3 Hour Activities


PAIXA
52 Quadradhinhos Lote, Vale do Lobo, Almancil
+351­-28­9-394-699
paixarestaurante.com

PILE IT ON

  • Discover a comprehensive pesticos menu with a wine list to match
  • Opt for the outside garden or dine inside, surrounded by hundreds of candles

The Spanish may have tapas, but the Portuguese have petiscos, their rendition of bite­-size snacks that are perfect for sharing. If you want to explore the building blocks of the Portuguese kitchen, there is no better place to start. Most restaurants will serve a few petiscos while you browse the menu—typically, sliced carrots tossed in olive oil and heavily flecked with fresh coriander; the thick, strong presunto (dry­-cured ham from acorn-­fed black pigs); and local, fruity green olives—but to experience a more extensive variety of the flavor­-packed dishes, head to Paixa​, no more than five minutes from the Conrad. Here you can graze to your heart’s content on their comprehensive petiscos menu and make the most of their excellent Portuguese wines by the glass: a huge wine cellar dominates the entrance and there are over 200 bottles on their wine list. At lunch, opt for tables in a small garden outside. Come evening, the open-­plan interior is illuminated with chandeliers and hundreds of flickering candles. Try traditional dishes such as patanisca de bacalhau (cod fritters) or smoked sheep’s cheese with honey and almonds—or throw caution to the wind and have pig’s ears with coriander, the Algarve kitchen’s ubiquitous herb, or xerem, an utterly delicious type of local polenta studded with prawns and clams.
Just north of the Conrad Algarve, this dining experience is on Estrada Vale Formoso. Just go to where it intersects with Avenida 5 de Outubro, and you’ll see the restaurant. It’s only a five minute trip from the hotel.

PAIXA
52 Quadradhinhos Lote, Vale do Lobo, Almancil
+351­-28­9-394-699
paixarestaurante.com

LOULÉ MUNICIPAL MARKET
Praça da República, Loulé
+351-289-400-600
7:00 am-3:00 pm Monday to Saturday, Closed Sunday

CAFÉ AMENDOAL
22 Largo Gago Coutinho, Loulé
+351-289-462-503
6:00 am-7:00 pm daily

MARKET TOUR AND MASTER CLASS WITH EXECUTIVE CHEF
€180 for one, €130 per person for two or more
9am-1pm Tuesday to Friday

IMMERSE YOURSELF IN THE FLAVORS OF THE ALGARVE

One of the most authentic experiences you can have as a traveler is to visit a local market—and the Algarve is no exception. Ten kilometers (approximately six miles) from the Conrad Algarve, you’ll find the old market town of Loulé, its Moorish origins still visible in the bell tower of the 13th-century church of São Clemente. Find your way to the heart of town and to the pink-domed Loulé Municipal Market (fun fact: it dates back to 1908). If you time your visit to be there on a Saturday, you’ll find local farmers surrounding the market with their colorful produce from the countryside. Even on weekdays the market’s ironwork interiors bustle with artisans selling their wares. From lace, cork, sheepskin, and wicker to the freshest of fish, local cheeses, and pastries filled with sweet potato—there’s plenty to see and try. There’s even the latest handcrafted beers from the microbreweries that have begun to pop up in the region. We think Sovina (sovina.pt) is definitely one to try. Want more intel? Why not visit the market with our Executive Chef, Osvalde Silva, and learn from him how to select the best ingredients to create an Algarvean feast? Choose the clams, prawns, sea bass, tomatoes, and peppers for a traditional cataplana (also the name for the domed copper dish in which this aromatic seafood preparation is served). Finish your time in Loulé with a shot of excellent coffee (bica) at the Amendoal Café and don’t even try to resist the regional specialties including fig cookies, carob cakes, marzipan sweets, or honey-dripping pastry rolls—after all, you’re on vacation!
Has the market visit whet your appetite? Head back to the Conrad Algarve with Chef for a hands-on master class in how to prepare the ingredients you’ve just seen at the market. From simple-but-delicious local clams with white wine, to sea bass baked in a salt crust, to Portugal’s beloved cataplana, you’ll learn how to re-create your favorite Portuguese culinary memories back at home.

LOULÉ MUNICIPAL MARKET
Praça da República, Loulé
+351-289-400-600
7:00 am-3:00 pm Monday to Saturday, Closed Sunday

CAFÉ AMENDOAL
22 Largo Gago Coutinho, Loulé
+351-289-462-503
6am-7pm daily

MARKET TOUR AND MASTER CLASS WITH EXECUTIVE CHEF
€180 for one, €130 per person for two or more
9:00 am-1:00 pm Tuesday to Friday

ERMIDA DE NOSSA SENHORA DA CONCEIÇÃO
Rua Paio Peres Correia, Loulé
9:30 am-5:30 pm, Tuesday to Friday from October to May; 10:00 am-6:00 pm Tuesday to Friday from June to September; 9:30 am-4:00 pm Saturday

ART CATTO GALLERY
43 Avenida Jose da Costa Mealha, Loulé
+351-289-419-447
artcatto.com
10:00 am-6:00 pm Monday to Friday;
Saturday by appointment

QUARTEIRA FISH MARKET
Lago do Mercado, Quarteira

TICO TICO
2 Rua das Laranjeiras, Quarteira
+351-289-313-126

GET YOUR FILL OF ART – AND SEAFOOD

We know you’re here to relax and unwind but if you want to explore a bit of Algarvean culture, we’d suggest a few hours in Loulé, a 20 minute drive from the resort. Your first stop, hidden down a side street, is Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception (Ermida de Nossa Senhora da Conceição) which dates back to the 17th century; the plain and sober style then in vogue cloaks the chapel’s entrance. The tiny chapel contains an ornately carved, gilded altarpiece; pictorial tiles; and a 19th-century painting by local artist Rasquinho on the ceiling, of the Assumption of Our Lady. For a taste of modernity, your next destination has to be ArtCatto Gallery, which brings a whole new level of contemporary art to the Algarve. Vibrant canvases by Voka, tactile sculpture by Georg Scheele, and textural works by Alisa Julia Lim A Po of acrylic on copper or aluminum are worth taking your time over. If you’re starting to feel peckish after this feast for the eyes, pop into Quarteira Fish Market to see the bounty of the Algarve coast on display, and finish with a visit to the nearby Tico Tico for an off-the-radar lunch with some of the best seafood in the region. Try the garlicky clams, the octopus, or another local favorite: percebes, aka gooseneck barnacles. You won’t be sorry you did.

ERMIDA DE NOSSA SENHORA DA CONCEIÇÃO
Rua Paio Peres Correia, Loulé
9:30 am-5:30 pm, Tuesday to Friday from October to May; 10:00 am-6:00 pm Tuesday to Friday from June to September; 9:30 am-4:00 pm Saturday

ART CATTO GALLERY
43 Avenida Jose da Costa Mealha, Loulé
+351-289-419-447
artcatto.com
10:00 am-6:00 pm Monday to Friday; Saturday by appointment

QUARTEIRA FISH MARKET
Lago do Mercado, Quarteira
TICO TICO
2 Rua das Laranjeiras, Quarteira
+351-289-313-126

ALVOR BOARDWALK​
walkalgarve.com/

GIGI’S
Beachside, Quinta do Lago
+351-964-045-178
quintadolage.com/en/

GO FOR A CONSTITUTIONAL

  • Go for a feel-­good walk along the wetlands and lagoons of a local fishing village
  • Cross the longest wooden bridge in Europe for a stroll with incredible scenery
  • Indulge in fresh seafood at the most glamorous beach restaurant in the Algarve

Have you ever noticed that you always feel better after a walk on the beach? It has been proven that a brisk walk along the sea is an excellent cure­all (the healthy negative ions in the air are said to increase our ability to absorb oxygen and balance levels of serotonin). So, while the Conrad Spa can smooth out wrinkles with our Intraceuticals oxygen and inhalation therapy, combining a visit to the spa with the exercise of a good sea walk is our go-­to. There is a well­-marked boardwalk route along the beach at Alvor​, a pretty fishing village around 45 minutes’ drive from the hotel, which takes you past wetlands and lagoons where you should see wading birds such as black-­and-­white oystercatchers, with their dainty, long red legs, and rosy pink greater flamingos. For an equally invigorating walk closer to the property, cross the longest wooden bridge in Europe over the tidal lagoon at Quinta do Lago, just a 10­-minute walk from the hotel. Go left out of the gate and down the main avenue toward the sea and tread the sands until you have worked up enough of an appetite to indulge in the particularly good seafood at the most glamorous beach restaurant of the Algarve, Gigi’s​. Make sure to seek out the restaurant’s resident Portuguese water dog, Duna, for a cuddle and a photo op. Then you can dine, often accompanied by an aria or two from larger-­than-­life owner Gigi, on the traditional octopus with rice in a cloak of tomato, garlic, onion, and coriander, or on the juicy grilled king prawns with a spicy piripiri sauce (a searingly­-hot mixture of crushed piripiri chiles, citrus peel, onion, pimento, and more, that the Portuguese brought back from Africa and introduced to the rest of the world).
To start your invigorating walking tour, head over to the small town of Alvor. Find where the town ends and the lagoon begins. Stroll around this large wetland and enjoy nature at its finest. When you’ve worked up an appetite, make your way to Gigi’s in Almansil, right on the water.

ALVOR BOARDWALK​
walkalgarve.com/

GIGI’S
Beachside, Quinta do Lago
+351-964-045-178
quintadolage.com/en/

EXPLORE THE HISTORIC CORK ROUTE

Have you noticed the dramatic cork oak groves that line many of the Algarve’s country roads? They’re the clusters of trees with stripped trunks, where the cork has been collected for use by wineries, for furnishings, or even by industrious fashion designers such as Lisbon-based Fatima Lopes. São Brás de Alportel, a 30-minute drive from the Conrad Algarve, used to be one of the biggest producers of cork in the country (and was also the birthplace of the famous Moorish poet, Ibn Ammar, in the 12th century). To understand the evolution of cork in the region—and its importance to Portugal—we suggest a visit to São Brás de Alportel and its cork factory. Large merchant houses dominate the typical cobblestoned alleyways of the town, but you’ll also see quintessentially Algarvean whitewashed houses topped with latticed chimney pots. A visit to the factory showcases the history of São Brás de Alportel, as well as the processing of the cork stacks into the variety of finished products, including wine-bottle corks.
The last stop of the day (via a 4×4 ride through the dramatic cork groves), is at Quinta do Freixo, a farm where you can taste the traditional jams made with fruit produced at the farm according to the organic production methods. You can also taste the Algarve traditional Fig spirit distilled in the farm. It´s an essential and powerful taste of the Algarve.

QUINTA DO FREIXO
Benafim, Loulé
+351-289-472-185
quintadofreixo.org/

A DOG FOR THE DAY

  • Play with a Portuguese water dog and discover why they’re the Algarve’s choice canine
  • Learn the rich history of this lovable, energetic breed, and see them in action

The Portuguese water dog might have achieved global fame as the chosen pet for the American First Family, but in the Algarve they have long been the canine of choice. Originally taught by the Romans to herd fish and retrieve nets, they were constant companions to fishermen, even ferrying messages between boats, their webbed feet powering them through the water. Rarely used for their original purpose since fishing methods have modernized, they are still found in many homes in the Algarve, where as pets they are lovable, energetic, strong, and extremely faithful to their masters. Currently, a park is being created in Faro to house Portuguese water dogs, give educational talks on them, and allow visitors to interact with them, but until that is open, Carla Peralta, who breeds these dogs, would be happy to arrange an interaction experience with her dogs (with a few days’ notice).
Carla is based near Olhão, around 25 minutes from the hotel.