Portugals southern;most region is
blessed with an almost tropical climate, comparable with California
or North Africa, and boasts over 3,000 hours of annual sunshine.
Long sandy beaches and rugged rocky coves provide a treasure trove
of enticing bathing spots and some splendid walks or rambles along
almost a hundred miles of glorious coastline.
Kaleidoscopic colours abound, from the shimmering turquoise ocean
splashing onto golden beaches, over fantastic time-eroded sandstone
cliffs, :luscious green fairways and meadows tinged pink by magnificent
hospitality of the Algarveans is a legacy of the 500 year Moorish
occupation of the region, complemented by a pleasing and relaxing
lack of urgency in day to day life!
The Algarve is a land of paradox, where one
moment youll see a wizened, sun-wrinkled elder leading a
donkey and cart to the market and the next youll enter a
beautiful leisure complex or a majestic marina. The beach lover
will find oiler sixty easily accessible beaches plus dozens more
which offer a more challenging point of entry!
The nature lover can spot over 300 different
species of bird, either resident or regular visitors and a veritable
explosion of colour amidst the regions flora arid fauna.
sports enthusiast will rejoice in a superb array of golf courses,
tennis courts, lawn bowls, clay pigeon shooting, athletics, microlight
flying and a multitude of watersports all along the coast.
The connoisseur of fine wines and good food
will be made welcome in many a convivial bar and restaurant with
a thirst quenching drink and a mouthwatering meal.
For children, rock pools and their occupants
provide endless hours or fun, so will a splendid variety of Aquatic
Parks, all with miles of twisting, turning, splashing, sliding
fun! The charm of the Algarve lies in its endearing blend of quaint
simplicity and warm sophistication.
Food & Wine , Nightlife & Shopping
anywhere in southern Europe and not take a giant leap into its
vast culinary culture would be almost sinful, and no less so in
the Algarve where, quite apart from the high quality international
cuisine to be found in almost every resort, a whole range of traditional
specialities awaits the approval of your taste-buds. From simple
soups to country feasts, from delicious charcoal grilled fish
to succulent meats, and from juicy, vitamin loaded oranges to
irresistible cakes and pastries the southernmost region of Portugal
promises you an unforgettable culinary journeys one
that will be very kind on your pocket too.
& Cake Shops
Whether you find yourself in the biggest town or the tiniest
village, the trendiest resort or beside the ocean, the Algarve
boasts a marvellous array of eating places. Informal chicken
restaurants where the mood is noisy, friendly and relaxed.
Rustic, country diners with traditional dishes. Beach-side
eateries with their sparkling display of fresh fish and other
fine culinary treasures from the sea. And seafood specialists
known as a marisqueira, where superb shell fish demands an
ice cold draft
beer or vinho verde (green wine) as accompaniment.
From Vila Real in the east to Sagres in the west you will
find a fantastic range of international caissons too, including
Japanese, Thai, Chinese and Moroccan as well as many delightful
Fish or meat? As you delve into the AlgarveS rich gastronomy
it is so hard to choose! So try both! Scrumptious local fish
dishes can be found everywhere,including charcoal grilled
fish like bass, bream and mullet, or of course, the ubiquitous
Sardine! Fish specialities include: Arroz de Marisco, a rice
stew with every type of shell fish available in the market
plus chopped tomatoes, onions and coriander.
Bacalhau corn Natas is Portugals most popular fish,
cod, fried with onions, baked in the oven with a white cream
sauce and diced potatoes. And the wonderfully tasty Cataplana,
which variously involves an exquisite mixture of prawns. Shrimps,
crab,clams, pork filet, lean bacon, tomatoes, herbs and seasoning
and is served in a big copper pan resembling a clam!
Popular meat dishes include Bife a Portuguesa, sirloin topped
with smoked ham on a bed of potatoes and cooked in a clay
dish; Came de porco a Alentelafla delicious fried cubes of
pork and cockles partially cooked together with a tomato and
onion sauce. And then theres the ever popular Frango
piri-piri~ charcoal grilled pieces of chicken basted with
special ingredients including a mixture of hot chilli sauce
and olive oil.
If youve a sweet tooth, the temptation will be impossible
to resist Dont miss MoIotOV, an unbelievably light,
flu~ creation made from egg whites, sugar and lemon juice
Pastels de nata are small custard type cakes, and youll
find an amazing variety of other creamy cakes and desserts
at almost every turn!
in the heart of the countryside you wilt seldom be far from
a paste/erIa where cakes and pastries are made on site. This
is the place to join your Portuguese hosts as they indulge in
the national obsession for coffee. Try a strong expresso or
bica or a meia de leite which is milky coffee. The choice is
endless! Most cafés offer a lunch menu too, always with
a superb value dish of the day or prato dodIa of three courses
costing about the same as a sandwich at home!
Unknown to many, Portugal has an extraordinary abundance of
superb wines,produced in around a dozen wine growing regions
from north to south. Prices in bottle shops and supermarkets
wilt instantly catch your eye, and even in restaurants, a well
chosen selection makes little impact on the bitt! Most restaurants
only stock Portuguese wines, and there is always a vinho de
casa or house wine, red and white. Vinho verde,
green wine, is a deliciously light and fresh wine, slightly
sparkling, that can be white or red and makes the idea! summer
accompaniment to fish or chicken. White, pink or red sparkling
wines, or espumante, are equally refreshing, especially as an
aperitif. Quality at a reasonable price is the hallmark of light
to full-bodied wines from the northern regions Dão, Bairrada
and Douro, whilst the Atentejo region, closest to the Atgarve,
produces excellent reds and whites, notably Borba, Redondo,
Reguengos and Vidigueira.
Normal shopping hours
are from 9~am to 1pm and 2pm to 7pm Monday to Friday, and 9am
to 1pm on Saturday. However, this can vary enormously. Larger
supermarkets are generally open seven days a week,normally until
~pm or later. Two fabulous shopping malls, in Faro and in Guia,
near Atbufeira, offer enormous hypermarkets, and over 100 stores
open until midnight during the summer months. They also have
multi-screen cinemas and bowling alleys open until even later!
In the resorts and towns street stalls and souvenir shops add
colour to the surroundings, with great value trinkets and gifts.
Superb leather goods are abundant, from handbags to shoes and
clothing. Lace goods and hand painted pottery are also hugely
popular everywhere, and each town has its own regular market
day, where local vendors and artisans offer their goods.
One of the beauties of this
delightfully easy-going region is that you can seek out peace
and quiet whenever you want it, perhaps dedicating your evenings
to relaxed dinners in the company of good friends and a glass
of wine, yet a vibrant, cosmopolitan nighttife is never that
far away either. Deluxe resort developments like Quinta do Lago
and Vale do Lobo offer sophisticated restaurants and nightclubs
of their own ilk. Villamoura has its splendid Casino, with nightly
floor shows and the gaming rooms, plus the beautiful Marina
with waterside cafés, bars and eating places. In most
resorts, like Villamoura, Praia da Oura, Albufeira, Carvoeiro,
Rocha and Lagos youll find a blend of friendly, family
fun-pubs, town squares or promenades with live entertainment
and street performers, buzzing music bars, and an eclectic mix
of dance-tit-dawn night spots for the dedicated dubber! In the
Algarve, the nightlife is as near or as distant as you would
like it to be!