The Algarve is one of Portugal’s, and Europe’s, most sought after destinations. Located on the country’s glorious south coast, the Algarve is home to pristine beaches, sapphire-blue sea, sleepy villages and is the nation’s hub for Michelin Star restaurants, boasting the largest number in the country. In short, the Algarve is the beating heart of Portuguese coastal luxury for which the finer things are never out of reach for solo and family trips.
Boat tour and lunch at an exclusive island
A Luxury Trip Around The Algarve – Arguably the Algarve’s best kept secret, visitors can hop on a private boat and head off to a unique desert island to the southerly most point of Portugal, Barreta Island, which homes one exclusive restaurant called ‘The Estamine’. The restaurant serves some of the most delicious Algarvian cuisine, including a selection of fresh fish, seafood, wines and much more. However, if you are looking for a more private experience, you can even stay on the boat and the team will happily prepare and deliver the food for you to enjoy at sea.
For more information visit: https://www.ilhadeserta.com/estamine-restaurant/
Boat tour in private yacht/sailing boat
The sea is the Algarve’s pride and joy, which offers the tranquillity of calm waters sun-kissed with a glisten from the rays above or the adventure of the stunning caves. You can soak in the sun from the top deck or instead get some well-deserved rest in one of the heavenly air-conditioned rooms that truly help you escape the real world to the gentle rhythm of the sea. The boats are modern, spacious, comfortable and have access to wi-fi, a refrigerator and ice maker, as well as beverages and snacks – meaning that you will be made to feel right at home aboard a boating paradise.
There are two unique options available for this trip of a lifetime, and more information can be found here:
A Gastronomic Paradise
The Algarve’s food is inspired by the elements. The appreciation for the sun, the earth and the ocean see locals insist on using organic fresh, honest and localised ingredients. Fresh daily catches often include cockles, clams, oysters, squid, sea bass, sea bream, mackerel, or sardines. In many Algarve fish restaurants, the catch of the day is sold by weight. Visitors can try the much celebrated “cataplana”, a local favourite dish made of mussels, clams, chorizo, bacon, garlic, onions and olive oil while there are also high recommendations for the region’s famous fish stew “Caldeirada”.
If you take your journey more inland, poultry and pork, fresh vegetables and dried pulses are the primary ingredients in many local dishes. Traditional plates are delicious slow-cooked meat stews, served with pulses and fresh vegetables, smoked and cured meats and traditional Algarvian bread which is often used as a main ingredient in the preparation of certain dishes.
Bread baking is an important part of the culture as is wine, cheese and pastries. In the summer, fig and orange trees are ready to be harvested and fill the air with a delicate sweet scent. In September, it is time for the traditional almond crop which dry naturally, un-skinned, in the sun on the roof terraces. When autumn is in full swing, the chestnuts are ripe.
Michelin Star Restaurants
There are seven Michelin stars in the Algarve:
Two stars **
Ocean – Chef Hans Neuner at Vila Vita Parc Resort & Spa. Hans Neuner was named Portugal’s chef of the year in 2009 & 2012
For more information, visit: https://vilavitaparc.com/en/restaurants-and-bars/ocean-restaurant
Vila Joya – Chef Dieter Koschina at Vila Joya Hotel. Awarded World’s Leading Fine Dining Hotel Restaurant in 2020 for the third time since 2014 and 2018
For more information, visit: https://www.vilajoya.com/en/cuisine/dieterkoschina/
One star *
Vista – Chef João Oliveira, Bela Vista Hotel & Spa. Chef Oliveira was awarded the Chef de L’Avenir prize in May 2019 by the International Academy of Gastronomy which every year recognises the work of promising young chefs. The restaurant boasts a menu that combines both the national and Mediterranean cuisine, creating a perfect blend of flavours and aromas that provides surprises for all five of your senses.
For more information, visit: https://vistarestaurante.com/en/
Gusto by Heinz Beck – Conrad Algarve, Quinta do Lago. This Michelin- star restaurant has a vibrant menu full of renowned Mediterranean cuisine/dishes with a 21st century modern flair. Heinz Beck, one of Europe’s most valued three-Michelin-star chefs, is the catalyst to the lively open kitchen that sets the scene for a glorious evening. The restaurant also provides a Cuban cigar menu and an alfresco terrace with views looking out over the Infinity pool.
For more information, visit: https://www.conradalgarve.com/dine/
Vistas – Chef Rui Silvestre, Monte Rei Golf & Country Club. Rui was the youngest chef in Portugal to win his first Michelin Star at 29 years old. His restaurant is perfect for those looking to unwind after a hard day on the course or want to take on a fine dining experience like no other.
For more information, visit: https://vistasruisilvestre.com/
São Gabriel – Chef Leonel Pereira, in Almancil. São Gabriel has been Michelin Star for 15 consecutive years. This should be to no surprise when you visit, struggle to choose from the amazing options on the menu and eventually take that first bite!
For more information, visit: http://www.sao-gabriel.com/sao-gabriel-restaurante-algarve-eng.html
Bon Bon – Chef Louis Anjos, Carvoeiro. Not afraid to do things differently, Bon Bon offers an 11-course dinner menu full of flavour that will not dissapoint.
For more information, visit : https://bonbon.pt/en/
Wine in the Algarve
The Algarve wine-producing region is coming of age. In recent years there has been a steady increase in the number of producers and in the quality of the wines produced. Most Algarve wines are of good quality, putting them on a par with the best that Portugal has to offer.
Major towns that lend their names to the region’s four wine DOCs are Lagos, Portimão, Lagoa and Tavira. For these traditional wines, the main white grapes are Arinto, Malvasia Fina, Manteúdo and Síria, and for the reds, Castelão and Negra Mol. More recently, new wine estates are making regional Algarve wine from national and international grapes such as Syrah, Negra Mole, Aragonez and Cabernet Sauvignon, Alvarinho, Chardonnay and Viognier.
The traditional Aguardente de Medronho brandy (traditional fruit brandy) and various types of liqueurs complement the long list of aromatic liquid delights from the region.
An example of an authentic and premium experience like no other is Quinta dos Vales, which uniquely combines wine and art side by side and visitors can explore the grounds and its sculptures whilst tasting a selection of premium wines. For more information, visit: www.quintadosvales.eu/arte