The Lagos area at the western end of the Algarve has generally a more unspoilt relaxed feel to it, with rolling countryside and pretty sandy coves and fishing villages. One of the nearest beaches to Santo Antonio is at Salema. It is a sandy stretch with a selection of beachfront restaurants. You will also see traditional fishing boats pulling in with their catch.
The main town in the area is Lagos, which is picturesque and historic and just 15 minutes drive from Santo Antonio Villas, Golf & Spa (formerly known as Parque da Floresta). It has a cosmopolitan air with wide boulevards, pedestrianised streets with a wide choice of shops, bars and restaurants and an attractive new marina and fish market. There is a pretty small town beach as well as a variety of beaches on either side, from the long sandy shore lines of nearby Meia Praia to the grottoes and secluded coves of Pointe de Piedade.
It is well worth taking one of the various boating trips from the Marina to visit these interesting grottoes, or participate in one of the popular dolphin watching trips. Further west from Lagos is Cape St. Vincent, the most south-westerly point of mainland Europe, and known in former times as the ’end of the world’. There is a famous old lighthouse here from where you can observe the many ships turning the corner on the main route between the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean.
Inland from the coast, the road climbs into the Monchique mountains, covered in forests of eucalyptus and traditional farmed terraces. Take a detour into the small village of Caldas da Monchique, which has been in existence since Roman times, and is known for its hot mineral healing waters and health spa. The spa has been completely modernised and offers various healing and beauty treatments. Further up the road is the small town of Monchique itself, and just above this is Foia, the highest point in the Algarve, from where on a clear day the whole coast as far as Spain may be visible.
Also in the vicinity is Zoomarine, a fun sea-world park, with dolphins, seals, sharks, tropical fish, turtles and exotic birds. A great day out for all the family!
(Per Property Per Week)