Western Algarve, Portugal
The Western Algarve is a panorama of rolling hills, verdant valleys, rugged cliffs and golden beaches, untouched by mass tourism, where farmers still guide their mule carts to market and fishermen repair their nets after bringing home the night’s catch. Valued for its mild, sunny climate, its unique ecosystems and great variety of flora, fauna and birdlife, much of the area is now protected at both national and European levels.
The area is home to some of the most beautiful and uncrowded beaches in Europe, from the windsurfers’ favourite at Martinhal and the surfers’ paradise of Praia do Amado to the more sheltered, sandy coves of the south coast. For those looking for an active holiday, the Western Algarve offers a wealth of outdoor sports opportunities from golfing to sport fishing, sailing and horse riding, as well as the excellent facilities at AlmaVerde itself, including tennis, yoga, rambling and mountain biking.
The cultural heritage of the Western Algarve reveals millennia of continuous occupation, from megalithic monuments, though Roman ruins to the legacies of the moors and the medieval voyages of discovery. The cuisine also reflects this heritage. A myriad local restaurants and bars specialise in freshly caught Atlantic seafood, Alentejano favourites such as black pork and suckling pig, and desserts that make imaginative use of locally grown figs and almonds. Portugal’s gastronomy includes superb wines, oils, hams and cheeses, and is one of its best-kept secrets.
In the evening, the cobbled streets of Lagos come alive with people watching the street performers and thronging the bars, and, for the truly energetic, the local nightlife provides plenty of opportunities for late night revelry.