Hidden BeachesSnow Birds drive rental cars to explore the little side roads leading down to splendid beaches and coves. They discover beaches such as Zavial (between Lagos & Sagres) or Marinha Beach (south of Porches), or Carpeteira, (on the untamed west coast). It's good to know that in Portugal, unlike many other countries, all the beaches are public. Other more populous favourite beaches include Praia da Batata (Lagos) , Burgau Beach, (20 min. west of Lagos), Praia da Luz (5 min west of Lagos), Alvor Beach with its great long board walks over the dunes (Alvor), St Eualia Beach, (Albufeira), Falensia Beach (Vilamoura). there is a different beach for every day of the year! For longer trips Snow Birds venture to Seville, Lisbon, (Lisbon has just been listed by 'trip advisor' as the most reasonable capital city to visit in 2013) or Fatima, either by excursion or car. The possibilities are endless. And hotel rates in Lisbon go from as low as 55 to 70 (over the winter period) per room including breakfast. Smaller 'guest houses can go for 20 plus. Luxury Hotels abound.
Archaeological SitesRoman Ruins and Roman Bridges such as Silves with an interesting and documented museum and a Roman bridge. Diana's Temple and the Chapel of bones, in Evora is only a short two and a half miles away.
WalksThere arehundreds of walksthat cross the Algarve country sidealong the spectacular coast and some inland passing local farms and villages. There are alsoorganized walksusually for 5 that go towards charity. You can see these listed each week in the local English Papers.
Wine TastingWhat better way to pass an afternoon than to go to some of the smaller wineries for wine tasting. Some of the more popular ones are: Quinta Do Francs Family Vineyard Quinta do Francs, has won awards in Brussels & London! Visit Patrick & Fatimas family run vineyard located in the peaceful Odelouca River Valley. Try wonderful reds, whites & ross in the stunning traditional Portuguese farmhouse. The only Algarve wines grown in slate soils, giving an absolutely unique taste.Call for appointments Tel. Fatima 282 106 303. Quinta dos Vales Winery A unique meeting point for wine & art lovers on nearly 50 hectares of beautiful countryside. This vineyard with its private grounds is now open to the public occasionally for visits or guided tours. Taste the gold medal wines of Marqus Dos Vales, which are produced at this winery & enjoy the wonderful art. Walk through the spectacular grounds with over 100 sculptures & beautifully painted life-size bears & rollicking hippos, produced on site. Go towww.quintadosvales.eu(to check opening times & special offers orwww.dancadosursos.comTel. 282 431 036 or 963 943 969. Wine tasting at a Family vineyard: Monte da Casteleja A wonderful way to visit the countryside is to see the unique Monte da Casteleja a real family vineyard. Guillaume took over his grandfathers farm &is tending it organically. They were chosen inLondon as the only Algarvian wine on the '50 Great Portuguese Wines' (2010 list.) Enjoy wine tasting in their original Portuguese farmhouse, by appointment. Tel. Maria 282 798 408 or917 361 041- a 20 minute drive from Lagos. Even on the few rainy or dull days, Snow Birds are happy to cosy up with a good book. The Kindle and iPadmean a revolution in travel reading; one no longer has to lug a pile of heavy books and instead one can travel with as many ebooks as one wishes, and can always download more. Canadians know how to dress in layers, wear slippers at night, and bundle up on the odd cooler day. So they don't complain if the weather isn't perfect every day. They know the little secret, 'The Algarve winter is like Canadian late spring'
For the AdventurousFor the more active and agile there are also the following available:
- Quad biking over the unspoilt countryside, be sure to wear dust proof clothing and take a camera in a case!
- Tandem Skydiving from the Alvor Aerodrome Ballooning, from the Lagos Aerodrome
- Microlighting at the Lagos Aerodrome, the school is run by Gerry Bream,the father of micro lighting, and the recipient of an award from Prince Andrew for his contributions to aeronautics.
- And last but not least there are over 53 golf courses to try your game.