For the fifth year in a row, The Algarve remains the best place in the world today to retire overseas.
But what is it that makes the Algarve so special? The weather is a good place to start. There is sunshine throughout the year and the winters are short and mild. You will never have to shovel snow again. The Algarve receives over 3000 hours of sunshine per year. From May until the end of August there are 12 hours of glorious sunshine per day. The expat community is well established and welcoming.
The medical facilities and health care are affordable and high quality with two major hospitals close by. There are undervalued properties, including ocean views available to suit all budgets. English is widely spoken, thanks to the longstanding British presence. The infrastructure is first class, and you can easily get around the Algarve. The well maintained roads allow for easy access to the rest of Portugal and into the rest of Europe. Portugal’s retiree residency program rolls out the welcome mat for foreign pensioners who they are attracting in greater numbers each year. The Golden Visa process has also been made. Source: Liveandinvestoverseas.com
The survey looks at the costs of several typical expenses that the average tourist will encounter, including lunch and evening meals, drinks, etc.
The most expensive destination was Sorrento in Italy, where prices were three times more expensive than the survey leaders…ouch!
The survey concludes that these whilst any result is affected by the strength of sterling against the euro it is better than it was 12 months ago. The real reduction in costs are due to competitive pricing in restaurants, bars and shops by as much as a third in some resorts.
The survey reflects what costs to expect in various resorts but not the quality of service, food or products bought there. Cheap is not always least just as expensive is not always best. I can speak personally for the Algarve and as many tourist will agree, quality has and still does rate very highly here whilst still being the 2nd cheapest destination in Europe.
So the Algarve comes out tops for value for money notwithstanding favourable weather for 12 months of the year not just the season and has the most frequent flights in and out compared to its close competitors.
But what about Brexit and the Algarve and Portugal?
Brexit means Brelcome, well at least it does in Portugal!
“Brelcome, Portugal will never leave you” affirms new tourism campaign aimed at the British.
– tourism bosses in Portugal unveiled a campaign in March 2019 to reaffirm Portugal’s ongoing commitment to its ‘oldest ally’ Britain. No Visas, access to the SNS health service and to the transport of pets is to remain the same………….read more
Cobbled streets and artisan shops, a ruined convent and wonderful gardens are well worth a visit. Monchique is famous for it’s cork oak forests, wild boar and black pork cuisine,
Serra da Monchique the “Upper Algarve”
From either the EN125 or the A22 you will find an intersection with the EN266 just north of the coastal city of Portimao. Following this road you will pass through Rasmalho(Stork City), one of the largest colonies of White Storks in Portugal. You will be gradually climbing the wooded foothills of the Serra and will come across a famous Spa village, Caldas de Monchique, turn off here and walk this tiny but fascinating village, you may get to see bread being made in the communal ovens, walk the shaded pathways to the thermal streams, or indulge in rituals at the spa itself.
Continue upwards to the town of Monchique, cobbled streets and artisan shops, a ruined convent and wonderful gardens are well worth a visit. Monchique is famous for it’s cork oak forests, wild boar and black pork cuisine, if you intend to eat out in the Algarve then Monchique would be a great choice.
Foia, Algarve’s Highest Point
From the town centre continue upwards along the EN266-3 to Foia, the highest point in the Algarve at 902m above sea level. Here you will have spectacular 360 deg views. An unforgettable experience. You can retrace your steps to Monchique or take any of two other roads that descend, one to the east and one to the north, both will bring you back town.
Picota Contour Route
There is a gorgeous contour drive that you can take from Monchique: Head to the roundabout that you first encountered when you arrived at Monchique, next to the petrol stations, and take the exit marked Alferce EN267. Take a right 20 meters (literally) after entering this road, which goes behind the bar on the corner, (local labour exchange). You are now on the contour road that circumnavigates the smaller mountain of Picota. Again the coastal views are spectacular, you will also look down on the Oudelouca dam wall. Stay on this road until you hit a T junction, turn left in the direction of Alferce. Take a drive through the village, just a typical sleepy mountain village where sleeping dogs will not raise an eyebrow as you pass by. Follow signs back to Monchique.
Side trip to Silves
Leave Monchique by the way you came on the EN266, if you still have a few hours, at Porto de Lagos roundabout turn left on the EN124 in the direction of Silves. You can have a taste of this historic walled town with Moorish castle, archaeological museum and Roman bridge, though this could be a full half day trip in its own right.
The Algarve West Coast. Some of the best coastal scenery in Europe awaits you here, pristine, deserted beaches and rugged cliffs will captivate you.
Fishing villages, deserted beaches, rugged cliffs and views, views and more views!
Some of the best coastal scenery in Europe awaits you here, pristine, deserted beaches and rugged cliffs will captivate you. Take the A22 or EN125 to Lagos, Lagos is a day trip all on its own so don’t include it on this itinerary there is simply not the time. Continue west along the EN125. At Vale Verde turn left on the EN537 to visit Praia da Luz and Burgau. Don’t turn north at Burgau keep going west along a much smaller coast road to Salema. These are all small fishing villages that are popular but not swamped with tourism. Great fish restaurants in all of them.
Changes in Scenery and landscape
Head north again until you hit the EN125 again and head west in the direction of Villa do Bispo and Sagres. You will notice that the landscape has changed drastically, very few trees and quite windswept, not unlike Cornwall in the UK, for much the same reason. At Sagres visit the Fortaleza de Sagres and the Cabo de Sao Vicente light house. The cliffs here are spectacular albeit dangerous, don’t go too close to the edge! You are also at the most South Western corner of Europe.
Retrace your steps to Vila do Bispo and find the north west corner of the village near the market, head out on the M1265 to Praia do Castelejo, this is one of the best unspoiled beaches in the Algarve, if not Portugal. Back to Vila do Bispo and then head north on the EN268. There are about a dozen small tracks that head west off this road to some spectacular and remote beaches, each about 4kms long, you may need a 2nd day to try some of these. Head north and (don’t miss this section), just 2-30 meters before the quaint village of Carrapateira there is a turn to the left that goes south west to Praia do Amado and from here a wonderful cliff top road that runs north, don’t take a right turn to Carrapateira but continue along the cliff road. There are some great cliff top board walks you can go on. Eventually this road will look down on Praia do Bordeira which is a kite surfers paradise and end up back on the EN268.
Head north again. The EN268 will join the EN120 continue north in the direction of Aljezur which is an old village to explore with a castle and some excellent traditional restaurants. Drive through the narrow streets and keep going uphill to the castle (to save your legs). A few kms before Aljezur you will have passed a turning to the coast, if you have time, track-back and take the M1003-1 to Praia da Arrifana, a surfers haven with stunning scenery, fishing harbour and a small fort that was badly damaged by a tsunami in 1755 which stands atop a 200 foot cliff, yes a tsunami, seriously.
At this point you can turn back on the EN120 to Lagos about an hours drive. Or from Aljezur take the EN267 in an easterly direction towards Monchique. This is a delightful route via the village of Marmelete and then along a contour road to the EN266 just south of Monchique, turn right in the direction of Portimao, this route will take about one hour 15 minutes.
300 days of sunshine each year make holidays in the Algarve very popular and driving a convertible a real pleasure. No better place to get your top down! Sightseeing couldn’t be better, secluded coves along the coast or panoramic views from Foia.
Honda S2000 in the Algarve
300 days of sunshine each year make holidays in the Algarve very popular and driving a convertible a real pleasure. No better place to get your top down! I have to say though when we lived in the Algarve full-time, during July and August, the top only came down for half an hour or so then up it went and airco on. Those months are just too hot to drive without airco! The rest of the year though is perfect and now that we only spend winters here we take every opportunity to zip around the twisties here in Monchique with the wind in my (grey) hair! (Weather Statistics)
We also try to get away for a few days here and there, New Year in Cadiz Spain, the weather was glorious with temps in the high teens, no rain and blue sky, a great trip, only spoiled by the rudeness of the local Spanish people. Well there you go symptoms of Brexit perhaps?
We love to tour Portugal there are so many interesting places to visit, stacked with culture, history and excellent food, any excuse and we off to somewhere and above all the people are polite and friendly, Portugal is England’s oldest ally!
One of our favourite places to visit is Tomar, it has a Monastery and castle of the Knights Templars well worth seeing, the town is picturesque with great restaurants.
Algarve Road Trips
There are plenty of day road trips from our Villa Rental in the Algarve and also into the Alentejo, the next province north of here. We often explore and redo trips to Sagres the most south-western point of Europe and from there the west coast right up to the Alentejo border. Easily done in a day with a stopover at one of the many restaurants along the way. Spectacular unspoiled scenery around every corner.
Our Honda is popular with the wildlife too, this Javali, (wild boar) was inquisitive and kindly left his muddy nose print on my pride and joy, bless him!
Slalom at one of the Portuguese Honda S2000 weekends in the north of Portugal.
Algarve villa rental “Villa Vida Nova” receives coveted TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for providing consistently outstanding experiences and whose owners offer first-class customer service to their guests.
(24 October 2018)
Villa Vida Nova villa rental in Algarve receives coveted Certificate of Excellence
TripAdvisor has given Nigel Stringer and Beverly Herrington-Stringer, owners of Villa Vida Nova, its exclusive Certificate of Excellence accolade – presented to the best of TripAdvisor Rentals’ hundreds of thousands of homes.
The Certificate of Excellence is given annually to those properties that provide consistently outstanding experiences and whose owners offer first-class customer service to their guests.
Owner of Villa Vida Nova, a home that received the accolade, Nigel Stringer said that he is thrilled with the recognition.
“We are very pleased to earn the Certificate of Excellence for our property. We have listed with TripAdvisor Rentals for nine years and we always strive to provide great customer service. It’s great to be rewarded by TripAdvisor after all of our hard work and it’s wonderful to know that our many guests over the last years have really valued their stay.”
Laurel Greatrix, Communications Director, TripAdvisor Rentals, said: “We’re excited to recognise and honour the top homes and homeowners on our site. This is a hard-earned accolade, and we’d like to thank Nigel and Beverly for their dedication to providing travelers with consistently outstanding experiences.”
The Certificate of Excellence recognises properties that meet strict criteria, which take into account customer service as well as quantity and quality of reviews.
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