Villa of the month | Driftwood Quinta do Lago, Algarve, Portugal

Villa of the month | Driftwood Quinta do Lago, Algarve, Portugal

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There isn’t a single villa in our portfolio at Palmer & Parker that doesn’t completely fit the term luxurious – it’s what we do, villas for people who love luxury.

We visit every villa and inspect every little thing – we want to make sure that when you book with us, you’re really getting the best of the best and Villa Driftwood certainly is just that.

Va va voom to Villa Driftwood for a dream vacation

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Airy and light filled rooms are furnished with tasteful pieces and have top of the range designer good looks. The four gorgeous bedrooms are spacious and two of them have lovely balconies, and all have ensuite bathrooms. The kitchen is fabulous, you might not want to cook while you’re here because the choice of restaurants is terrific, but you may not be able to resist a little chef-ing in this super room. Or dine al fresco, there is a magnificent outdoor living room and a dining terrace with built in barbecue. Of course, you’ll want to take a dip in the large, heated pool, and maybe a work out in the gym, and a steam in the sauna. This is the ultimate feel good villa, a place to relax, reenergise and recharge.

When it’s time to chill, you’re truly spoiled here. If you can tear yourself from the swanky cinema room, then you could be teeing off on the San Lorenzo golf course, right on your doorstep. This is one of the most sought out areas of the famous resort of Quinto do Lago and there are award winning golf course options galore.

Loads to do at Quinto do Lago

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Or maybe you’ll feel like a wander to the beach just 5 minutes away. Praia do Ancao has a long golden sandy beach, top class restaurants such as the famous Gigis as well as plenty of bars, loads of nautical sports, shops and boutiques and shady pine trees – what’s not to love.

When it comes to gastronomy, this area has oodles of charm and tons of choice. One of the most popular restaurants, The Shack, attracts the likes of Holly Willoughby, Coleen Rooney and Peter Jones (who all love to holiday in the Algarve) – and if its good enough for the fearsome Dragon of the Den, we’re pretty sure it must be something special.

Or, why not just put your feet up, lie out in the sun in the tranquil back garden and enjoy your break at one of the finest villas in the Algarve.

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Why we love Villa Driftwood:

  • We’d never want to leave the cinema room
  • The heated pool is just so enticing
  • Overlooking San Lorenzo golf course – simply superb
  • Close to some of the best restaurants in the Algarve
  • Dining al fresco here is an intoxicating experience – really beautiful day or night
  • Gorgeous home décor and uber luxurious living
  • Right by a magnificent beach
  • We love the Sauna and Gym, perfect way to start the day!

Details: Sleeps 8, maid service and uber luxurious: Villa Driftwood

 

Mums time sunshine breaks in the Algarve

PP Mums time break

 

It’s the latest trend: short breaks for busy mums to get away from the stresses of daily life, take a quick, energising break with their friends and go home feeling positively recharged. And, one of the best places to take a mums-time break in luxury is the Algarve, at one our superb villas where you really will feel that you’ve got away from the usual, and escaped to the extraordinary…
Beaches and relaxing
From sun worshippers and mums wanting to simply relax and unwind, to those with a penchant for sporting activities, there’s a beach to suit everyone. In fact, Praia de Carvoeiro beach is the holder of the “Best Beach in Europe” award. Situated in the west of the region, Cavoeiro is home to a wide selection of bars, restaurants and cafes and clifftops with fantastic coastal views.
There are plenty of cycling and walking routes plus of course the famous golf courses. The Algarve is the holder of awards for “Best Golf Destination in Continental Europe” and “Best Value Golf Destination in Continental Europe”.

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Wellness and spas

There are more than 40 spas in the Algarve, it’s not difficult to find one that’s just perfect for you. According to Conde Nast Traveller, Algarve’s spas are fast becoming known as some of the best in the world. Make some “me time” and enjoy a massage, detox, fitness, yoga, sea water therapy or beauty session and go home feeling fabulously recharged and reenergised.
Restaurants
There are more Michelin star restaurants in Algarve than in the rest of Portugal. This area is famous for its food and wines. Local, seasonal and fresh is the mantra here with seafood taking a star role in coastal restaurants. Traditional slow cooked stews, pulses, fresh veg and Algarvian bread are irresistible – not to mention local cheeses, wines and cakes! Take some time out from cooking and dine like a queen in the Algarve, or shop the local markets and stores and enjoy al fresco meals in the garden of your gorgeous luxury Palmer & Parker villa, followed by a dip in the pool and a spot of relaxing.
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Culture
The Algarve is rich in culture and authentic Portuguese charm; locals live through their arts and music and celebrations. There is plenty on offer for art and music lovers with cultural events throughout the year. Art galleries are located in most towns as well as concerts, theatre productions and dance shows. Enjoy wandering the wiggly, winding narrow streets and admire chimneys with varied shapes and designs. Churches and castles built in previous centuries reflect a rich culture steeped in history. Local cultural artworks are preserved in museums in the major coastal centres and in smaller inland towns throughout the region.
Check out www.365algarve.com to discover a rich programme of cultural events and activities.
Take home a souvenir the kids will love
The Algarve is home to a wealth of traditional and modern art and crafts, including embroidery, ceramics from the traditional “azulejos”, traditional painted tin-glazed ceramic tiles, to modern, hand-painted pieces at the cutting edge of design. The best pottery to be found in the Algarve is in the village of Porches – visitors can observe the skills shown by the artisan’s hand painting the pottery. Jewellery is also popular; handmade pieces using cork are for example available in a shop in Pescor. Local modern paintings and sculptures, basket-ware and leather goods made locally can be found in galleries and boutiques in the local towns and villages.
With 300 days of sunshine a year, fabulous gastronomy, loads to do, this is a mums-time-sunshine break you’ll love…
Discover more about the Algarve: www.visitalgarve.pt
Check out our Algarve villas here: palmerparker.com
And our regular special offers section here: special offers

Perfect Algarve luxury villa rentals for large groups

PIC 1 Perfect Algarve villas for groups

Perfect Algarve…

If you’re looking for a luxury villa in Algarve that can accommodate large groups of friends and family – we can help.

The Algarve is one of the best destinations in Europe for family holidays with an all year round warm climate and around 300 days of sunshine. There’s loads to do for the whole family from toddlers to teens and older family members. Beautiful beaches, culture, historic towns, great wines, fabulous gastronomy, colourful markets and gorgeous restaurants – the Algarve has it all.

So why not share it with a group of friends or the whole family, and book one of our larger villas where everyone can have plenty of space and loads of luxury extras.

Villa Quinta Dalia, Vale Judeu, near Almancil, Algarve

PIC Quinta Dalia

This large and gorgeous pastel coloured villa, located between lovely Vilamoura and Amancil has six bedrooms plus a separate annexe with a further 2 bedrooms. With a large pool, fabulous gardens and maid service, everyone will enjoy a relaxing holiday here. A restaurant and café are within easy walking distance and a short drive to any number of superb beaches. Nightlife and sports are close by including the sophisticated world-class golfing resorts of Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo, about 15 minutes away by car. Vilamoura with its magnificent marina is also about 15 minutes’ drive.

Sleeps 16

Details: Villa Quinta Dalia, Vale Judeu, near Almancil, Algarve

Villa Almara, Calicas, Lagos, Algarve

PIC Villa Almara

Imagine waking up, taking a dip in the large pool, perhaps a game of tennis, a stroll in the vineyards in the back garden, picking fresh fruit from the orchards for breakfast. In the evening aperitifs on the terrace overlooking the town of Lagos and the ocean… Villa Almara is super special and in a really fantastic location, around two kilometres from Lagos, 1km from the beach and close to shops. The pool has slides and diving board, there’s a great barbecue area and huge gardens. The main house sleeps 10, an annexe has 2 bedrooms and pool house has been converted to a cottage with bedrooms.

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Details: Villa Almara, Calicas, Lagos, Algarve

Villa Pinhal Velho 11, Vilamoura, Algarve

PIC Pinhal Velho

This is an exceptionally large house in a very scenic spot in Pinhal Velho, surrounded by pines and overlooking the famous Millennium golf course. With 9 bedrooms, games room, home cinema, gym, steam room and infinity pool – there’s plenty to do for everyone. The garden leads straight onto the golf course so for those who like to get a round in – this is absolutely ideal.

Sleeps up 18

Details: Villa Pinhal Velho 11, Vilamoura, Algarve

Villa Sao Afonso, Ferragudo, Algarve

PIC Sao Afonso

Overlooking the Bay of Lagos to the beach of Praia da Rocha from the cliffs of Ferragudo, this is a traditional Portuguese manor house with 9 bedrooms. There are stunning views over the ocean, a private chapel, grand piano that musical guests will adore, the house is beautifully decorated and has one of the best terraces in Portugal – that view!

Details: Villa Sao Afonso, Ferragudo, Algarve

Villa Diamantina, Quinta do Lago, Algarve

PIC Villa Diamantina

If you’re looking for a contemporary designed house of the highest standard then Diamantina is it. Sublime, superb and sensational – this is one of the best houses in Quinta do Lago. Exquisite furnishings and state-of-the-art equipment, including smart home system and home cinema plus heated indoor and outdoor pools and a jacuzzi. It’s in the Monte Golfe area in the heart of Quinta do Lago, front line to the golf course.

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Details: Villa Diamantina, Quinta do Lago, Algarve

Dive In! Cool Pools in Portugal

Dive In! Cool Pools in Portugal

 

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Summer in the Algarve – sunshine beating down, balmy evenings, historic villages, wonderful beaches, fabulous fresh produce and sea food and of course – a dip in your own swimming pool. That’s what holidays in this lovely area of Portugal are all about.

 
Cool pools you’ll love
Whether it’s to cool off, to relax, to play with the kids or to start the day with a splash of healthy exercise, a pool is a must when you take a holiday in sunny Algarve. We specialise in the most luxurious villas in the area and all of our villas have pools but some of them are simply so special we can’t resist sharing them with you.

 
Casa Dos Zefiros, Fuseta, Ria Formosa National Park, Algarve, Luz, Portugal
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One of the finest villas in the Eastern Algarve, sleeping 14 and set in its own grounds within the Ria Formosa Nature Reserve overlooked by an ancient Moorish watchtower. The beach is about 15 minutes’ walk and restaurants are also within easy walking distance. Boat trips, kayaking, kitesurfing, horseriding, fishing and golf are just some of the activities nearby. The games room has a full-size pool table and table tennis.
The pool: Wow factor overload – 14m x 7m large heated pool which has an electric cover and an elegant toughened glass barrier around it as a safety precaution to prevent direct access from the terrace, great for families.
Details: Casa Dos Zefiros, Fuseta, Ria Formosa National Park, Algarve, Luz, Portugal

 
Atlantic View, Vale do Lobo, Algarve, Portugal
Portugal - Vale do Lobo - 017Foto: Joep van der Pal
Quite possibly the best location in Vale do Lobo. Uninterrupted views of the Atlantic, a short stroll away from the beach at Vale do Lobo and Praca, this excellent villa is a perfect setting for your beach holiday. With 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, maid services, beaches a 5-minute walk away as are the shops, this is a stunning holiday home.
The pool: Infinity pool heaven, facing the sea…
Details: Atlantic View, Vale do Lobo, Algarve, Portugal

 

 

Lakeside, Quinta do Lago, Algarve, Portugal
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This is a superb modern villa with every convenience in a fantastic location, private and secluded despite being close to the Lake with its excellent water sports, and only a couple of minutes’ drive from many restaurants, 4 golf courses, the tennis centre and the beach. It is air conditioned throughout and has 4 bedrooms; 2 King size doubles and 2 twins, each with an ensuite bathroom or shower-room.
The pool: The infinity pool overlooks gorgeous gardens and with views over the 16th hole at Quinta South Golf course – perfect for golfers!
Details: Lakeside, Quinta do Lago, Algarve, Portugal

 
Sao Nemesio, Praia dOura, Sta Eulalia, near Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal
PP Blog pic 5 Sao Nemesio
Enjoying a wonderful and unique location directly above the beach of Dos Bicos with private access to the beach from the garden, this is a very beautiful and superbly furnished and equipped villa. Restaurants, nightlife and shopping are all within easy walking distance. Being above the beach, the views of the sea and along the coast are superb but the location is quiet and privacy is excellent. A path and steps lead directly onto the beach from a lovely garden with waterfall, pool and excellent barbecue terrace. Furnishings and layout let you make the most of relaxed indoor and outdoor living.
The pool: 11m x 5 m with an infinity edge, the views are to die for…
Details: Sao Nemesio, Praia dOura, Algarve, Portugal

 
Linucia, Praia da Gale, Algarve, Portugal
PP Blog pic 6 Linucia
Linucia is a unique villa with charm and history, beautifully restored and well-kept, just 4 kms from Albufeira on the sea beside the famous 5-mile beach of Praia da Gale. Paths run through the garden to different parts of the beach and you can see (and hear) the sea from most parts of the property. It is set in extensive grounds with hard surface tennis court and boules court. It also has a staff of three: the cook and her husband (who does the main shopping and gardening) live in a separate cottage, speak perfect English, and are discreet but helpful, and the maid comes to do rooms and laundry.
The pool: 12m x 6m, heated and enclosed on three sides it’s just about perfect for sunbathing and taking a dip in dreamy surroundings.
Details: Linucia, Praia da Gale, Algarve, Portugal

 
Now, we have to be honest, it was really hard to choose just 5 pools to show you because there are so many more exquisite villas on our books and all of them have irresistible pools. Pop on over to our list of villas in Portugal and take a look, you’re sure to find the villa, and pool, of your dreams.

Algarve Motorway Tolls Explained

If you haven’t been to the Algarve before (or even just for a few years) then the new toll system on the A22 motorway might be something of a surprise.  It is actually not new (it has been in operation in Portugal since 1991) but it is new to the Algarve, and it is actually very good: in brief, here is how it works.

You may be more used to road tolls in countries like France where you queue up at a window, fumble for change, pay your money and drive on.  The difference is that in Portugal, no people or cash are involved: instead the car is recorded electronically as it passes the toll points and 48 hours later you can go to a post office to pay the toll.

It is a good system (you don’t have to slow down and there are no queues at the toll points) but going to the post office 2 days later is a bit of a pain, especially if there is a queue there, and it is easy to forget (in which case you get fined).  The biggest problem will  be when you are driving back to the airport: if you are flying out of Portugal, how will you get to the post office the next day?

When you pick up a hire car, most companies will offer you an electronic box at a nominal charge of typically about 2€ per day.  The gadget is usually already installed and beeps as you pass the toll point.  The money is taken from your card, usually at just the public tariff, and you don’t need to do anything else.  Many people say ‘no thanks’ to all the extras at the car hire desks: by all means say ‘no’ to everything else but not the road toll box!

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The Algarve Children’s Activities

With hundreds of miles of unspoilt beaches, beautiful scenery and matchless golf, Portugal is rightly one of the top destinations for family visits in Europe. It is an especial hit with children as well: everybody loves a pool but there is more to it than that. The Algarve loves children and they are entirely welcome in all restaurants and cafes at any time of day, and when the beaches and the pool get tiresome (as if!) there is still plenty for them to do. The following is just a sample of possible days out from the villa, in all parts of the Algarve.

Slide and Splash, Lagoa. More than just a waterpark, this offers at least a day’s worth of thrills and excitement and is highly recommended: something fun for all ages including the large shallow children’s area with dragon and elephant slide and the tunnel slides and Blue Hole. Gets excellent reviews , site here (in Portuguese). (Open 1 April to 31 October, 26€ for adults, 19€ for children.)

Fiesa Sand Sculptures: unusual and definitely a must-see. An annual event since 2003, covering 15000 m2 and created by teams of sculptors from around the world, the effect is baffling in its brilliance and the theme this year is music. You are encouraged to get sandy and creative, and there are workshops and demonstrations. Opening time is from 10am to 10pm up to 14 July, then open until midnight. The evening, when the lights add another dimension, is particularly recommended. At Pera: more information on 282 317 084

Riding at Pine Trees: in a lovely area just between Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo, professional and well-run riding stable, child friendly with happy horses offering individual lessons, hacks and trecking in the pine forests and along the coast. Not the cheapest but worth it. Approved by the BHRS. +351 289 394 369 More details on their Facebook page

Boat Trips: Maybe a bit slow for some thrillseekers, but nobody can say that the sight of dolphins in the wild is dull! As you walk through the marina in Vilamoura, Lagos or Albufeira you will come across lots of organised tours, or splash out and organise your own boat for the day, and do what you want to do. Dolphin watching, deep sea fishing and jetskiing (only for the older ones) are all possible. (Algarve Seafaris 289 302318 in Vilamoura, or Dream Wave at Albufeira Marina have been recommended strongly, but there are lots of others to choose from if availability is tight.)


This photo of Sealife is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Hot Wheels Karting, Albufeira Marina: fun and fast, smelly and dirty and guaranteed to be more exciting than the pool. The underground track has 12 corners and a long straight with powerful 4 stroke gokarts. From 15€ up, depending on how many races etc, student discounts. http://www.algarvekarting.com/ ,

Parque Aventura: get back to nature in the assault course in the treetops where adults and children of 4 and above (minimum 1 metre height) can dangle, slide and climb on the ropes using climbing harnesses.  Make your way along 4 increasingly vertiginous treetop rope courses. Stop where you like – the last one is really quite scary! If that isn’t enough adrenaline there is paintballing as well. 2pm – 6pm daily. http://www.lusoaventura.com/en/the-adventure-parks.html

Wherever you are in the Algarve, local tourist information offices are enormously helpful and keen to help.

Things to do in Praia da Luz

When we first started in Praia da Luz (in the early 70s!) it was really just a modest fishing village, but a very scenic and attractive one.  Since then there has been development but nothing like in other parts of the Algarve: of course tourism is important but it remains low-rise and has a villagey feel that people keep coming back to.  (For that the vibe is relaxing so if it’s nightclubs you want then it probably isn’t the right choice.)

Whereas other parts of the Algarve may revolve around golf or other activities Praia da Luz centres on the beach which is wide sandy and really very nice, with a black cliff at one end.  Even in summer it is not as crowded as beaches elsewhere in the Algarve.

Praia da Luz: the beach

Just off the beach is a cobbled area with a choice of cafes and restaurants, and artists will often show their sculptures and paintings here; often amazing sand sculptures that can take several days in the making.  The beach has showers, sun beds and parasols, and you can hire water sports equipment or go on thrill rides pulled behind power boats.  Luz beach holds the coveted EU Blue Flag for cleanliness.

This area has been inhabited since before the Romans.  Remnants of the Roman settlement remain in the village: have a look at the Roman bathhouse just near the beach.

In a compact area at the centre of the village are a wide variety of shops and restaurants, all within easy walking distance of rental villas that are scattered around the village. Because you can walk to shops and restaurants, a car is not strictly necessary as it may be in other parts of the Algarve, but if you have one then you can really take advantage:  Slide and Splash at Lagoa is a waterslide park that makes a fun day out for children as is the Zoomarine at Guia (a bit further at about 30 minutes drive). Golf courses are all around, starting at about a 5 minute drive from the centre of the village.  Head further west and you come to the west-facing Atlantic coast and beaches such at Praia da Amado where the surf is said to be fantastic

Lagos is the nearest town and about 5-10 minutes away: it is a very attractive and formerly very important port guarded by a 14th Century fort, with a picturesque marina, fish market and main avenue that runs down the length of the the town with many cobbled streets and squares behind it.  A boat trip from here to explore the grottoes that lie along the coast is unforgettable.  The other side of Lagos is the 4km sandy Meia Praia beach.

 

Tastes of the Algarve

With some of the best fish available anywhere and other superb ingredients, the Algarve offers a gastronomic feast for the senses.  If you are planning a special night out during your holiday, there are superb restaurants everywhere.  In the first part of an occasional series, we outline some of the most famous as well as some personal favourites.

Vila Joya: At Praia da Gale, a few miles east of Albufeira.  For many years this was the Algarve’s only restaurant with 2 Michelin stars (more recently joined by Vila Vita Parc) but still the only restaurant to make it onto the San Pellegrino list of the world’s 50 best restaurants.  Tasting menus are the speciality of the Austrian chef whose influences are central European but also draw on the best of Portugal’s traditions of fresh and eye-catching cuisine. (our Villa Linucia is within walking distance)

Vila Vita Parc: At Alporchinhos, near Porches, Central Algarve.  The Ocean Restaurant won its second star in 2011. Chef Hans Neuner has a reputation for the best ingredients from the best sources: a special relationship with the Algarve’s fishing community guarantees some of the best fish available anywhere cooked to perfection, and tomatoes and vegetables are carefully and locally sourced to ensure best quality.  Tasting menus again a speciality with exceptional attention to detail.

Casa Velha overlooking the lake in Quinta do Lago, Casa Velha is a superb French and Portuguese restaurant in a converted centuries-old farmhouse that has functioned as a restaurant for something like 50 years.  Charming and intimate atmosphere; dining indoors or out, choose from the view of the lake or the courtyard with fountain.  Perfect for a special night out when staying in the resort of Quinta do Lago, very good fish, meat and poultry, tasting menus available.

Vistas Restaurant, Monte Rei Golf and Country Club.  Situated just east of Faro, Monte Rei offers not just some of the best golf in Europe (voted best in Portugal, top 100 in Europe) but superb dining in the Vistas restaurant.  The chef, Jaime Perez, is a former protégé of the world famous Ferran Adria and worked with him at the legendary 3 star El Bulli restaurant in the Costa Brava.  His signature is a combination of Catalonian, Andalusian and Basque influences emphasising the use of superb ingredients and flavours.

(Disclaimer: these are just personal opinions and things can get out of date very quickly.  Check with restaurants before confirming your holiday as reservations are essential at most times.  Things get better and things get worse – let us know your experiences.)

Introduction to the Algarve

Combining picturesque scenery with modern infrastructure and superb facilities, this beautiful Portuguese region has so much to offer. Kayak across the crystal blue waters, surf the wild waves or simply lay back on a lounger at your luxury villa.
As Portugal’s premier holiday destination, the Algarve really does offer something for everyone, with white sandy beaches and breathtaking mountains to explore by day and plenty of restaurants, clubs and bars.

Lagos

The Lagos area is known for its quaint cobbled streets with charming shops and churches along with secluded coastal coves offering spectacular scenery. Once the sun sets, the picturesque town becomes a haven for partying surfers, young couples and just about anyone who’s up for dancing the night away.

Head to Lagos Zoo or relax on a boat trip and capture the wonders of the famous and picturesque rock formations along the coast. We offer villas in the Lagos region sleeping up to 16 people. With ideal locations, large pools and luxurious interiors your group holiday to the Algarve couldn’t be more perfect.

Praia da Luz

With a beautiful beach and many cafes, shops and restaurants, the attractive resort of Praia da Luz is perfect for families. Just a short drive away is the Slide and Splash waterpark, great for cooling off on a hot summer’s day, or if you’re feeling really adventurous head to the Zoomarine park where you can swim with the dolphins.
Our villas in Praia da Luz feature air conditioning, views of the sea, large pool and garden areas, and are all within easy walking distance of restaurants and shops.

Quinta do Lago

The Algarve is world famous for its fantastic golf. Quinta do Lago has 72 holes of championship courses with spectacular scenery built around the Ria Formosa National Park which is a unique natural habitat with rare species of flora and fauna.
Those who don’t really think of themselves as the next Tiger Woods can head on down to the superb beach or the Quinta Shopping Centre. With many designer stores and up market restaurants, this is the ideal place to treat yourself while on holiday.
We have a wide selection of different sized villas in the Quinta area. Just a stones’ throw from some of the best golf courses, with breathtaking views and large gardens, these Algarve rentals are ideal for a family or group holiday.

Book your luxury villa holiday in the Algarve today. Give our travel experts a call or send us an online enquiry for more information.