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essence short breaks


TIPS: • Fly to Faro with Monarch airlines. Visit www.monarch.co.uk.


• Book onward transfers from Faro airport with Yellowfish on www.yellowfishtransfers.com.


• For more information on the Parque de Corcovada apartment, visit www.algarve-holidayrental.co.uk.


adventure


For those yearning for a taste of tranquillity and relaxation, the Algarve welcomes over seven million foreign visitors every year. The temperate climate, long stretches of beautiful golden sandy beaches and excellent golf courses ensure those statistics will continue. The Quinta do Lago, which has hosted the Portuguese Open, features 2,000 acres of breathtaking scenery with American standard greens, bunkers and tees and is only 28 kilometres from Albufeira, one of the most popular coastal resorts, says Rebecca Underwood.


thriving fishing community where citizens prospered as a result of trade with North Africa. In the twelfth century, the Christian conquest began and in 1249, during the reign of King Afonso III, when the Moors were ousted, the city became part of the Portuguese Algarve. King Manuel I awarded Albufeira a royal charter in 1504 and from then on it was governed and protected according to Portuguese law. In the sixties Albufeira emerged as a


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tourism destination and today it is a well- established popular resort. Visitors are keen to experience the lively nightlife in the New Town, and a more sedate lifestyle which the Old Town offers. The meandering cobble stoned streets and the central square, shaded by a canopy of towering palm trees, are ideal spots for a leisurely stroll. Browse the colourful street stalls and charming shops, all bursting at the seams with leather and suede goods, handmade lace, pottery in dazzling colours, intricately woven baskets, products made of cork and, of course, gold filigree jewellery. For a breather, join the locals and stop off in one of the cafés. Sample the pastel de nata, a delicious custard tart, lightly dusted


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lbufeira, named Baltum by the Romans and renamed Al Buhera by the Moors, was, and remains, a


with cinnamon, and take a few sips of sweet Jeropiga, made with brandy and wine; that should put the spring back in your step! For an afternoon snooze, make for the soft


golden sands of Praia dos Pescadores (Fisherman’s beach), located in front of the Old Town. Or the nearby Praia do Tùnel, accessed through a tunnel between imposing cliffs. Alternatively, head to Praia dos Olhos d’Agua, a traditional fishing village, where you may well see the multi-coloured fishing boats hauling in their nets with the ‘catch of the day’. For those feeling peckish, Pizzeria Frattelli, located within a stone’s throw of the beach on Edificio Varandas do Mar, is rather trendy and features an open kitchen with handsome waiters buzzing around serving tasty homemade Italian dishes. Dine ‘al fresco’, order the spaghetti gamberi and savour succulent shrimps and clams, sip on a glass of chilled white wine and take part in the sport of ‘people watching’. After such a feast, work off


the calories with a few laps in the ocean and perhaps a spot of paragliding, water skiing or snorkelling.


For those who would rather get up close and personal with marine life, then head for Zoomarine, located at Estrada Nacional 125 – Km 65, Guia, or hop on one of the courtesy buses which pick up from most local hotels. The philosophy of this delightful and entertaining park is conservation and environmental education. There are a number of presentations featuring tropical birds, birds of prey, seals and sea lions and the very popular dolphin shows.


Vila Joya's dining experience


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