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A tiny guide to Almancil

Almancil is situated in Portugal's Central Algarve, a location that is popular with holiday-makers and expatriates due to its easy-going way of life, pretty surroundings, pine forests and year-round sunshine.

Within extremely easy reach of Faro Airport (flight times are under three hours from the UK), Almancil is the ideal location for a mini-break or a two-week holiday, hence it's the perfect place for a second home, rental or retirement villa. It is located extremely close to the resorts of Quarteira, Vale do Lobo and Quinta do Lago, yet is sufficiently hidden away from the hustle-bustle of the busier coastal towns.

Culture

Family-friendly, traditional and vibrant, the charming town is best known perhaps for its pottery and 'azulejo' ceramic tiles. While there are some new developments, there is still plenty of older Algarvian architecture is evidence. One such example is the 18th Century church of São Lourenço, the interior walls of which are bedecked with the iconic blue tiles. Almancil celebrates its town day - the Cataplana Festival - on 1 June.

As an important source of supplies to the big resorts, Almancil has become a more cosmopolitan town, installing more 'luxurious' facilities such as interior design stores to cater for upmarket visitors. As such, local tourism authorities have styled the town on three 'representative symbols': golf, the sea and the environment.

What to do

With a plethora of activities and attractions in or around the area, there's something to keep everyone entertained, no matter their age or preference. Children will love the water parks, Zoomarine, The Big One and Slide & Splash while sporty folks might head for one of the regions many golf courses or horse-riding trails. Lovers of high-octane activities might like racing, off-roading or bungee trampolines at Karting Almancil.

There's good shopping locally with markets held on the first and fourth Sundays of the month. There are also larger shopping malls in Albufeira, plus an exciting daily covered food market in nearby Loulé.

For water sports and topping up the tan, Praia do Garrao and Praia do Ancão are both excellent beaches.

The region offers many bars and restaurants, from quaint family-run to neon-lit. You'll never be stuck for a good Portuguese steak or piri-piri chicken, washed down with some refreshing Sangria. There's a mellower night to be had in Almancil than say, Albufeira. The Lemon Tree comes particularly highly-rated.

Amenities

A bustling town, Almancil has several banks, a school and a post office. The nearest fire brigade, police station and hospital are in Loulé.

There are buses running along the coast and deviating into Almancil, operated by the EVA however they don't run at weekends nor on holidays, thus it might be more convenient and reliable to hire or buy a car.

Essentially, Almancil is a great destination for anyone looking for a blend of traditional values and modern facilities; for sunshine and an incredible quality of life. Little wonder it has become a firm favourite with so many people.

Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013

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