By Sun-hat Villas
There’s something special about the Algarve. From the moment you step off the plane you can feel the warmth, not only of the incredibly agreeable weather, but also of the people, and let’s not forget the food.
This has long been a hotspot for holidaymakers who like a bit of sophistication with their evening cocktail when overlooking the beautiful beaches and soaking up the peaceful vibe of the chilled out fishing villages. The Algarve has also become somewhat of a hotspot for laid back surfers looking to catch the great waves on the widest swell offered in Portugal.
The amount of things to do can be a little overwhelming, so we (Sun-hat Villas - the Algarve luxury villa specialist.) have put together some of our top recommendations on what to do from when the sun rises to when it sets in this beautiful region – perfect to fill a short weekend or to spread out over a lazy vacation. Here’s your 48 hours in the Algarve…
The sea-carved cliffs, imposing cliff-top fortress (and the most powerful lighthouse in Europe) all lie in cool Sagres, which is a great place to catch a wave – or at least become a world class spectator. Check out Magic Seaweed’s surf guide for what to expect when boarding. After you’ve dried off, Sagres is a great place to spend the morning. With its cheery cafes this is a great place to catch breakfast (or brunch if you appreciate a lie-in). Terra Restaurant is a great venue to head for breakfast. A glass of fresh orange juice, a hot roasting coffee, and the staple Portuguese tarts come highly recommended. It is also a great option for vegetarians and vegans.
Fun in the sun: Drive to Alcoutim
After an exhausting, yet invigorating morning, why not take a more laid back approach in the afternoon?
The drive to Alcoutim will take you through stunning countryside landscapes and you will be treated on arrival to a beautiful riverside beach, which is delightfully warm. This is a great place to float around while looking out for the cheeky fish that jump out of the water every so often.
After your swim, go for a walk in the historical and cultural town steeped in heritage with a Moorish castle, 14th Century castle remains and 17th Century fort. If you happen to be in the area in the spring, you should be lucky enough to see some of the stunning wildflowers that sprout everywhere around this time of year.
Sunset: From surf to turf
One of our most favourite places to eat is the hilltop Parilla Natural Restaurant in Almancil and, from 2 October 2016, you can catch the live music Sunday Roast which is great fun.
This stunning restaurant with its own wine cave is mainly outside set amongst tall trees and beautiful candlelight. There is also the opportunity to do a bit of celeb spotting if you are lucky.
Wash down your epic steak with a Coconut and Raspberry Mojito or Passionfruit Martini and, if you need a good hair of the dog, the Beetroot Bloody Mary has a real kick.
Sunrise: Climb every mountain!
The gorgeous mountain top, Foia in Monchique, is the highest in the Algarve. Not many people make the journey to the top but for the active among us who do, you can walk with a local guide and be treated with clear water springs and views of miles of coastline dotted with quaint villages. It’s nice to take up your own breakfast and sit and watch the world below.
Fun in the sun: From boat to docks
The Algarve is an excellent place to go dolphin spotting. There are quite a few companies that offer boat trips. We like Dreamwave Dolphin Watching - Albufeira, which not only takes you on a tour to find the friendly pods of dolphins but you can also cruise by coloured rocks, secret beaches, hidden caves and mysterious arches. The company also offers exciting adventures such as jet-skiing, jet-boating and cruising the ocean waves on a pirate ship!
After your trip there are plenty of stunning beaches to enjoy lazing away, hitting beach bars and enjoying the stunning colours of The Algarve cliffs. One of our favourites is the blue flag Falesia Beach, great for the kids or just to kick back relax and nip in and out of beach cafes and restaurants.
Sunset: drink in the culture
The old town of Albufeira is incredibly charming and is surrounded by many charming restaurants and bars offering everything you need; from the multi-sensory and alchemy fine-dining experience at Al Quimia (food served in a goldfish bowl?!) to much loved cheap and cheerful take-aways such as the Albufeira Gourmet Churrasqueira Take-Away, which serves finger licking Piri-Piri chicken to die for. The main square comes alive in the evening with revelers and locals, and the labyrinth of cobbled side streets holds real finds and is great to explore and shop for souvenirs as you make your way down towards Pescadores Beach for sundown and cocktails.
Written by Sun-hat Villas the Algarve luxury villa specialist