Reynaldo Gianecchini Just got back from vacation there. It’s not just him: European celebrities, especially British ones, are regulars there. Looking for stewardship and peace, the wealthy head towards the south of Portugal. Just 45 minutes by flight or 2h30 by car from Lisbon, the region of Algarve it is also accessible for “ordinary” tourists, so to speak, in the hot season in Europe.
If the transparent water, the stretches of expressive rocks sculpted by the wind, the four marinas, the seven Michelin-starred restaurants and the 42 golf courses are not enough credentials for fame, the Algarve holds the title of Best Beach Destination in the World. Last year’s victory at the World Travel Awards, an award considered the Oscar of world tourism, could be repeated in the 2022 edition, whose winners will be announced in October. In Europe, it competes in the same category, with finalists who maintain a high level of competition; the French Cannes and the Spanish Mallorca, to name a few.
Below Alentejo (Portugal) and next to Andalusia (Spain), the Algarve has 200 kilometers of coastline. It is common to practice sports, depending on the stretch, varying between modalities such as kayak, sail and surfing. Of the 130 beaches, two are on the list of the 40 best in Europe, published in April this year by the British newspaper. The Guardian. the desert Cacela Velha It is located within the Ria Formosa Natural Park, close to Faro, the airport and capital of the region. already in the village of Ferragudo, cliffs escort the Caneiros Beachwith sun loungers, umbrellas and bar service.
It was in Ferragudo, in the municipality of Lagoa, that the father of Jose Mourinho, another common figure in the Algarve. He was there last month for friendlies in charge of his team, Italy’s Roma. A year ago, the reason for the visit was the tribute to goalkeeper Félix Mourinho, who died in 2017. The Portuguese coach’s father became a street name.
An illustrious Brazilian names the main avenue of Quinta do Lago, one of the favorite addresses of the famous in the Algarve. In the 1990s, Ayrton Senna discovered the region in southern Europe. He lived in a mansion for the last few years before his death in 1994. The driver, whose first victory was in Portugal’s Estoril in 1985, did not get to see the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve. Opened in 2008, in Portimão, it was part of the official Formula 1 circuit last year, with the Portuguese Grand Prix in May.
Golden Triangle, celebrity favorite area
Drinks and a taste of the VIP atmosphere are found at Cua Cua Club, in a beautiful house in Quinta do Lago. Before the club, the night can start with dinner right there. In space, the José Avillez Tasca, restaurant opened in early June this year.
The Portuguese chef is known by Brazilians for his participation as a judge in the first two seasons of the gastronomy reality show. Master of Flavorwith Claude Troisgros and João Batista, on TV Globo. Among so many delights on Avilez’s menu, the tuna tartar temaki cornetto is very tasty and even surprising for the crunchiness in the crust that surrounds the filling, instead of the seaweed in a traditional temaki.
Quinta do Lago, Vale do Lobo and Vilamoura form the area called golden triangle, preferred by most celebrities. Mansions bought or rented are usually located in this space, between Faro and Albufeira, the city where the singer lives. Bonnie Tyler (from hit Total Eclipse of the Heartfrom the 1980s) with her husband, Robert Sullivan, who fought judo for the United Kingdom at the Munich Olympics (1972).
Benagil Cave, the postcard of the Algarve
From Albufeira, there are three-hour boat trips along the beautiful coast of the Algarve, to Benagil Grotto. The spectacular formation, with a gap in the roof through which sunlight enters, is a postcard of the Algarve. To bring passengers as close as possible to the sea, rock and sky, the commander of the Algar Experience (40 euros tour in summer) demonstrates incredible dexterity at the entrance to the cave, stopping close to the sand, without getting bogged down.
The dive stop before the return requires courage to jump into the icy water. Tip from the locals: the closer to the coast of Spain, the sea is less cold; the temperature also depends on the incidence of winds on the coast. And they can blow beautifully in the Algarve. For navigation, a thin waterproof jacket will do. At night, even in summer, a jacket can be useful.
After the tour, for a genuinely Algarve lunch, try the A Sardinha restaurant, with a balcony, at Praia dos Arrifes, in Albufeira. The regional white wine pairs well with clams (shellfish similar to clams) and grilled sardines. August, by the way, is the season for fish festivals in Portimão and seafood festivals in Olhão.
Algarve golf courses
The bustling area of Vilamoura combines beach clubs on the sand with golf courses in the countryside. The Dom Pedro group, in addition to two hotels and an apart hotel in the marina area, has another unit in Lagos and five golf courses in the Algarve. You don’t need to stay in one of the brand’s hotels to book the courses, but those looking for both can choose the Dom Pedro Experience, with accommodation and sport combined.
The largest marina in the Algarve, Vilamoura is very popular with visitors, boat owners or not. With the hot weather, the inviting scenery leads many to gather on the street that goes around the U designed by the nautical part. The movement spreads through pubs and restaurants, on one side, and bars and lounges, on the opposite sidewalk, next to the boats.
At the end of the waterfront, in 2022, Domes Lake Algarve opened, the first hotel of the luxury brand outside Greece. It has a saltwater swimming pool with a sand edge and the Topos restaurant, a fusion between Greek and Portuguese cuisine. For starters, order the Mezze, with cod roe aioli and fava hummus. The influences at the table are Mediterranean and Asian at the Tivoli Marina Vilamoura Resort, one of the chain’s two units in the Algarve (the other is in Carvoeiro). The 42 Purobeach rooms, the hotel’s most exclusive category, have been renovated for the summer.
Lower value, with breakfast:
Algar Experience: algarexperience.com
Cuá Cuá Club with Tasca José Avillez: cuaguaclub.com
TAP: It has 18 flights per week SP-Lisbon. Site: flytap.com
Algarve Tourism: visitgarve.pt