It isn’t just the hot summer months when the Algarve sizzles. The autumn months of September and October provide the perfect base to extend your summer, and sample a slice of Portuguese living.
Spring is when Britons, tired of living under leaden grey skies, long to soak up some sunshine and relax in stress-free and beautiful surroundings. It is the perfect time to take a break because getting away from it all in April, May and June is a terrific mood booster and brings a host of other benefits.
Renting a sumptuous holiday villa from Villa Plus in the Algarve, for example, during these off peak months means your break will cost a fraction of what you would pay in summer, and car hire prices are also much cheaper. Not only that, but each Villa Plus property comes with a private pool, many of which are heated at no extra cost. The Algarve regularly tops the Post Office Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer – proof if it were needed that this celebrated area of southern Portugal is a great value-for-money destination.
In addition to a wealth of unspoilt, rock-fringed sandy bays and coves, the Algarve has a rugged interior that bursts into bloom with spring flowers, idyllic for walkers and birdwatchers. It also has some of the world’s best golf courses including the Oceânico Victoria course in Vilamoura where the Portugal Masters tournament is played. The wild Atlantic coast is perfect for surfing and at the Zoomarine theme park guests can play in a pool with the dolphins and take part in an education session about these highly intelligent marine mammals. Just off the town of Portimão there are four decommissioned navy ships, sunk in 2012, that form the world’s largest underwater artificial reef, boosting the biodiversity of local waters and now a huge attraction for divers.
The Algarve has a distinct cuisine that has its roots in historic nautical and colonial ties with Africa and India. The result is dishes with a rustic Mediterranean twist. Fresh seafood, typically brushed with a mix of garlic, coriander (known locally as cilantro) and olive oil, is best eaten in beachfront cafés, with the sea crashing below. Desserts are best enjoyed with a small glass of the locally produced spirit aguardente (“fiery water”) or its softer cousin medronho (strawberry tree brandy). The light semi-sparkling white wine vinho verde is a popular classic, along with Algarve reds and cerveja gelada (iced beer).
Most Villa Plus properties, which are not only heated inside to offset the lower evening temperatures in the spring but also have heated pools, have been carefully chosen for their location and come with a range of free added extras such as WiFI, air-conditioning and much more. Guests will find that they are perfectly placed to explore the natural beauty and local culture as well as enjoy the gentle bustle of the Algarve towns with their fresh-food markets.
For more information on the Algarve and to find and book your villa holiday, visit www.villaplus.com
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