With over three thousand hours of sunshine a year, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Portugal, famous for its beaches, traditional Mediterranean cuisine and scenic beauty. The coastline is very diverse, ranging from steep cliffs, wide beaches, lagoons with many inlets, salt marshes and other dune formations. Barrocal, a transition zone between the coast and the mountains, is the main supplier of agricultural products, with emphasis on “medronho” (a local berry), honey and cork. The mountains occupy 50% of the territory with the mountain ranges of Espinhaço de Cão, Monchique and Caldeirão. With deserted beaches, wild hiking trails, hidden villages, places where flamingos flit and perfect golf courses, the Algarve is a year-round destination.
The wine region, demarcated in 1980, has 4 Denominations of Origin (Lagoa, Lagos, Portimão and Tavira) with characteristics conferred by the proximity of the sea, the climate, the natural vegetation and the culture marked by the long Arab occupation. In addition to the traditional native grape varieties (such as the red Castelão and Negra Mole and the white Arinto and Crato Branco), Touriga Nacional and Syrah have been successful in recent times, having adapted very well to the climatic conditions of the region. The new projects, where vines are being planted in vertical rows rising up the steeper hillsides (the so-called “vinhas ao alto”), focus on red Aragonez, Touriga Nacional and white Verdelho, along with international varieties such as Chardonnay and Syrah.
3 REASONS TO COME HERE
· The beaches
· Coastal marvels
· The seafood
Departure to Algarve
Stop for lunch in Alentejo
Visit and lunch at L'AND Vineyards, Montemor-o-Novo
Set in the heart of Alentejo, in a unique landscape, L'AND Vineyards is more than a hotel, is an exclusive retreat that blends modern architecture with nature, providing an atmosphere of sober luxury, natural beauty and tranquillity.
“At L'AND Vineyards we seek to express the new Portuguese gastronomic culture, reflecting our history and our culture and integrating the experience resulting from the Portuguese trip in the East. We value the unique products of the region, from land and sea. With the help of locally preferred producers of organic farming, we use citrus fruits, vegetables, cheeses, aromatic herbs, beef cattle raised in the field, fish, and shellfish from the port of Setúbal and traditional olive oil from the region, we seek to create a unique gastronomic experience that expresses our identity.”
Chech-in at Pousada Palácio de Estoi (Estoi Palace)
The only “palace hotel” in the Algarve. Characterised by the rich and decorative architecture resulting from the restoration of a 19th century palace, while preserving its original features, the Pousada Palácio de Estoi has 63 rooms, French-style gardens, an outdoor swimming pool with a view of the sea and the mountains, as well as all the amenities of the 21st century.
The mix of Neoclassical, Neorococó and Art Nouveau styles continues to be visible in every corner of this Pousada, including its salons, which now feature more classic furniture, a new colour palette that harmonises with the frescoes and two distinct languages in the two restaurant areas, serving lunch and dinner in a variety of themes, in addition to a new outdoor deck.
Dinner at ATO Restaurant
ATO offers a cuisine integrated in the human and natural landscape. Dishes are the fruit of the richness of the place we occupy and are designed to provide an experience that is as surprising as it is familiar.
In our 24-seat bistro, chef Sean Marsh shares his passion for gastronomy and hospitality through a seasonal, ever-changing menu. A modern and sophisticated dining experience in a casual and inviting environment.
Visit Quinta dos Vales
Quinta dos Vales is a superb wine estate situated in the heart of the Western Algarve.
From very humble beginnings this 44-hectare estate is now considered one of the best wineries in the Algarve. This boutique wine estate is a place full of surprises. There is plenty in store for those who wish to delve into the world of winemaking or simply enjoy a nice day out exploring the history and natural beauty of the grounds.
Lagos is a historic, lively and one of the most beautiful and visited cities in the Algarve region. Due to its geographical location and economic importance Lagos became a pillar of the Portuguese Discoveries. Old town's pretty, cobbled lanes and picturesque squares and churches are enclosed by 16th-century walls. Lagos is well knowned too for it’s truly fabulous beaches and, with its blue shiny water, Lagos’ Marina is definitely one of the most beautiful marinas in Portugal.
A confort stop at Casa Mãe - A happy, relaxing and sunny home. “At our small, local scale, we aim to make Casa Mãe sustainable - a community driven, socially engaged and environmental conscious place.”
Dinner at Camilo Restaurant, Ponta da Piedade/Lagos
Camilo has been in the family for more than 40 years. It started as a simple restaurant by the sea, with typical regional dishes based on fresh fish and local products.
Visit Mercado de Loulé (Loulé Municipal Market) with Chef Lúcia Ribeiro, from Morgado do Quintão
Opened in June 1908, Loulé Municipal Market is one of the finest examples of revivalist architecture in the Algarve. Designed by Lisbon architect Alfredo Costa Campos, it is neo-Arab in style, with four sections and four doorways.
The building was recently refurbished and modernised.
Visit Loulé Criativo
Loulé Criativo is a municipal project of cultural tourism.
It promotes workshops, courses, theme weekends and experiences inspired by this territory's art, handicrafts, gastronomy, heritage and rhythm.
Visit, experience, and vinic lunch at Morgado do Quintão
Gather under 2.000-year-old tree that overlooks the old Negramole vines, inside a vintage olive press or wrapped in the warmth of the Main House. We’ll share a simple menu paired with a flight of four different wines from the estate.
Visit Mercado de Olhão (Olhão Market)
The twin buildings of Olhão Market, opened in 1916, are perhaps the best-known hallmark of the city, an enormous red brick building that dominates the waterfront area of the city. It’s one of the most lively and best markets in the region for fish and seafood.
On a Saturday morning then there is also an open-air market running alongside the market building with farmers and local handicraft producers selling their goods.
Visit Monterosa Olive Oil
Monterosa produces high quality olive oil from the town of Moncarapacho, in the East of Algarve. The extra virgin olive oil comes from 15 hectares of olive groves situated just outside the town. The olives are picked up by hand in the autumn and take directly to the mill. There, they are ground to a paste in a granite stone mill, which dates back to Roman times.
Lunch at A Ver Tavira Restaurant
Overlooking the Gilão river, A Ver Tavira restaurant offers a unique gastronomic selection of international dishes that are inspired by regional flavours, interpret in them creatively. Enjoy Chef Luis Brito’s (Michelin Star) improbable combinations in an elegant environment with a view of one of the most beautiful cities in the Algarve.
Tour on solar boat in Ria Formosa Natural Park
A unique experience aboard a solar-powered boat, discovering the natural richness of the protected area of Ria Formosa Natural Park. Besides of all the fauna and flora of this protected area, here lives too one of the largest communities of seahorses in the world.
Faro is the capital of the Algarve since 1756. It has an attractive marina, well-maintained parks and plazas, and a picturesque cidade velha (old town) ringed by medieval walls. The old town's winding, cobbled pedestrian streets, squares and buildings are home to museums, churches, a bone chapel, and al fresco cafes. This area of the city faces the Ria Formosa Natural Park, with its lagoons and nearby islands and beaches.
Dinner at Check-in Faro by Leonel Pereira
One Michelin star holder, Chef Leonel Pereira, opened the doors of the Check-In Faro by Leonel Pereira restaurant with a menu that is also a journey through the chef's career. Dinner based on a more informal concept - honest and flavourful food to share.
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