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- Vila Monte is a luxury farm hotel near Faro in the Algarve, Portugal. It’s only about a 20-minute drive from Faro International Airport and around the same distance from the beautiful lagoons of the Ria Formosa National Park. Their restaurant is especially very highly rated, and all dishes are made with, wherever possible, the freshest local ingredients including herbs and fruits from the property’s own gardens. THE ACCOMMODATION: All its elegant rooms and suites are super comfortable and inviting, with private bathrooms, minibars, flat-screen cable TVs, WiFi, and the suites also come with a living room and terrace. There is plenty to occupy you in the rest of the property, with extensive gardens, two swimming pools, a bar, a restaurant, a library, and a grocery store/farm shop. THE LOCATION: There’s a lot to see and do near the farm stay. The Algarve beaches are of course popular but there are also the stunning lagoons of Ria Formosa less than twenty minutes away. These lagoons have an enormous population of birds, including the famous pink flamingos, as well as such rare and exotic creatures as chameleons, seahorses, and the endangered Portuguese water dog. A whole range of activities can be arranged from the front desk including yoga, hydro fitness classes, visits to local markets with the chef, horse riding, fishing, trekking, boat trips, and free car and boat shuttle services to the beaches of nearby Fuseta Island. In summer you can even catch a movie at their on-site outdoor cinema. WHAT OTHER GUESTS SAY: “The place is in the middle of nowhere, but it a very beautiful resort, with pools, restaurants. Service was very good, people caring and very kind. Food is excellent at the restaurant of the resort. And the trip to the beach by boat was awesome. We loved the place and would have really enjoyed to stay much longer. I highly recommend the place….” “The property is beautifully presented from the long gravel drive leading up to the main house to the sleeping accommodations, gardens and pools. The room was exceptionally spacious and well equipped. Service was exceptional from a team that visibly enjoyed working together. We chose READ MORE
- Quinta Do Mel Agroturismo is a peaceful and tranquil rural retreat near Portugal’s Algarve coast within easy reach of the cities of Albufeira and Faro. THE ACCOMMODATION: The farm stay can offer a self-catering apartment plus a range of B&B rooms. All the rooms are super comfortable and clean and come with air-con, WiFi, TV, a private bathroom, and under-floor heating. The self-catering two-bedroom apartment has all that plus a spacious lounge and kitchen. Outside there is a swimming pool in the gardens and plenty of space to relax with a seating area and sun loungers. THE FARM: There is an extensive eco-friendly organic farm at Quinta do Mel that breeds sheep and grows cork, fruits, vegetables, and herbs and is now in its fourth generation of family ownership. The owners are enthusiastic about organic and eco-friendly farming techniques and are always happy to show guests around. They serve a great breakfast which is available at any time, and other good food and snacks can be ordered throughout the day. Many of the ingredients come straight from the farm, including their own homemade herbal teas and jams. THE LOCATION: Though very near Albufeira, Faro and the tourist masses of the Algarve, the farm stay and its immediate surroundings are very much peacefully rural. Most visitors never get to see this side of the Algarve, but those that do find it a rich experience. The area between the coast and the mountains of the north is known as the Baroccal and it is classic Portuguese farming country with small white-walled villages, rocky hills, fruit orchards, and rolling plains of cork, olive, and almond trees. The village of Alte is a nice example, and it’s just a short drive north of the farm stay. It has a nice setting in the foothills of the Serra do Caldeirão mountains, is known for the little springs (fontes) that run through the village, and makes for a nice day out with plenty of cute cafes and small shops to visit. Having a car or a bike is a good idea in this area as public transport isn’t very widespread. Both bike and car hire can be arranged at the READ MORE