The Algarve, stretching along the whole of Portugal’s southern coastline, is enclosed by a range of low hills, and has a climate, scenery and culture very different from the rest of the country. Its year round mild-to-hot weather makes it a favoured destination. With better communications and a greatly improved road system, superb hotels and world-class golf courses, the area is now on a par with the best. Properties of every kind are available – from old ruins on which you can stamp your mark, to the ultra-modern.
Vilamoura In central Algarve, created around one of Europe’s finest marinas, this beautiful resort offers you everything, just 20 minutes’ drive from Faro international airport. It’s safe, peaceful, with four local championship golf courses, right on the ocean with miles of golden beach, and offers numerous sporting and water activities.
The Almancil area - Almancil village itself has very good shopping facilities and some excellent restaurants – is a hub from which you can very quickly access the luxurious villa developments, golf courses and beach facilities of Quinta do Lago, Vale do Lobo, Vila Sol and the historic towns of Loulé, and Estoi, with its palace and Roman ruins – plus of course Faro. Choose a property in this area, and you’ll feel right at home from day one.
A very attractive old town with nearby local golf courses, a Moorish castle, many lovely churches, and even a bridge of Roman origin. Numerous new, as well as old, properties are available, and there’s an 11km beach with excellent swimming just a short, charming local boat-ride away.
Lisbon itself, with a population of around 1 million, is welcoming, cosmopolitan, fun, and fast. With a quick train ride or short drive, you can reach the rocky Atlantic coast, the wooded delights of Sintra, and a countryside sheltering luxurious villas and centuries-old palaces. 20 minutes by train will take you to Cascais, a lovely old fishing town. South of Lisbon are more sandy beaches and seaside villages, and lagoons to explore in the Tagus and Sado river estuaries. Many of these areas are protected – and flourishing.
Portugal’s Silver Coast, located just north of Lisbon, is an unspoilt area of spectacular cliffs and pristine beaches. Local historical towns and villages line the coast. The “jewel in the crown” is Óbidos. Its cobbled streets, whitewashed houses, local handicrafts and folklore enhance the medieval feel of this idyllic community. Clear coastal waters offer an array of sporting activities. The surrounding hills and beaches are great for walking, hiking and taking in the natural beauty of this spectacular area.
For something quite different from the Portuguese mainland, think Madeira – a green, steeply-hilled subtropical paradise with its surprisingly chic capital of Funchal, and a comfortable temperature that varies by only a few degrees either side of 20 C. Though it has an excellent road system, it helps to be fit as many parts of the island can only be explored on foot. Relax in beautiful surroundings only a three and a half hour flight from the major european cities, the rewards are many!