Almancil

Part of the so-called Golden Triangle, Almancil is the place to get info about expensive properties, concierge services or villa management (whatever that may be). Is it also a great place to stay for a couple of days? Not really (read: no, it isn’t). But it does have some interesting surroundings. So if you’re in the neighbourhood, here’s what not to miss in the Almancil area.

See the original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine November 2016

Pictures by Kyle Rodriguez

 

Walk through town

Almancil lacks an old town or city centre and isn’t particularly pretty, so make it a brief walk. Do have a look at this cool mural on the Avenida 5 de Outubro, which shows how the place must have looked a couple of decades ago, when its roads were full of donkeys instead of cars. On the first and fourth Sunday of every month, there’s a market in Almancil, near the school.

 

Chill out in the garden

Do as the local schoolkids do and hang out in the Jardim das Comunidades. With olive trees, loads of grass, a walkway bridge half over the water and groups of youngsters trying to feed him crisps, it was Gustave the dog’s absolute favourite part of Almancil. There’s also a kids play area and some fitness equipment. The park looked a bit run down at time of visiting, with trash floating in the water and lying on the grass, but nothing that can’t be solved with a clean.

 

Buy proper honey

Almancil is where artisanal beekeeper José Chumbinho lives. Although his bees are kept in the countryside, José produces and sells his honey (and also his liquor!) from home. Do try the dark-coloured and slightly bitter-tasting amargo, made from the Arbutus Unedo, the Medronho tree. Read more about how this nectar from the serra is produced in our October 2016 issue.

 

Admire some azulejos

The church of São Lourenço, just east of Almancil, is a must-see if you’re into azulejos. The entire inside is paved with the blue and white tiles. Also on the outside a few azulejo-murals can be seen. The church is open to visitors from 10-13h and from 15-18h, and entry is €2. Photography inside the church is not allowed (but if you’re curious how it looks, you can see an inside picture when reading the original article in our magazine and clicking through to this bit).

 

Buy a masterpiece

Also in the tiny village of São Lourenço: a contemporary art gallery. It has an ever-changing exhibition of international artists. At the time of visiting, the work on offer varied from traditional Portuguese seascape paintings to more expressionistic canvasses and from colourful pillows to sculptures. Opening times: 10-13h and 15-18.30h from Tuesday to Saturday, 11-13h on Sunday. Worth a visit as well: the cultural centre located just opposite the art gallery.

 

Visit Faro

Seeing as Almancil probably won’t keep you occupied for an entire day, make your way to the nearby city of Faro, the capital of the Algarve. There, wander around in the gorgeous old town, shop ‘til you drop, or just laze on the beach until you’ve got energy to climb the cathedral, see scary skulls or stroll through the marina. Need more info about the best bits of the city? Enjoy the Algarve spent a day in Faro in our June 2015 issue.

(Picture below by Marijke Verschuren)

 

Enjoy the sea breeze

From Almancil it’s a 15 minutes’ drive south through luxury-villa-land, aka the resorts of Vale do Lobo and Quinta do Lago, until you get to the sea. (If you’ve got a spare million and fancy living in a luxury resort, there are still some villas for sale). The two closest beach options are Praia do Ancão (pictured, more Ria Formosa style) and Praia do Garrão (more restaurants directly on the beachfront), but both are basically the same stretch of sand.

 

Hit some balls

Fancy hitting balls with a stick while walking over grass and driving a cool cart if you get too tired? Go for a round of golf. Want to hit balls in a more energetic way with a different type of stick while running over something that almost looks like grass? Play tennis. Both Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo are well-known golf & tennis destinations. Vale do Lobo has the Royal and the Ocean golf course, while Quinta do Lago offers the North, the South and the Laranjal course. There are several tennis clubs in the area.

 

Watch a football match

Built in 2003 and with a capacity of over 30,000, the Estádio do Algarve (located near Almancil, between Faro and Loulé) was one of the playing venues of the Euro 2004 tournament. It’s also where Portugal played Latvia in the 2018 World Cup qualification match on 13 November 2016.

 

See the original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine November 2016

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