The newest shopping centre: www.aquaportimao.pt
Walking in the beautiful Algarve is a rewarding experience, especially during the Spring and Fall months. There are several walking groups and organizations. Here are some:
www.portugalwalks.com Julie Statham 351 965 753 033
Whilst walking around the villages and towns, admire the beautiful designs and detail work of the Portuguese calceteiros! This work is called calçada. Make sure you wear sensible shoes!
INTERNATIONAL RACING CIRCUIT – FORMULA 1 RACE TRACK
The Formula 1 circuit and race track: www.autodromodoalgarve.com
Tel.: +351 282 405 600
The Algarve International Autodrome is located near the city of Portimão, in Sítio do Escampadinho, Mexilhoeira Grande, about 4.5 km north of the Algarve motorway (A22), with a direct road link via the motorway exit at Mexilhoeira Grande. The cities of Portimão and Lagos are only a 10 min. drive from the Algarve Motor Park.
(Click on MAP to enlarge)
The Autodromo do Algarve opened on time, ready for the last round of the World Superbikes on the 2nd November 2008. The track was built in what appeared to be record time and has already been inspected and cleared by the FIA to run Formula 1 cars. Nestling in the hills, just behind Portimão and just off the A22 motorway, it is truly a spectacular circuit for competitors and spectators alike, as there are some serious gradients and blind bends to cope with.
We visited the circuit for the first time to see the World Superbikes. Getting in wasn’t bad at all. Having set off from near Burgau at 8:30, we had parked by 9:30 and were full of optimism for the day. However there was a bad sign – we had taken one of the last parking places and yet the dual carriageway of traffic coming in was constant, the police were out in force blowing whistles and were generally trying to push traffic into already full car parks!
The next job was to find a program: we walked up and down for at least 15 minutes and never found one. As we are not Superbike aficionados, this turned into a real problem as wenever knew who was racing or who was in the lead. The racing looked good but it was only when we got home that we found out who had won. The next problem was finding something to eat and drink, unfortunately there was nothing available in our section. This turned out to be the biggest problem of all. Every track I have been to sells tickets which enable you to walk round and spectate from different parts of the track and the grandstands are extra. At the Autodromo, you buy a ticket for one section and it includes the grandstand so it was very frustrating to see a food stall open in the next section but there was no way into it!
By 1 pm the queue to get in was as large as ever, the police were still blowing their whistles as hard as they could and we could see that chaos was sure to ensue when the last race finished so we decided that discretion was the order of the day and we beat a retreat before the second Superbike race.
The circuit is great and I’m sure that when they get things organised and more car parks are open it will be super. F1 testing is happening in December (Ferrari & McLaren) and is also scheduled for January 2009 (Toyota & Renault) and it only costs 10 Euros to watch. I will certainly give that a go, at least I don’t need a program to follow that! For further details of the track and the full racing program go to www.autodromodoalgarve.com
Terra Nostra Riding Center – in Porches, Algarve
Portugal is a birdwatcher’s paradise. The best time for birds is from mid March to mid June. Go flamingo- or stork- watching! Each year more and more White Storks ‘forget’ to migrate to Africa and can be seen the whole year round.
FITNESS AND SPAS
- WINE TASTING
There are several well known wineries in the region (wine tasting and buying). Growers are beginning to appreciate the region’s wine producing potential. Consequently vineyards are being replanted, cellars modernized and production methods updated. The local red wines are soft and fruity.
Some sites to check:
Portugal wines: www.viniportugal.pt
Adega do Cantor, the winery that produces Sir Cliff Richard’s Vida Nova
Adega do Cantor provides an unique opportunity to visit the winery that produces Sir Cliff Richard’s wine, Vida Nova. The winery is situated at Quinta do Miradouro in Guia, a few kilometres northwest of Albufeira. The easiest way to find the Quinta is to head towards Guia on the N125 and follow the signs for AlgarveShopping – the winery can be found 500m behind AlgarveShopping.
The Adega do Cantor or Winery of the Singer was built to produce wine, principally the Vida Nova range from three surrounding Quintas, Quinta do Moinho, Quinta do Miradouro and Vale do Sobreiro. The aim of the winery is to produce the highest quality wines that the region can offer using a combination of traditional and innovative modern winemaking techniques.
You can experience an exclusive tour of the vineyards and winery at Quinta do Miradouro and enjoy tasting Sir Cliff Richard’s Vida Nova, which is vinified, matured and bottled on the estate. The Cellar Door shop sells the full range of Vida Nova wines as well as a variety of wine merchandise and souvenirs. Sir Cliff has loved the Algarve for over 40 years and his idea to plant a vineyard at his property, Quinta do Moinho, was the genesis for the Vida Nova wines. Sir Cliff takes a very active part and can often be seen getting his hands dirty in the vineyard or the winery. Vida Nova Tinto, Rose and now Branco are produced at the Quinta do Miradouro winery.
From the start, all aspects of of the viticulture and wine producing process has been overseen by consultant winemaker David Baverstock who produces at Herdade de Esporao in the Alentejo and was the 1999 Portuguese winemaker of the year. His Esporao Touriga Nacional 2001 took the trophy for the best Portuguese red wine at the London International Wine Challenge in 2002.
Transport is available from pick up points at some hotels & resorts and costs €20 from the Albufeira area, €25 from the Carvoeiro and Vilamoura areas and €30 from Portimao or Quinta do Lago/Vale de Lobo – entry and tasting charges are included.
If you wish to travel independently, please call for a reservation as bookings must be made in advance. There is a charge of €7.50 per person for the tour and wine tasting. There are several tour times throughout the day, depending on the time of the year and availability. Please contact Quinta do Miradouro Cellar Door staff Liz and Jenny on: +351 96 877 69 71
Fax: +351 289 572 667
The winery is open Monday to Friday, 10.00 to 13.00 hours and 14.00 – 17.00 hours.
Closed weekends and public holidays and December 24th to January 2nd
Sir Cliff Richard VIDA NOVA Portugal 2005 Case 6 Bottles =£88.67
The Wine , a blend of Shiraz, Aragonez, Trincadeira & Alicante Bouschet, Shows the typical rich fruit characters and generous palate to be expected from a hot year. It is soft enough for early drinking but has enough quality tannins and structure for ageing and improvement in the bottle.
Deep, dense opaque red colour with complex, spicey aromas of earth and perfumed cherry and plum fruits. On the palate it is smooth and succulent showing ripe, supple flavours with some chocolate notes. With excellant balance, the firm tannins providing structure and a good finish to the sweet, fruit driven palate.
From Wikipedia: Portuguese Grapes (castas) varieties
Portugal possesses a large array of native grape varieties, producing a wide array of different Portuguese wines. The absence of wide spread usage of international varieties, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, is a unique hallmark of Portuguese wines. Under the Portuguese appellation system of Denominação de Origem Controlada (DOC), each Portuguese wine region has certain casta or grape varieties that are authorized for wine production in that region. Wines produced from grapes outside of the authorized list are not permitted to use a DOC on the wine label but instead must be sold as simple table wine under the Vinho Regional (VR) designation.
WINTER TIME IDEAS
- Jan. 2011 – Almond blossoms
Some ideas for December… (keep clicking on image to enlarge). I will be updating this post periodically – when I gather new info, so keep checking! Also, keep going down for January and February stuff!
- Jan. 2011 – Almond blossoms
14th Dec.2011 – We’ve been having beautiful sunny days (20ºC at about 11am in our temperature gauge outside!). Keeping fingers crossed that it will be this nice for all our guests!
How about a good walk and some birdwatching? http://www.moonlightservices.eu/algarve_walks.shtml
- Jan. 2011 – Walking down to the beach: Almond tree in bloom
To check what’s going on at the Film Theatre : cinemas
- Jan. 2011 – Almond tree in bloom
- mid-Jan. 2011 – Spring is in the air!
- Flower mix (Jan. 2011)
- Jan. 2011 – Almond tree blooming