General holiday information and the great outdoors!
The best thing about a villa holiday in Portugal and the national park is the freedom and beauty of the great outdoors. This unique area allows you to experience some world class outdoor sporting activities, not just in the summer but throughout the year. The climate in Portugal means you can enjoy your favourite activity outside of the peak holiday periods as visiting Casa Bela and using local activity specialists can be very cost effective, if you plan ahead. Whatever your interest, we will gladly do our best to put you in touch with the right people to get the most from your holiday.
A quick search on Google and Trip Advisor will find the activities that suit your needs and the latest reviews on restaurants etc. however we have also provided flyers and cards for activities where we have been able to obtain them. There is a tourist information office in Aljezur, which is a great source of up to date information too:
Posto de Turismo de Aljezur
Largo de Mercado
Tel. 00 351 282 998 229
09.30 - 19.00 Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday
09.30 - 13.00 and 14.00 - 17.30 Friday to Monday
If you have forgotten or need some kit for sport or outdoor activities then Decathlon at Portimao is a great shop for most things, it is very reasonably priced, check it out on line, it’s only 35-40 minutes away. If you want some more general retail therapy then the largest concentration of modern shops in the region can be found at the Algarve Shopping Centre near Guia. There is a cinema there too, with films in English http://www.algarveshopping.pt/en/. There is a new shopping centre being developed near Loule which is nearing completion, its adjacent to the new IKEA which you will notice if you arrive through Faro airport.
There is plenty of choice for eating out with lovely food and settings, some places are somewhat understated from the outside but offer great food and wine at very reasonable prices. The easiest way to find the best restaurant for your needs is to have a look at the cards in the villa, Google and Trip Advisor is very helpful too as new restaurants are opening all of the time.
Surfing & Bodyboarding
The local beach of Arrifana is recognised for it’s world class right hand point break, this beach and the nearby Praia do Amado host surfing competitions because of the reliability and quality of the surf. There is lots of choice to suit your experience and plenty of local surf schools to learn or polish up your surfing too. There is a wash down and outside storage/drying area for your wetsuits and boards or a number of hire shops if you want to rent some kit. There are some very well recommended local surf schools, a quick search on Google and Trip Advisor will find one that suits your needs. We have previously used www.algarve-adventure.com for our children, they were very well organised and friendly, our children were very pleased and happy with their surfing lessons.
The hills and valleys around Aljezur are beautiful, peaceful and ripe for exploring yourself or for joining a guided walk. The Rota Vicentina is a marked walking route throughout the national park and a superb addition to walking in this area and beyond. There is plenty of information about walking in the villa with a dedicated area to clean off your kit and store your boots before you plan what to do next. The is a small lake a few minutes stroll from Casa Bela which takes around 45 -60 minutes to walk around. It's very handy for a quick walk or run.
Mountain bike journalists recommend the Western Algarve as one of the top five places in Europe to ride and top fifty in the world. The local area is pretty much unexplored and we will be building up information on trails as we get it but the Rota Vincenta can be used for mountain biking or you can just get out and explore yourselves.
However the best way to enjoy your stay is to book onto a guided ride as the companies running them provide great value and a superb MTB experience. They have an extensive knowledge of all the trails and tailor each ride to guests on that day. They offer all types of mountain biking from their centre in Lagos, from a relaxed scenic day trip to full downhill and freeride.
They have all the equipment you need for hire, a purpose built bike trailer, a minibus and a 4x4 for shuttle runs. If you are relatively new to mountain biking then there are local companies that hire out general purpose mountain bikes but if you are an expert – why not bring your own! If you bring your own then there is an area to lock your bike in the villa garage.
Nature & Bird Watching
The area around Vale da Telha is called the Costa Vicentina National Park which is protected and allows nature to flourish. Bird watching is good year round but quieter in July and August, all seasons have their own particular species and there are always a number of specialities that are unlikely to be seen elsewhere in the Algarve. Spring brings the summer breeding visitors and some smaller migrations, water birds pass through in appreciable numbers. The autumn migration period from late August to mid-November is more significant and includes large numbers of seabirds, raptors and passerines. The Sagres area is probably best for watching migratory birds but the incredibly bio-diverse Cork Oak woodlands and scrublands of Costa Vicentina around Aljezur will produce additional species not seen along the Atlantic coast. There are a number of local naturalists that offer guiding services, should you want this.
Boating, Kayaking & Diving
If you fancy Boating, Kayaking or Diving then head into Lagos or Sagres where there are a number of local companies set up to give you a good time. There are plenty of places to eat in those areas so get organised and fill the whole day with adventure and great food before crashing out back home at Casa Bela. The Kayak adventures take up most of a morning and include a short stop for snorkelling. They are a great experience for slightly older children and those a little more adventurous. The 2 hour Bom Bia boat trips are are a more sedate excursion but still include visits into the grottoes and swimming from the boat.
Portugal is well known for its dedication to golf and golfing holidays. Villa Casa is not located in a prime golfing area due to it being in the national park. However there are three good quality golf courses within 35-45 minutes drive, Boavista, Parque da Floresta and Palmares Golf Resort. More well-known courses are within an easy one hour drive back towards Faro.
There are concrete hard courts a few minutes walk from the villa. If you want to play tennis then please contact the local tennis club through Amovate, there is a link later in this web page.
Arrifana Day Spa
Carolina at Arrifana Day Spa is very reasonably priced and offers excellent value for facials, manicures, pedicures, massages etc. She does get busy so you may need to book if you fancy treating yourself - https://www.facebook.com/DaySpaCarolinaAgapito
Water Parks, Zoomarine and Lagos Zoo
If you want some family fun and excitement then try a day out at Slide & Splash or Aqualand waterparks along the South coast. Zoomarine and Lagos Zoo provide another alternative for family fun during your stay.
Sea fishing on the Algarve offers something for all anglers, charter boats offer easy reef and bottom fishing through to deep sea fishing for shark, predominantely Blues and Mako, with some spectacular Marlin fishing at certain times of the year. One of the most interesting and accessible types of fishing is on the immediate coastline - lure fishing for sea bass. A quick search on You Tube will show you the quality of the bass that can be caught within the area. Standard bassing gear, lures and methods which work in UK waters are just as effective in Portugal too. There are excellent beach fishing marks within 5-10 minutes drive of the villa. You officially need a license to fish in the sea and lakes. These can be bought for the day, week, month or annually through the MultiBanco (Cashpoint) Have a look on line for instructions how to do this. It's pretty straight forward, cheap and avoids any stress of not having a license.
Here are a number of links to websites we have found. We haven’t tried the companies on here but it shows the kind of things you can try whilst at the villa.
Amovate (Community Association) - http://amovate.com/
Local area - https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=CgWwvpp43yM
Monte Clerigo - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2yCEH2hwzU
Arrifana - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9q8AC91vNA
Rota Vicentina – Walking Routes - http://www.rotavicentina.com/?lang=en
Walking Tour - http://www.sandytoes-algarve.com/hikes/
Mountain Biking - http://themountainbikeadventure.com/
Donkey Trekking - http://donkey-trekking-algarve.blogspot.co.uk/
Golf - contact the local golf society for the latest news and best prices http://amovate.com/index.php/2011/06/vale-da-telha-golf-society/
Restaurants - Do your own search on TripAdvisor as they change regularly too but we have had good food at most places, there are a number of restaurants within 5-10 minutes walk and many more within 5-10 minutes drive. There will be cards and information on the best restaurants in the villa upon your arrival.
Please make sure you do your own research on anything you decide to do!
Surf Schools & Surf Hire – Do your own search as they change regularly but try Peer at http://www.algarve-adventure.com