Holidays to Alcantarilha offer a peaceful Algarve retreat that’s still in easy reach of long, sandy beaches and Portugal’s biggest waterpark.
A quiet retreat
Alcantarilha is a lovely peaceful town that sits inland from Portugal’s sunbaked Algarve coast. The old part has whitewashed houses that weave their way up the narrow cobbled streets, where you’ll find a handful of traditional restaurants. It’s an away-from-it-all place but there are fantastic beaches and the country’s biggest waterpark nearby.
Alcantarilha is inland, but you’ve got a great beach just 7 kilometres away at Armaçao de Pera. It’s a long one – 12 kilometres of sand studded with sunloungers, bars and ice-cream kiosks. Surfing and jet-skiing are big here, and the gentle slope of sand into the sea means it’s a really safe spot for paddling, too.
The old town
Alcantarilha’s old town is a study in traditional life. It’s where you’ll see old men chatting in cafés, while women pause to catch up on gossip outside the bell-towered church. Next to the church is the intriguing Chapel of Bones – it’s really what it says, with over a thousand skulls crammed into the 15th-century walls and ceilings.
Daytrips to Lagos and Albufeira
In less than half an hour you can be at Lagos Zoo, a small island retreat where gibbons, lemurs and apes keep everyone entertained. And Lagos town centre is worth a stop-in for its pretty marina and clothing boutiques. A stroll down the pedestrianised Rua 5 de Outubro takes you through Albufeira’s Old Town, where you can enjoy the beautiful 18th-century architecture of the clock tower and Sacred Art Museum.