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Looking to escape from your daily routine in search for some vitamin D? A long weekend getaway in the sunshine sounds delightful but unsure on where you should you go? The Algarve is mostly popular during its peak season in the summer months for its coastal entertainment however, this region has just as much to offer during the off-season thanks to its glorious winter weather. It is also conveniently located 3h away from the UK and Ireland and offers ease of access with multiple flights departing in the same day. Here are 5 things to do in the Algarve during the winter.
The Ria Formosa Natural Park, also known as one of the 7 Wonders of Portugal, is a unique coastal lagoon surrounded by various small islands. Due to its natural features and geographical location, this wetland is visited and home to more than 20,000 habitants including endangered species such as aquatic birds migrating between Europe and Africa. As such, the Ria Formosa is a protected bird area and has become an incredible place of interest for bird watchers.
There are various tours you can participate in, whether you prefer a guided walk or bike tour to be within close distance to the various different species or whether you prefer an aquatic tour by boat or kayak to get to know the aquatic species that this paradise is home to, please do get in touch with Blue Sky Villas for discounted tickets.
Due to its beautiful natural landscape, the Algarve is considered a golfers paradise. In fact, it has been awarded many significant titles and annually hosts European tours in respected courses located in the central Algarve. The winter in the region is quite mild with many dry days and plenty of hours of sunshine, ideal for a round of golf with your mates. A few of our favourite courses in the renowned Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo resort include Laranjal, San Lorenzo, Pinheiros Altos, Quinta do Lago North & South and Royal.
Another highly regarded area to play golf is in Vilamoura such as the Laguna, Millennium, Old Course, Pinhal and Victoria course designed by the legend Arnold Palmer which hosts the Portugal Masters tournament each year.
The best part is, most of the golf courses will be available at your requested time since the Algarve is not as busy during the winter months.
Explore the beautiful Algarvian coastline in a luxury cruise or traditional Portuguese boat and discover the breathtaking scenery the region has to offer. Whether it is summer or winter, the caves in Benagil are a definite must see. Learn all about the rock formations, enter different caves and experience a breathtaking view in a 2.5h boat tour and if you are lucky, you might even catch sight of some dolphins following your boat! Benagil is situated in Portimão, within the Western Algarve, a fishing town which hasn’t really been touched by tourism, embracing more of the Portuguese culture. We recommend making this a full day out experience and exploring this area of the region.
If you are not so keen on travelling 40min away, there are other half day cruises that you can do departing from the Vilamoura Marina including a lunch stop at one of the delicious waterfront restaurants.
Herdade da Malhadinha Nova is a country house and spa situated within the beautiful countryside of Alentejo, located around 1h away, offering many activities such as horse riding, quad biking, cultural and gastronomical experiences and relaxing massages! For those travelling without the kids, a winter wine tasting in this beautiful location is highly recommended.
Spend a day at this typical Portuguese vineyard and learn about the process involved in producing the world’s best wines. This experience is ideal as a full day trip to really make the most of the surrounding nature, countryside and all the other experiences they have to offer.
Market days are an absolute must on a Saturday morning and one of the most popular markets to visit is the Loulé Municipal market. Known for its neo-arabe architecture, the Loulé market offers a bit of everything in local produce such as home-grown vegetables and fruit, fresh herbs, daily caught fish, cheese, traditional spices, flowers and cork. You can also join a tour guide to learn more about this imposing monument and other historical features in Loulé such as the medieval castle.
Similar to a flea market, also held on Saturdays is the gypsy market situated in the outskirts of Loulé where you can find linen, ceramics, shoes, leather belts and a plethora of cork products.
Another particular area in Loulé which is very busy on weekends is Rua das Lojas which translates to ‘highstreet’. A traditional and characteristic cobblestoned street with a beautiful atmosphere on Saturday mornings. It offers plenty of souvenir shops, as well as local shoe and clothes shops. A great suggestion for an outdoorsy morning!
An opportunity to spend an entire weekend filled with exciting experiences, fearless adventures and cultural novelties to share with family and friends. The Algarve is a small paradise to visit during summer or winter!