Local Area Information

The house is 20-30 minutes drive from the lovely long sandy beaches this side of the Algarve.  Many are on "ilhas" - sandbars.   They are accessable by a short ferry ride for minimal cost.  The beach at Barril is where you have first to cross a pontoon bridge then you can either walk or take the mini train- a favourite with children.  Other beaches are directly accessible from car parks, some have boardwalks.

Santa Catarina is a 5 minute drive or a 30 minute walk along a farm track (unlit, so in daylight).  The morning daily market is small but has meat, fresh fish & locally grown fruit & veg.  There are minimarkets, a petrol sation, a newsagents, a pharmacy & a sprinkling of cafes & bars.  There's a cash machine too (many local shops & restaurants only take Portuguese cards).

Sao Bras is a 20 minute drive away in the hills.  It has good supermarkets, restaurants, bars & cafes.  It was a centre for cork production & one of the old cork baron's houses has been turned into a local museum, giving you a chance to see the inside of one of these beautiful old houses. Down the side of the church you can find part of the old Roman road that ran to Faro.  

Twenty minutes away is Tavira, once the capital of the Algarve & has some of the best architecture.  There's lots going on, there are ferias, free music in the evenings, the beach, the castle & the camara obscura.  There's a good,large daily food market & supermarkets & many good restaurants & cafes where you can sit & enjoy views of the river.

In Faro, half an hour away, you can park right in the centre of the old town & wander around enjoying the architecture, bars & restaurants or pop into the museums & art galleries.

Olhao is the port where the fishing boats come in.  It has a fantastic fish, seafood, fruit & veg market daily.  It has a lovely mix of moorish architecture, some restored but also a lot of faded grandure.  One of the best places to go for fish & seafood restaurants.

Amancil is 30 minutes away, it's only attraction is a karting track designed by Ayrton Senna, with 200 & 390 cc karts for adults, another track for 7-12 year olds & one for 3-6 year olds.  It also has food & amusments for those not interested in karting.    

Estoi's Pink Place, now open as a hotel, has beautiful painted ceilings & tiled walls.  It was built in the eighteenth century as a pleasure palace.  Most of the state rooms & part of the gardens can be seen if you just stop for tea or a drink.  Combine this with a worthwhile visit to the nearby Roman Ruins at Milrue.

Moncarapho is a large village 20 drive from the villa.  It has plenty of shops, a daily food market & mini markets.  There are a couple of nice squares, the usual good restaurants & cafes.  It has a large, authentic pottery & the nearest golf course (9 holes).

On the coast you are spoilt for choice by 7 further 18 hole courses.

For something quieter try the old fishing villages of Santa Lucia, Cabanas, Cacaela  Velha, there are more...