Posts tagged with "Algarve"

travel illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 Magazine

Route 66: A Road Trip Through Portugal’s Heartland

Road trips offer a rewarding way to explore and create memories in a new country. The editors at International Living have just released an eight-day itinerary for hitting the road on Portugal’s ‘Route 66’ through the nation’s heartland — a worthwhile and rewarding expedition.

It’s hard to beat the slower pace, the backroads options, the pleasant surprises found off the beaten track in a country – especially today in Portugal. From north to south, and from the Atlantic west to the Spanish east, this country’s gracious people, brilliant sun, tantalizing beaches, and verdant valleys provide a varied landscape, historic points of interest, delightful towns, and a worthwhile adventure.

“Most everyone who visits or lives in Portugal stops at hotspots like Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve but far fewer venture beyond,” says Terry Coles, International Living Portugal Correspondent. “There is the road less traveled that cut through the center of the country for those looking for more adventure.”

The Estrada Nacional 2, or just N2, is the longest national road in Portugal at 739 kilometers. In fact, it’s one of the longest national roads in the world, outdistanced only by Route 66 in the U.S. and Route 40 in Argentina. The N2 begins in the far north, below the Spanish border in the city of Chaves, and ends at the city of Faro in the Algarve. It passes through rugged mountains, the exquisite, terraced vineyards of the Douro, historic villages, and ends along the impressive coastline.

“Driving the N2 without stopping along the way takes between six and seven hours but offers little to no enjoyment,” Coles advises. “My husband Clyde and I allowed ourselves a full eight days, stopping briefly in some towns while lingering longer in others.”

In the just-released itinerary, Coles outlines the best way to navigate Portugal’s ‘Route 66’ in eight days. Here are the highlights of the first three:

Day 1: Chaves, Vidago, Pedras Salgadas, Vila Pouca de Aguiar, Castelo, Vila Real

Chaves is the place to start. This charming city with a population of about 42,000 retains its old town center, complimented by a medieval castle with gardens offering mountain views in the distance. Historic churches, tiny shops, and restaurants dot the city while a well-preserved Roman bridge crosses the Tâmega river.

“Pick up an N2 passport at the nearby tourist office and have it stamped, officially marking the start of this iconic road trip,” says Coles. “The passport book includes a map and suggests 35 stops along the route, with indications of places to have the passport stamped as a nice keepsake.”

“Vila Pouca de Aguiar was by far one of our favorite stops along the N2 and a highlight of our first day. Dating back to Roman times, one of the must-see’s here is a castle situated in the mountains, accessed by a craggy, unpaved road.”

“Upon closer look we realized that the castle was nothing more than a small, ruined tower and decided it was not worth hiking up to. As Clyde pulled the car over, looking for a spot to safely turn around, we stumbled upon a tiny village of granite homes where time had seemingly come to a standstill. A small community of mostly elderly farmers lived in this village called ‘Castelo,’ aptly named for the castle that once stood nearby. Since we were in their private space, we asked permission in Portuguese to take photographs and all happily obliged, even including themselves in a few.”

Day 2: The Alto Douro Wine Region and Peso da Régua

The city of Porto is a popular destination for those who desire to see the spectacular views of the Douro Valley and river by the same name. Yet, the lesser-known area called the Alto Douro sits virtually unnoticed in the center of the country, near the city of Peso da Régua.Tourists here can take day trips along the Douro River. Some offer round-trip voyages while others offer train rides back from Porto.

“This was another favorite stop on our road trip,” Coles says. “Breathtaking views of lush vineyards climbing the impressive hills that surrounded the area. Jaw-dropping scenery as far as our eyes could see. I could almost taste the fragrant wines that filled the air, but that indulgence would need to wait until later.

“We spent an extra night in Peso da Réguaa city of 17,000 that sits alongside the Douro River. The city once served as a vital component in the country’s wine production and the sale of port wine. It was here that the wine was put into barrels and shipped to Vila Nova de Gaia, near Porto, where it was left to age in wine cellars. Today the area is dotted with elegant mansions perched on hills, surrounded by impressive, terraced vineyards bearing signs with the names of the families who own them.”

Day 3: Lamego, Castro Daire, Viseu

Lamego, Coles, reports, was a highlight of Day 3. This ancient city of about 12,000, sits nestled among the terraced vineyards of the Douro. It has retained its historic city center, characterized by steep, rocky streets leading up to its medieval castle. A few handsome churches still exist nearby, while locals mingle with friends at nearby cafes.

The stunning Sanctuary of Our Lady of Remedios, erected in 1750, is where tourists climb the imposing baroque staircase (which has 686 steps). Those who make it to the top are rewarded with a panoramic view overlooking the area.

The full eight-day itinerary of Portugal’s ‘Route 66’ can be found on International Living.

TAILOR-MADE TRIPS FOR DADS

Sports and Resorts: Tailor-Made Trips for Dads

For outdoorsy dads, there’s no better Father’s Day gift than a vacation designed to get outside and get moving, making memories with the whole family along for the adventure. At these hotels and resorts, dads can kick back in comfort by night and hit the links, the waves, or the trails every day on a vacation that’s tailor-made for them.  

Tee Off Mountainside in Vail, Colorado at Sonnenalp Hotel

Take to the greens in Vail, Colorado, at the Sonnenalp Hotel’s semi-private, 7,100-yard championship links style golf course. Take the whole family for 18 holes that cater to golfers of every skill level.  Add in some extra time to take in the breathtaking Rocky Mountain views, as the Sonnenalp Club is oriented to allow dramatic morning and afternoon sun to highlight the mountains’ natural radiance. Back at the Sonnenalp Hotel enjoy an exquisite spa experience, relaxing indoor and outdoor whirlpools with views of Gore Creek, and luxury lodging that perfectly captures the rustic charm of the Sonnenalp’s surroundings.

Make Memories Naturally with Discover Outdoors

The best gifts are memories that will last a lifetime. For a dad who can’t get enough of nature’s splendors, gift a trip with adventure guide company Discover Outdoors. For dads who don’t like surprises, gift cards are also available so they can choose their own adventure. Discover Outdoors’ goal is to connect people to the outdoors, to their community and to themselves through guided adventures in North America and around the world. Some of this summer’s most spectacular trips include:

• 7 day hiking trip on the Mount Ranier Wonderland Trail

• 6 days backpacking through 3 national parks of the Canadian Rockies

• Day trip hiking the strenuous Devil’s Path trail in the Catskills

• Day trip summitting 14 scenic peaks in the Hudson River Valley

Hit the Swiss Road with the Giardino Group

For a man who likes to get behind the wheel, Giardino Group has planned the perfect driving routes for a scenic journey through the Swiss Alps, on which dads can easily discover some of the most beautiful corners of Switzerland. These thrilling drives take you past majestic mountain passes, breathtaking valleys, and the shimmering waters of Swiss lakes. The Giardino hotels in Zurich, St. Moritz, Ascona and Locarno are the starting points and destinations for each route. In between the hotels, the routes allow you to experience up close the majestic panoramic views and the breathtaking natural scenery of the Alps. At the day’s end, Dad and the family can enjoy personalized Ayurveda spa treatments and Michelin starred dining at Ecco, Giardino’s coveted gourmet hot spot with locations in Zurich, St. Moritz, and Ascona. 

Golf in the Algarve with Martinhal Sagres 

For a golf aficionado, Portugal’s Algarve region is a bucket-list destination. The Algarve contains more than thirty golf courses, four of which are within 20-40 minutes of the Martinhal Sagres resort — a perfectly centralized, family-friendly home base for dad’s vacation. Only 30 minutes from the resort, the Palmares course commands magnificent views of both the bay of Lagos and the Monchique hills in the distance. The closest course, 20 minutes away, is Boavista, a Championship golf course designed by Howard Swan. If you venture an hour out of the resort, the two stunning championship courses of Amendoeiras spread across the Algarve, both designed by legendary golf names Sir Nick Faldo and Christy O’Connor Junior. Beyond golf, Martinhal Sagres offers sporty travelers adventure opportunities through amenities such as a water sports center on the beach, tennis courts, five swimming pools, and a bike station.

Spend Summertime in Belize at San Ignacio Resort Hotel

San Ignacio Resort Hotel in Belize has an adventure for every kind of dad. For the nature-lover, cave tours take guests into caverns used by ancient Mayans. The caves of Actun Tunichil Muknal, for one, feature burial chambers, artifacts, and calcified human remains. Guests can even climb cave waterfalls with rappel ropes and dive into their invigorating cascades. San Ignacio Resort Hotel’s in-house tour guides lead guests on jungle tours, horseback riding expeditions, and bird-watching excursions, to name a few opportunities to explore the outdoors in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. For dads enthralled by cultural experiences, tours of Mayan ruins, medicinal plant tours, and trips into San Ignacio and the surrounding Mayan villages are available. Through the end of June, take advantage of San Ignacio Resort Hotel’s unmissable Dads and Grads Special.

Luxury Links in the UAE at Al Bait Sharjah

Swing into the spirit of the modern-day Middle East, where golfers can play at the championship greens of the Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club. Guests of Al Bait Sharjah, a luxury hotel composed of a collection of converted historic manor houses, can train at the nearby Club with a certified coach who specializes in the latest sports psychology strategies to improve their game. Dads can truly relax in style at The Library at Al Bait Sharjah, with its extensive book collection, as well as in the sophisticated Cigar Lounge or restaurants with mocktails and unique dining offerings inspired by Middle Eastern and Far Eastern cuisines. For a dad in need of pampering, Al Bait Sharjah offers a full menu of men-only spa services such as men’s facials, nurturing envelopment rituals, and therapeutic massages. 

The BPM Festival: Portugal 2018 Full Schedule

Making its European return starting today, September 20th, until the 23rd, The BPM Festival: Portugal is excited to share its extensive full day and night programming as well as the live streaming schedule for its 2018 edition in Portimao and Lagoa.

For music lovers celebrating the end of the summer festival season, The BPM Festival: Portugal will bring four days and nights of house and techno’s finest from 12pm to 8am (+1 day) daily to the beaches and nightclubs of the Algarve region. Audiences from around the globe can also tune into high-definition audio and video streaming on BE-AT.TV, Facebook Live, and Ibiza Global Radio with streaming kicking off on opening day through the festival’s closing night party.

Hosting labels and party brands from around the world, festival-goers will be treated to returning acts and newcomers, surprise DJ appearances, special back-to-back sets and more. From staple BPM events like 10 Years of No. 19 Music, All Day I Dream, Paradise, Stereo Productions, and Vatos Locos as well as its signature all-star parties This Is The End. For both those unable to attend, The BPM Festival and post-event viewing, fans can visit BE-AT.TV for scheduling and on-demand viewing.

Ibiza Global Radio will also be streaming for The BPM Festival: Portugal’s 2018 edition. Listeners from all corners of the globe can tune in to hear sets from Detlef b2b Latmun b2b Nathan Barato, Hector, Stefano Noferini and more from Deeperfect, Paradise, SIGHT, Vatos Locos and YA’AH MUUL.

The BPM Festival: Portugal Official Mobile App is now available for download for both iOS and Android users. Users can create their own custom schedules and access the festival map, check out recent news and stream over 100 episodes from The BPM Festival Podcast including new mixes from Darius Syrossian, Ingi Visions (Samuel Deep & Julian Alexander), Luigi Madonna, and more.

The BPM Festival is also excited to announce its partnership with BestKoin, a new form of digital currency entering the market striving to eliminate all foreign and transaction costs that travelers face. For more information, visit BestKoin.org

Limited festival passes are available for purchase at www.TheBPMFestival.com and the BPM box office in Portimao. Last minute packages for festival passes plus accommodations and or airport transfers, are also available vita The BPM Festival’s official partner, Festicket.