Discover the Algarve all year round, luminous and safe

The Algarve has increasingly been advertising its cultural and natural secrets, while building a reputation as a safe holiday destination – all year round, thanks its mild, sunny climate.

 

In the far south of Portugal is a region with Europe’s mildest climate and more days of sunshine a year than any other, at about 300: the Algarve. Its mild, relatively dry winters and hot summers are the result of the twin influences of the Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea and its proximity to North Africa.

With so many days of sunshine it is a great place both for holidays and for work.

Unique light

“It is clearly one of the sunniest, most luminous areas of Europe,” says the president of the Algarve regional tourist board, Desidério Silva. “The Algarve is a region with lots of light – fantastic light.”, conta o presidente da Região de Turismo do Algarve, Desidério Silva.

This luminosity is ever more popular with cinema directors who opt to shoot their films in the Algarve, but it also guarantees holiday photos in colours that will make your friends jealous!

 

Aside from such factors, there is a whole panoply of ways to enjoy the region, from nature-oriented, cultural or sporting activities, such as bird watching, walking, cycling or local cuisine.

You can’t ski in the Algarve but you can explore the mountains and hills of the interior, the coast, the Ria Formosa estuary, the Rota Vicentina coastal walking route and the Guadiana valley, all thanks to the mild climate,”, says Silva.

Safe, relaxed holidays

The land is here all year round, as are the local products, the climate and the safety”, he points out.

These days safety can count for a lot when people are choosing where to go on holiday.

We all see people in the region going about their daily life and going out at night without problems”, says the tourist board president. “The Algarve is a family destination and one where you will see lots of people on the streets.”

Safety is important not only for the region’s residents but also for visitors, and has been a key factor in establishing the region as a top tourist destination.

The Algarve all year round!

Summer is when the Algarve is at its busiest. But the region has plenty to offer all year round, in terms of leisure activities, sport and also experiences that enable you to discover the history of one of the sunniest parts of Europe.

The mild climate outside the height of the summer offers an opportunity to really get to know a region that is so distinct from the rest of Portugal. Here are some tips!

Sport, adventure and nature

The arrival of autumn does not mean the end of opportunities for sport and outdoor adventures. The mild temperatures are a veritable invitation to explore the Algarve’s landscapes on safari – on horseback, by bicycle or on foot.

For keen cyclists and walkers there are signposted routes such as the Via Algarviana, Grande Rota do Guadiana and Rota Vicentina.

From September to November the Algarve receives thousands of migratory birds, which can be observed in unique natural settings such as the Lagoa dos Salgados (a lagoon near the VidaMar), the Ria Formosa estuary, the Sagres peninsula, the marshes near Castro Marim, or the Ria de Alvor.

At the Algarve’s western end, winter is a particularly good time for surfers to visit. From November through March the waves measure up to 2 metres to 4.5 metres high.

History, culture and flavours

Over the centuries the Algarve’s culture has been shaped by a variety of European and Moorish influences. The castles at Silves, Loulé, Castro Marim and Paderne, the cathedral at Faro and that city’s old town and municipal museum, the fortress at Sagres, the Roman ruins at Milréu and in Vilamoura, the replica of the caravel Boa Esperança in Lagos, and the Islamic baths of Loulé are all well worth visiting.

The Algarve’s cuisine is another great way to get to know the region, with a vast range of traditional dishes such as grilled fish, xerém (cornmeal porridge), arroz de lingueirão (rice with razor clams), cataplana (fish stew) and feijoada de búzios (beans with whelks), as well as stuffed dried figs and egg-and-almond sweets such as Dom Rodrigo and morgado de amêndoa,

Traditional food markets such as those in Quarteira, Algoz, Loulé, Olhão and Lagos are not only housed in buildings full of local charm, but are great places to find the fresh ingredients for most of these recipes.

Algarve wines have also been winning ever more international plaudits. Several vineyards are open for visits, tastings and in some cases even art exhibitions, with the Quinta dos Vales, oustide Lagoa, just one example.

Pictures: http://www.turismodoalgarve.pt/

Ocean Revival: Europe’s largest artificial reef is in the Algarve

History, biology, adventure and diving come together at Ocean Revival, Europe’s largest artificial reef, created off the coast near Portimão in the Algarve.

Hook up an oxygen tank and dive into the Algarve’s waters to discover how nature has taken over sunken warships, transforming into a real home for hundreds of marine species.

This project, located about half an hour from the VidaMar Resort Hotel Algarve, is focussed on the sea, so standing out from other theme parks in the region, and putting the Algarve firmly on the international diving circuit.

Reef armada

It all started in 2012, when four Portuguese naval warships were sunk about two miles off Prainha beach, so as to become an artificial reef and underwater theme park.

The patrol vessel “Oceânico Zambeze”, corvette “Oliveira e Carmo”, hydrographical ship “Almeida Carvalho” and frigate “Comandante Hermenegildo Capelo” were the ships the navy chose to make the Ocean Revival a reality.

The structure was established in an area of calm waters that are safe for diving, and where the temperature ranges between 14º and 22ºC over the whole year.

As well as the underwater complex itself there is support infrastructure and services on land, such as a small museum and a hyperbaric chamber to handle any diving emergency that might arise, as well as other underwater spots to explore in the Algarve, such as shipwrecks from the 18th century or the First or Second World War, as well natural reefs and walls.

How to arrive and enjoy Ocean Revival

Ocean Revival is freely accessible to any qualified person or tour operator to dive without any problems, although it is necessary to know and observe the park regulations.

Those in charge suggest that going through a diving club, centre or certified school is the safest way of making the most of this underwater showcase for Algarve marine life.

Among the advantages of going through certified companies is the chance this affords of getting to know all detailed aspects of the diving and the degrees of difficulty of the various routes on offer, or the characteristics or particularities of the sunken vessels.

Once you arrive on site, you can choose between various itineraries whose routes are carefully defined with a view to a safe and certainly unforgettable visit!

To prepare for your underwater adventure, you can take advantage of the diving lessons that VidaMar organises weekly. There are various courses on offer, to suit both beginners and more experienced divers.

The most fun ideas for your holidays in the Algarve!

Day-to-day life often takes us away from the natural world, and holidays in the Algarve are the ideal moment to enjoy and experience nature, whether at sea, on the seashore, or inland.

Water parks, wildlife parks, boat cruises, diving, surfing, standup paddleboarding and safaris are among the numerous activities open to you.

Water parks

The Algarve’s water parks are internationally famous and every year they unveil new features for the most daring visitors!

Aquashow, in Quarteira, is considered Portugal’s most complete water park, with its swimming pools and wave pools, Europe’s biggest roller coaster, water slides and tubes fast and slow for all tastes. This year’s novelties are the Twin Space Shuttle, the Shark Slide and the Aquakids children’s area.
Over in Lagoa, Slide & Splash is one of Europe’s largest water parks, with slides to thrill even the most daring of visitors!
There are special spaces for children such as the Tropical Paradise, where they can choose between the various fun mini-slides in the shape of animals.

For adults there is everything from the simplest of slides to the more adventurous Crazy River and Tornado”, the Kamikaze or the Black Hole. This last slide is unique in Portugal and is a sure-fire way to get the adrenaline pumping. In fact, pregnant women and people with heart problems or claustrophobia are barred from using it.

The land inside and wildlife

Combine adventure with discovering the real Algarve, the interior, with a safari in an off-road vehicle.
Krazy World is a wildlife park located in Algoz with lots of family activities in a natural setting. It is a place where you can climb trees, explore, and get to know and even feed the animals.
Lemurs, caimans, tortoises, camels, llamas, reptiles and many other creatures live in this park, with some of them taking part in themed shows.

The sea inside

The Algarve can be seen from various different points of view. Boat cruises are the proof of that!
Limestone cliffs carved out by coastal erosion, caves, secret beaches only accessible by sea, witnessing an unforgettable sunset or watching dolphins are among the experiences popular at the moment.
Diving is another way to discover the region and its sea – which is known for forming the frontier between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean, and also for its top-quality fresh fish.

Active holidays, fun holidays at VidaMar Resort Algarve

Active holidays, fun holidays.

Everyone has a different idea of what makes for the ideal holiday, so at the Vidamar Resort Algarve there is a range of alternatives for the whole family for all tastes.

The all-day, seven days a week, programme of activities can be consulted in reception, which is also the meeting point for daytime activities at the resort.

Fun for the little ones goes well beyond the pools and sea. At the Aquatica Kids Club our professional team organises free games, activities and themed workshops for children aged four to 11, every day.

All in all, our programme of activities enbles guests to take a deep breath, recharge their batteries, live life to the full and take away some memorable experiences.

FÉRIAS ACTIVAS Algarve - VidaMar Algarve

Healthy mind, healthy body

Mens sana in corpore sane‘ is an ancient Latin motto that can be put into practice with our programme of physical activities at the Vidamar Resort Algarve.

Make sure to catch the early morning ‘Body & Mind’ activities – hydrogymnastics, stretching, spinning, gym and step sessions.
Outside there are morning walks, zumba sessions and aerobics at sunset – or learning to dive in the outdoor pool.
The walks take an average of two hours, with the opportunity halfway to take a dip – for which we recommend your bringing swimwear, hat, bottle of water, towel and sun cream.

A bicycle ride to the splendid Lagoa dos Salgados lagoon is another open-air activity to try.

Férias Hotel Algarve - VidaMar Algarve

Relax

For many, holidays mean relaxation and rest; these are guaranteed with the treatments and massages available at the resort’s spa, or just by diving into the pool or a spell sunbathing.

Slip off your shoes and walk along the dunes by the sea to the sound of the breakers, in a beautiful natural setting.

Spectacular nights

After a busy day of activities, there is nothing like relaxing with a cocktail in the Gin Bar or watching one of the various shows.
Bingo, board games and our quiz are also on offer for families.
Férias Resort Algarve - VidaMar Algarve

Health competition

Table tennis, volleyball and football are options for guests who like more competitive group activities – both in and out of the water – whenever the weather permits.

Scuba Diving at Vidamar Resort Algarve

Diving is one of the many activities on offer on a weekly basis at the Vidamar Resort Algarve. Among various programmes are ones for beginners but also others for more experienced divers.

We should create magic moments for our guests and their first dive is certainly one of them,” explains the managing director of the Vidamar Resort Algarve, João Cardoso.

Courses for different levels and degrees of experience

The outdoor pool of the Vidamar Resort Algarve is where diving instructor Jean Nunes gives his lessons every Wednesday around midday. In the case of beginners, the aim is to offer an introduction to recreational diving.
The “Try a dive” initiation lasts 45 minutes, while individual lessons are two hours and 15 minutes long.

Scuba Diving Algarve - VidaMar Algarve

The ideal beginner’s programme “Excursion from the beach” takes on average three hours. A full scuba diving course stretches at least two days, but there is the possibility of doing courses, different specialised exercises and excursions suited to the amount of experience of each diver. The “Open Water Diver” course takes at least four days.
These various types of diving are no problem for the instructor, who has more than 15 years of qualified experience and who can give lessons in various languages, including English, German and Portuguese.

What to expect in your first diving lesson

The first diving session consists merely of trying out and experiencing what it’s like to breathe, see and move around under the water,” says instructor Jean Nunes.

In this lesson participants are introduced to the basic equipment and to breathing and movement technique. After that comes the practical part in which the learner is guided step by step by the instructor in a process of adaptation.
When the learner feels comfortable breathing underwater, it is time to dive the length of the pool, with the confidence that you are being watched over by the instructor.

Quando o aluno se sente confortável para respirar debaixo de água, é tempo de desfrutar do mergulho ao longo da piscina, com a confiança de que está a ser vigiado pelo instrutor.
Scuba Diving Algarve - VidaMar Algarve

Testimonials

Dozens of guests of the Vidamar Resort Algarve have already seized the chance in their holidays to try out these lessons, affording them unique experiences to remember.
Here is the testemonial of one of them:

“Hi Jean
Thanks for the pics, these are awesome! Queríamos agradecer novamente a atenção e o profissionalismo. Just wanted to thank you again for being so professional and helpful. It was an awesome experience for my wife and I. I’ve been trying to help Sophie get more comfortable with the water for years but this worked wonders and helped make so much progress.
Thank you again”
Daniel McLean and Sophie Salinas (UK)

Active holidays – VidaMar Resort Algarve

Pull on some stout shoes and prepare to cross the Algarve on foot or by bike.

VIA ALGARVIANA: DISCOVERING NATURE

The 300 kilometres of the Via Algarviana, the great trail that runs the length of the Algarve interior between Alcoutim and Cape St Vincent draws Portuguese and foreign walkers above all in spring and autumn – the seasons when the region’s fauna and flora are at their most exuberant.

The Via Algarviana extends along 300 kilometres, from Alcoutim in the east to Cabo de São Vicente (Cape St Vincent) in the west, passing picturesque villages that make for inviting stops.
The trail may be completed on foot in two weeks or by bike in five days, and is divided up into 30-kilometre stretches. It is popular above all with Portuguese and foreign visitors who are looking to take a break from the hurly-burly of the big city.

SMALL ROUTES

As well as the Grande Rota (Great Route), there are 12 Pequenas Rotas or Small Routes with lengths of between four and 18 kilometres that are of varying degrees of difficulty. The more challenging ones call for a good level of physical fitness.

THEMED ROUTES

There are various trails that can be done on foot, by mountain bike or by car, with a digital guide for each to download for free from www.viaalgarviana.org.

SMUGGLERS’ ROUTE IN ALCOUTIM

The Rota do Contrabandista recalls the days when poverty and lack of opportunities saw the inhabitants of Alcoutim dedicate themselves to smuggling along the length of the River Guadiana. The trail runs around Monte Vascão past various villages, skirting the former border posts – which are mostly in runs – to Barranco das Pereiras, on a slope overlooking the river.

WATER ROUTE IN LOULÉ

The Rota de Água trail traces the principal river basins in Loulé, an area known for its abundance of water. It takes in many springs, including those at Alte, Goldra and Filipe, and also watermills, reservoirs, lookout points and small lagoons. Starting at Bicas Velhas, in the centre of the old town, the route runs for 130 kilometres, of which 119 are along roads, 11 are on dirt tracks and the rest on footpaths.

MONUMENTAL TREES ROUTE

Com 3 circuitos, todos com início no Largo de São Sebastião, em Monchique, parta à descoberta da Serra de Monchique, da diversidade da flora, sobreirais, bosques de carvalho-de-Monchique, eucaliptos, castanheiros, medronhais, matos, exuberante vegetação, além de poder também apreciar a arquitetura e as tradições locais.

ROTA DA GEOLOGIA

Three different routes, all starting at the Largo de São Sebastião in Monchique and offering a way to discover the Serra de Monchique range, with diverse flora that includes groves of cork oak, forests of Algerian oak, eucalyptus, chestnuts, strawberry tree, Mediterranean scrub species and other exuberant vegetation. On the way you can also appreciate local architecture and traditions.

VidaMar Resort Algarve boat trips

Caves and wild beaches: natural marvels you can only reach by sea

Promoted by the regional tourism board as ‘Europe’s most famous secret’, the Algarve is a region with a rich heritage and history but also great natural beauty. Some of its caves, wild beaches and sea-cut cliffs are so well hidden that they can only be visited by boat.

Discovering the Algarve coast can turn out to be a unique and surprising experience, and ever more visitors are attracted by the prospect of taking a boat trip or short cruise from one of the region’s marinas.

Caves – ancient, sublime formations carved by the sea

Taking a canoe around the Ria Formosa estuary or a boat trip to the caves of Algar Seco near Carvoeiro beach, diving, standup paddleboarding or parasailing are just some of the activities on offer in the Algarve.
Algar Seco, just over half a kilometre west of Carvoeiro, is an imposing work of nature made up of a complex of natural pools, caves, arches and apertures carved out of the rocks over time by wind, rain and waves.

It is not only the caves themselves – natural stone temples full of reflections and echoes – that make the trip worth doing.

As you travel along the coast you have a unique panoramic view of the jagged cliffs and coastal towns, contrasting with the deep blue sea that just begs for you to dive into it.

Blissfully wild places

The Lagoa dos Salgados lagoon, just a short walk from the Vidamar Resort Algarve, Praia dos Arrifes in Albufeira, Praia do Pontal, Praia da Malhada do Baraço and Ponta da Piedade headland, all in Lagos, are other points of interest for those wanting to explore the Algarve coast and get away from the busiest beaches.

The Ria Formosa estuary, between Vila Real de Santo António and Vilamoura, is one of the Algarve’s three protected natural areas and was recently elected one of Portugal 7 Natural Wonders. There are many boat trips on offer here, too, offering the opportunity to get to know the five sandbar islands and two peninsulas of this unique system of channels and lagoons.

Activities for all tastes and ages

Birding, dolphin watching, seahorse spotting, angling, romantic tours, sunset or nocturnal outings or sailing trips are among the ways you can get to know and make the most of the Algarve coast, all year round.

Fun for everyone in the Algarve’s sea

The Algarve has a lot more to offer than sun and sand. If you are the active type, the adventures you can enter into in the region are many and varied.

Taking a canoe around the Ria Formosa estuary or a boat trip to the caves of Algar Seco near Carvoeiro beach, diving, standup paddleboarding or parasailing are just some of the activities on offer in the Algarve.

Parasailing: adrenalin and emotion

Among the advantages of trying one of these activities in the Algarve is that they all take place against a beautiful panoramic natural backdrop .

Parasailing, for example, affords you stunning views and allows you to enjoy the feeling of flying. The adventure starts on board a boat, out at sea, where participants are fitted with a canopy that is attached by rope to the bow, and when towed can rise to as much as 80 metres. It is possible for two or even three people to take part at the same time – always with a smooth rise and landing on the boat itself.

Underwater adventures: discovering Europe’s largest artificial reef

Diving baptisms, diving outings and snorkelling trips (involving just a mask with breathing tube and a pair of flippers) to get to know the wealth of the Algarve’s underwater flora and fauna are among the many activities on offer in the region – which also boasts Europe’s largest artificial reef. It has been crucial in promoting biodiversity and bolstering natural fisheries resources, and stretches alongside various coastal settlements: Cacela, Tavira, Olhão, Faro, Quarteira, Albufeira and Lagos, occupying a total volume of more than 100,000 cubic metres.

Diving outings in the region are mainly from the area between Faro and Sagres, with participants having various options to choose from, including caves, sunken ships and planes, natural reefs and the various sections of Europe’s largest artificial reef.

Paddleboarding: sport and balance

Originating in Hawaii, standup paddleboarding or SUP is a variant of surfing in which – as the name suggests – you stand up on a board and use a paddle to move through the water.

This sport is already established in the Algarve and has been winning adepts, with various local companies offering trips, lessons and even paddle yoga, a variant aimed at combining a sense of well-being and emotional balance with contact with nature.

Thrills in the Algarve skies

Trips by hot-air balloon, plane or helicopter, or parachute jumps. From relaxing to radical, here are some of the emotions on offer in the Algarve, where the sky is the limit.

 

Romance is in the air: hot-air balloons

Carried by the wind, hot-air balloons carry you smoothly through the air, affording captivating views of hills, valleys and the Atlantic coast that enchant with their beauty and variety. On these trips you can overfly a range of points of interest and even experience sunrise in unique fashion.

The aerodromes of Lagos and Portimão are among places in the Algarve where hot-air balloons take off.

Pure emotion

For anyone keen to make the most of the Algarve’s skies, paragliding and tandem skydiving or parachuting are attractive propostions.

Portimão Aerodrome is among places where you can try tandem skydiving. This is an unforgettable experience and the easiest and least challenging way to experience the thrill of leaping into the unknown – since you are securely harnessed to an experienced instructor.
The adrenaline rushes through your body during 50 seconds or so of free fall, until your parachute opens and you can begin to see the Algarve from a totally different perspective.

Baptismal paragliding flights are another exciting thing to try, starting from near Loulé train station, about 31 kilometres from Vidamar Resort Algarve.

For half and hour, again with an instructor in a tandem paraglider, you can enjoy the sensation of flight.

Stunning landscapes by plane or helicopter

There is no better way to appreciate the contrasts between the sea and the hills, and between the western and eastern halves of the Algarve, than by going up in a plane or helicopter.
Several companies in the region that offer trips for tourists, including from Portimão Aerodrome, just over 30 kilometres from Vidamar Resort Algarve.