HIDDEN BEACHES IN THE ALGARVE

Sun. Sea. Summer. What do these three words have in common? They’re all great in the Algarve.

Portugal’s southernmost region is internationally recognised for having a delightful climate all year round, due to the country’s contrasting terrain, which changes from mountains to countryside and on down to the sea; and, of course, for the rugged coastline that forms countless indescribably beautiful beaches.

We have put together a short list for you, detailing some of the Algarve’s most beautiful – and hidden – beaches. An itinerary that you won’t want to miss for your holiday this summer!

 
 

Amoreira Beach, Aljezur 

Praia da Amoreira

The mouth of the Aljezur Stream is responsible for creating this beautiful natural gem of a beach.

Amoreira Beach boasts a huge stretch of sand both on the seashore and along the bank of the stream (Amoreira-Rio). If you come here as a family, it’s worth knowing that as the tide goes out it creates some lovely safe pools that will delight the little ones.

Another recommended activity at this beach is birdwatching. There is a marshland habitat on the north bank of the stream, where you may spot animals and birds such as otters, grey herons and kingfishers.

Tip for a good photo: there is a viewpoint at the opposite side of the beach that overlooks the whole of Amoreira Beach from the stream all the way to the sands.

 

To reach Carvalho Beach, you have to go along a dirt track in a ravine with a rather steep slope. The track ends at a small parking area where you can leave your car. There is a stairway down to the sands that leads you to two natural tunnels in the rocks, so fun is guaranteed for kids and grown-ups alike.

Ponta de João d’Arens Beach, Portimão

Praia da Ponta de João d’Arens

This little beach is located between Portimão and Alvor and can only be reached by going down a cliff or, when the tide is out, by walking along Barranco das Canas Beach. The setting here is heavenly: the colour of the water is stunning, the sand is a feast for the eyes, and you have almost total privacy, making it an appealing spot for nudists.

 
 

Manuel Lourenço Beach, Albufeira

Praia do Manuel Lourenço
 

Manuel Lourenço Beach is a little hideaway where the sand forms a small cove in between cliffs that are so perfect they look like they were created by an artist rather than by nature.

Although quite small, this beach is perfect if you are looking for a different experience, such as snorkelling. All you need are a mask and a snorkel and you can observe the beauty of the marine life when the tide is out. Another good way to spend your time at Manuel Lourenço Beach is to go for a walk along the cliffs. The short walk to Evaristo Beach gives you the chance to see some magnificent scenery.

Tip: Go at sunset for picture-postcard perfection.

 

 

Manuel Lourenço Beach is a little hideaway where the sand forms a small cove in between cliffs that are so perfect they look like they were created by an artist rather than by nature.

Although quite small, this beach is perfect if you are looking for a different experience, such as snorkelling. All you need are a mask and a snorkel and you can observe the beauty of the marine life when the tide is out. Another good way to spend your time at Manuel Lourenço Beach is to go for a walk along the cliffs. The short walk to Evaristo Beach gives you the chance to see some magnificent scenery.

 

Barril Beach is great for chilling out. But take our advice and spend the whole day there!

You have to make a rather unusual trip to get to this thin strip of soft, white sand: first, you cross a footbridge over one of the channels of the Ria Formosa; then you catch a mini-train to ride to the beach, a distance of about one kilometre. What a unique experience!

You can see the fauna, such as the bocas (a typical crab) and the vegetation covering the extensive dunes, and you can even smell a slight aroma of curry in the air, which comes from the curry plants growing there. An old tuna-fishing storage facility was converted into a beach support facility, and the original structure is still visible today. Take the opportunity for a photo-shoot next to the cluster of big anchors in the immediate vicinity of the beach.

AQUA PEDRA DOS BICOS WINS “GREEN KEY” ECO-AWARD

We are proud to announce that the Aqua Pedra dos Bicos has won the Green Key 2017 award, at a ceremony held on 2 June in Funchal, Madeira. The Aqua Pedra dos Bicos has thus become the sixth hotel in the Algarve to win this prize and the only one this year to receive its first “Green Key” certification.

The “Green Key” programme, created by the European Blue Flag Association, is an award that rewards sustainable tourism practices. This is done by recognising tourist complexes, local accommodation, campsites and restaurants that implement good environmental and social practices, diminishing their negative impact on the places and communities in which they operate.

In a press release, the Details group explained that it had received the award in recognition of its pro-environmental practices. The group’s efficient management model values the use of practices aimed at reducing its environmental footprint and ensuring the sustainable – and increasingly ecological – growth of the tourism sector in Portugal and, more especially, in the Algarve.

DISCOVER THE NEW HOTEL CALIFORNIA IN THE CENTRE OF ALBUFEIRA

The 1980s-era Hotel Califórnia has been acquired by the Algarve-based group Details Hotels & Resorts who plans to bring the hotel to a four-star level, the first in the Albufeira old town that will be open all year round and fight the effects of seasonality in the popular seaside town.

The construction works undertaken on the Hotel Califórnia, in the old town of Albufeira, draw the attention of locals and visitors who have witnessed here the restoration of one of the buildings considered as an iconic building of its time.

According to João Costa, CEO of the group Details Hotels & Resorts, the reconstruction project that started in September 2018 aimed to recover the exterior façade of the building that was much damaged, construct new guest and operational areas, adding more rooms and the total reconstruction of the existing bedrooms.

In terms of the renovation works, these also contribute to a major improvement to this 80-era hotel where the highlights go to the new concept of the hotel, the use of quality materials to raise the level of comfort, a brand new decoration of all areas, the replacement of lifts and all hotel equipments, and what is expected to be the star of the hotel, a rooftop pool & bar boasting views of the main square and sea. All the hotel’s facilities will be open to both hotel and outside guests. “Albufeira needs to become a year-round destination,” said João Costa.

The brigades have now begun the renovation of the existing areas of the hotel and the construction of new areas, such as:
– the construction of 7 new rooms, thus adding 14 hosting high comfort capabilities and bringing the hotel to a total of 80 rooms;

– the construction of a brand new Spa on the 2nd floor, which will portray a very original organic & vegan SPA concept;

– the construction of a heated indoor pool;

– the construction of a new structure to accommodate and support the placement of an iron structure to create a new area of sun deck to the hotel guests;

– the construction of open sky gym on the 7th floor;

– the construction of a new reception area with a bar, a lounge area and and interior garden on the 8th floor;

– the construction of two brand new kitchens on floors 1 and 6;

– the development and construction of a new concept area that will accommodate a Cocktail Bar, a Deli (Food & Drinks) and a Merchandising Shop at the street level that are open to both hotel and outside guests.

The major works are undergoing since September 2018 with the hotel closed to the public, but a soft opening is foreseen for June 2019 and until the end of the year some basic works will continue to be carried out but always ensuring minimal disruption to guests.

POPULAR ALGARVE CULTURE

A people’s culture contributes to its soul and the Algarve soul is evident in various cultural manifestations. Below we will describe just a few of the traditional cultural activities in the Algarve region.

Traditional dance groups

The fast pace of the music and the colourful outfits are what make Algarve folk music and dancing so cheerful, enriched by successive invasions and by the journeys undertaken by Algarveans with an adventurous spirit. Dances such as the “corridinho”, the “baile de roda” and the “baile mandado” – this last requiring the dancers to follow the instructions of the “mandador” (caller) – are the one that best identify the Algarve. You can hear the clinking of the triangle, the accordion lets out devilish notes and the couples whirl until all you can see are their trembling legs, crowned by skirts and with petticoats taking flight. And while the popular dances of the Algarve are like a whirlwind, some of the traditional songs present an entirely different facet of the Algarve soul. This is the case of the songs sung by manual workers which keep pace with their particular tasks, such as the fishermen drawing in their nets or the country folk harvesting in the fields. And then there are lullabies and romances, which can be slow and gentle or as lively as a parade. Normally, the words are adapted to the times and circumstances when the songs are being sung.

Algarve ceramics

Once an essential part of day-to-day life, water jugs with asymmetric handles, reminiscent of Roman amphorae, are getting a new lease of life. Old shapes and forms are now embellished with stylised designs or combinations of warm colours that transform them into pretty decorative pieces. Still of importance, but without neglecting tradition and usefulness, are certain items used in construction (tiles, slabs and chimneys) and “alcatruzes”, a type of trap used for octopus fishing. It is easy to find good examples of pottery all over the Algarve, but especially so along the coastal area. The municipality of Lagoa, for example, is well-known for its blue-painted pieces. Porches is where the best-known Algarve ceramics are produced and in the Almancil region you will find the biggest production centre of regional crockery, which is distinctive because of its designs. The traditional “lacy” Algarve chimneys are still produced in Lagos, as well as water jugs, tiles, octopus traps, dishes, jugs and pots. Meanwhile, tiles decorated with floral motifs and painted in a variety of colours are made by artisans throughout the region.

THE DETAILS HOTELS & RESORTS GROUP HAS ONCE AGAIN BEEN DISTINGUISHED WITH THE GREEN KEY AWARD

The Details Hotels & Resorts Group has once again been distinguished with the Green Key Award, earned by four of its five properties. The Aqua Pedra dos Bicos, Vale d’El Rei and Velamar have been awarded the same prizes that they won in 2018, while for 2019, the Topázio Mar joins the other hotels in the Details portfolio in terms of sustainable tourism. On 3 June, the Details team attended the National Prize-giving Ceremony 2019, held at the Pestana Alvor Praia Hotel in Portimão.

The international “Green Key” programme, a project created by the European Blue Flag Association, currently operates in some 2,900 establishments across 57 countries, promoting sustainable tourism and good environmental practices in these spaces. We at Details Hotels & Resorts take a proactive stance in this respect; our policies include reducing the consumption of water and electricity, promoting the separation of rubbish, choosing eco-friendly cleaning products, raising staff awareness and using biodegradable drinking straws instead of plastic ones.

Protecting the environment is becoming increasingly important nowadays and we understand that everyone’s contribution is important in ensuring a better future and a greener planet. Based on a management model involving continuous improvement, the Details Group is increasingly investing in a management and environmental education policy aimed at reducing our environmental footprint and ensuring the sustainable – and increasingly eco-friendly – growth of the tourism sector in Portugal and, in the Algarve especially.

DETAILS WINS SUSTAINABLE TOURISM AWARD

It is with a sense of pride and achievement that we are announcing that three Details Hotels & Resorts Group properties – Aqua Pedra dos Bicos, Vale d’El Rei and Velamar – have been awarded the Green Key Diploma for 2018. The prize-giving ceremony took place on 7 June in Lisbon. Additionally, the Aqua Pedra dos Bicos had previously been distinguished, in 2017, as the first hotel in the Algarve to receive this certification, which rewards tourist complexes that fulfil a set of environmental requirements in different areas.

The “Green Key” programme, implemented in more than 50 countries and created by the European Blue Flag Association, distinguishes complexes that choose to follow sustainable environmental policies. Belonging to this category means implementing pro-environmental management and developing good practices aimed at protecting the environment. In 2017, steps were taken to reduce water and energy consumption and to encourage the separation of rubbish and the use of ecological cleaning products, among others. This year, the plan is to make a difference by using biodegradable straws instead of the plastic once that can have such a negative impact on the environment.

The Details group is proud to make its position known in this respect, thus reinforcing its environmental policy. The group is working with a model of management and continuous improvement that concerns itself with implementing good environmental and social practices, promoting the value of environmental management in its properties and fostering environmental education, with the aim of contributing to a better future and a greener planet.

10 PLACES TO VISIT IN ALBUFEIRA

Everybody knows – and there is no denying – that the main reasons why Albufeira is such a popular tourist destination are the Sun and the Sea. But these are only two of the many things that this seaside city has to offer visitors.

At this time of year, when the sun is still warm but the resort is quieter, we thought it would be a perfect opportunity to tell you about some of Albufeira’s other interesting attractions.

1. Torre do Relógio

Torre do Relógio Albufeira (The Clock Tower)um dos

 

Situated in the heart of the city centre, the clock tower is one of the hallmarks of Albufeira. On festive days, it is all lit up.

See location

2. Igreja Matriz

Igreja Matriz Albufeira (Main Church)

This was not always Albufeira’s Main Church. Dating from the eighteenth century (1782), it replaced an earlier one that collapsed during the great earthquake in 1755.

Built in neo-classical style, it houses an image of Our Lady of the Conception, Albufeira’s patron saint.

This is definitely a site worth visiting.

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3. Arco da Travessa da Igreja Velha (Arch over the Alleyway of the Old Church)

Arco da Travessa Albufeira

Albufeira is packed with vestiges of the Arab occupation and one of the high points is the architecture. This street got its name because there used to be an Arab mosque here.

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4. Municipal Archaeology Museum

Museu Municipal Arqueologia Albufeira

The Municipal Archaeology Museum is located in the former Town Hall, in the old part of the city. The building, which boasts a fabulous view over the Atlantic Ocean, has been divided up into four main sections: Pre-history, the Roman period, the Islamic period and the Modern era.

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5. Paderne Castle

Castelo Paderne Albufeira

Paderne Castle is one of the castles portrayed on the Portuguese flag. Conquered from the Moors in 1248, it boasts a spectacular view over the Ribeira de Quarteira (Quarteira Stream) and all of the natural scenery surrounding it.

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6. Ponte do Castelo (Castle Bridge)

Ponte do Castelo Albufeira

This Roman-influenced bridge, located to the south-west of the castle, takes you over the Quarteira Stream.

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7. Azenha (Water Mill)

Moinho de Água Albufeira

Standing in the Quarteira Stream, next to Paderne Castle, is a water mill.

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8. Salgados Lake

Lagoa dos Salgados Albufeira

Considered as regional heritage of the Algarve, the Salgados Lake is a little piece of paradise for anyone who likes birdwatching as a way of spending some delightful leisure time. The lake is an important aquatic and coastal ecosystem, providing significant support for wildlife.

9. Miradouro do Pau da Bandeira (Flag Pole Viewpoint)

Miradouro Pau da Bandeira Albufeira

The Flag Pole Viewpoint is easy to get to.

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10. Adega do Cantor (The Singer’s Winery)

Adega Cantor Albufeira

The Adega do Cantor in Guia uses traditional and modern techniques to produce – among others – Vida Nova wine and Onda Nova wine.

You can book a visit to the vineyards and wine cellars at Quinta do Miradouro and try some of the award-winning wines made there.

Did you know ?/b>: Sir Cliff Richard, a famous British singer, owns one of the three vineyards that make up the Adega do Cantor.

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BIRDWATCHING IN THE ALGARVE

If you are a true bird-lover, the Algarve has to be on your must-do list! This is the region of Portugal with the greatest variety of bird species; some 390 different species can be found here at some point or other during the year.

A 30-minute drive from the Velamar brings you to Lagoa dos Salgados (Salgados Lake), an ecosystem rich in fauna and flora and which shelters a large and varied number of bird and plant species. It should not be missed.

There are also two protected national parks: the Ria Formosa and the Costa Vicentina. These are characterised by their year-round mild climate due to the confluence of three completely distinct bio-regions (North Africa, the Mediterranean and the North Atlantic), among other factors.

Choose the Velamar as your holiday home and enjoy stunning site where you can watch a variety of unique birdlife.

WHERE TO SIP THE BEST COCKTAILS IN THE ALGARVE

Summer is just around the corner and with it comes the desire to round off the day by sipping a delicious and colourful cocktail in attractive surroundings. With this in mind, we have put together a short list of some bars in the Algarve where you can enjoy a great cocktail and breathe in the region’s pure, fresh air.

Sal Rosa, Albufeira

sal rosa albufeira

Sal Rosa is a bar in Albufeira’s “old town”, overlooking Peneco Beach.

The space is cosy and is decorated in tones of old rose, with some handicrafts for added interest.

The splendid window affords a marvellous view of the sea. Sal Rosa specialises in regional products and home-made ingredients.

https://www.facebook.com/barSalRosa/

Dromedário, Sagres

dromedário bar sagres

Having opened for business in 1985, the Dromedário in Sagres now boasts a history spanning more than three decades.

Today, it is one of the top cocktail bars in this part of the Algarve. The bar was the brainchild of a German, who came to southern Portugal on a trip and ended up settling in Sagres.

Inspired by the sands of the desert, he chose the dromedary as the symbol for his bar, decorating it with Moroccan colours and motifs.

https://www.facebook.com/DromedarioSagres.fanpage

Atlantic Piano Bar, Vilamoura

Atlantic Piano Bar Vilamoura

The Atlantic is a bar located on the first floor of a building facing Vilamoura Marina. It opened for business in September 2004, and since then has become increasingly popular as a night spot in Vilamoura, especially because of its live music.

The elegant white grand piano is a big attraction, as is the decoration that takes you back to golden age of Hollywood. The feeling of spaciousness is typical of a North-American jazz club but, in fact, the ambience is that of a British pub. The bar offers an elegant cocktail menu with suggestions for different times of day. There are live performances twice daily.

http://atlanticbar.pt/

Columbus Bar, Faro

Columbus Bar Faro

The Columbus Bar is home to the Best Bar Team in Portugal, a prize awarded by the Lisbon Bar Show Awards and which it has won for the second year running.

Located in the arches of a hundred-year-old building, the Columbus grew out of an original idea to set up a club with DJs that would subsequently become one of the best cocktail bars in Portugal.

The bar consists of a cosy interior space comprising two rooms with understated decor and two outdoor seating areas. The first of these is under the arches of the old building and the second, laid out in lounge style, is on the pavement right outside the bar.

An added attraction is the fact that the menu is a collectible, printed in the form of a yearly newspaper that customers can take home with them. This extensive menu features a wide variety of cocktails, wine, shots and short articles about the Columbus family.

Put this place on your must-do list!

http://www.barcolumbus.pt/

Moon, Quarteira

Moon Bar Quarteira

Boasting a fabulous view over the lake and the sixth green at the Vila Sol Golf & Resort in Quarteira, Moon is a restaurant and cocktail lounge that is strategically located to ensure customers enjoy unforgettable moments.

The simple and harmonious decor, in tones that blend in with the bar’s natural surroundings, the fantastic lighting system and the large windows affording exterior views, provide the dining room with a unique and modern style.

In the outdoor lounge, you can savour a variety of cocktails, carefully prepared for you by the bartender. There is an indoor space too, a room with charismatic and elegant decor, where meals are served, and which opens on to the garden where, in summer, you can enjoy an unrivalled dining experience.

http://www.moonalgarve.com/pt/

NIGHTLIFE IN ALBUFEIRA

Albufeira is very probably the best municipality in the Algarve and one of the best in Portugal when it comes to having fun after dark.

The choice of bars, discos, pubs, cafés and parties is huge, especially during the summer.

The two main areas for nightlife are the “Old Town”, near Fishermen’s Beach and the “Strip”, which is a long and well-known avenue lined with bars and pubs.