Holidays to Alcantarilha offer a peaceful Algarve retreat that’s within easy reach of long, sandy beaches and Portugal’s biggest waterpark.
A quiet retreat
The peaceful town of Alcantarilha sits inland from Portugal’s sunbaked Algarve coast. The old part is dotted with whitewashed houses that weave their way up the narrow cobbled streets, where you’ll find a handful of traditional restaurants. It’s an away-from-it-all place. That said, you've got a string of fantastic beaches and the country’s biggest waterpark nearby.
Alcantarilha is inland, but you’ve got a great beach just seven kilometres away at Armaçao de Pera. Here, 12 kilometres of sand is studded with sunloungers, bars and ice-cream kiosks. Surfing and jet-skiing are big here, and the gentle slope of sand into the sea means it’s a really safe spot for paddling, too.
The old town
Alcantarilha’s old town is a study in traditional life. It’s where you’ll see old men chatting in cafés, while women pause to catch up on gossip outside the bell-towered church. Next to the church is the intriguing Chapel of Bones – it’s really what it says, with over a thousand skulls crammed into the 15th-century walls and ceilings.
Daytrips to Lagos and Albufeira
In less than half an hour you can be at Lagos Zoo, a small island retreat where gibbons, lemurs and apes keep everyone entertained. Lagos town centre is worth a visit, too. Wander along the pretty marina and check out the clothing boutiques. A stroll down the pedestrianised Rua 5 de Outubro takes you through Albufeira’s Old Town, where you can snap pictures of the 18th-century architecture of the clock tower and Sacred Art Museum.
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