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Missing the Algarve already? 10 things you'll want to know

Missing the Algarve already? 10 things you

The Algarve is known for having the most sought-after beaches in Europe and some of the most tempting houses in the world. But the South of Portugal is full of new things.

It's possible that most people have never missed the Algarve more than this year, after those long months of pandemic that made weekends and holidays in the South of Portugal impossible.That helps explain the huge turnout seen over the Easter period, higher than 2019, facilitated by the 900 flights a week at Faro International Airport.  If you're looking to relieve the nostalgia you've felt for the region's beaches and sun, know that there's plenty of new things waiting for you. The region has not been standing still, it has been constantly investing in various areas, from sustainability to the environment, from sport to transport, from real estate to culture, so that it is now reborn as an even more inescapable tourist destination. LUXIMOS Christie 's International Real Estate has put together a list with ten new features you'll really want to know about. Because they have all been meticulously designed to increase your quality of life when visiting the Algarve, whether as a tourist, a resident or an investor.

 

Related:  Europeans choose Algarve for their 2021 holidays

 

1. Lagos Sailing Club already has canoeing

Lagos, in the Western Algarve, is going to have canoeing, as a result of a cooperation protocol signed between the Portuguese Canoeing Federation and the Lagos Sailing Club. The idea is to promote the development of canoeing in the geographical area of the municipality for a period of three years. It is also planned, still during this year, the implementation and teaching of this sport. Initially, it will be developed at sea, and then at the Bravura Dam. The Portuguese Canoeing Federation will provide the sports equipment, consisting of three kits, which include a kayak, waistcoat and polyethylene paddle.

2. Olhão inaugurates a water-saving garden

The Patrão Joaquim Lopes garden, in Olhão, no longer has grass to be replaced by a set of species that require almost no water. It is a natural engineering solution, in line with global concerns about the scarcity of resources dictated by climate change, which increases the water efficiency of this huge garden located on the riverside. Furthermore, this work created a direct connection to the Ria Formosa, enabling much greater integration with this wetland area. Avenida 5 de Outubro, where the restaurants and markets of this city of Faro are concentrated, was also requalified, uniting the various playgrounds.

3. Albufeira will have four '3x3' courts

The Portuguese Basketball Federation plans to have in the whole country, in the medium term, 80 courts of the new Olympic category '3x3', decorated with street art, in the scope of the '3x3 BasketArt' programme. Albufeira will be the first Portuguese municipality with four courts of this sport inaugurated in the last Olympic Games, held in Tokyo, Japan. The goal is to bring basketball and sport to the street, in an open-air space available to all. With the focus on '3x3', a simpler type of basketball, with fewer athletes and fewer resources, the Federation affirms its desire to invest in the sport and in discovering new talent, with a view to Olympic participation in the long term. In Albufeira, the new four courts will be installed in the Vale Faro sports park, where there is already a tennis court, next to a leisure area in the city centre.

 

Related: Praia da Falésia is one of the 25 best beaches in the world

 

4. São Brás de Alportel is the reference of motor caravaning

Sa?o Bra?s de Alportel motor caravaning

São Brás de Alportel, in the district of Faro, has a new service area for motor caravans, with capacity for 25 vehicles, and aims to be a reference in the sector of motor caravanning in the Algarve, with spaces that stand out for quality and authenticity. The new service area, located in Estrada Nacional 2, aims to attract tourists who seek the region for caravanning, a tourist segment that has been growing in the Algarve. Integrated in the Algarve Serrana Motor Caravaning Route, this area is located by the south entrance of the village, near the commerce and services areas. It makes available an information area on touristic activities and will have a space for the purchase of local products. For those who do not have a motor caravan but want to have this experience, the "love motor caravan", a romantic version of caravanning, will be made available. This region is the first to receive the homologation certificate from the Portuguese Camping and Mountaineering Federation.

5. Route between Lagos and Vila Real de Santo António shortened by 25 minutes

The contract for the electrification of the section of the Algarve Railway between Tunes and Lagos has already been signed and will serve to electrify the 45 kilometres of line that serve the municipalities of Silves, Lagoa, Portimão and Lagos. The section between Faro and Tunes is already electrified and the work on the two remaining sections - between Faro and Vila Real de Santo António, already underway, and between Tunes and Lagos - will allow the use of more modern, comfortable and faster trains, reducing journey time between Lagos and Vila Real de Santo António by 25 minutes. The electrification of the line is being carried out in two stages: one covers the section between Vila Real de Santo António and Faro and should be completed by 2023; the other covers the section between Tunes and Lagos and will bring important benefits in terms of safety, efficiency, quality of service and environmental sustainability along the 140 kilometres of the Algarve Line.

6. Photovoltaic central will be installed in Faro

Construction work will begin this year on a photovoltaic power station in Faro, where 24,000 solar panels will be installed over an area of 24 hectares. This work will have a fundamental impact on the level of solar energy production in the Faro region, considered to be one of the best in terms of solar radiation in continental Europe. The project will be installed in Santa Bárbara de Nexe, on the outskirts of Faro. The park will have an annual electricity production capacity of 24 gigawatt-hours (GWh), allowing for the supply of around 6,943 homes. The production of energy through the solar system will avoid the annual emission of 6,093 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. The future photovoltaic power station should start operating this year. 

7. Benemola Fountain gets 20 bicycle paths

A meter installed in the Local Protected Landscape of Benemola Fountain, in the interior of the municipality of Loulé, has shown that over the last three years, more than 240.000 people have chosen this place, which extends over 392 hectares, for walks and bicycle rides. And not even the two years of the pandemic have deterred visitors. Benemola Fountain is located in the Algarve "barrocal" region (with ravines), crossed by the Menalva stream and supplied by various springs, which provides water all year round. Hence the wealth of fauna and flora that characterize it. Now, this area also benefits from the "Cyclin' Portugal Loulé Centre", a project created in partnership with the Portuguese Cycling Federation. It is a network of routes that will integrate three gates, that is, starting and finishing points for the routes: Loulé, Alte and Ameixial, for a total of 20 routes and around 900 kilometres of cycling.

 

Related: Loulé, Silves and Albufeira promote UNESCO World Geopark

 

8. The first butterfly garden in the Algarve

Butterfly garden in the Algarve

Hundreds of butterflies from various parts of the planet, from Central America to Asia, can be seen in the new Butterfly Garden, in Albufeira, a tropical space of over 300m2. It is the first butterfly garden in the Algarve and is integrated in the Zoomarine theme park. In botanical terms, this new immersion habitat has more than 70 plant species, where you can witness the life cycle of these graceful insects and understand their contribution to the environment. The proximity of the butterflies allows you to understand them better and take rare photographs. During the tour, several butterflies are born, in real time, in cocoons, in full view of everyone.

9. Buying a house in the Algarve

Since the 1970s the British have been looking to the Algarve to buy a house, either to live permanently or for holidays. Over the years, other nationalities have discovered the charms of this region in the South of Portugal and are also looking to invest in apartments with sea view and villas with garden and pool. More recently, it has been the Germans who have made the purchase of luxury houses in the Algarve. Quinta do Lago, followed by Albufeira-Vilamoura and Faro-Tavira-Portimão are among the most popular areas. LUXIMOS Christies International Real Estate is the real estate agency most sought after by investors and families. At the moment, foreign citizens living in the Algarve already represent 14.7% of the population.

 

Related: Why do the British keep buying houses in the Algarve?

 

10. Discover the work of Gastão Cruz

There are areas of the world that are perfect for almost everything, but where it is not possible to find a writer of reference. This is not the case in the Algarve. Besides the 3000 hours of sun per year, the paradisiacal beaches, the real estate temptations, the frenetic movida, the award-winning golf courses, the historical heritage, the gastronomy and so many other virtues, the Algarve also has an author, who is duly translated, and who is mandatory to know when you decide to visit or live in the Algarve: Gastão Cruz (1941-2022). Poet, stage director and literary critic, he has a vast body of work. And if you don't know where to start, start with his latest book, "Existence", published in 2018, which earned him, once again, the Grand Prize for Poetry from the Portuguese Writers' Association. It's a "powerful reflection on life, memory, ageing and the spectre of death", as the publisher Assírio & Alvim described it.

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