EXPLORE PORTUGAL

Places To Visit (East)

Underline

Vila Real de Santo Antonio

The border town of Vila Real de Santo Antonio is one of the more architecturally interesting towns in the Algarve. The original settlement was demolished by a tidal wave following the earthquake of 1755 and the current town was rebuilt on a grid plan by the Marquês de Pombal, using the same plans he had already pioneered in the Baixa quarter of Lisbon. Remarkably, the whole project only took five months.

The central grid built by Pombal radiates out from the handsome square that bears his name, ringed by orange trees and low, white buildings, a couple of which are pleasant outdoor cafés. On the north side of the square is Rua Teófilo Braga, the pedestrianized main drag that leads inland from the riverfront Avenida da República. The former market building along here has been reborn as the Centro Cultural António Aleixo, an innovative space used for temporary exhibits and occasionally films. The surrounding streets have a certain low-key charm, bristling with linen shops, electrical retailers and grocers, and the riverside gardens offer fine views across to the splash of white that is Ayamonte in Spain. The town used to be the main crossing point into Spain; its importance has declined since the opening of a road bridge over the Rio Guadiana, 4km to the north, but its well worth taking a boat trip from here up the river.

Faro

With its international airport, impressive shopping centre and ring of high-rise property’s, Faro has something of a big city feel. However, the central area is a manageable size, boasting attractive mosaic-paved pedestrianised streets and marina-side gardens, while its university contributes to a lively nightlife, during term time at least. In summer, boats and buses run out to some excellent local beaches. Originally a Roman settlement, the city was named by the Moors, under whom it was a thriving commercial port, supplying the regional capital at Silves. Following its conquest by the Christians, under Afonso III in 1249, the city later experienced a series of conquests and disasters. Sacked and burned by the Earl of Essex in 1596, and devastated by the Great Earthquake of 1755, it is no surprise that modern Faro has so few historic buildings. What interest it does retain is contained within the pretty Cidade Velha (Old Town), which lies behind a series of defensive walls overlooking the mud flats.

Vilamoura

For a real taste of Algarve luxury, Vilamoura resort is a must-see place to visit.  It is the biggest private tourism resort in Europe and is one of the most prestigious in Portugal. Although fairly far removed from the traditional Algarve, the purpose-built leisure resort of Vilamoura offers accommodation to suit all tastes – luxury hotels, privately owned villas and properties on the golf course complexes, and a wide range of hotels and properties near the marina.

Vilamoura marina is the main centre of activity with a huge range of restaurants, bars and shops (including many designer shops). Luis Figo’s ‘Bar Sete’ (bar seven) is also on the marina front. During the day, although it can get quite busy, it’s really a very peaceful area to stroll around. It gets livelier at night, with everyone coming to eat and try out some of the bars, but is still a very relaxed resort.

Boasting a 1,000-berth marina, Vilamoura attracts the wealthy, yachtsmen, golfers, celebrities and in fact, anyone who just fancies enjoying a rather nice place in the sun!  For anyone who simply likes to go to the beach to relax, Vilamoura has two beautiful beaches, Praia da Marina (‘Vilamoura Beach’), to the east of the marina and Praia da Falésia to the west. If you enjoy a walk, Praia da Falésia runs all the way to Olhos d’ Àgua or stroll along Praia da Marina into Quarteira.

The resort is also home to Vilamoura Casino, which has regular evening entertainment, such as shows and dances, as well as the gaming rooms.

Quarteira

From a simple fishing village, Quarteira has become one of the major tourist centres in the Algarve, famous for its golden beaches, its high-quality fish and for its woods of stone pine.

Quarteira has seen a lot of development in recent years, leaving it characteristically high-rise in and around the town. Quarteira has still, however, managed to retain its Portuguese character and is particularly popular with Portuguese holidaymakers. The best part is the lovely palm-lined promenade, Avenida Infante de Sagres, known as the “Marginal”, where you can spend time relaxing with lovely walks along the seafront and on the outdoor terraces of cafés and bars all around.

Quarteira Beach is beautiful and rock-free and there are plenty of eating places with the Avenida Infante de Sagres running along behind it, which you can call on for refreshments. Quarteira still boasts a local fishing community and the fishermen can be seen at work at the western end of the beach. The catches are sold at the nearby fish market early in the morning and will end up on your plate for lunch or dinner the same day.

Vale do Lobo

Running down through a valley of pine trees to the sea, Vale do Lobo might be purpose built but it looks like it’s been there for eons. Moorish in style with arches, latticed balconies and red tiled roofs aplenty, this exclusive village is a gorgeous place to stay. Most of all though, it’s the sports facilities which will impress you. The two, 18-hole courses are simply superb. There’s the Royal with its famous 16th hole – where golfers have to drive across two ravines on the cliff. The attractive Ocean Course is less challenging, but was the last to be designed by Henry Cotton. And then there’s a huge driving range where you can practice your swing. Golf aside, there are plenty of other sports to take part in. The Tennis Academy runs holidays and coaching, whilst Barringtons Health Club has the usual sports centre facilities. There’s a very good riding school too. But if your idea of heaven is less adrenaline-packed, follow the valley to the sea. Five kilometres of white sand, low red cliffs and a speckling of sunbeds and parasols. In the evening, the handful of restaurants and bars swing into action, with occasional live music and a regular disco on the beach in summer.

Quinta do Lago

Founded in 1972, Quinta do Lago is just a 20-minute drive from Faro airport.  The borders of Quinta do Lago include the Ria Formosa Natural Park and the Atlantic Ocean. Set in 2000 acres of rolling hills and pine woodlands it is without a doubt one of the most prestigious areas of the Algarve.  It is an exclusive golf and residential estate and boasts no less than 4 golf courses (72 holes) with a further 36 holes, including the famous Ocean Course, at Vale do Lobo, which is just a 5 minute drive away. Golf was born in Quinta do Lago in 1974 with the inauguration of the A+B courses designed by William Mitchell and Joseph Lee.  The first Portuguese Open took place in 1976 and was won by Salvador Balbuena from Spain.

Quinta do Lago is not just a heaven for golfers but because of its location by the Ria Formosa Natural Park, it is also a heaven for the rare species of fauna and flora which inhabit this area and therefore makes an excellent base for those wishing to explore the two nature trails near the resort.

The Quinta Shopping Centre is up market with plenty of designer stores, cafes and many international superstars have made Quinta do Lago their home away from home and the resort is now one of the most expensive areas in Portugal for real estate.  The late Ayrton Senna, who died in a fatal accident in 1994, has the Avenida Ayrton Senna named after him.

Along with some of the finest championship golf courses in Europe, Quinta do Lago also offers several other sporting activities like horse riding, tennis, clay pigeon shooting, deep water fishing and practically every kind of water sport.

The beach is extensive, over 2 miles of golden sand, with magnificent sand dunes and can be reached by crossing a long wooden walkway over the Ria Formosa. There are plenty of facilities on the beach, cafes, restaurants sun beds for rent and all kinds of water sports.

Olhão

Olhão, 8km east of Faro, is the largest fishing port on the Algarve and an excellent base for visiting the surrounding sandbank islands of Armona and Culatra or the Quinta da Marim environmental centre. Olhão has a vibrant market, attractive riverfront gardens and atmospheric backstreets and is a great place to visit on a day-trip.  The largely pedestrianized old town is punctuated with some superb tile-fronted buildings, quirky shops and bars. The flat roofs and narrow streets are striking and give a North African look to the place. No surprise, then, that Olhão has centuries-old trading links with Morocco, as well as a small place in history for its uprising against the French garrison in 1808. Following the French departure, the local fishermen sent a small boat across the Atlantic to Brazil to transmit the news to the exiled king, João VI. The journey, completed without navigational aids, was rewarded after the king’s restoration to the throne by the granting of a town charter.

Tavira

Situated 30km east of Faro, Tavira is one of the most beautiful towns in the Algarve. It’s sited on both sides of the broad Rio Gilão, which is overlooked by balconied houses and straddled by low bridges, one of Roman origin.  A visit to the superb island beach of the Ilha de Tavira, which lies within easy reach of the town by year-round ferry, is a must. There are also several quieter spots in the area, such as the holiday village of Pedras d’el Rei and nearby beach at Barril and, for some excellent seafood, the tiny fishing village of Santa Luzia.

Founded as long ago as 400 BC, Tavira was an important port trading with North Africa until the river began to silt up in the seventeenth century. Following the Great Earthquake of 1755, the town was largely rebuilt with the graceful eighteenth-century town houses and mansions that you see today. The old bridge was mostly built in 1667 on the foundations of a Roman structure; the other central bridge was put up by the army in 1989 as a temporary structure, but has held firm ever since. In the old-town streets on both sides of the river, numerous houses retain fine old doorways with traditional knockers in the shape of hands.

Cabanas

Six kilometres east of Tavira – past the golf course at Benamor – lies Cabanas, named after the fishermen’s cabanas (huts) that were the original settlement. Today a kernel of backstreets is still made up of pretty fishermen’s houses along with a line of low-rise shops, cafés and bars facing a picturesque river estuary lined with mimosa trees. Moored fishing boats testify to the village’s former mainstay, though nowadays the economy is largely driven by tourism thanks to the glorious sands on Praia de Cabanas over the estuary. Ferries shuttle passengers to the beach from a small jetty in the east of town. Cross the dunes and you’re greeted with kilometres of golden sand, plus a couple of seasonal beach cafés.

Monte Gordo

Monte Gordo is the last resort before the Spanish border and the most built-up of the eastern holiday towns, with its own casino.  In June expect to see a profusion of Harley-Davidson riders who descend for an annual bikers’ meet. High-rise hotels overlook the superb wide, clean sands, on which are scattered a profusion of café-restaurants with studiously similar menus.

LOCATION

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Underline

Quinta De Barracuda offers a wide variety attractions and places of interest, all within a short travelling distance of the apartment.

City Sight Seeing

Getting Around

Taxis, cars and busses are never hard to come by if you don’t fancy driving.

Attractions

Attractions

From water parks to sea life centers, you’ll never be short of something to do.

Places to visit - West

Places to Visit (West)

Explore the cultural spots and experience Portugal at it’s best.

Places to visit - East

Places to Visit (East)

From bustling towns to sleepy fishing villages, there’s lots to explore.

Places to visit - Inland

Places to Visit (Inland)

Visit or medieval castle or relax and play some gold. Its all here!

Golf

Golf Courses

Play a game of golf on one of the many courses in the area.