Lose yourself in Lisbon
Fancy a few days away in Lisbon before or after your holiday at Casa Jovic? We did.
Fly into Lisbon for a short city break which is just a 2 hour drive (or 2 hour train ride) from Casa Jovic. Lisbon has plenty to see and is a bustling city full of history, culture and glorious sunshine!
Top tip: pick up a bus pass for Yellow Bus tours at the tourism office. These passes not only give you access to 4 routes of guided bus tours but also transport on the local tram routes which is sure to get you everywhere you need to be.
Lisbon has so much to offer it would be impossible to share it all (and we don't want to spoil the surprises that this city holds!) but here are just of the few reasons we recommend a visit:
One of the great things about Portugal is that you’re never far from a vineyard (Vinha). And what’s better than enjoying a nice wine whilst perusing some excellent artworks? Fortunately, many excellent artists live in and around The Algarve. But at Casa Jovic we’re really lucky. The villa is about 10 minutes’ drive from a fantastic winery: Quinta-dos-Vales which produces a number of different red, white, rosé and sparkling wines of differing strengths (and costs) from something like 19 Hectares. But the grounds, which are used for weddings and other events, also house some pretty amazing art. It is also the venue for many art related events and each year the vineyard holds wine-tasting open days (well worth a visit!). The artist Karl Heinz Stock designed most of the sculptures that can be seen around the property and in the photo’s we took during one such wine-tasting event.
Getting to Quinta-dos-Valesis pretty easy. Head towards Portimâo on the N125 (that’s left at Lagoa roundabout). At the first roundabout take the road towards Slide & Splash. The map below provides directions from the road once you pass the Slide & Splash entrance.
Spotted Live in Carvoeiro!
Aqualand, for years recognised by Algarvian’s as The Big One (nicknamed after one of its rides), is having a facelift. As you can see, Aqualand is increasing the size of its main Anaconda flumes which should make for some fun tube rides. Aqualand already has a great ring-based ride called Rapidos and another called Banzai, which is simply a very exciting long drop on a tea-tray. But the new flumes should bring it up to the standard of Slide-n-Splash and means that Casa Jovic not only has the best water park in the Algarve within five minutes’ drive, we also have another great park just 15 minutes away along the N125 between Porches and Alcantarilha, in the direction of Faro.
A tip: buy tickets for the waterparks before you go from Multipro in Sesmarias. You’ll receive a discount and avoid the queues.
18 Holes Anyone?
September is traditionally the start of the golf season in The Algarve. The sun isn’t so intense but the days are long, making it perfect for some leisurely, yet often competitive, golfing holidays.
Less than 10 minutes drive from the villa you can find two of the best courses, not just in the Algarve but throughout Europe!
Eight times consecutive host of the European Seniors Tour Qualifying final, Vale de Pinta golf is respected for its playability and challenging layout but it’s also a fun and varied course. The course is recognised as one of the best designed courses in Europe. But there’s more........!!
Literally across the road is the uniquely designed Gramacho course. 18 holes and 27 greens, plus numerous different tee points, means players are able to enjoy the same course time and time again but always with slightly different challenges. The course has hosted many tournaments, but what really makes it stand out is its natural look and feel. The designers used the natural undulations and rocky outcrops, old stone walling and original tree lines (with the addition of the odd lake or two and some challenging bunkers) to create a very natural setting that is more like taking a stroll in the countryside than it is playing a professional course. For more information - click on the course map.
On the last Saturday of August every year Carvoeiro (and many of the other villages and towns in the Algarve) hosts a very impressive summer party. Quite possibly the most impressive firework display you'll see in years but also live music and a big local celebration and typical of the Portuguese - its all laid on for free.
Guaranteed entertainment for all ages. Read more on the celebrations and be sure to check this out next year....
A great way to visit Portimão, Praia da Rocha or Portimão. Marina is to take the water taxi from Ferragudo. For just a few euros you will be driven across the mouth of the River Arade to the Portimão Marina and better than that, most of the year the driver will pick you up whenever you're ready and bring you back over to Ferragudo - just like any other taxi! Great experience and very exciting way to explore some new areas.
Visit the Lagos Caves by Train
Next weekend hosts the Annual International Algarve Fair aka The Fatacil in Lagoa, Algarve (just 5 mins from Casa Jovic). The Fatacil brings everything that is Portugal together - crafts, food, music, farming, wine and so much more. We were lucky enough to catch Boney M at the Fatacil just a few years ago but you're sure to find some great local acts as well as international stars!
Shop Til You Drop
The Algarve is a great place for shopping. One of the best shopping malls is Aqua, in the heart of Portimão. Aqua is partially open-air and has around 120 shops across three floors. Free underground parking at the centre is a real asset. Open daily from 9am until midnight the shopping centre is best known locally for being the first place in the Algarve with an H&M clothes store and a Primark. But you’ll also find many other international and locally branded stores including a large toy shop, many shoe shops and a large supermarket. A good place for a coffee and toastie is the McCafé, next door to its larger sister, McDonald’s. There are also places to have a hot meal or grab a beer. There’s even a small bowling alley in the children’s amusement area!
Finding Aqua can be a bit challenging but once you find it and get your bearing’s, you’ll be able to find your way around Portimão like a local. If in doubt, turn left onto the N125 at Lagoa and keep going, over the big bridge (closing the windows as you do to prevent the interesting smell as you reach the other side of the bridge!) and turn off when you see the Monchique and Hospital direction signs. Don’t head for Monchique but instead head into Portimão with the hospital on your right. Instead of taking the underpass take the sliproad and at the top of the slope take the first exit from the roundabout. Then follow the signs!
A Little Pizza Heaven
One of the great things about staying in Sesmarias is that you're within 5-7 minutes easy walk of one of the best restaurants in the whole region.
Donato's restaurant provides consistently good Italian food at very sensible prices. But there's a catch. While you're certainly assured of a great meal without breaking the bank, its popularity means that Donato's is often the busiest restaurant for miles around - at any time of year. Certainly between May & October it's wise to book. But you'll be pleased you did. We've had countless meals there and have never been disappointed.
You'll find Restaurant Donato's just opposite the water tower in Sesmarias. The phone number, along with many other recommended venues, can be found in the welcome book at Casa Jovic. Enjoy!
Sand Gets In Your Eyes
Be sure to visit the new Attraction 'Tornado' at Casa Jovic's local waterpark, 'Slide and Splash', just 5 mins drive from Casa Jovic. In addition to this, you'll find multiple thrilling tube slides, ring rides and a giant swimming pool and childrens play pool. For those that would just like to relax, you'll have great opportunities with the large jacuzzi pool and key sunbathing spots!
What more could we say!
A YouTube video that says it all. Courtesy of Facebook Page "1 million fans of Portugal", this video spells out many of the reasons why we love Portugal so much. Take a look!
Available from nearby Carvoeiro, enjoy a 1 hour or 1 hour 30 minute exploration trip in one of the traditional fishing boats to enjoy breathtaking caves, panoramic views of the dramatic coastline and see views of the Algarve that you could never truly relish from the land.
The caves, blowholes and jagged coastline are ever changing and the experience of exploring inside the hidden caves is enjoyable for all the family (life jackets also provided). A must see for all that can as it is truly not an experience you can get anywhere else.
For the fifth consecutive year the FIM Superbike World Championship's Portuguese round will be held at the Algarve's very own International race circuit, about 25 minutes from the villa - 21-23 September 2012.
It's a fantastic circuit, approved by both FIM and the FIA and hosts many events throughout the year. The circuit is officially on the F1 testing list and both Mclaren and Torro Rosso have tested here, so everyone is praying that one day it will host a return to Portugal for the F1 calendar. The circuit also runs driver experience days, plus the Internationally acclaimed karting circuit on the same site provides great fun if you fancy yourself as the next Lewis Hamilton.
"Carvoeiro is a great place on the Algarve to stay, with many places of interest within easy reach. Had trips out to Vilamoura, Ferragudo, Portimao, Silves and Luz"
"We had many nice meals down in Carvoeiro, and particularly like 'Ela and Elas', 'Casa do Bife' and 'O Tascos'"
"Some of our favourite places to eat were L'Orange, Bon Bon (Sesmarias), Primavera (Carvoeiro) and Jophil's (Sesmarias)"