The busy little town of Almancil is well-placed for exploring the wonderful Algarve. Part of the area’s famed ‘Golden Triangle’, both upmarket resort destinations and a taste of the traditional Portugal are within touching distance.
Twenty minutes from Faro airport, Almancil sits near a stunning 15-kilometre stretch of coast from Faro to Quartiera famed for rocky outcrops, sandy coves and emerald green waters. Those seeking pure relaxation will find it at the numerous golf courses and stylish luxury resorts in the region, in particular Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo.
Fancy moving things up a gear? Spectacular nature is on your doorstep. Get in amongst it with bird watching, horse riding, boat trips, or hiking the Via Algarvina trail.
Almancil has a good variety of shops, bars and restaurants. At the eastern edge of town is the small village of São Lourenço. The church here is one of very few to survive the 1755 earthquake intact. The inside is a revelation, decked out floor to ceiling in azulejos, blue and white tiles telling the story of its patron saint.
Head inland and discover pretty villages among fig and almond groves, flower-carpeted hillsides and castles. Rural Portuguese life is one where time passes slowly and with relish. Life’s little pleasures are part of the fabric of the landscape. At Almancil you are perfectly placed to join in.
This coast is the definition of being spoiled for choice. Quartiera has a beautiful large sand beach, a working fishing community and weekly market. Something more tranquil? Keep walking to Praia do Almargem, surrounded by pine trees and the wide valley of the Ribeira do Almargem river. There are plenty of other excellent beaches such as Praia do Garrao and Praia do Ancão, both with some great beach restaurants.
Fair old Faro is a grand place for a day out. Really rather scenic, the city has never quite been on the tourist trail, and is all the better for it. It maintains a laid-back Portuguese feel with a lovely marina and historic old town. If you’re brave enough, visit the other-wordly Capela Dos Ossos; a chapel made of human bones topped off with a golden skeleton. In summer, boats and buses run from the town centre to some excellent local beaches. Or jump on the ferry for the short hop to the village of Farol on the Ilha de Culatra with its long, sandy beach and a bevy of ramshackle beach bars.
This is a stunning national park known as one of the seven natural wonders of Portugal. A labyrinth of lagoons, sandy inlets, marshlands and islands, the place is a magnet for wildlife including flamingos and dolphins. You might even see Portuguese water dogs at work, diving and catching fish trapped in the nets of local fishermen. Take a boat ride out to some of the beautiful islands. Or just take a deep breath, enjoy the sunshine and commune with nature. There’s plenty of it.
Hike the Via Algarviana
This former pilgrims’ way stretches 300 kilometres across the breadth of the country. It’s an absolute gem, variously passing mountain villages and flower meadows, windmills and whitewashed farms. Your path will be scented by free-growing rosemary, lavender, fennel and thyme. Green and peaceful with little painted signposts along the way, a day or more spent hiking a section of this route is time well spent.
Spoil yourself rotten
Two of the region’s most luxurious resorts, Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo, are easily reached from Almancil. They boast some of the best golf courses in the world. If golf isn’t your thing, knock yourself out with luxury spas, boutique shopping, watersports, tennis, horse-riding and a huge range of restaurants, bars and clubs. Definitely the place to come for some top quality R&R
Make a splash
Zoomarine theme park and Aqualand Algarve water park are two highly entertaining days out. Zoomarine has dolphin, pirate and birds of prey shows, an aquarium and 4d cinema. Aqualand is an epic sprawling outdoor waterpark, with white-knuckle rides, high slides, a river rapid run and a surf beach area with wave pool.
Traditional Portuguese food includes caldo verde, a soup made with potato, kale and chorizo. Or go for any of the Algarve’s famous fish dishes such as clams, oysters, prawns, octopus, squid, sardines or salted cod (bacalhau).
The Algarve produces its own wine, and is also famous for its spirits. Two of the best known are Aguardente and Medronho. It’s advisable to have a fairly sturdy constitution if you wish to take part in either. Otherwise, port is a Portuguese speciality.
Almancil offers a good variety of bars and restaurants, including one run by top chef Heinz Beck. There’s also one you can only get to via wooden bridge, where the owner sings opera and tells you about the fish he bought that morning.
In the area there are several Michelin star restaurants, as well as little traditional places and a variety of different cuisines. As you would hope, seafood restaurants are almost obligatory, and if you like nothing better than fresh catch of the day with a lively salad, you’ll be in heaven.
The Algarve is famous for its mix of stunning coastline and beautiful countryside, and Almancil is a perfect base from which to explore it. There’s plenty of family entertainment and leisurely little towns and villages to wander for a cultural fix. And if you need to luxuriate, the local resorts will see you right. And of course, there are those endless beaches.
The best way to avoid any holiday stress is to book with easyJet holidays. Book your hotel and flights to Almancil together and you’ll even save some cash.
If Almancil isn’t floating your boat, take a look at some of our other Portugal destination guides.