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.

Algarve Chefs Week 2016 – VidaMar Resort Algarve

Executive Chef Miguel Teixeira of the Vidamar Algarve is among five of the 12 executive chefs based at five-star hotels in the region who from May 6 to 15 will be taking part in Algarve Chefs Week 2016.

This year the challenge is to present menus inspired by ceviche, Peru’s national dish, which is essentially raw fish marinated in citrus juice.

At the Vidamar Algarve, Executive Chef Miguel Teixeira reveals a few secrets of the menu that he is preparing: it is “a reinterpretation of Bacalhau com Grão [Portuguese codfish with chickpeas] in a version with a lot of citrus fruit, spices, and ingredients from Japan, since we will be serving this dish in our KOI restaurant.

This special menu may be sampled at the Vidamar Resort Algarve throughout the week of the event. For each meal consumed in participating restaurants at the hotels, one euro goes to a local support centre for homeless people, CASA.

On April 23, from 3pm at Loulé’s municipal market, Chef Teixeira and his friends and colleagues Marco Alban, José Leitão and David Domingues will be offering some tips and secrets on this dish, at a workshop that promises to be deliciously surprising.

Campo de golfe Algarve

Ceviche: origins

Ceviche, which is considered to be Peru’s national dish, resulted from the introduction of Arab techniques into the cuisine of South America, when Moorish women who came to the continent with the Spanish army began using the juice of bitter oranges to marinate raw fish, in place of the local ingredients the Inca had used.
The name – sometimes written seviche – is associated by historians with the Arabic word sibesh or Al-Sibesh, which refers to acidic foods such as citrus fruits.

Ceviche and the Algarve

This way of marinating fish with citrus juice is not at all alien to Algarve cuisine, which also retains many customs introduced to the region during the Moorish period.
The Algarve is, of course, known for its fresh fish and high-quality citrus fruits – both ideal for use in ceviche – with boiled potatoes, sweet potatoes or corn providing perfect accompaniments.
Ceviche may be served as a starter or as a main dish.

Great shots all year round in the Algarve

Repeatedly voted Europe’s and the world’s best golf destination in various competitions, including the World Golf Awards, the Algarve is a golfer’s paradise. More than a million rounds are played here each year, by visitors from all corners of the world.
With more than 300 days of sunshine a year, this region has an invitingly mild climate for golf in all seasons, on 40 courses dotted along it from Sagres in the west to Vila Real de Santo António in the east. Many were laid out by world-renowned golf course architects, in beautiful natural settings ranging from clifftops overlooking the Atlantic to rural landscapes in the hills, all with irresistible greens and tees.

The best golf near Vidamar Algarve

Salgados Golf Course

Right next to Vidamar Resort Algarve, at a distance of just two kilometres, and with special discounts on green fees for our guests, the 18-hole Salgados Golf Course offers a stimulating golfing experience. Caressed by a sea breeze and within sight of the Salgados Lagoon Natural Reserve, it boasts a series of lakes, on a course with the typical characteristics of a traditional Scottish links. It is perfect for golf enthusiasts because of the skill it demands, and stands out for its setting and birdlife, which includes several endangered species.

Oceânico Faldo Course

A landscape of rolling hills with almond, olive and carob trees, inhabited by some 50 bird species, are what makes this 18-hole course near Silves, within sight of the Serra de Monchique range, so special. On the Faldo Course the natural terrain demands expertise and concentration from the first hole – a challenging uphill par-four.
To get here from Vidamar Algarve takes just 20 minutes by car, whether you opt for the 12-kilometre drive on the EM526 to Alcantarilha and then towards Pêra, or the 16-kilometre route via the EM526 and then the A22 toll motorway.

Oceânico O’ Connor Golf Course

Voted the country’s best golf course in 2015 by the Portuguese Architects’ Golf Club, this course has a range of tees that complement the Oceânico Faldo well. The design, the well-kept greens and fairways and other key elements all helped bring it the award. Here the main challenges are presented by the lakes and streams that feature in nine of the 18 holes, as well as the strategically located bunkers.

Algarve Wine Route

Set off to discover the region`s delicious wines.

We suggest that you drive the few kilometres from the VidaMar Resort Algarve to the magnificent wine estates of the Algarve Demarcated Region. Once there, take a stroll around the properties amid the earthy and green hues of the vineyards, with the Atlantic almost always in view on the horizon, and finish up with a tasting of wines many of which have won international prizes. These are elegant, balanced wines made from the most traditional grape varieties: Syrah, Moscatel (Muscat), Arinto, Negra Mole, Trincadeira, Aragonês (Tempranillo) and Castelão.

From the sea cliffs of Albufeira to Sir Cliff Richard’s Adega do Cantor

Our first recommended winery is overseen by Sir Cliff Richard. A fan of the Algarve for some four decades, the British singer has here succeeded in bringing a longstanding dream to life: that of his own vineyard. The Adega do Cantor (literally Singer’s Winery) in Guia, just 10 minutes by car from the VidaMar Resort Algarve, makes for a relaxing visit. Here at the highest point of the Quinta do Miradouro estate, an expert will explain to you the characteristics of the grape varieties chosen to be planted here, as you are guided around the vineyard. Then, in the winery where production takes place, you will have the chance to taste the wines, including the well-known Vida Nova.

Quinta dos Vales: art and fine wines

About a 20-minute drive from the VidaMar Resort Algarve, in Estômbar, the vines of the Quinta dos Vales spread out before you. Guided visits start in the sculpture garden, with its large-scale artworks, and continue on the vines themselves. Your tour may also include a visit to see the farm animals – sheep of the Iberian Churra breed, goats, geese, miniature pigs and deer – which visitors may feed with fodder available on the estate. Afterwards you will learn about the wine-making process, as your guide reveals some of the secrets of wines that have won more 100 national and international prizes. Then it is time to sample some of these delicious Marquês dos Vales: six reds, nine whites and three rosés.

Birdwatching in Algarve

LAGOA DOS SALGADOS: A GREAT PLACE FOR BIRDWATCHING ENTHUSIASTS.

The Salgados Lagoon, in the Algarve, is on the national list of Important Bird Areas and one of the wetlands most sought after by nature lovers to spot birds. On this body of water, separated from the Atlantic by a line of dunes, more than 200 species have been recorded. It is a major nesting area for birds such as the ferruginous duck, western swamphen, little bittern and pied avocet.

TRAILS TO ENJOY ON FOOT OR BY BIKE
A stone’s throw from the Vidamar Resort Algarve, near the Praia Grande beach to the south, a wooden walkway serves as a route along which you can set out on foot or by bike to discover the abundant birdlife in these unique wetlands. The circuit takes between two and three hours and makes for a lovely outing, above all at the end of the day, when the light is ideal for birdwatching.

AT THE LAGOA DOS SALGADOS YOU CAN SPOT BIRDS ALL YEAR ROUND
Species such as the western swamphen and the little owl may be seen here in all seasons. The greater flamingo is another popular local resident in autumn, winter and spring. The squacco heron, glossy ibis, ruff, Caspian tern and bluethroat inhabit these wetlands in autumn and winter. In the spring and summer you can see purple heron, short-toed lark and Alpine swift.
The Salgados Lagoon is also said to be the best place in the Algarve to spot garganey and other rare birds.


OTHER UNMISSABLE BIRDWATCHING AREAS

Sagres
A Natural Park and Special Protection Area for birdlife where you can find a great range of seabirds, birds of prey and steppe birds (present in uplands). Some species are year-round residents, such as the red-billed chough and peregrine falcon. It is also an important stop for migrants such as the black stork, do Egyptian vulture, griffon vulture and Iberian imperial eagle, among others.

Ria de Alvor
Classed as a Site of Conservation Interest, this estuary has regular inhabitants such as the stone-curlew and black-winged stilt. Migrants using the saltmarshes here as a staging post include flamingoes and spoonbills.

Ria Formosa
A Natural Park and Special Protection Area for birdlife that is considered to be the country’s third most important wetland, this large area of lagoons extends for some 60 kilometres of saltmarsh, salt pans and waterways. It is home to thousands of waterbirds, including herons, flamingoes, little terns, ospreys and red-crested pochards.

DOWNLOAD OUR GUIDE FOR BIRDWATCHING IN ALGARVE

  Birdwatching Algarve

Copyright SPEA \ Algarve Tourism Board

Dream weddings at Vidamar Resort Algarve

AT TOP WEDDING FAIRS IN DUBLIN AND LONDON IN 2016.

Sun, mild temperatures, a honeymoon by the seaside, time out with family and friends, a reception on the beach or in the Mediterranean and tropical gardens of the VidaMar Resort Algarve. What better setting for your dream wedding?

These factors above all are what is winning over ever more British and Irish couples when they stop at the VidaMar Resort Algarve stand at top international wedding fairs in the UK and Ireland.

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We started the campaign off in January of 2016 by showing off the best of our spaces and services at the Algarve & Lisbon Wedding Show in Dublin, then in February moved on to London, to the Hospital Club. At both these major fairs our presentation was organised by our partners, Algarve Wedding Planners.

Both in Dublin and in London we were able to speak to many couples who, after hearing all about our services and spaces, set a date for their wedding at the resort in 2016, 2017 and even 2018.

As far as the infrastructure for weddings goes, the VidaMar Resort Algarve has some unique spaces for the ceremony and party, which can start on the beach and carry on in the VidaMar’s exotic gardens, with a restaurant, patio and stunning views of the Atlantic,” notes João Cardoso, managing director of the five-star resort.

INVESTMENT IN A NEW SPACE EXCLUSIVELY FOR EVENTS

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For the events it hosts all year round, and weddings in particular, VidaMar Resort Algarve has in 2016 gone ahead with an investment to upgrade a space that is very popular for weddings.

It’s an exclusive and dedicated place that offers the kind of dream setting that couples appreciate so much – just a few steps away from the beach, and with a wooden deck with shade and a panoramic sea view where the ceremony itself can be held, and a nearby open-air space in the palm-tree garden for the reception”, João Cardoso explains.

UNIQUE SETTINGS AND TOP-CLASS SERVICES

As well as the unique settings designs by nature itself that make the Algarve – a beach and golf destination that has repeatedly been voted the best in Europe and one of the best in the world, the VidaMar Resort Algarve can offer a specialised team dedicated exclusively to organising weddings.

We can offer a concept that makes couples’ choices much easier: a one-stop shop where they can ponder a panoply of options for the various services that make up the wedding: from the menu and drinks at the wedding reception, to the hairdresser, florist, photographer and video team, DJ, transfers, accommodation and honeymoon, among other elements – all with the guarantee of authenticity and differentiation of the Vidamar brand,” stresses João Cardoso.

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