The Hotel Guadiana is now the Grand House, its light-filled rooms recreate the glamour of its past and its bar delivers the best Martini in town. Last year saw the opening of a Pousada within four of the historic 18th-century townhouses, right on the orange tree-lined main square where from the rooftop pool you can look across at the characteristic sloping terracotta roofs. Following hard on its heels came an outpost of The Addresses, a beautifully restored three bed roomed house to rent with concierge services just off the main square.
The hotels have added restaurants to those there already which mostly serve Portuguese regional food from chicken piri-piri to grilled octopus. In between the restaurants, shops abound including the Soares wine store on Teófilo Braga Street where you can explore the very rich world of Portuguese wines.
And then there is the beach. Praia de Santo António is reached through a pine grove rich with the smell of resin and across sand dunes decorated by yellow-flowered succulent plants and the occasional basking chameleon. The Atlantic Ocean, warmed from the nearby Mediterranean, can reach a balmy 26 degrees, making it the Algarve’s hot spot. What’s not to love?
Visiting Vila Real de Santo António in summer 2022
Where to stay
Grand House (00 351 281 530 290) stands on the river front and offers old world elegance throughout its 31 rooms. Doubles from €313 (£265) including breakfast.
Pousada Vila Real de Santo António (00 351 281 249 120) offers a choice of swimming pools and a restaurant which spills onto the town’s main square. Doubles from €75 (£64) including breakfast. Casa Três sleeps six with three double bedrooms and a swimming pool. From €1,200 (£992) for a week.
For more places to stay check out our guide to the best hotels in the Algarve
What to eat
Live like a local and dine on Algarvian clams. The best, with garlic, olive oil and coriander are to be had at the Grand Beach Club with your feet in the sand.
A visit to the neighbouring salt pans at Castro Marim. Recently restored by artisanal salt company Sal Marim, they now supply many of Portugal’s best restaurants. Their nicely packaged salts make the perfect souvenir to bring home, particularly if you opt for the piri-piri.
How to get there
BA and Easyjet fly from multiple UK airports to Faro, which is a 50-minute drive along the coast from Vila Real de Santo António.
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