• Lagoa

Situated some four miles (6.5 km) inland from the magnificent coastline for which this municipality of the Algarve is renowned, the small city of Lagoa has a rural feel that contrasts significantly with the cosmopolitan atmosphere of its popular seaside resorts.

Inserted in a traditionally agricultural and important wine-producing area, Lagoa lies on a small hill rising above flatlands that allegedly once held the lagoon that gave the city its name. The charming old city centre of whitewashed houses, cobbled streets and flower-adorned lamp posts is dominated by the main parish church, dedicated to Our Lady of the Light. Rebuilt at the end of the 18th Century after destruction in the 1755 earthquake, the church still retains its original 16th Century Manueline-style door and contains some beautiful 17th and 18th Century religious artefacts.

Also of interest is the 18th Century St. Joseph’s Convent, now functioning as a cultural and exhibition centre but originally established by Carmelite nuns to care for abandoned girls. It features a revolving door where babies were delivered to the nuns by mothers wishing to retain their anonymity, a picturesque bell tower built over an arch straddling the street below and a 5-4th Century BC menhir displayed in the gardens.

The demarcated wine-producing region of Lagoa is renowned for the quality of its wines so a visit to the city would be the perfect time to sample and acquire the local produce. Wine-tasting and guided tours around the vineyards can be organised at the local co-operative winery and, if your visit should coincide with Lagoa’s annual summer Fatacil fair, the Algarve’s major producers are present at this event. The fair is dedicated to the Algarve’s handicraft, tourism, agriculture, commerce and industry, so this is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the entire region, acquire some of the famous, local ceramics and taste the delicious regional gastronomy.

Once outside the city, nothing in the municipality of Lagoa quite matches the appeal of its beaches and breathtaking coastline. The impressive honey-coloured limestone cliffs, moulded into fabulous shapes by the effects of erosion, frame long stretches of sand or charming, little coves punctuated with rocky outcrops. Opening up a wealth of seaside activities, such as snorkelling, scuba diving, boat trips around the caves or hours of fun spent investigating rock pools, this beautiful coastline has helped to make resorts like Carvoeiro long-time favourite holiday destinations. Spectacular examples of sculpted cliffs can be seen at Algar Seco, while a visit to the charming chapel of Nossa Senhora da Rocha, situated on a dramatic headland in nearby Porches, offers breathtaking panoramic views of the coastline.

Boasting a clifftop location in Porches, the luxurious Hotels commands breathtaking views of the ocean and direct access to the attractive beach of Senhora da Rocha lying below. Exclusive facilities, including a spa and access to numerous golf courses, complement this beautiful location in the Algarve.