The living is Portuguesey

Sharron Livingston relaxes in the Algarve


The Algarve, on Portugal's south coast, has long been a favourite of Britons chasing the sun. It always delivers those sunny days, even out of season and is particularly lovely in April, when spring flowers are in full bloom, the crowds have thinned and temperatures hover around a pleasant 20° to 25°C. And it's only a four-hour flight from the UK. Despite the annual throngs of tourists enjoying the beaches, shopping for souvenirs or sauntering around the marina, it has somehow retained its mediaeval charm.

Cerro da Villa (The Old Town, mostly pedestrianised) is Moorishly enchanting, with its warren of streets, where whitewashed houses gleam against the sandstone cliffs. In the distance you can see the modern buildings around the hillsides fanning out from the town. A curious clutch of homes around Marina e Bryn have been painted pink, blue and yellow, earning the local nickname of Legoland.

In the heart of the Old Town is Jardim Square, where street entertainers and tourists converge in a kind of Covent Garden.

Elsewhere, at Areias de São João, known colloquially as "The Strip", nightlife centres on the busy bars, restaurants and al fresco discos, especially along Avenida Francisco Sá Carneiro, its main street. To top it all, the town offers some of the prettiest soft-sand beaches in the region, where fishermen still mend and prepare their nets, as tourists bathe in the sun or sea.

The scene is overlooked by the cliffs that stretch from Vilamoura to Olhos D'Agua. Venture out into the turquoise Atlantic waters and you may spot dolphins frolicking against a backdrop of caves and rock formations.

This year you can spend Pesach at the new five-star Grande Real Santa Eulalia Resort and Hotel Spa, on Santa Eulalia beach. The hotel is offering an all-inclusive Pesach programme that is glatt kosher, kitniot-free and includes two Sedarim and a programme of shiurim. The beachside location and proximity to Lisbon provide plenty of entertainment options for chol hamoed, including an 18-hole golf course, 300m away at the Balaia golf village. There will be excursions - among them a Jewish day trip to Lisbon, a cruise in a glass-bottomed boat and a historical tour of the Algarve or Seville.

● Rates: For two adults in a double or twin room, deluxe resort view, the price is 1,550 euros (£1,150) per person for 11 days/10 nights from April 21 to May 1, 2016. Ace Holiday, 0207 206 0534,,

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