Situated on the southern coast of Portugal, Castelo is located on a sandy beach within a cluster of local shops and restaurants. It is just 10 minutes drive from the well-known resort centre of Albufeira, where there are banks, supermarkets and a marina. The narrow whitewashed streets of Albufeira also hold plenty of nightlife, from Irish pubs to local bars. Delicious Portuguese cuisine in this area centres on steamed shellfish, grilled sardines and Caldeirada, or fish stew. The countryside further inland is full of almond trees and grape vines.
Castelo is known as one of the finest beaches on the Algarve, where fine sandy bays nestle prettily at the foot of the red sandstone cliffs. For sunbathing, Castelo Beach is perfect. The nearby Gale beach is four miles long and a little more commercialized, offering more beach bars. It is also a great beach for walking along the tide’s edge before breakfast.
Sports are popular pastimes in this area. Tennis, golf and water sports are all available within easy reach of your villa. Salgados is a popular place for playing golf at its best, with views of the sea and plenty of scenic lakes.
Part of traditional life around Castelo are the annual festivals. February 4th is the ‘Feira do Pau Roxo’; July sees the ‘Feira de Artisanos’ with many handicrafts; August is the month for the ‘Feira de Frango’ (Chicken festival) and the ‘Feira de Nossa Senhora da Orada’. The local festival ‘Feira de Nossa Senhora da Guia’ takes place on the last weekend in August. Go along and join in the party spirit and culture of these colourful events.
The nearby village of Guia has a good selection of local shops in its charming old town and it also offers an excellent daily market for fresh fruit and vegetables. The main church was built in the mid-1600s and contains a simply carved high altar and several statues. The Hermitage of ‘Nossa Senhora da Guia’ means Our Lady of the Good Journey. These buildings have a decorative façade and are in typically ornate baroque style. There is also a lake here, Lagoa dos Salgadoes, which is popular with bird-watchers.
Paderne was probably developed as a settlement around the nearby castle. The old white-washed houses are set haphazardly against the gently sloping hillside. Look out for the decorated chimney which dates back to the 18th century.
The Arab Castle is the pièce de résistance at Paderne with the Quarteira Creek flowing around its base. It was abandoned in the 14th century but the ruins of a small hermitage are still evident.
The typical 16th century Portuguese church has three naves, no less. It has monogrammed columns and is decorated with human figures.
From spring right through to autumn, the weather in Castelo and the Albufeira region of Portugal is idyllic. Blue skies and endless dry, sunny days are guaranteed from April to October with average temperatures ranging from 18-24C (64-76F). Winters are cooler but rarely drop below 10C (49F) making it a great place to escape the northerly winters too.
Cheap flights are available daily from all over Europe to Faro International Airport. Your self catering villa in Castelo is just 50km from Faro, a short and easy drive away.