Acknowledged as Europe’s leading Beach Destination by the World Travel Awards, the Algarve is one of the world’s most beautiful provinces and a truly captivating region for its landscape diversity. Located in the south of Portugal the coastline spans over 200 kilometers and boasts some of Europe’s cleanest and picturesque sandy beaches.
The region is roughly 50 kilometers wide from the Atlantic coastline to the mountains of Monchique and Caldeirão and 150 kilometers from Vila Real de Santo António in the east to Sagres in the west. With over 3000 hours sunshine a year and Mediterranean-like weather, the Algarve is a perfect place to visit or live all year round.
Wherever you look, the colours of the mountains and sea are always with you, creating the impression of a water-colour dotted with highlights of gold, green and blue. The region is an extensive and pleasant one, marked by the smell of the sea at low tide and the scent of wild flowers. A stroll through the tangled web of narrow streets, alleys and steps to be found away from the coast is the best way of getting to know this part of the region. But you can also easily lose yourself in the vastness of the coastal strip. Here the backdrop is composed of beautiful beaches, from where you can admire the rocky coastline and the playful shadows they cast on the sand. After the enchantment of the landscape, you can discover the aromas and flavours of the traditional Algarve cuisine that will pull you back time and time again. The menu may consist of fish and shellfish, with such dishes as caldeirada de peixe (fish-stew) or cataplana de amêijoas (clams steamed in a copper pan), or you can enjoy the traditional mountain food such as home raised meat and vegetables. The range of choices will also include the famous regional delicacies, such as figs, almonds, carobs and the brandy made from the locally grown medronho (arbutus-berry), distilled up in the hills in old copper stills.
As you travel across the Algarve, amidst its hills and plains filled with places of great ecological interest, rich in biodiversity and ecosystems, you will feel as though you are passing through an area full of different traditions, unchanged for many centuries. The handicraft is skilfully manufactured by the local craftsmen, who make use of longstanding, ancestral techniques and produce an excellent range of pottery, woven baskets, copper and brass articles, or other pieces made of linen and jute.
The region’s built heritage is something you cannot afford to miss. The architecture of the whitewashed houses, with their brightly-coloured mouldings and remarkably beautiful chimneys, the church belfries and the museums, all reveal particular memories of the ancestors of the Algarve people and help to make this such a special destination.
Only a step away from the tranquil peace of the inland region is the excitement of the Algarve nightlife. Bars, discos, marinas and casinos guarantee visitors the very best kind of merrymaking. Furthermore, there is always a great range of events and festivals throughout the year! Families can enjoy water parks (the water park Zoomarine was considered the 7th best theme park in Europe by TripAdvisor), theme parks and zoos or boat trips along the breath-taking coastline. A wide range of sports is also available – from walking and sightseeing excursions, mountain biking and quad biking to powerboat championships, karting, car rallies, motocross events, sailing, surfing, tennis, horse riding, kayaking, kite surfing, rock climbing and wakeboarding, golf championships and many, many more. Whether you’re playing golf on lush green courses of the awarded European Golf Destination (International Association of the Golf Tour Operators) or enjoying some physical exercise at some of the region’s excellent facilities, whether you’re on the coast or perhaps up in the hills, where, after the rigours of winter and even before the first signs of spring, the land is covered in a pinkish white blanket, produced by the blossom of the almond-trees scattered across the horizon.
Europe's most famous secret.
Quinta do Lago
Quinta do Lago just a short drive from Faro International Airport, this one-of-a-kind resort, founded in 1972, is a symbol of sophistication and excellence, boasting some of the region’s most spectacular villas, townhouses and low-level apartments (two-storey max.). Featuring a series of ‘developments’, properties enjoy views that range from lush fairways or fresh and seawater lakes to centuries-old scented pine forests and golden beaches, depending on their location within the resort.
Generous plot sizes and the exceptional privacy they afford, ensure that Quinta do Lago remains popular with buyers. Quinta do Lago develops over 810ha, within the picturesque Ria Formosa Nature Reserve – one of the last unspoilt coastal zones in Europe and established as a Nature Reserve with UNESCO protected status. This paradise holds an impressive diversity of flora and fauna and in order to protect its outstanding beauty, Quinta do Lago is regulated by a Master Plan that defends a strict low-density building policy and thus, stipulates that only a very low percentage of the land can be built on.
Additionally, Quinta do Lago is a well-known premier golf destination boasting one of Europe’s finest practice facilities – the Paul McGinley Golf Academy – and five golf courses of exceptional renown. The iconic South Course, eight-time host of the Portuguese Open, was designed by William Mitchell. Its challenging 18-hole layout favours the long-hitter yet demands skill and precision in positioning the ball if you want to achieve a low score. Re-entering the spotlight, the North Course was redesigned in 2014 by renowned golf architect Beau Welling in close collaboration with Paul McGinley. The new layout has been built to the highest specifications and redeveloped with the emphasis firmly on precision and strategy. It was voted “Europe’s Best New Golf Course” at the World Golf Awards in November. The Laranjal Course, a relatively recent addition, yet quick to earn a reputation for its beautiful lakes and lush umbrella pines, cork oaks and orange trees, was voted Portugal’s Best Golf Course at the Portuguese Travel Awards in 2011. Pinheiros Altos was conceived by Ronald Fream and features three very different sets of nine holes. The first winds its way through pine groves. The second, the original back-nine, develops over gently rolling terrain. Its 8th hole (17th), with its green on a little island, has become Pinheiros Altos’s signature hole. The newly developed third 9-hole course is deemed the most demanding, and is well known for its spectacular views and dangerous eighth hole. Masterminded by Joseph Lee and Rocky Roquemore, San Lorenzo Golf Coursewas named the 24th best golf course in the world by Golf World magazine. Its 18 holes develop through the unspoilt south-eastern corner of Quinta do Lago, with stunning Bermuda grass fairways providing perfect playing conditions. In short, if you are looking for natural beauty, while enjoying a peaceful, stylish lifestyle and some of the best golf courses in the Algarve, Quinta do Lago is without doubt the right path to take.
Vale do Lobo
Vale do Lobo is a golf and beach resort located in the heart of the Algarve, not far from Quinta do Lago. Surrounded by lush golf courses and overlooking the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, this resort offers a unique concept in luxury living with endless facilities and services, thus attracting sportspeople, holidaymakers and entrepreneurs.
Recognised as one of the foremost resorts in Europe, Vale do Lobo is the ultimate all-year round family destination for holidays or a second home. With four major luxury developments, including the Ocean Clube, the Royal Golf development, Vale Real and Vale de Santo António, Vale do Lobo satisfies all kinds of expectations, with properties within walking distance of the beach, sports facilities, quality restaurants and bars, etc. In addition to a shopping complex with a choice of boutiques, a complimentary internal shuttle bus, round-the-clock security vigilance, a wellness centre, an art gallery, a tennis academy, conference facilities, a supermarket and medical services and facilities, Vale do Lobo also features a beachside complex – The Praça – with its many vibrant bars and restaurants offering a lively nightlife – perfect for families with teenagers.
Vale do Lobo is also an exceptional golfing destination, boasting two magnificent golf courses: the Ocean and the Royal, which have twice been host to the Portuguese Open. The stunning, links-style PAR 72 Ocean, lives up to its name with great seafront golf, while the Royal, is renowned for its 16th hole, a daunting PAR 3, requiring a precise shot from cliff top to cliff top, and the awaiting green.
With some of the finest properties in Europe, a lively community and a wide spectrum of integrated services attracting buyers of all ages, Vale do Lobo has earned a solid reputation as a secure resort, synonymous with relaxation, sports and leisure.
Vilamoura is the largest luxury tourist complex in Europe. Enjoying a central location in the Algarve, Vilamoura offers an endless array of facilities and services to meet the tastes of a wide range of residents and tourists.
As a premium golf destination in Europe that boasts an academy and five exceptional courses of varying degrees of difficulty (Oceanico Old Course, Pinhal, Laguna, Millennium and Victoria), Vilamoura hits the mark for both enthusiastic amateurs and professional players. No surprise then that Vilamoura is often the chosen venue for major national and international golfing events.
The stunning marina, which beyond mooring boats is a regional hotspot for food, fun and entertainment, is another of Vilamoura’s landmarks. An elegant and cosmopolitan setting, with a casino nearby and a wide selection of restaurants, bars and shops to suit all tastes. Thanks to its exceptional location and facilities, the marina has gained an international reputation with the boating and water sport community. Prepared for a wide variety of vessels, Vilamoura’s marina offers unrivalled advantages with regard to technical services and support.
A renowned International school, soft sandy beaches, a sports complex, cycle and pedestrian paths, as well as a modern shared-use bicycle system are just a few good reasons why Vilamoura is a popular location for second homes for families, golfers or sun and beach lovers.