The most south-westerly tip of Europe, the Algarve is a haven of beautiful sandy beaches, sleepy traditional fishing villages, world class golf courses, untouched mountain towns, international marinas and year round sunshine.
For thousands of years it has been a much favoured area, with a colourful history. Once a kingdom in its own right, the Algarve has seen invasions by the Phoenicians, Romans and Moors, been the starting point for great explorations, and now is a wonderful place for you and your family to come and visit.
There are about 100 sandy attractive beaches along the Algarve coast, all washed by the Atlantic ocean and due to the maritime shelf and water currents the sea temperature can be surprisingly warm even in some winter months. Located on the tip of Europe with the vast ocean of the Atlantic as its southern and western border, this enviable position gives this region possibly the most unpolluted climate in the European continent.
Just a short stroll from the Country Club is the Praia de Alvor, a 3 mile long sandy beach, with rocky coves at its eastern end. Further afield, there are a combination of long sandy beaches and secluded beach coves stretching along the entire south coast.
On the west coast, and well worth the forty minute drive, are vast undeveloped stretches of coastline facing west towards the Azores, with dramatic cliffs, wild untouched beaches and surf to die for.
Away from the immediate coastal plain are the foothills leading up to the highest point Foia (902 mts.) above the un-spoilt village of Monchique. This mountain area is well known for the layers of Roman terraces with granite stone walls that provide the stream of local vegetables that can be found on sale in local markets.
The narrow roads and horse and cart traffic add to the charm, a drive around the mountains being, visually, very rewarding, with spectacular views at every turn.
Although this ancient coastal village is now a very popular holiday location the enclosed narrow streets have kept development to a minimum.
Many of these streets now boast bars with live music and many different types of restaurants.
The village is beneficially positioned facing a natural lagoon opening onto the sea. The recently improved quayside has a series of bars and coffee shops, ideal to sit and watch the sun go down over the lagoon with a cocktail in hand, or watch your dinner of local fresh fish being cooked on open grills. It is believed the Carthaginians founded Alvor and its history is interesting.
The Romans gave it the name Ipses and it was considered an important port and was allowed to issue its own money.
In the time of the Moors, who first occupied the area in 716, they gave it the named of "Albur" and the town passed through both the Portuguese and Moors hands several times until 1250 when the Christians conquered it for the final time. King Dom João II, who is regarded as an outstanding Portuguese king, is recorded as dying within the town walls in 1495, one of Alvors many claims to fame.
PORTIMÃO - At the mouth of the Rio Arade, a ten minute drive from Alto, lies Portimao. Nearest the sea is the Portimao Marina, an enchanting new development of brightly coloured apartments, luxury yachts and upmarket restaurants. Further up the river is the fishing port, where you can eat grilled sardines fresh off the boat. Inland is the town centre, with a myriad of shops. For convenience, Portimao also has several large supermarkets, and a six screen cinema showing many English language films.
PRAIA DA ROCHA - On the coast between Alvor and Portimao is the huge sandy beach of Praia da Rocha. Sitting at the top of the huge cliffs is the strip, a neon world of bars and nightclubs open from dusk 'til dawn. The party capital of the western Algarve and a ten minute taxi ride from Alto, Praia da Rocha is the place to go in the evenings if you want to dance the night away, far enough to guarantee tranquillity at Alto, but close enough to let those who want to party the night away…
LAGOS - A pretty little town, an important stopping point for yachts heading down to the Azores, before crossing the Atlantic, Lagos is located about half an hour to the west of Alto. With a host of good restaurants and a selection of shops selling everything from traditional Portuguese fare to designer labels, its an entertaining day trip to Lagos.