Towns Nearby

Vilamoura (25 minutes drive) is a huge privately owned resort encompassing several separate condominiums, five 18-hole golf courses and the Algarve’s largest marina. Surrounded by hotels and quayside restaurants, and with 860 berths for everything from sailing boats to gin palaces, the Marina is Vilamoura’s focal point.  Here, one can book to go on dolphin safaris, cave cruises, various different fishing trips, yacht and catamaran sailing cruises, as well as more physically energetic activities such as parasailing, jet-ski and speed boat rides.  The Marina also hosts a range of entertainments aimed at younger visitors as well as there being a Casino located near to the Marina for those who fancy a little ‘flutter’ whilst enjoying a cabaret show.

Quarteria (15 minutes drive) is situated nearby and has rapidly grown from a small fishing village into a small but high density town. Holiday apartments and hotels eclipse the fishing harbour and overlook one of the longest seafront promenades in the whole region. A series of breakwaters, at right angles along the sand, curb erosion and make the beach ideal for families.

Boliqueime (30 minutes drive) is a quiet village located a little inland. Boliquieme and the tranquil countryside all around it offer an insight into traditional rural life in the Algarve.

Albufeira (30 minutes drive) is the busiest and biggest resort town in the region. Vestiges of its Roman origins survive in the oldest part, but in the last few decades, the town has expanded massively. It now runs seamlessly from the fishing village of Olhos d’Agua on the eastern outskirts to the beach at Gale on the west side.

Silves (approx 30 miles west of of Almancil) is now a market town and is the ancient capital of the Algarve. With a castle, a gothic church, several museums and a history, the latter can be explored in a slide and laser show projected onto the walls of the castle followed by a multimedia show incorporating, amongst other things, fountains.

Faro (20 minutes drive) is the capital of the Algarve and boasts a cathedral dating from the 13th century, several fine churches and a clutch of museums. Faro hosts a large market which is open daily.

Tavira, east of Faro is a typically Portuguese fishing town largely unspoilt by modern developments. Known as the city of 37 churches, many of these date originally from the 13th century, but most were rebuilt after a major earthquake in 1755.  Lovely to enjoy a drink by the river whilst being entertained by the various street musicians.

Querenca is a small mountain village approximately 45 minutes drive from Vale do Lobo. The small village square has recently been restored and refurbished to a modern standard and yet at the same time retaining the “quaintness” of this hilltop hamlet.

Carvoeiro (1 hours drive) is a small fishing village with dramatic sandstone cliffs, sandy caves and gently rolling landscapes. Picturesque beaches with caves and tunnels can be explored whilst the terrain is scattered with olive, fig and carob trees with an abundance of wild flowers. Explore the twisting, narrow streets that wind their way to the top of the cliffs and then enjoy a jug of sangria at one of the local bars.

Portimao (1 hours drive) is the second largest town and port and is geared to everyday Portuguese life. It offers good shops and a market, and fresh fish can be eaten on the quayside.

Loule (20 minutes drive) is an ancient town with a superb fish, fruit and vegetable market. In the narrow streets of the old town craftsmen can be found making brass, copper and leather goods by hand which can be bought very cheaply here.

Estoi is situated inland on the hill, about 8km from Faro in the direction of S Bras de Alportel. Famous for its Roman ruins (Ruinas de Milreu) as well as a nice Botanical garden which is worth visiting.

Lagos is a bustling port town with an historical Golden Church and monuments. Lagos is an affable, easy-going place of small squares and narrow streets with some great local cuisine.  A walk or boat trip around the cliffs and caves of Ponta da Piedade is highly recommended.

altaAlte 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.  The natural flow of the river is locked in the summer months to provide a great bathing area.  Further downstream, behind the cemetery and car park, you can follow a path which takes you to one of the most beautiful waterfalls.

Monchique Choose a clear day and drive to the top of the mountains. Go round the square in Monchique and take the road uphill to Foia where there are magnificent views at the top. Try lunch at one of the chicken restaurants at the side of the road.

Olhao The daytime activities of this busy town are centred around the harbour, which boasts a large fishing fleet that contributes to the fish canning location there.

Markets and Shopping The best buys in the Algarve include Portuguese manufactured leather goods, pottery, decorated tiles, crystal, copperware, embroidered tablecloths, handmade rugs, filigree jewellery and cork products. Bargains abound and items can often be supplied made to measure. Prices are set and usually clearly marked.

It is recommended that every visitor should experience at least one visit to a Portuguese market. Everything is on offer from the freshest fruit and vegetables to cheese, meat, fish and other local delicacies all alongside stalls offering handcrafts, embroidered linenware and pottery. Our advice is to go early if you want to have the best of the produce – but go late if you want to pick up the bargains!

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