Living in the central Algarve
Sheltered by the hills to the north, the Algarve is defined by its stunning coastline and azure seas. Its climate, culture and scenery are quite distinct from the rest of Portugal. Warm seas and breezes from North Africa maintain year-round mild weather and hot summers, making it an attractive place for second home property buyers.
Some of Europe’s finest and most untouched beaches are found along the Algarve. Even though this area is, without doubt, one of the most popular holiday destinations in southern Europe, the best resorts here are relaxed, well organised and distinctly upmarket. They offer great facilities for sailing, golf and tennis in particular.
Golf is a huge attraction all-year round in the Algarve. People, who want their holiday home to make money when they are not using it, can reasonably expect to rent out their properties from Easter to late October.
For more information on the Portuguese market please read our guide: Portugal Inside View.
Central Algarve in a nutshell
The Golden Triangle
The most affluent and desirable area of the central Algarve is known as “The Golden Triangle” and includes Quinta do Lago, Vale do Lobo and Almancil. In addition to having easy access to thirteen of the most beautiful golf courses in the Algarve, this privileged region has some of the most desirable residential areas in the country and benefits from easy access to the busy international airports of Faro, Lisbon and Spain.
Quinta do Lago
Set in approximately 2,000 acres of rolling hills and pine woodland, this luxury residential estate has four golf courses and its own luxury shopping facilities. It is situated next to the nature park Rio Formosa and two miles of golden sandy beaches – all offering the highest quality amenities.
Vale do Lobo
Home to two excellent golf courses, the Royal and the Ocean, these tranquil courses run along the coast offering a spectacular backdrop to your play. This luxury resort has access to lovely beaches and provides every high-quality amenity necessary for a great holiday or second home. Including facilities for tennis, sailing, restaurants, bars and concerts. It hosts numerous cultural and sporting events throughout the year.
The Algarve’s first development, Vale do Lobo extends across 1,100 hectares, the resort comprises two golf courses and 1,550 properties with planning permission for 500 more, plus a luxury hotel.
A busy and attractive small town with numerous excellent beaches and direct access to the celebrated golf courses of nearby Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo.
Vilamoura, one of the most exclusive resorts of the central Algarve, was developed around a small marina and is flanked by beautiful sandy beaches. It boasts six exceptional golf courses, Lawn Bowling Club, tennis centre, sports club, shooting club, luxury hotels, night clubs, a casino and an excellent riding school.
Home to five championship golf courses, an equestrian centre and 875-berth marina, Vilamoura is set to see investment of €1bn as it enters a new phase of development adding 5,000 new residential properties.
Loule is an attractive city and thriving centre of crafts. The resorts of Quinta do Lago, Vale do Lobo and Vilamoura, which together form the renowned “Golden Triangle” are found in the municipality of Loule. In addition to having easy access to thirteen of the most beautiful golf courses in the Algarve, this privileged region has some of the most desirable residential areas in the country.
The city of Loule is situated in the Barracol – a fertile landscape that lies between the mountains and the coast. Its Moorish origins are conspicuous in the striking local architecture. Along the coast are a great many beautiful sandy beaches set against rugged cliffs.
Loule Carnival, which takes place in February over three days, is famous across the Algarve. This is a colorful affair reminiscent of Brazilian carnivals - the streets are filled with music, dancing and parties. Another important festival is the Easter Festival of the Sovereign Mother, patron saint of Loule, which like the Loule Carnival, attracts people from all over Portugal.
Summers here are lively, and one of the highlights is the Festival of White Night, a dazzling display of music, dance and ceremony, held to celebrate the end of the summer. Loule is also well-known for its lively Saturday markets and lovers of good food will find no shortage of superb fresh local ingredients and gourmet restaurants.
Santa Barbara de Nexe
A few kilometers from Loule, Santa Barbara de Nexe is a handsome and lively town with a thriving traditional culture.
It is the centre of accordion music in Portugal and well-known for its unique New Year festivals, which are celebrated in song by the local Charolas, groups of male and female singers accompanied by accordions, castanets, tambourines, triangles and sometimes clarinet or saxophone.
The hills overlooking Santa Barbara de Nexe have become a popular residential area for ex-pats and second home owners attracted by the climate, amenities, magnificent views across the Atlantic and easy access to and from the International airports of Faro, Lisbon and Spain.
Faro, the capital of the Algarve, is a stylish city in a lovely location. Easily explored on foot, its pretty streets fan out from a small harbor. Interesting museums with collections that explore local archaeology, maritime history and traditional ways of life, sit alongside impressive examples of baroque architecture. The centre of Faro is a pedestrianised area of smart shops and restaurants, jostled by lively markets offering fresh produce, clothing and local crafts.
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