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KNOW BEFORE YOU GO - STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD (foreign office travel advice)

Almancil

Almancil, Portugal

Only 15 minutes from Faro Airport, Almancil holidays drop you smack-bang in the middle of Algarve's golfing territory. This small, inland market town offers a traditional Algarve experience with easy access to the luxury resorts of Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo. The town caters for visitors to the resorts with its fine dining restaurants and stylish boutiques, yet also offers a more laid-back, relaxed holiday experience than its bustling neighbours.

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In the neighbourhood

As is often the case with many Algarve holidays, Almancil getaways are geared towards sports and outdoor activities. Squeeze a bit of culture in with a visit to one of the Algarve's hidden treasures, the church in nearby São Lourenço. Built in the 18th century, the interior is a sight to behold with its exceptional azulejos, the traditional blue and white glazed tiles of Portugal. It also has a beautiful gilded altar sitting inside a dome.

If you've got a day earmarked for exploring local landmarks, head for Loulé, only 10 minutes down the road. Get two for one when you visit Loulé's impressive castle, which also houses a museum where you can learn about the area's history. And don't miss the Convent of Espirito and its art gallery.

Quick Tips

  • Roman Catholic
  • Euro
  • Portuguese
  • GMT - None

Confessions of a shopaholic

There are plenty of places to make a dent in your wallet on your holidays in Almancil. You'll find locally-produced jewellery, hand-embroidered linen and wickerwork in the town's high-class boutiques. Keep an eye out for the ultimate holiday souvenir: the region's famous handmade, coloured pottery.

Visit Loulé's gypsy market on a Saturday morning for an authentic Algarve shopping experience. They sell everything from clothes and CDs to ceramics and leather goods on the outdoor stalls.

You'll find your favourite high street brands in the MAR shopping mall, near Faro. Drop the kids off in the play area while you go for a wander, then refuel in one of the mall's 25 restaurants.

Exclusive beaches

Holidays to Algarve mean you're going to be heading for the beach at some point. There are plenty of beauties around Almancil to choose from, starting on the pristine sands of Praia de Vale do Lobo. This is one of the Algarve's premier golf resorts, and its Blue Flag beach is flanked by two golf courses and eye-catching red cliffs. Go for a horse ride along Praia de Garrao, or walk the shoreline of unspoilt Praia do Almargem, with its palm trees and sand dunes.

If water sports are on the agenda on your holidays to Almancil, internationally-renowned beach Quinta do Lago is the place to go. At the Artur Watersports Academy, you can drift around the lake on a pedalo, or hit the beach for some jet-skiing or banana-boating action.

Sports galore

You're deep in the heart of golf country. There are championship courses all around you. But wait – there are lots of tennis courts and interesting games of footgolf available, too! It seems Almancil offers more than your average golf resort and caters for several sporting activities.

Grab your golf bag and swing by one of Quinta do Lago's four championship golf courses. Or hit up the Vale do Lobo resort with its 14 tennis courts. You can also work out in their cutting-edge gym, then relax on the terrace with a freshly-squeezed orange juice.

If you're a football and golf fan, why not take the kids for a game of footgolf? It's like golf, but replace the clubs with your foot. The fewer kicks you take to get your ball in the hole, the bigger you win.

Natural beauty

Ria Formosa Natural Park welcomes you with open arms and a whole lot of beautiful birds when you visit the protected area, which can be found 30 minutes from Almancil. The wetlands are home to 20,000 birds, including Purple Gallinules and Sultan Hens. Take a boat tour around the park and its islands, or hike your way around on your own bird-spotting tour.

Catch a ferry to Farol Island, a popular summer day out, thanks to its attractive beach and harbour-side beach bar with fantastic views of the sunset. Or see the fishing community of Culatra Island in action. If you're feeling energetic, walk down the boardwalk from Quinta do Lago, along the edge of the golf course to the wetlands.

Almancil holidays are a little different from your usual Algarve offering. The balmy climate lends itself to outdoor activities and there are more golf courses than you can shake a seven iron at, but Almancil also offers a place to retreat and immerse yourself in the Algarve of the locals. It's a place where you can feel the sun on your face as you people-watch outside a café while nibbling on a delicious pastel de nata (Portuguese custard tart). A holiday destination not to be missed.