A guide to Vale do Garrao, Algarve, Portugal

The beaches of the Algarve stretch for 100 miles along the southern coast of Portugal, peppered with historic fishing towns and luxury golf and leisure resorts. Away from the bustling tourist centres, the interior of this region is a landscape of wild flowers with fragrant eucalyptus pine trees and citrus groves, and is a perfect for enjoying walking, cycling and horse-riding.

Vale do Garrao holidays
Many people contemplating holidays on the Algarve look to the popular resorts of Albufeira, Vilamoura or Lagos for their sun, sea and sand fix. But if it’s nature at its finest that you’re seeking, the resort of Vale do Garrao is sure to win your vote. Enjoying a splendid location on the central Algarve just fifteen miles from the airport at Faro, this is a resort guaranteed to relax and revitalise stressed-out minds. Vale do Garrao holidays enjoy a secluded setting within 70 acres of African pine forest and orange groves, flanked by the sophisticated resorts of Quinta do Lago to the east and Vale do Lobo to the west.

Both of these ultra-stylish neighbours boast world-class sports and golfing facilities as well as bars and restaurants frequented by celebrities. From the fabulous villas of Vale do Garrao it’s a gentle scenic walk through the fringes of the Rio Formosa Nature Reserve to reach the shimmering waters and gentle sands of the area’s beaches. Here you can enjoy popular cafe bars and restaurants, and with the sea being so close you can guarantee the local catch of the day will be on the menu.

Things to do in Vale do Garrao
Although Vale do Garrao sells itself as a lazy rural retreat, there’s no shortage of ways to keep you occupied through those long summer days. With over 60km of protected wetlands on the doorstep there are endless opportunities for exploring the pine forests, sandbanks and dunes and maybe spotting egrets, cranes and flamingos on the mudflats. It is well worth taking a boat trip to explore these fenlands and barrier islands, learn about the importance of this delicate ecosystem and see the banks where clams and oysters are harvested.

If you prefer to spend your time on solid ground, you may prefer to explore the surrounding countryside on horseback; British run Pinetrees Riding School is close by and can guide you through the most picturesque routes around the valleys, lakes and golden dunes. If you’re feeling more energetic, you might choose to try your hand at the local watersports on offer, which include waterskiing and windsurfing. And with lifeguards on duty along this stretch of coastline throughout the summer months, you’ll always be in safe hands.

Accommodation in Vale do Garrao
Vale do Garrao holidays are all about finding a relaxing haven, a home from home with total privacy in an idyllic setting with breathtaking views. The resort offers this in abundance, with a wide selection of beautiful rental properties in their own grounds, tastefully furnished and with their own private pools. Some of these are privately owned and rented out whilst others belong to larger complexes. If you are willing to be flexible with regards to rental accommodation it is possible to find relatively cheap holidays in Vale do Garrao.

A number of apartment complexes and hotels in the resort also provide seasonal entertainment and have the advantage of communal facilities such as supermarkets, laundry services and medical centres as well as sports facilities such as gymnasiums and tennis courts.

Exploring beyond Vale do Garrao
Pine forests, nature reserves and sand dunes are just some of the treasures waiting to be discovered on this stretch of the Algarvean coastline. Hiring a car here will allow you to explore beyond the resort and immerse yourself a little in the local culture. A stroll around the historic sights of the walled town of Faro will provide an insight into the influences of the Algarve’s many historical invasions and occupations, including 500 years of Arab rule. Those who enjoy markets will relish a visit to neighbouring Loule. Saturday mornings see this pretty town spring to life amongst an abundance of stalls selling local craft items and pottery as well as silverware and leather goods.

Pay a visit to the town’s medieval castle for some lovely views of the area before moving on to enjoy a traditional regional dish at a local restaurant. Finally, for a taste of true Algarvean whitewashed houses and cobbled streets, the typical fishing town of Albufeira makes an excellent day out. Popular for its vibrant nightlife and fabulous shopping, the town has a smart, colourful marina lined with chic bars and coffee shops and is a great place for a spot of people-watching.