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Praia da Marinha - Beautiful coast of Portugal, in the south where is the Algarve - © Getty Images

How to experience The Algarve: a guide to luxury living on Portugal’s southern coast

The Algarve offers an unrivalled mix of culture, adventure and luxury experiences — with a Sonhaus home you can enjoy it all.

 

The Algarve, Portugal’s southernmost region, is framed by its dramatic, honey-coloured coastline. Some of its beaches are pounded by rough-and-tumble surf, while others are lapped by mellow waves, leapt over by locals before they return to lying in coves or perching on rocks.

Shaped by the Atlantic, the Algarve is adorned with golf courses, Michelin-starred restaurants and its capital, Faro, awaits exploration — a city lined with medieval cobbled streets and shaped by remnants of the past, from Roman and Muslim rule to the Christian conquest in the 16th century. While if you head away from the coast, the region’s green and serene hinterland opens up to the mountain chain of the Serra de Monchique.

With so much to experience spanning history, modern culture and luxury living, Sonhaus homeowners can expect as many as 300 days of sun over the year allowing for year-round exploration.

A lavish beach life

Along the coastline cream-coloured coves and vast, towering cliffs punctuate the shore. For those keen to take to the waves, head over to the western Algarve and test your board skills at the famed surfing beaches of Arrifana, Amado and Castelejo.

Divers can enjoy over 100 diving spots off the coast, including the Ocean Revival Park — the largest man-made reef in the world, made up of four scuttled warships and a number of concrete structures. You’ll find genuine shipwrecks in some spots, too, and sunken aeroplane off the shores of Albufeira.

There are stretches of sand for doing absolutely nothing on too, of course. Take Praia da Marinha — by far one of the most beautiful spots on the shore, where you can gaze out to its distinctive M-shaped rock formation (also likened to the top of a heart) jutting over the crystal-clear waters. Or the more secluded Cacela Velha, Barrinha and Carvalho beaches, which are best accessed by boat but can be found on foot following unpaved paths and even passing through tunnels. If you charter a boat, be sure to visit the uninhabited Ilha Deserta, one of five islands in the Ria Formosa Natural Park, and jump off into the water (possibly tailed by dolphins) before unwinding on its flour-soft sand.

Portugal, Algarve, Sagres, Praia da Mareta, aerial view of man carrying surfboard on the beach – © Getty Images

Explore and adventure the days away

The Algarve has an esteemed reputation as one of the world’s most prestigious golfing destinations. The sport has grown exponentially since Sir Henry Cotton designed the first course here in 1966. Today there’s so many to choose from you can visit them one by one with each trip to your Sonhaus home. Join the pros at his Penina course, set amongst pine and eucalyptus forests, while at the Onyria Quinta da Marinha Golf Course, golfers swing in full views of the glittering Atlantic. Monte Rei Golf & Country Club, meanwhile, is considered the best in the country, with its own Michelin-starred restaurant to refuel at after a day on the course. But there’s plenty more than golf courses to explore here, with cycling, hiking and sailing being just a few things to add to any itinerary.

For those seeking adventure, cliff hiking and mountain biking trails await. These include the Via Algarviana — a 186-mile walking route from Alcoutim to Cabo de São Vincente. Split into 14 sections, it winds along the Algarve’s highest points (Picota or Fóia), coastal paths and through wild and quiet countryside, with gourmet pit stops along the way. Elsewhere, the Arade River, which runs through Silves, Lagoa and Portimão, lures with luxury boat trips towards the spectacular Benagil Cave, as well as tranquil fishing and bird-spotting excursions.

Benagil Cave, Lagoa, Algarve, Portugal – © Getty Images

A taste of the Algarve

The region is a haven for wine lovers, with winemakers nurturing vines along the coastline. Many are open to visitors for wine-tasting, languid lunches and even grape-stomping, come harvest season. At Quinta dos Vales, you can even rent your own corner of the vineyard, to harvest and blend your own bottles.

For an unforgettable dining experience, Michelin-starred Vila Joya is helmed by one of the country’s most famous chefs, Dieter Koschina, and dazzles with its finely executed seafood dishes and sushi. At Al Quimia — a cool and contemporary space in the Epic Sana Resort — local and seasonal produce is inspired by traditional Portuguese dishes and elevated by chef Luis Mourão.

It’s easy to find quaint beach restaurants across the Algarve, too, with seafood and grilled fish freshly plucked from the sea, sprinkled with flor de sal and served with views of the azure waters. If you like the idea of sourcing your own lunch, book a clam-picking trip into the Ria Formosa Natural Park, scooping the shellfish from the sands, plucking oysters from a nearby bank and eating them with a chilled white wine or bringing them back to your Sonhaus home for dinner.

Traditional Portuguese ameijoas with clams served in a cataplana pot on the table – © Getty Images

 

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