt you apart from all the fresh fruit and vegetables! Loulé castle (13th/14th century) built on an area previously settled by the Romans, is just a short distance down the road from the market on the left hand side. From this approach it isn't very obvious that it is the castle as, through the arched gateway, you see the whitewashed walls of the 'Alcaidaria' ( which was the living quarters for the castle commander and his garrison) surrounding a small courtyard and no visible signs of the castle walls. Across the courtyard lies the municipal museum, next door to which are some steps leading up to the remaining section of the castle walls. The three remaining grey stone towers and short walkway between them are well preserved and apart from getting a great view of Loulé does also give a taste of the historical heritage of the Algarve. (There is a small charge for visiting the castle) A little further along the street from the castle is the Convent of Espírito Santo which also houses the municipal art gallery. Apart from the historical points of interest, there are also lots of cafés and shops in the crisscrossing network of cobbled alleys and streets and plenty of places to sit in the sunshine and watch the world go by! The main avenue (Av. José da Costa Mealha) is a bustle of cars and people going about their daily business on either side of the central gardens with benches under the trees and kiosks for refreshments along its length. Loulé Carnival is one of the biggest Events in Loulé Vilar do Golf Empreendimentos Turisticos, Lda. Quinta do Lago 5


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and is famous across the Algarve. It takes places in February (3 days, the 3rd day being Shrove Tuesday) and is a truly colorful affair with music and dancing and general partying; reminiscent of Brazilian carnivals, when people come from all over the Algarve to watch the processions and join in with the party as everyone takes to the streets! The centre of Loulé (Avenida José da Costa Mealha) is shut off for the carnival. At Easter time there is a religious 'Festival of the Sovereign Mother', patron saint of Loulé, which again attracts people from all over the country. Alte Alte is a delightful village in inland Algarve, situated north of Albufeira on the N124. It is a typical, Algarve village of whitewashed houses with lattice work, handcrafted chimneys and narrow, cobbled streets nestling in the foothills of the Serra do Caldeirão. The church is at the centre of the village, and there are numerous little cafes in the surrounding area, to relax at and soak up the tranquility of the village. At the eastern end of Alte, past the school, are the springs (fontes) for which Alte is well known. The area around Fonte Pequena (little spring) is picturesque...a bridge across the stream, the beginning of a series of waterfalls as the water flows down the hillside, a grassy area on the banks ideal for picnicking, and ducks making the most of the waters and the sunshine! There is a pretty, paved, garden area in front of the 'Fonte Pequena Inn' dedicated to Alte's famous poet, Cândido Guerreiro. There are tiled plaques on the wall with some of the poet's works on. In February, Alte along with most towns and villages in the Algarve has a carnival. The main street leading to the church and the side streets around are cordoned off for the parade. (There is plenty of parking at the beginning of Alte, near the cemetery). There is an entrance fee includes a bag of 'confetti' to throw at the floats - or anyone who happens to be nearby! Everyone turns out for the afternoon. Alte is ideally placed for exploring the towns and villages of the central Algarve with Messines and Silves to the west, Salir and Loulé to the east and Algoz, Boliqueime, Paderne and Albufeira to the south. Vilar do Golf Empreendimentos Turisticos, Lda. Quinta do Lago 6


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Alte is such a pretty Algarve village and surrounded by beautiful countryside that it is an ideal spot for a blissfully relaxing holiday. Pick up a newspaper, sit at a café with a cup of coffee and a delicious Portuguese cake and it'll be lunchtime before you know it and the next big decision is which restaurant for dinner?! Estói Palace of Estói – Built by the Counts of Carvalhal in the 18th century. It has now been turned into a Pousada (historical Hotel) and, at the time of writing, it is unclear whether the gardens will still be open to the public. The neoclassical façade is pink and white confection and the gardens are wonderfully evocative. The counts obviously lived in some style here, as the Romans had done earlier in nearby Milreu. The tiles, nymphs, statues, fountains and paths through orange trees are quite delightful. Steps lead down to a grotto with statues of Diana, Venus and the Three Graces. Carvoeiro Carvoeiro was a traditional, small fishing village surviving on the tuna catches but has, not surprisingly, become an incredibly popular resort with visitors and has developed to keep pace. It’s one claim to fame, historically speaking, is that in 1554 a naval battle took place off Cape Carvoeiro when a Portuguese flotilla attacked the Turkish corsair, Xaramet, and destroyed his fleet. Today the most activity you are likely to see is people enjoying the beach and the local fishermen bringing in their catches! The centre of Carvoeiro isn't very big and there are just two roads leading down into the town where they meet in a small square behind the beach. There is no parking in the square since it Vilar do Golf Empreendimentos Turisticos, Lda. Quinta do Lago 7


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was given a re-vamp in 2009 so be prepared to find parking up one of the side streets away from the centre. There are plenty of shops in the town for your everyday needs and because they are used to catering for British visitors you will be able to find most of your normal groceries. The town beach, Praia do Carvoeiro is a beautifully sheltered sandy bay and spreads out just in front of the square with cliffs protecting it on either side. There are bars and cafés ideally placed around the square to still enjoy the view when you leave the beach! Watersports like jet skis and pedaloes are available at the beach for those who like messing about on the water and there are a couple of diving schools based in Carvoeiro if you prefer to be under the water. The local fishermen also make use of their boats during the day to offer visitors the chance to take boat trips around the coastline and to see the caves. The cliff tops around Carvoeiro offer plenty of scope for walking and some great views. You may also come across some 'algares' which are holes in the cliff where the sea has eaten it away from underneath - there are some near the lighthouse at Cabo de Carvoeiro - luckily they are fenced around and it just shows how fragile the cliffs can be. Also on the cliff above Carvoeiro are the remains of the walls of the Fort of Senhora da Conceição dating from the 17th century, inside which is the hermitage of Nossa Senhora da Encarnação (Our Lady of the Incarnation). The town beach is quite small when it comes to accommodating the numbers of visitors in Carvoeiro during the summer, but there are also some other lovely beaches within easy reach of the town, such as Praia da Marinha and Praia de Vale de Centianes. Carvoeiro is also ideally situated for family fun days out. There are two water parks within easy reach - the closest being Slide and Splash at Lagoa and Aqualand just slightly further away in Alcantarilha. If water parks aren't for you then there is Zoomarine Sealife Park in Guia and Krazy World in Algoz to choose from. Twice a week the tourist train that runs around Vilar do Golf Empreendimentos Turisticos, Lda. Quinta do Lago 8


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Carvoeiro ventures a little further afield to Ferragudo which is just along the coast on the opposite bank of the Arade estuary to Portimão. It gives you a couple of hours to explore the town before bringing you back. Olhão Olhão is a major port and actually the largest fishing port in the Algarve. It is full of character with Moorish-style houses, an influence from the commercial links with Africa. Although Olhão only really became a town of note in the 19th century, it was first mentioned in 1378. At this time it would have been a very small fishing settlement of a handful of people, living in huts made of wood, reeds and straw on the beach. By 1679 it was important enough to need the building of the fortress of São Lourenço to defend it from pirates. Olhão is a town of many 'faces' - if you approach from the fishing port side it looks, and is, very industrial and, unless you are particularly interested in fishing boats and warehousing it doesn't look very attractive. However, around the corner from the dock the road runs along the water front and there is a long, very pleasant, paved promenade with cool gardens to escape the heat of the sun. If you are driving to Olhão there is plenty of parking along this water front road (Avenida 5 de Outubro)- the stretch in front of the town is paying, but go a little further and just before the road splits into a dual carriageway there is a free car park on the water front side. There are two market buildings side by side along the water front, which are a 'must visit' for the huge variety of extremely fresh fish and sea food straight from the port and the vast array of locally grown fresh fruit and vegetables. Olhão is well known for its fish market in particular .If you haven't got anywhere to cook some yourself then try one of the numerous local restaurants along the roadside nearby - you won't be disappointed! The market halls are surrounded by pavement cafes and it's a great place to sit and enjoy the view of the boats moored along the water front in the Olhão Marina and the sand spit beach islands of Armona and Culatra just a short distance off shore behind them. Enjoy the lovely afternoons in Olhão, walk along the water front and through the gardens, seat outside a jazz cafe watching the boats, watch people cycling around and local people going about their day. Vilar do Golf Empreendimentos Turisticos, Lda. Quinta do Lago 9


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Next, it's time to venture into the historic heart of Olhão and the easiest road to follow is directly across from the gap between the market halls. Here, many of the buildings are the elegant merchant's homes with wrought iron balconies, carved stonework and tile decorations and are such a contrast to the busy port area of Olhão. At the centre of the town at the end of Avenida da República, in the Praça da Restauração, is the church of Nossa Senhora do Rosário, built in 1698 with contributions from the fishermen when it was the first stone building in Olhão. It's a very graceful building with a baroque facade and somehow quite a surprise! The building behind the church, on the other side of the square, is the Compromisso Marítimo -the fishermen's mutual society, which was founded in the 18th century it is also home to the Olhão city museum. In a niche above the doorway is a statue of the Nossa Senhora do Rosário (Our Lady of the Rosary). While you are in this area there is another church at the back of the Compromisso Marítimo the chapel of Nossa Senhora da Soledade which is 17th century and the original church of the then fishing village. In the surrounding narrow, cobbled streets are a wide variety of inviting shops and pavement cafes that tempt you to linger! Well, after the sightseeing you need a break! This historic area of the town is really rather picturesque and gives a totally different view of Olhão from the port and the fishermen's quarter. Olhão itself doesn't have a beach as it is on the Ria Formosa lagoon system but the ferries for the islands run from the quayside near the gardens at the eastern end of the market halls. There are regular services throughout the year, although fewer in number during the winter. Ilha da Culatra is surrounded by beautifully clear water, with many species of fish, so it is perfect for diving and snorkeling. Ilha do Farol is not a separate island, but the area at the western end of Culatra where the lighthouse is ('Farol' meaning 'lighthouse' in Portuguese) and again offers visitors a large expanse of sand and warm water. Vilar do Golf Empreendimentos Turisticos, Lda. Quinta do Lago 1 0


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Ilha da Armona, the closest island to Olhão, has a few restaurants and holiday chalets and large expanses of golden sand for a very relaxing day at the beach! Tavira Tavira is a beautifully elegant town and almost surreal in aspects. Visitors can be forgiven for forgetting where they are, or even what year it is, as they step into this unique Algarve fishing town. Between the 8th and 13th centuries Tavira was under Arab rule until its conquest by the Knights of the Order of Santiago in 1242. It was elevated to a city in 1520 by King Manuel I and was the main trading port in the Algarve during the 16th to 18th centuries. Today it has still managed to stave off the influence of tourism to hold on to its unique tradition and handsome character. The bridge of seven arches, over the Gilão River, is reputedly Roman in origin, although its present appearance was acquired in the 17th century. Since severe floods affected the bridge in 1989 it has only been open to pedestrians. The market hall on the river front was re-vamped a few years ago and now is 'home' to several shops, cafes and restaurants around the edge with the central space available for exhibitions and special events. This stretch of river front along the Gilão River is a great place to sit at one of the cafes and enjoy the very picturesque setting. The roman bridge (Ponte Romana) spans the river with low arches and creates gentle reflections on the water and at low tide there are normally people wading in the river - presumably after clams. The gardens near the bridge offer a pleasant shady place to sit, and more often than not, somewhere for the older men to sit and chat and while away the day with a game or two of dominoes! Tavira arguably has some of the finest churches in the Algarve and they are plentiful too, in fact there are more than 20 in and around the town! The 16th century Igreja da Misericórdia is often cited as one of the finest churches in Tavira, with its blue and white tiles, magnificent carvings and scenes from the life of Christ. It is located up the hill just past the tourist office. Walk up the side of the church and then turn left and you will arrive at the 13th century Igreja de Santa Maria do Castelo which is next to the castle. Santa Maria is famed for holding the Vilar do Golf Empreendimentos Turisticos, Lda. Quinta do Lago 1 1


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tombs of the seven Christian knights of the Order of St. James who were killed by the Moors. There is also a plaque marking the tomb of Paio Peres Correia (a master of the Order) although there is a church in Spain also said to hold the tomb! The 13th century castle, re-built by King Dinis from Moorish fortifications, gives fantastic views across Tavira from the walls. If you are interested in the architectural heritage of Tavira, Tavira Municipal Council has produced a fascinating booklet about some recent archaeological discoveries in Tavira about the defensive structures of Phoenician, Islamic and Portuguese Tavira and a guide to where you can see these reminders of the past. There is far too much information to write here, but the booklet should be available from the tourist office and is called 'Military Architectural Heritage of Tavira'. Tavira is a really attractive town with some lovely, quite grand, buildings reflecting it's wealthy past particularly around the main square area (Praça da República), and then typical rows of Portuguese 'town' houses with tiled fronts along narrow cobbled streets; shops to browse in; pretty gardens and squares to sit in and, of course, plenty of restaurants and cafes for refreshments! If you enjoy shopping then don't miss the Gran-Plaza shopping mall - it has a fantastic selection of shops, places to eat and cinemas as well as a large supermarket. The beach at Tavira is a fabulous island, Ilha de Tavira, 14 km long offshore sand spit. Ferries cross from the town centre throughout the summer and all year round from nearby Quatro Águas. There are lots of delightful places to explore around Tavira starting with the pretty town of Cabanas just to the east. The view across the sheltered lagoon of the Ria Formosa to the islands is idyllic and there is nothing more relaxing than sitting at one of the pavement cafes along the waterfront with a glass of chilled wine! A short distance to the east of Cabanas is another picturesque spot - the tiny village of Cacela Velha. It is Vilar do Golf Empreendimentos Turisticos, Lda. Quinta do Lago 1 2


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just a handful of typically Algarvean whitewashed houses, a church and a fort around a cobbled stone square and situated on the waterfront just before Manta Rota (it is signposted from the N125). There isn't a lot to do there it has to be said, but the village and the views are truly delightful. To the west of Tavira lies the 'Octopus Capital' of the Algarve - Santa Luzia! In later years the fishermen of the village turned their talents wholeheartedly to catching octopus and to this end lower clay pots to the sea bed in the shallower waters to lure the octopus in. Octopus is considered quite a delicacy although it can be an acquired taste! It's worth going a little further along to Pedras D'el Rei where you can get a tourist train across to Praia do Barril, a beach in the middle of the long sand spit of Ilha de Tavira. Castle- Originally a Moorish fort rebuilt by Dom Dinis in the 13 th century, only the walls remain. There’s a pretty garden within the walls, and good views over the town and surrounding salt pans. Church of Santa Maria do Castelo- Originally built on the site of a former mosque in the 13 th century, but rebuilt after the earthquake. Like a most of Tavira’s 27 churches, it is only open for services. Albufeira In Roman times Albufeira was known as “Baltum” and then re-named “Al-Buhera” by the Moorish settlers in the 8th Century. It was finally taken from the Moors in the middle of the 13th Century by the 'Knights of the Order of Santiago'. Albufeira, like many Algarve towns, has the remains of a castle dating from Roman times, but most of the castle along with the town, was destroyed in the 1755 earthquake. The most visible pointer to the castle remains is the Torre do Relógio (Clock Tower), which was built on one of the old castle towers, and is normally lit up on festive occasions. Albufeira was a small fishing village until the arrival of tourism in the 1960s. Substantial developments since then have turned it into a major holiday resort (and probably the most popular resort in the Algarve) .Even with all of the developments, some of Albufeira Old Town still retains the essence of the village it once was, Vilar do Golf Empreendimentos Turisticos, Lda. Quinta do Lago 1 3


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with narrow cobbled stone streets winding up and around the hillsides and typical single storey houses lining the roadside. If you are looking for lively nightlife and bars and clubs that are open nearly 24 hours then you probably want to go to the Areias de São João area, home to "The Strip" (Avenida Dr Francisco Sà Carneiro), or nearby Montechoro both of which are about 2kms from Albufeira old town. There are plenty of shops, bars and restaurants (many with English menus) all to hand and the beautiful beach, Oura, just a short distance from the bottom end of the strip. Of course, with everyone in party spirit it isn't going to be particularly quiet, particularly in peak summer! So if neon signs and late night revelry aren't for you, it will be better to stay near the old town! Albufeira old town is more relaxed and has a lovely central square decorated with trees and colorful shrubs surrounded by street cafés and restaurants for a quiet meal or a cool drink. The streets leading off the square are a shopper’s delight with clothes shops, leather goods (fantastic handbags!), gift shops, street stalls and of course, the practical shops for daily necessities. There are also many more restaurants and bars in between the shops so there is never a shortage of places to eat and drink! It is worth mentioning that although English is very widely spoken and menus will normally be in 3 or 4 different languages, if you have any particular likes or dislikes or have special dietary requirements then you may find our food and drink information helpful. The bars in the old town are still open late - most will be open until 4am during the summer months but may close at 2am in the winter. It does mean that you can take a rest after a busy day on the beach before getting ready for the night! There are two main beaches in Albufeira itself 'Fishermen beach' (Praia dos Pescadores) is overlooked by a variety of restaurants and there is always the tempting aroma of barbecued fish in the air. Here it's possible to walk straight onto the beach without the need for steps. Adjoining “Fishermen beach” is Albufeira beach (Praia do Túnel), slightly to the west through the tunnel near the tourist office. There are more bars and restaurants here and steps down to the beach. Vilar do Golf Empreendimentos Turisticos, Lda. Quinta do Lago 1 4


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In fact, particularly if you are new to driving in Portugal, it can be quite nerve wracking in the summer months when the Algarve is so busy, and parking can be difficult too. There is the 'tourist train' that runs between the night clubs and Albufeira old town and the excellent local "Giro" minibus network. Nearby you can visit one of the water parks of the region, Aqualand or the Algarve's most popular theme park Zoomarine. For bookings, please contact the Resort. Albufeira marina is on the western outskirts of the town - you can't really miss it as all the buildings and apartments are painted in blue, pink, orange, green and yellow squares! There are rows of shops along the road behind the marina and some bars and restaurants along the marina itself. It is a brilliant place to spend an afternoon, have a drink or a meal, or just sit in the sun and watch the boats and people strolling by. If you go for nothing else, go to see the amazing colors of the buildings! There are also some interesting dolphin statues raised on poles along the marina walkway and each has been individually decorated with a different design. The marina is the starting point for many of the most popular things to do in Albufeira, such as boat trips, fishing trips and diving excursions. Or if you prefer staying on dry land - have a go on a Segway - the marina's long promenade is perfect for this novel form of transport! Just around the corner from the marina is the fishing port where you can see the fishermen going about their daily business and also get a lovely view of Albufeira across the bay. Albufeira is always bustling in the summer months, but it is a lovely place to wander around in the autumn and winter when the crowds have disappeared! Contrary to popular belief - the Algarve doesn't close down - the bars and restaurants are open, as are the shops! So for those of you who find July and August too hot and too busy - try the quieter pace of life in the Algarve during the out of season months. Monchique Monchique is a market town up in the Serra de Monchique, which is a thickly wooded mountain range separating the Algarve from Alentejo. The journey up (and down) to Monchique offers spectacular views and is totally different from coastal Algarve. The houses in Monchique are Vilar do Golf Empreendimentos Turisticos, Lda. Quinta do Lago 1 5



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