Quinta Monte Palmira is situated in the Eastern Algarve, an area that stretches from the east of Faro to the Spanish border, home to the Ria Formosa Nature Reserve, a labyrinth of lagoons and long stretches of islands. The Ria is an important nature park for migrating birds on their way to and from Africa. If you’re lucky you can see flamingos, storks, egrets and sometimes an eagle or vulture. It is one of the richest coasts of Europe for shells, with more than 200 different varieties.
We are located 6 km east of the inland village of Moncarapacho, a quaint village which offers a small church with a pleasant square, a few good local restaurants, a couple of bakeries, three supermarkets, a traditional potter, a gas station, pharmacy and a local post office.
Along the coast, about 7km from the Quinta, is Fuseta, a small fishing village with many small bars and restaurants. In Fuseta you can take a ferry to the island off the coast, Ilha Armona – also called Ilha Fuseta – where you can relax or take a long walk on a beautiful sandy beach. Fuseta has a big flea market on the second Sunday of every month (except August) where you can browse around for Portuguese antiques.
The lovely and picturesque town of Tavira, 15 km from Quinta Monte Palmira, has a very lively and authentic city centre. The town is divided into two parts by the river Gilao, which can be crossed via the old Roman pedestrian bridge, the ‘Ponte Romana’. On the hill overlooking the town, you can walk part of the old town walls and visit a nice tourist attraction, the Camera Obscura, located inside a large water tower. Durint the warmer months, the streets come alive at night, with outside dining at Tavira’s many excellent restaurants.
Olhão is a large fishing port with beautiful market halls near the marina. Here you can buy your daily fresh vegetables, fruit, local cheese and of course the catch of the day. On Saturdays, the market expands as local farmers come to sell their wares. From Olhão you can take ferries to the islands of Armona, Farol and Culatra for a relaxing day at the beach.
A bit more inland is the town of Loulé, 10 km north of Faro. Here you can visit the local market daily (with the exception of Sunday) and every Saturday the market expands to its surroundings with many locals offering their goods. The town is definitely worth a visit, and is home to the Algarve’s most spectacular festival in June, Festival Med. During this festival, the old town centre is transformed into a medieval venue with multiple stages featuring top musicians from around the world, and many artists come to sell their arts, crafts and food.
Beaches: The nearest to the Quinta (10 km), and our favorite, is Praia do Barril, a blue-flag beach (listed by Lonely Planet as one of the 10 top beaches for families), which is on an island that forms part of the Ria Formosa Natural Park. You can get there by a small miniature train or by walking along a lovely path through the Ria Formosa. There are some shops and several restaurants inside little fishermen’s houses on the beach.
Festivals and events in the Algarve
Silves’ Medieval Fair
Every August, the city of Silves hosts a magnificent Medieval Fair in its historic centre, during which enthusiastic jugglers and musicians entertain visitors, colourful market stalls fill the streets and amusing activities revive the spirit of the Middle Ages.
The eclectic Festival Med is one of the most exciting events in the region and is held every June in the historic centre of Loulé. ‘World music’ concerts, a variety of handicraft stalls, dance and theatre performances, as well as a selection of multicultural gastronomy can all be enjoyed at this vibrant event.
Loulé’s International Jazz Festival
The Algarve is home to one of the most popular jazz festivals in the country. Every July, the Casa da Cultura in Loulé invites acclaimed musicians to perform at the lovely Cerca do Convento, which includes a variety of free-jazz, blues, classic jazz and funk concerts.
FIESA – International Sand Sculpture Festival
Visit the town of Pêra and stop by this magnificent sand-sculpting festival between May and October. Every year, artists from all over the world come to the Algarve to transform shapeless sand pits into impressive works of art. Previous editions have been inspired by themes such as ‘Mythology, ‘Wonders of the World’ and ‘Hollywood.’
Carnival in Loulé
Carnival arrives in Loulé every February – one of the best places in the country to celebrate this time of year. Have fun watching bright floats and smiling dancers parade through the streets to the sound of lively beats and tunes, and fully enjoy the vivacious spirit of this cheerful tradition.
FOLKFARO – International Folklore Festival
This festival is held in Faro every year to promote the value of different traditions around the globe. Live shows, entertainment for children, parades and wonderful gastronomic displays are some of the exciting activities this event organizes to celebrate the beauty of world culture.
FATACIL – Handicraft, Tourism, Agriculture,Trade and Industry Fair
Held in Lagoa every August, this entertaining fair is one of the most popular summer events to take place in the Algarve. Live performances by famous Portuguese and international acts, countless stalls displaying traditional crafts and pottery, as well as a rich variety of typical gastronomy are all on offer at this regional fair.
The ‘White Night’
Towards the end of August, Loulé bids summer good-bye with a trendy party where everyone must wear white! During the evening, chill-out music sounds through the bustling streets of the city’s historic centre, extravagant painters, fire-eaters and street musicians thrill visitors and dancing goes on until the early hours – a great experience for a unique night out!
The Shellfish Festival
This is one of the most ‘delicious’ festivals in the Algarve and takes place every August in Olhão. Clams, succulent oysters, shrimp, crayfish, lobster and crab will give you a taste of the Algarve. Entertainment and regional sweets can also be enjoyed at this fun festival.
The Sardine Festival
Portimão stages an exciting festival near its waterfront, where you can enjoy the region’s famous grilled sardines to the sound of Portuguese, Brazilian and African live music concerts. Every year when the festival ends, colourful fireworks illuminate the sky to celebrate the success of this popular event.