Loulé 5 Day tour

Day 3

Loule 5 day tour - day 3, and today we visit Quarteira. This is day 6 of our Algarve tour. Quarteira’s​ ​fish​ ​market​ ​was​ ​the​ ​first​ ​place​ ​on​ ​my​ ​list​ ​for​ ​the​ ​day,​ ​but​ ​before​ ​rushing​ ​outside,​ ​I​ ​chose​ ​to relax​ ​at​ ​the​ ​hotel’s​ ​sauna​ ​and​ ​pamper​ ​myself​ ​with​ ​a​ ​spa​ ​treatment.

Feeling​ ​renewed,​ ​I​ ​got​ ​in​ ​the​ ​car​ ​and​ ​left​ ​for​ ​the​ ​market.​ ​The​ ​fish​ ​market​ ​in​ ​Quarteira​ ​is​ ​not​ ​as​ ​striking​ ​as the​ ​one​ ​in​ ​Loulé,​ ​but​ ​the​ ​fish​ ​is​ ​just​ ​as​ ​fresh.​ ​Some​ ​even​ ​say​ ​it’s​ ​where​ ​you’ll​ ​find​ ​the​ ​freshest​ ​fish​ ​in​ ​the country.​ ​The​ ​selection​ ​is​ ​quite​ ​diverse​ ​and​ ​many​ ​locals​ ​would​ ​rather​ ​come​ ​here​ ​than​ ​head​ ​to​ ​the supermarket​ ​to​ ​get​ ​their​ ​seafood​ ​fix. In​ ​the​ ​summer,​ ​the​ ​market​ ​becomes​ ​extra​ ​busy​ ​with​ ​Portuguese​ ​vacationers​ ​coming​ ​here​ ​to​ ​buy​ ​lunch after​ ​a​ ​morning​ ​on​ ​the​ ​beach.​ ​At​ ​the​ ​beginning,​ ​the​ ​fish​ ​was​ ​actually​ ​sold​ ​directly​ ​on​ ​the​ ​shore,​ ​but​ ​that ended​ ​when​ ​the​ ​market​ ​was​ ​founded​ ​around​ ​the​ ​1980’s.​ ​Now,​ ​fishmongers​ ​present​ ​their​ ​fish​ ​in​ ​small stalls​ ​with​ ​narrow​ ​passages​ ​between​ ​them​ ​where​ ​buyers​ ​and​ ​sellers​ ​often​ ​struggle​ ​to​ ​get​ ​through​ ​without getting​ ​splashed​ ​by​ ​a​ ​bit​ ​of​ ​water.

Following​ ​the​ ​market,​ ​I​ ​went​ ​for​ ​a​ ​walk​ ​at​ ​Praia​ ​de​ ​Quarteira,​ ​an​ ​urban​ ​beach​ ​that​ ​stretches​ ​for​ ​nearly​ ​2 kilometres.​ ​Alongside​ ​the​ ​beach,​ ​there​ ​is​ ​a​ ​large​ ​promenade​ ​with​ ​palm​ ​trees​ ​on​ ​one​ ​side​ ​and​ ​several​ ​bars and​ ​restaurants​ ​on​ ​the​ ​other.​ ​It​ ​was​ ​in​ ​one​ ​of​ ​these​ ​that​ ​I​ ​settled​ ​down​ at ​for​ ​lunch. Gaivota​ ​Beach​ ​Bar​ ​has​ ​been​ ​delighting​ ​its​ ​clientele​ ​with​ ​delicious​ ​fish​ ​and​ ​seafood​ ​since​ ​1984.​ ​This, combined​ ​with​ ​its​ ​privileged​ ​seafront​ ​location​ ​makes​ ​it​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​best​ ​dining​ ​spots​ ​in​ ​Quarteira.

After​ ​lunch,​ ​I​ ​headed​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Family​ ​Golf​ ​Park​ ​in​ ​Vilamoura,​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​largest​ ​mini​ ​golf​ ​parks​ ​in​ ​Europe!​ ​It features​ ​two​ ​courses​ ​of​ ​18​ ​holes​ ​with​ ​a​ ​design​ ​inspired​ ​by​ ​ancient​ ​Rome.​ ​Additionally,​ ​there​ ​is​ ​a snack-bar​ ​offering​ ​homemade​ ​burgers​ ​and​ ​a​ ​games​ ​room​ ​for​ ​all​ ​ages.

Right​ ​next​ ​to​ ​the​ ​park​ ​stands​ ​the​ ​Roman​ ​Site​ ​of​ ​Cerro​ ​da​ ​Vila,​ ​an​ ​unlikely​ ​find​ ​in​ ​the​ ​bustling​ ​town​ ​of Vilamoura.​ ​The​ ​Algarve​ ​was​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​areas​ ​most​ ​populated​ ​by​ ​Romans​ ​in​ ​Portugal,​ ​partly​ ​due​ ​to​ ​its easy​ ​access​ ​to​ ​the​ ​sea​ ​which​ ​was​ ​a​ ​main​ ​trading​ ​route​ ​at​ ​the​ ​time. In​ ​this​ ​historic​ ​setting,​ ​you​ ​can​ ​see​ ​the​ ​ruins​ ​of​ ​an​ ​old​ ​Villa​ ​with​ ​public​ ​baths,​ ​a​ ​necropolis​ ​and​ ​several​ ​salt tanks.​ ​After​ ​the​ ​Romans​ ​came​ ​the​ ​Visigoths​ ​and​ ​the​ ​Moorish.​ ​Many​ ​of​ ​the​ ​relics​ ​of​ ​these​ ​civilisations​ ​can now​ ​be​ ​found​ ​at​ ​the​ ​Cerro​ ​da​ ​Vila​ ​Museum.

​I​ ​strolled​ ​around​ ​the​ ​villa’s​ ​grounds​ ​on​ ​my​ ​own,​ ​admiring​ ​the​ ​black​ ​and​ ​white​ ​mosaic​ ​floors,​ ​some​ ​fully intact,​ ​others​ ​resembling​ ​an​ ​incomplete​ ​jigsaw​ ​with​ ​pieces​ ​missing.​ ​From​ ​here,​ ​I​ ​walked​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Vilamoura marina,​ ​the​ ​largest​ ​marina​ ​in​ ​Portugal​ ​with​ ​over​ ​800​ ​berths. The​ ​marina​ ​is​ ​surrounded​ ​by​ ​several​ ​shops,​ ​hotels,​ ​restaurants,​ ​a​ ​yacht​ ​club​ ​and​ ​incredible​ ​beaches​ ​that tend​ ​to​ ​get​ ​crowded​ ​during​ ​the​ ​height​ ​of​ ​summer. 

A​ ​few​ ​steps​ ​away​ ​from​ ​the​ ​marina​ ​is​ ​the​ ​Casino​ ​Vilamoura,​ ​a​ ​place​ ​for​ ​nightlife​ ​entertainment,​ ​where people​ ​come​ ​to​ ​try​ ​their​ ​luck,​ ​attend​ ​a​ ​show​ ​or​ ​simply​ ​grab​ ​a​ ​drink​ ​at​ ​the​ ​bar. At​ ​night,​ ​the​ ​casino​ ​is​ ​lit​ ​up​ ​with​ ​red​ ​and​ ​green​ ​neon​ ​lights,​ ​a​ ​sight​ ​that​ ​is​ ​mirrored​ ​by​ ​the​ ​stunning​ ​colour reflections​ ​in​ ​the​ ​fountain​ ​ahead​ ​of​ ​the​ ​entrance.

After​ ​a​ ​few​ ​rounds​ ​on​ ​the​ ​slot​ ​machines,​ ​I​ ​drove​ ​to​ ​São​ ​Gabriel,​ ​an​ ​innovative​ ​restaurant​ ​set​ ​on​ ​the​ ​edge of​ ​Vale​ ​do​ ​Lobo. São​ ​Gabriel​ ​offers​ ​its​ ​visitors​ ​a​ ​taste​ ​of​ ​the​ ​sea,​ ​with​ ​most​ ​of​ ​its​ ​meals​ ​featuring​ ​fish​ ​from​ ​the​ ​region.​ ​The menu​ ​is​ ​inspired​ ​by​ ​traditional​ ​Portuguese​ ​dishes​ ​and​ ​served​ ​with​ ​a​ ​creative​ ​twist.​ ​Even​ ​choosing​ ​the wine​ ​is​ ​made​ ​easy​ ​thanks​ ​to​ ​the​ ​experienced​ ​in-house​ ​sommelier​ ​that​ ​is​ ​there​ ​to​ ​advise​ ​you.​ ​It’s​ ​the delicious​ ​flavours,​ ​the​ ​quiet​ ​setting​ ​and​ ​the​ ​amiable​ ​staff​ ​that​ ​have​ ​made​ ​this​ ​restaurant​ ​worthy​ ​of​ ​its Michelin​ ​star. From​ ​the​ ​appetizers​ ​to​ ​the​ ​scrumptious​ ​chocolate​ ​dessert,​ ​I​ ​savoured​ ​every​ ​bit​ ​of​ ​this​ ​fine​ ​meal​ ​and​ ​left wanting​ ​more.​ ​Having​ ​finished​ ​dinner,​ ​I​ ​went​ ​back​ ​to​ ​the​ ​hotel​ ​and​ ​started​ ​packing​ ​for​ ​the​ ​next​ ​day.

Driving map for Day 3 of this Loulé tour

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