The old fishing town of Vila Real de St Antonio is located on the southeastern tip of Portugal at the mouth of the Guadiana River in the Algarve. The beautiful Algrave beaches, mild Mediterranean climate and relatively low-cost of living have made the region popular with tourists looking to rent holiday accommodation, as well as with British expatriates. The peaceful Vila Real town becomes a lively resort town in the summer, filled with people who have come to enjoy the sandy beach, good food and beautiful surroundings.
Most families visit Vila Real de St. Antonio for the beautiful sandy beach, which is within walking distance from most accommodation in Vila Real town center. There are plenty of water sport facilities available to those who want to windsurf, canoe or sail. There is an esplanade along the beach that is lined with cafes and restaurants, where you can get a taste of typical Algrave dishes such as Cataplana, the local shellfish specialty.
There is more to the town the just the beach though. The focal point and architectural core is the town square – Praça Marquês de Pombal – from which cobblestone streets, paved with fascinating black and white mosaic patterns, radiate out in a grid pattern. The attractive square is surrounded by orange trees and elegant town houses, and at center of the square stands an obelisk. Exploring the streets by foot you will find charming little shops selling local crafts such as painted ceramics, leather goods and wine. You can also find these goods for sale at the Gipsy market on the second Saturday of every month.
If you are renting a Vila Real de St Antonio apartment during July you can enjoy the folklore, dance and traditional Arabic food that are part of the Cacela Velha village Moorish Nights festival.
If you want to improve your handicap there are two championship golf courses within driving distance from holiday accommodation in Vila Real de St Antonio: Jack Nicklaus’ signature golf course, Monte Rei and Castro Marim golf club. You can also get some fresh air by taking a beautiful mountain bike ride, or hiking the gentle hills surrounding the area.
Just a few kilometers north of Vila Real lies Castro Marim, where you can visit the castle ruins and get a great view of the saltpans. If you want to soak up more sun you can visit the popular beach resort of Monte Gorde. A short drive across the Guadiana International Bridge will take you in to Spain.
Vila Real has a typical Mediterranean climate with hot summers and short, mild winters. Whether you rent one of the beautiful villas in Vila Real de St Antonio during winter or summer you are sure to experience pleasant weather.
The closest airport is Faro Airport (FAO), which is only a 30-minute drive away from Vila Real de St Antonio accommodation. easyJet and Thomson Fly both provide cheap flights to Faro from various airports in the UK.