When you think of the Algarve, enormous golf courses and huge all-inclusive hotels might instantly first spring to mind.
But there’s a lot more to the area than you might typically expect.
For those looking for a more traditional Portuguese experience, there are still plenty of options.
Vila Vita Parc resort, located in Porches, boasts 54 incredible acres of lush land, on the Algarve’s iconic coastline.
The luxury five-star hotel offers all you could possibly want for a holiday – whether it’s a fleeting weekend visit or a relaxing week-long stay.
Vila Vita is dripping in history too, and is a refreshing change from some of the more modern (and less face it) character-less hotels.
This year the hotel celebrates its 30th birthday, so there’s never been a better time to check it out – with various celebrations and events taking place to mark the milestone.
There’s no denying you could easily spend a week relaxing in this stunning place – but if you’re short on time, we’ve put together a jam-packed itinerary for getting a taste of the Algarve over the course of a weekend.
5pm – You’ve arrived and checked into your room – whether it’s an ocean-view room or suite, or perhaps you’ve booked out one of the secluded villas and apartments. It’s time to freshen up for the evening ahead.
7pm – It’s likely you’ll be pretty hungry after your travels. Thankfully, the hotel has 10 restaurants to choose from.
A chilled-yet-impressve choice is Mizu Teppanyaki, for an interactive and immersive gastronomic experience. Take a seat at the teppanyaki table and watch the chef dazzle with his outstanding spatula-flipping and slicing skills.
The tasting menu features dishes such as sea bream marinated in miso, quail with soy sauce and fried rice with XO sauce, as well as a choice of main – including the popular wagyu – and a fried plum dessert.
9pm – Then you might want to enjoy a cocktail, or a nice chilled glass of Alberino, in one of the hotel’s six bars – before you settle in for the night.
9am – You’ll need to fuel up before a day of brilliant activities, so head to Atlântico restaurant (one of the two breakfast spots at the hotel), which boasts a number of healthier and lighter options, with both a buffet and à la carte selection.
10am – Then it’s time for a few hours of relaxation and there’s no better place to achieve this than by visiting the hotel’s private beach.
If you fancy a spot of paddleboarding, these can be rented during the summer months, too.
12pm – After, take a dip in the adult-only pool, with an on-site bar around midday.
There’s also time to stop for a spot of lunch on the Whale Restaurant terrace, right next to the pool. Ordering the tuna poke bowl is an absolute must here.
3.30pm – The hotel’s wine cellar is your next stop on the itinerary – which offers tastings from 3.30pm-5pm daily.
Let sommeliers Artur Rodrigues, Carlos Barão and Paulo Cristino guide you through some of the cellar’s offering – a venue that holds the biggest private wine collection in Portugal.
7pm – For dinner, two-Michelin starred Ocean restaurant is the place to check out – with its 12-course tasting menu, by Hans Neuner, that will transport you into the depths of the sea.
The concept for the menu is the people and places that have influenced Portugal, and highlights include the oysters, blue crab and ‘Mama Africa’ for dessert.
9am – Start your day with a buffet breakfast at Bella Vita with stunning views over the gardens and the swan lake. You’ll be spoilt for choice by full English, continental and traditional Portugese breakfast delights. In other words, it’s a great opportunity to stock up on pastel de natas.
10.30am Then, it’s time for some aerial yoga in the studio, which involves special silks – so you can perfect your different gravity-defying poses.
11.45am – This is followed by a spa treatment at the hotel’s Sisley spa. If you want something really special, try the golden quartz massage, featuring crystals and hot sand therapy.
1.30pm – For lunch, take a trip down to the Armação Beach Club, for a meal with a view of the gorgeous ocean.
Pick from light bites, refreshing salads, and finish with a drink on the terrace, soaking up the sea views.
3pm – After lunch, it’s time for a private boat trip, which can be booked via the hotel. Set sail to the nearby Benagil caves and soak up the picturesque surroundings for a couple of hours.
6pm – Then it’s back to pack up before leaving Vila Vita Parc and its incredible offering and heading to Faro airport – just a 45-minute drive away.
More information on Vila Vita and the packages and events it offers, as well as prices, can be found here.
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