As a sequel to our ‘Notes from the field‘ blog on Northern Portugal, we are headed to the country’s southernmost region – the Algarve. This destination is well known for its extensive beaches and Mediterranean climate, but unfortunately is less recognised for its compelling history, architecture and as a nature lover’s paradise. You may believe this destination as over crowded and heavily commercialised – and you are not alone. However, having featured Portugal since 1984, it is fair to say we know a thing or two about this destination and how it has developed over time. Our travel experts, Yasmin and Bekki, took a recent trip here and the good news is that the region’s heritage and authenticity does remain, and is as charming as ever. You just need to know where to look. Below, they share their experience with us and hope to leave you inspired to discover the real Algarve for yourself.
Details of your favourite property and why?
Bekki: I have two, so in order of ultimate favourite I have:
Vila Monte Farm House, Moncarapacho – I loved the clean lines and perfectness of this place. It is newly renovated, so everything is fresh and brand new, yet the gardens are flourishing and gorgeous. The colour scheme is white and blue with hints of terracotta and natural stone, and the attention to detail is everywhere. The suites in the old Orangery are out of this world in design and space. Things that stood out are the reception area where you can watch the staff in the kitchen, whilst sitting around a wood burner (in the colder seasons) watching Chaplin movies, as well as the organic herb/food plantation area, where they have a special area for the chef to provide cookery lessons or have private dining.
Memmo Baleeira, Sagres – I couldn’t help but feel a welcoming vibe from Sagres. The town has a relaxed feel and , in my opinion, offers the best sunset and sunrise scenes in the whole of Portugal. The hotel itself is modern, gorgeously light and bright and in a great position – just 2 minutes’ walk from the main street where the restaurants are located. The hotel has an outdoor pool with fantastic views over a small fishing harbour and towards the town’s sandy beaches. The breakfasts were fresh and delicious and the breakfast room was very tastefully decorated with views out to sea. There is also a panoramic restaurant for the evenings and, although we didn’t get a chance to sample it, it was thriving with guests and locals.
Yasmin: I was lucky to have had the opportunity to visit some lovely and charming properties during my visit to the Algarve but my overall favourite has to be the Pousada Palácio de Estoi. Sat in its regal position overlooking the town of Estoi, the Pousada is worthy of a visit as well as a stay. The bedrooms, located in a separate wing, are modern but it is the original Palace, dating from the 19th century, with its neo-baroque and neo-rococo style which will leave you in awe.