The Algarve attracts tourists all year round. The sunny climate certainly helps. But there is so much more to do than just enjoy the weather…. Many ‘first timers’ are surprised by the many possibilities and dozens of activities available in the Algarve. There’s something to do for everyone. And while young people go ‘sup-ping’ in Albufeira or diving in Portimão, others might enjoy a day in historic Silves, the old town of Faro or a visit of one of the vineyards.
White sandy beaches, amazing rock formations rising high from the ocean and the beauty of the walkways over the rocks are all close by. The beaches in the Algarve are amongst the safest and cleanest in the world. From The White House Villa many beaches are only a small trip away.
We recommend a boat trip the isles of Culatra or Armona, located in the Ria Formosa and easily reached by boat from the nearby city of Olhão. On the islands you will find pristine beaches and you can enjoy a fresh lunch in one of the cosy restaurants. No better place to eat your fresh fish!
But also the rocky beaches are close by. Enjoy a day trip to beaches like Praia Marinha, Praia Falésia or the more chique Praia do Ancão. Or you can spend the day on the city beach of Quarteira or Fuseta. Just take your flip-flops and sun cream and enjoy!
The Algarve offers many opportunities for walking and cycling. The countryside of the Algarve is beautiful with its hills and a variety of plants, animals and birds. Just imagine the beautiful, almost tranquil villages that you will pass when you go off the beaten track! Everything is well signposted and the roads are often almost empty. Because of the heat, we advise our guests to start early or to plan an Algarve trip in spring or autumn.
Thanks to our central location, The White House is an excellent starting point for walks or bike rides. Many of these hikes are linked to the long-distance Via Algarviana, which runs from the Spanish border to Cabo de São Vicente, the rugged southwestern point of Europe. With Luís, our Portuguese trail guide, you can make interesting walks and learn about the flora and fauna.
Bird watchers imagine themselves in paradise when visiting the Algarve. In a relatively small area there are 300 different bird species to be seen throughout the year. Our central location and the short distance to the major nature parks, makes it possible to visit some totally different habitats during your trip. Near the coast you will find the spectacular Ria Formosa wetlands. In the north the mountains and dense forests among the mountains of the Serra do Caldeirão. To the east are the marshes at Castro Marim and north along the border river with Spain the dam of Odeleite and Alcoutim on the Guadiana river. In the west you will find the cliffs of Cabo de São Vicente.
Obviously bird watchers are most content during migration seasons. But even outside these periods, you can do some amazing bird watching in the Algarve. Come and discover the spoonbills, birds of prey, storks, hopping, wading birds, plovers and the famous blue magpies. In Europe, these magpies can usually only be seen in Spain and Portugal.
Visit a vineyard
Portugal is a wine country par excellence and many know the famous wines from the Douro region or the Alentejo. But in the Algarve there also are some great places to taste and buy! Wine estates that you can visit are the Quinta da Penina in Portimão and Quinta do Francês in Silves. We ourselves are fan of the beautiful winery Quinta dos Vales in Estombar, if only because of the beautiful art collection… Especially worth mentioning is Adego do Cantor in Albufeira. The owner is the British singer Cliff Richard who in previous years won some awards for the wine ‘Vida Nova’.
A taste of culture
Algarve has a rich history and the region is proud of it. There are so many beautiful historic cities. Did we mention Tavira yet? This beautiful village is only 20 kilometers from the White House and with an ancient Roman bridge (UNESCO World Heritage) and various churches, it is certainly worth a visit. But Silves (with an interesting medieval castle) is also a great destination for a day trip. There are several smaller museums in the area and in Loulé there are often various summer concerts and theater performances.
Not really art but still very interesting is the Museu de Portimao in which the history of sardine fishers is captivatingly summed up. The museum is housed in the former sardines processing factory in Portimão. The exhibition is beautifully illustrated with some movies of that time.
Golf in the Algarve
There may be no better place in the world to play golf than in the Algarve. It is one of the favorite global golf destinations and it is known for its many golf courses. You can enjoy these beautiful courses all year round, thanks to the sunny climate – at least 3,000 hours of sunshine per year – and an average winter temperature of 17º C.
Pinheiros Altos is close to Faro in Almancil. It is a challenging course because of its alternating holes. In the eastern Algarve we can recommend the Benamor Golf complex (developed in 2000 by Sir Henry Cotton) and Quinta da Ria Resort. The latter resort contains two spectacular courses (Quinta da Ria and Quinta de Cima), both with 18 holes in an unforgettable landscape. More information about courses, prices, addresses and directions can be found on portugalgolfe.com. This site describes more than 35 golf courses in the Algarve. And of course we can show you the best courses and giove you directions where to go from the White House.
Algarve is a great place to buy some nice souvenirs. How about a fine leather bag, the latest fashion items, delicious Portuguese sweets or other homemade souvenirs. The two largest shopping centers are Algarve Forum in Faro (many modern shops with fashion, shoes, linens and collectibles) and the recently opened MAR/Ikea Shopping center near Loulé. Both shopping centers have a variety of well-known brands, cinemas, bowling and a large food court with various restaurants, so you can spend a full (drizzling) day here. There is even a big outlet center if you are looking for that special deal.
In addition, your vacation is not complete without a few hours of strolling at one of the many (flea) markets that can be found in the Algarve all year round. A must-see is the weekly farmers market in Olhão. Enjoy all the scents, colours and liveliness. You can start at seven o’clock in the morning (highly recommended, very popular amongst the locals) and it lasts until 1 pm or until the fish and vegetables are all sold. You’ll see fish species of which you had no idea they existed, let alone that you can cook and eat them …
Also worth a visit are the mercados in Estoi, Moncarapacho and Fuzeta. There are big flea markets almost every Sunday where you can find regional products and handicrafts. The farmer brings the fresh produce from the country, the butcher his artisan sausages and hams.