5 Days Wine Tasting Algarve & Culinary Vacations Portugal

  • Figs on the Funcho, Algarve, Portugal

Overview

Cooking Vacations Portugal and Algarve Wine Tasting

We all love food, and there’s no better time to experience new local and culinary dishes than on holiday. The Algarve is renowned for its high-quality food and abundance of fresh fish and seafood, succulent meats, and local preserves and hand-made produce. The ultimate way of enjoying the very best food the Algarve has to offer is to take part in the culinary extravaganza at Figs on the Funcho. Whether you’re a novice in the kitchen or an experienced cook, grab a spatula and enjoy the exciting cooking holiday!

Highlights

  • Learn how to prepare Portuguese traditional dishes
  • Join hands on cooking classes with instruction from professional chef
  • Learn about ingredients used in Portuguese cuisine and sample local specialties
  • Visit award-winning wine cellar and have wine tasting sessions
  • Enjoy the warm, all-year-round Algarve sunshine
  • 4 nights accommodation
  • 3 days with instruction
  • English
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Figs on the Funcho is an idyllic and private location in semi-rural countryside of the Algarve, with direct views over Barragem do Funcho and the river. There are two hidden gems, the river house and the river lodge, which are set back in the hills surrounded by fig and carob trees, wild flowers, and pathways winding down to the waters edge. Each location has its own charm, beautifully-appointed accommodation, and comfortable social areas. Large decks and terraces provide a daily alternative for outdoor dining and uninterrupted views of the countryside and Funcho Dam. Rented separately or together, Figs on the Funcho can sleep between 10 and 25 guests and accommodate up to 100 guests for special celebrations.

The river house

For this holiday, you will be staying at the river house. Situated in the hills of the Algarve, the river house accommodates ten adults, including children and up to four babies. Originally a Portuguese farmhouse, it has been tastefully and fully renovated in contemporary style. Weekly linen and towel change, or mid-weekly on request. Bath and pool towels are provided.

Family-friendly facilities

The river house is very family friendly. It has all kinds of baby equipment, so you don’t have to worry about bringing any bulky amenities with you. The infinity pool has a lockable safety gate that can surround the pool as and when required. Other amenities include high chair, baby bouncer, baby den, bed guard, changing mat, baby bath, potty, mosquito nets, toys, DVDs for toddlers, stair gates, cot, booster seat, and baby monitor.

Outdoor spaces

The river house has ample space for outdoor entertaining. A large deck winds itself around three quarters of the house. Along the side, the calcada sunset terrace offers welcoming shade and is also an ideal spot for outdoor dining under the mature carob trees, with views of the Funcho Dam and river in the background. The pool deck is situated at the back of the house and perfect for admiring the spectacular sunsets, whilst enjoying a well-deserved cocktail. The large waterfront deck is also at the back of the house. This is a great place to fire up the BBQ or pre-book a local chef to entertain you one evening with Portuguese fish and grilled specialties.

The green room

This twin / double bedroom on the first floor is full of character with rustic, wooden beams and a Juliet balcony that overlooks the pool, and Funcho Dam below. The most beautiful sunsets can be seen from this level and you can sleep in longer with the black out curtain. It shares a large family bathroom, which has a walk-in power shower, double wash basins, complimentary toiletries, and dressing gowns.

The infinity pool

Swim and relax at the totally secluded pool on the edge of the property with views of the winding Funcho Dam below. The panoramic scenes from the infinity pool are spectacular, especially at sunset. There is enough space for everyone with comfortable sun loungers with soft cushions and a martini seat in the swimming pool. Crack open a bottle of your favorite champagne and toast your choice of location! Parents can be rest assured, as the pool comes with lockable safety gates that can be put in place, when staying with small children. It is recommended that these safety gates are used at all times during your stay.

The kitchen

The kitchen is spacious and fully equipped with appliances to satisfy all cooking enthusiasts. A large, 10-seater cherry wood table offers ample space for food preparation, socializing, and eating. The river house is self-catering, but for those reluctant to spend time in the kitchen, there is a possibility of requesting the services of a local culinary chef, who will prepare a scrumptious dinner every night for you and your guests. Alternatively, pre-order lunches or dinners from catering partners, who offer a delivery service. You can also request a welcome hamper, picnic hampers, or packed lunches. The kitchen's amenities include dishwasher, washing machine, American fridge / freezer, ice maker, microwave, small fridge, Range master toaster, coffee machine, blender, docking station, iron / ironing board, kettle, and orange juicer.

The lounge

The beautiful lounge space never fails to impress guests. Double-height ceilings and wooden beams, comfortable furniture, and colorful accessories give it an airy, yet cozy, feel. When the sun has taken its toll and you prefer to relax indoors, this is the perfect spot. There is a wide collection of books, magazines, and games too. Even a keyboard! Other amenities include sofas and chairs, flat-screen TV, satellite channels, and Wi-Fi.

The master bedroom

This is the largest bedroom in the house with its own beautiful en-suite bathroom. Situated on the ground floor, this room has double doors leading onto the sunset terrace, lawn area, and infinity pool beyond. The bathroom has a walk-in power shower, double washbasins, complimentary toiletries, and dressing gowns.

The purple room

Another spacious and characterful room with double skylights, this unit is perfect to take in the intense skies and star show at night. This room has a large fan that provides a welcome and cooling breeze. Situated on the first floor, it shares the large family bathroom, with walk-in power shower, double washbasins, complimentary toiletries, and dressing gowns.

The teal room

This is the second largest bedroom on the ground floor with a large en-suite bathroom. Shades of blue and teal give the room a calming and luxurious feel. Double doors open out onto the lawn area and infinity pool with wonderful panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. The bathroom has a walk-in power shower, complimentary toiletries, and dressing gowns.

The zebra room

Popular with children, this bedroom has a twin bed set-up, which can be made into a double on request. Black out curtains allow for a longer lie-in. A Juliet balcony overlooks the Funcho Dam and panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. This room is on the first floor and shares a large family bathroom, with walk-in power shower, double washbasins, complimentary toiletries, and dressing gowns.

The family lodge

Due to open in the near future, the indoor living areas, bedrooms, and outdoor entertaining spaces of the river lodge are a fusion of simplicity and luxury. Weekly linen and towel change, or mid-weekly on request. Bath towels and pool towels provided.

Albufeira room

Named after the town of Albufeira, a traditional town on the beach front with pretty cobbled streets lined with restaurants, cafes and shops, this room has ample space and folding doors that separate the bedroom from a lounge area. The contemporary interiors combine light color schemes with vibrant soft furnishings from Portugal and northern Africa, giving each room a unique style and welcoming feel. Situated on the ground floor, Albufeira has double doors that open out onto a private terrace, equipped with a table and chairs, sun loungers, and a parasol. Bougainvillea and other creepers cover a pergola offering privacy, yet easy access to the gardens and waterfront. The en-suite bathroom has a walk-in power shower, basin, heated towel rail, complimentary toiletries, and dressing gowns.

Alte room

It is named after Alte, a typical, Algarve village of whitewashed houses with lattice work, handcrafted chimneys and narrow, cobbled streets nestling in the foothills of the Serra do Caldeirão. This beautiful, contemporary-styled room with folding doors that separate the bedroom from a lounge area. The contemporary interiors combine light color schemes with vibrant soft furnishings from Portugal and northern Africa, giving each room a unique style and welcoming feel. Situated on the first floor, Alte has double doors that open out onto a private balcony, equipped with a small table, chairs, and a parasol. Views are of the gardens and rural countryside surrounding the lodge. An en-suite bathroom has a walk-in power shower, basin, heated towel rail, complimentary toiletries, and dressing gowns.

Family-friendly facilities

Just like the river house, the river lodge is very family friendly. Surrounded by rural countryside, there is plenty of space for children to run around. There are swings and a trampoline in the grounds and scooters, bicycles, and table tennis to keep the older ones occupied. Complimentary baby equipment is for guests to use so there’s no need to bring any bulky amenities with you. The infinity pool has a lockable safety gate that can surround the pool as and when required. Figs on the Funcho recommends that this is always in place when occupying the house with young children.

Faro room

This room has a double / twin bedroom and a separate lounge as well as disabled facilities. Wide doorways, an easy access en-suite bathroom and low counters are just some of the features of the room. Situated on the ground floor and close to the main lounge area, contemporary interiors combine light colors with vibrant soft furnishings from Portugal and northern Africa, giving it a unique style and welcoming feel. Faro has double doors that open out onto a private terrace, equipped with a table and chairs, sun loungers, and a parasol. Bougainvillea and other creepers cover the pergola offering privacy and views of the gardens and waterfront. The en-suite bathroom has a wet room, low-level wash basin, heated towel rail, complimentary toiletries, and dressing gowns.

Lagos room

A beautiful, contemporary styled room with folding doors that separate the bedroom from a lounge area. This room is named after the coastal town of Lagos that dates as far back as 2000 years BC when it was known as Lacobriga. The contemporary interiors combine light color schemes with vibrant soft furnishings from Portugal and northern Africa, giving each room a unique style and welcoming feel. Situated on the ground floor, Lagos has double doors that open out onto a private terrace, equipped with a table and chairs, sun loungers and a parasol. Bougainvillea and other creepers cover a pergola offering privacy, yet easy access to the gardens and waterfront. The en-suite bathroom has a walk-in power shower, basin, heated towel rail, complimentary toiletries, and dressing gowns.

Loule room

This is a beautiful, contemporary-styled room named after the buzzing town of Loulé, famed for its gypsy market and lively carnival celebration. Folding doors separate the bedroom from a lounge area. The contemporary interiors combine light color schemes with vibrant soft furnishings from Portugal and northern Africa, giving each room a unique style and welcoming feel. Situated on the first floor, Loule has double doors that open out onto a private balcony, equipped with a small table, chairs, and a parasol. Views are of the gardens and rural countryside surrounding the lodge. An en-suite bathroom has a walk-in power shower, basin, heated towel rail, complimentary toiletries, and dressing gowns.

Monchique room

It is a spacious room with folding doors that separate the bedroom from the lounge area. Named after Monchique, a traditional market town up in the Serra de Monchique, which is a thickly wooded mountain range separating the Algarve from Alentejo. The contemporary interiors combine a light color scheme with vibrant soft furnishings from Portugal and northern Africa, giving each room a unique style and welcoming feel. Situated on the first floor, Monchique has double doors that open out onto a private balcony, equipped with a small table, chairs, and a parasol. Views are of the gardens and rural countryside surrounding the lodge. An en-suite bathroom has a walk-in power shower, basin, heated towel rail, complimentary toiletries, and dressing gowns.

Porches room

A contemporary styled room named after Porches, home to top Algarve attractions and some of the best pottery in the Algarve. The room has folding doors that separate the bedroom from a lounge area. The contemporary interiors combine light color schemes with vibrant soft furnishings from Portugal and northern Africa, giving each room a unique style and welcoming feel. Situated on the first floor, Porches has double doors that open out onto a private balcony, equipped with a small table, chairs, and a parasol. Views are of the gardens and rural countryside surrounding the lodge. An en-suite bathroom has a walk-in power shower, basin, heated towel rail, complimentary toiletries, and dressing gowns.

Silves (family room)

This luxury room consists of two interconnected bedrooms with a separate lounge and two en-suite bathrooms. It’s named after Silves, a traditional town on the banks of the Arade River lined with orange and lemon trees. Light colors mixed with vibrant soft furnishings from Portugal and northern Africa give this room a unique style and welcoming feel. Situated on the first floor, Silves has double doors that open out onto a private balcony, equipped with table, chairs, and a parasol. This room has views of the gardens and rural countryside surrounding the lodge. Each en-suite bathroom has a walk-in power shower, basin, heated towel rail, complimentary toiletries, and dressing gowns.

Tavira room

Named after Tavira, a unique fishing town on the coast which was the main trading port in the Algarve during the 16th to 18th centuries, this airy room has folding doors that separate the bedroom from a lounge area. The contemporary interiors combine light color schemes with vibrant soft furnishings from Portugal and northern Africa, giving each room a unique style and welcoming feel. Situated on the ground floor, Tavira has double doors that open out onto a private terrace, equipped with a table and chairs, sun loungers, and a parasol. Bougainvillea and other creepers cover a pergola offering privacy, yet easy access to the gardens and waterfront. The en-suite bathroom has a walk-in power shower, basin, heated towel rail, complimentary toiletries, and dressing gowns.

The infinity pool

The river lodge boasts in own infinity pool with far reaching views over the Funcho Dam and the river. You can relax on comfortable loungers under the shade of the parasols. This is one of the best spots for evening drinks watching the sun set. Families with young children can make use of the child-safety gates that can be placed in position around the pool when necessary.

The lodge deck

The river lodge boasts a huge, open-planned wood deck, which is the central and social hub of the lodge. This space has a fireplace with comfortable seating, a large, cherry-wood dining table seating up to 10 people, and a number of smaller tables. Scrabble, dominos, chess, and other games are available for both adult and children entertainment. A kitchenette is hidden behind the fireplace, suitable for prepping snacks and drinks. The lodge deck has easy access to the gardens and is perfect for wedding, celebrations and parties and being covered, it’s ideal for any time of the year. For large celebrations, the river lodge can also make use of the waterfront deck at the river house, which can cater for 100 people for drinks or 70 for a sit-down dinner.

Vilamoura room

Named after Vilamoura, a buzzing resort with a large marina and home to many wealthy, yachtsmen, golfers, and celebrities, this double room is designed in a contemporary style with folding doors that separate the bedroom from a lounge area. The contemporary interiors combine light color schemes with vibrant soft furnishings from Portugal and northern Africa, giving each room a unique style and welcoming feel. Situated on the ground floor, Vilamoura has double doors that open out onto a private terrace, equipped with a table and chairs, sun loungers, and a parasol. Bougainvillea and other creepers cover a pergola offering privacy, yet easy access to the gardens and waterfront. The en-suite bathroom has a walk-in power shower, basin, heated towel rail, complimentary toiletries, and dressing gowns.

This five-day culinary extravaganza combines a discovery tour of the local, culinary dishes with a holiday cooking course. Discover the passion of Portuguese cooking, how to create local specialties, and which seasonal ingredients will add that extra something to your dish.

Day 1, Thursday

On arrival, join others for a welcome dinner with local specialties accompanied by Portuguese wines. Savor the flavors and relax. The perfect start for any holiday!

Day 2, Friday

Tuck into breakfast on the terrace but don’t over indulge, as you are off to have lunch at an authentic Portuguese restaurant with an award-winning wine cellar. Explore their extensive collection of port and wine before tucking into a delicious and traditional Portuguese lunch. Enjoy a leisurely afternoon back at the river house. Then, meet for sunset cocktails on the waterfront deck before dinner. A mouth-watering local delicacy called Cataplana and a traditional Portuguese stew cooked in a copper dome shaped dish will be served.

Day 3, Saturday

Today, you will have another delicious Algarve breakfast before heading off to one of the regions finest food markets. You’ll also have time to explore and purchase Portuguese souvenirs and products. Many of the stall owners will let you sample before you buy! Then, you will return to the river house for a light buffet lunch before you take part in your very own culinary cooking class. During the class, you’ll be taught how to prepare and cook some of Portugal’s finest cuisine under the guidance of a culinary chef. The class also includes a wine-tasting session to introduce you to some of the Algarve’s finest wines. Your 3-course dinner is served on the pool deck with magnificent sunset views over the water. This is when you truly appreciate this beautiful location, and conversation gets lively as the evening progresses.

Day 4, Sunday

After breakfast on the terrace, you will have another culinary cooking class with wine tasting. Prepare another delicious 3-course lunch, which you get to enjoy with the group under the all-year-round Algarve sunshine. Later on, visit the historical town of Silves and the famous Cafe Ingles, widely accepted as the most charismatic restaurant in the Algarve. Cafe Ingles exudes class, and combines fantastic food with entertainment such as jazz, jam-sessions from musicians from around the world, art, and poetry, making it a superior dining experience, one you’ll never forget!

Day 5 - Monday

Sadly, after breakfast, the culinary cooking experience has to end. Many people come back time-and-time again, especially at different times of the year as the produce and menus change according to the seasons.

  • Tour to Algarve's finest food markets
  • Visit an award-winning wine cellar and enjoy traditional Portuguese lunch
  • Visit the historical town of Silves and the famous Cafe Ingles

Your cooking holiday will take place at The River House, Algarve, Portugal.

Nearby places:

  • Casa Da Vinha restaurant - 5 minutes
  • O Alambique - 15 minutes
  • Piri Piri Steak House at the 5 Star Sheraton Pinecliffs resort - 35 minutes
  • Restaurante Xerem Fusion Cuisine - 10 minutes
  • Rui Marisqueira Silves - 15 minutes
  • Veneza restaurant - 10 minutes
Activities
  • Boating nearby
  • Cooking classes
  • Golf course nearby
  • Horse riding / rental nearby
  • Kayaking nearby
  • Massage nearby
  • Outdoor swimming pool
  • Reiki nearby
  • Rock climbing nearby
  • Shopping nearby
  • Spa nearby
  • Stand up paddle boarding nearby
  • Swimming
  • Table tennis
  • Tennis court nearby
  • Wine tasting / tour
General
  • Air-conditioned rooms
  • Bar nearby
  • Barbecue facilities
  • Beach nearby
  • Café nearby
  • Dining area
  • Kitchen
  • Lounge
  • Restaurant nearby
  • River
  • Yoga deck
Services
  • Child care
  • Free toiletries
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Hair dryer
  • Ironing / ironing board
  • Laundry
  • Local market
  • Mosquito net
  • Tour assistance
  • Wedding

The river lodge is available on a bed and breakfast basis and with many restaurants in the area most guests like to venture out. However, if you prefer to stay at the lodge, you can pre-order light lunches and dinners via Figs on the Funcho or their culinary partners. The river lodge also arranges two themed evening dinners per week. These social evenings with guests and hosts are a lively affair and not to be missed! In addition, a small kitchenette is situated in the dining area which is convenient for preparing snacks or drinks. Large group bookings may request access to the river house kitchen. You can also relax in style and hire a private chef to cook your daily meals. Menus include hot and cold canapés, traditional Portuguese Couvert, delicious starters and soups, succulent seafood and meat dishes, and luxurious desserts. A good choice of vegetarian dishes and children’s meals is always on offer and food allergies and other special requirements can be catered for including gluten-free bread, pasta, and cakes. The daily chef service is available for a minimum of five days and Gourmet Partners can be used as much or a little as you like. Please ask Figs on the Funcho for rates and menus. Did you know that you can pre-order a welcome hamper, request a picnic hamper or a packed lunch during your stay? Also, every Wednesday, complimentary tea and cake is served on the lodge deck, and once a week Graham and Cheryl host evening cocktails whilst the sun sets.

Arts and crafts

Monchique, the picturesque village close to Figs on the Funcho, is known for its local crafts. Pick up hand-made pottery, basketwork, table cloths, and leather goods here. Look out for the famous "scissors chair" that is also made in this region, and don’t leave without a traditional copper cataplana, a dish used for Portuguese stews. Enjoy a day out following the pottery route and visiting the pottery outlets around Porches.

Beaches

Portugal has some of the finest beaches in southern Europe. The deep red color of the sand stone cliffs can be quite spectacular, particularly towards sunset. Here are just a few top choice beaches close to Figs on the Funcho. Olhos da Aqua beach is a sandy blue flag beach, ideal for small children as all the facilities are close on hand. Albufeira’s beautiful golden sandy beaches, Praia do Túnel and Praia dos Pescadores, are a popular choice as restaurants and coffee shops are close by. The colorful Algarve fishing boats can be found on Praia dos Pescadores (Fisherman’s beach) and if you get there early in the mornings you can watch the fishermen bring in their catch for the local restaurants.

Bird watching

The Algarve is rich in bird life with more than bird 300 species that can be seen throughout the year. The highlight of the year is the annual October Algarve Sagres Birdwatching festival. There are plenty of things to do and see during the 4-day bird watching festival, many of which are free but you must register in advance to avoid disappointment. The best bird watching spots in the Algarve is Ria Formosa (near Faro), Lagoa dos Salgados, the Castro Marim, Sagres, and the Monchique mountains. Figs on the Funcho has its own resident crane that can be viewed at the waters edge, not far from both venues. Also keep your eyes open for the rare Bonelli eagle that can be seen from time to time. If you hike up Rocha de Pena, a protected reserve near Figs on the Funcho, you may be lucky enough to spot the rare Bonelli eagle. Another beautiful bird sanctuary to visit is the UNESCO Ria Formosa Bird Sanctuary, close to Quinta do Lago.

Dolphin spotting

Book the cave exploration tour at Vilamoura marina to see unique rock stacks along the Algarve coastline and watch the dolphins frolic in their natural habitat. Alternatively, swim with the dolphins at Zoo Marine. Book ahead as this is a very popular experience.

Events and festivals

  • February - Carnival parade

The largest carnival parade is held in Loule, but parades are also held in Carvoerio and Alte. Loulé carnival entry is by ticket only. The party starts at 15:00, so get there early and have lunch ahead of the procession.

  • Easter period - Religious festival, Loule

The Feast of the Sovereign Mother is a two-week affair and starts off with the festa pequena (small feast). The image of the Sovereign Mother is carried down to the São Francisco Church, where it remains for the duration of the two week festival. The festa grande (large feast) concludes the celebration two weeks later.

  • July - Beer festival, Silves

Held over a number of days and serving beer (of course), but also other alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Delicious food is available from the many food stalls. Bands and singers perform too.

  • August - Medieval festival, Silves

During the annual medieval festival, all the streets leading up to the castle become a medieval market. The streets are filled with musicians, jugglers and you can enjoy BBQs and spits roasts in the outdoor dining areas. Moroccan goods, arts and crafts, and jewelry are on sale from the stalls set up in the historical city.

  • July / August - Annual sardine festival

Enjoy freshly grilled sardines on the beach promenade from 20:00. This lively festival is very popular with locals and visitors alike.

  • New Year - New year’s party, Albufeira

The Fishermen’s Beach is known for beach parties and concerts in the summer and well known for its annual new year party with many international singers and bands attending.

Family activities

The Algarve has a range of entertainment choices for families. Here are a few of the favorite outings. Firstly, you can take the blue and yellow train in Albufeira from the old town to "The Strip" in Sao Joao. The train is free for children under the age of 5. The end stop is near the restaurant Open Sea, which serves good lunches and snacks. From here, walk to the old town along the beach and take in the stunning scenery. The walk will take about an hour. Secondly, book a trip on a boat at Albufeira marina and discover the caves, amazing rock formations, and coastline of Armação de Pêra, Praia da Galé Castelo, Rocha, Marina, and Benagil. You might even spot pods of dolphins swimming in their natural habitat! Next, canoe down the estuary and lagoon of Ria de Alvor. Paddle at a relaxed pace and stop for lunch along the way. These canoe trips can be arranged via Outdoor-Tours. Another exciting activity is golf lessons for families and juniors. Try Pine Cliffs Resort or Amendoeira Golf Resort for lessons or enroll your children at the Junior Golf Clinics (minimum age: 5 years) during school holidays.

Golf

The Algarve is renowned for championship golf courses and huge choice of par 3, 9-hole and 18-hole courses. Visit The Royal Golf Course at Vale do Lobo with its famous 16th hole on the sea cliff edge or just a short 15-minute drive from Figs on the Funcho is the Amendeiro Resort with its Nick Faldo and Christy O’ Connor courses. And Pine Cliffs Resort has a beautiful 9-hole course and a restaurant overlooking the green serving the best club sandwiches! You can stay at the luxury one-bedroom Pine Cliffs apartment located on one of the best beaches in the Algarve.

Historic towns

With so many traditional Portuguese towns and villages in the vicinity of Figs on the Funcho, you’ll be pushed to fit them all in. Here are a few favorites that are definitely worth a visit. Firsty, Caldas de Monchique. It is in the foothills of the Serra de Monchique, considered one of the most attractive areas in North Algarve. Renowned for its four spring sources, these medicinal waters can still be sampled from a fountain below the town and at the spa. Secondly, Monchique is a small market town with shady, tree-lined streets, and traditional Algarve architectural features. It has an outdoor swimming pool that visitors can enjoy free of charge. The stream winds its way through the village and locals can be seen filling large bottles of the medicinal water. Next, the historical town Silves has one of the best-preserved Moorish castles in the country. The castle is a key local attraction and the largest castle in the Algarve. Next to the castle is the magnificent Gothic cathedral that dates back to the 13th century with a Manueline doorway. Another interesting site is Loule. It is a large vibrant town with a lively market, cobbled squares, buzzy cafes, and restaurants. For a good bird-eye view over the town, visit the castle.

Horse riding

Visit the Country Riding Center in Silves, an established horse riding center that offers lessons and hour long to half day rides suitable for all ages and abilities. Walk, trot, canter or gallop depending on your level of experience, along beautiful paths that lead up into the hills allowing you to enjoy Portugal’s beautiful landscape views. Younger children can enjoy a pony trek that will take across streams, animals in the fields and various other interesting things to see along the way. The riding center has lovely horses and it is well equipped with boots, hard hats, and body protectors for your use.

Market

A fish and produce market in Monchique (all week). On Sunday, you will find this market near the church with the Manueline doorway. On other days, it’s close to the post office. Perfect for fresh fish as Monchique is only half an hour from the coast. Loule (daily except Sunday). This market sells leather goods, hand-made pottery, crochet, lace, and fresh local produce. An indoor market in an Arabian style market hall on Praça da República surrounded by coffee shops and restaurants.

Quad biking

For the adrenaline junkies among you! This is a popular activity for group bookings and wedding parties. Quinta da Bica Quad Bike Experience Adventure Center is a 10-minute walk from Figs on the Funcho. The tour guide, Hugo, will take you on a thrilling quad bike ride through the Algarve countryside and along the riverside. An all-day adventure includes a swim in one of the natural dams and lunch at local Portuguese restaurant.

Rainy-day excursions

It doesn’t rain often in Portugal. In fact, the Algarve has an annual average of 3000 sunshine hours that is on average 12 hours in the summer and 6 hours in the winter and winter temperatures never fall below zero. However, when the weather’s not so great, you can always visit Porches Pottery, experience the indoor market hall at Loule, spend a day at the 7Seven Spa in Vilamoura, or visit the historical town of Silves.

Restaurants

With so many restaurants in the area, you’ll have a number of choices every day. Choose from traditional Portuguese restaurants, famous piri piri chicken eateries, and even Michelin-star restaurants. That is of course, if you can tear yourself away from Figs on the Funcho.

  • Casa Da Vinha - the owners family favorite! A rustic Portuguese restaurant with a simple menu using organic home grown food. Real value for money.
  • O Alambique - Superb and unique food. This place is simply fantastic, a must visit for foodies in the area. It’s a small place that gets busy, so you have to book and you wait a little between courses. But it’s worth it. They serve classic dishes with great local produce and fresh herbs from their garden.
  • Pinecliffs peri peri - Unique in the region and a must visit during your stay in the Algarve. With a new concept and relaxed atmosphere, the Piri Piri Steak House at the 5-star Sheraton Pinecliffs resort offers a unique selection of prime meat produce for all four corners of the globe, grilled to perfection.
  • Restaurante Xerem Fusion Cuisine - Hidden gem in Albufeira countryside. Superb food, beautiful restaurant, lovely decoration, and great service. It has a variety of gastronomic wonders; lovely fusion of flavors and great wine list!
  • Rui Marisqueira Silves - If you like sea food try this place! The best seafood on the Algarve usually full of locals and tourists Very attentive and friendly and knowledgeable staff. Fabulous choice from pricey lobster to humble fish soup.
  • Veneza - A place to sit back and relax at any moment, and enjoy. An amazing place with good food and very nice staff. True authentic Algarvian cuisine and a massive 50,000 bottle wine cellar. Savor the moment while you eat, drink and socialize.

Rock climbing

Rocha da Pena is situated between Benafim and Salir. It’s a place of outstanding, natural beauty in a protected reserve and close to Figs on the Funcho and near the town of Alte. The Rocha da Pena rock is about 50 meters high, topped by a 2-kilometer plateau. It’s a favorite location for rock climbers. The rock is south facing which makes it ideal for rock climbing all year round.

Tennis

The Annabel Croft tennis academy, in Portugal, is located at the Sheraton Pine Cliffs Resort with five tennis courts, including three green set hard courts and two red clay courts. Other tennis facilities at the Amendoeira Golf Resort are located a short 15-minute drive from Figs on the Funcho. Book one of the six tennis courts, two of which are floodlit. Group or one-to-one tennis lessons can be booked directly with each resort.

Vilamoura Marina boat trips

Vilamoura is the largest marina in Portugal and has the capacity to berth over 1000 vessels. Why not celebrate a special occasion such as a special birthday, honeymoon, anniversary or Valentine's Day with a cruise? You can stop at secluded beaches, enjoy a BBQ lunch or even include a Champagne breakfast or evening cocktails at sunset. For the more daring, try an exhilarating rocket ride that goes at a speed of 90 kilometers per hour on the water! One family favorite is a day trip on the catamaran. Lie on the nets connecting the hulls and feel totally free, the sea breeze blowing through your hair. Vilamoura Marina itself has a good selection of shops, boutiques, cafes, bars, and restaurants. The fish restaurant, O Cesteiro, serves excellent fish and why not end your evening at the Vilamoura Casino? The drink prices are competitive and the service is good.

Walking routes

There are many walks and trails close to Figs on the Funcho, the closest and most spectacular is The Via Algarviana, it goes right past our driveway! It stretches from east to west across the Algarve covering about 255 kilometers and is made up of 14 sections. This self-guided walking route offer a variety of walking themes including moon walking, walking with the donkeys, on horseback or mountain biking. When staying at Figs on the Funcho, try the route from Alte to Messines (section 8) covering 19.30 kilometers, or the route from Messines to Silves covering 27.60 kilometers (section 9). For detailed descriptions of all the walking route sections, you can view or print the Via Algarviana Guide or alternatively the guide can be found at all major tourist Information offices. Also try the Paderne Castle Walk, Pine Cliffs beach walk and Querenca Handicraft walk.

Water parks

Zoo Marine water park is very popular with children and offers a full day of entertainment. Visit the bird shows, aquarium, gardens, amusement rides and three swimming pools. Other water parks are Aqualand near Alcantarilha, the Aquashow and Slide and Splash near Vilamoura and Atlantic Park near Lagoa.

Water sports

With its location right next to the Funcho Dam, guests staying at Figs on the Funcho can try out a number of different water sports during their stay. From stand-up-paddle boarding (SUP) to kayaking, Figs on the Funcho's water sports partners can arrange delivery of most equipment, lessons, and guided nature tours on the Funcho Dam and river beyond. Of course, if you venture to one of the many beaches just 20-minute drive away, you will find a number of water sport operators who offer parasailing, jet ski hire, rib or banana rides, private speed boat rental, water skiing, wake-boarding or Ringo rides.

Wild swimming

Not too far from Figs on the Funcho is the attractive village of Alte which boasts one of two natural wild swimming pools in the Algarve. These cool refreshing pools provide a much needed welcome from the heat of the day. Park at Fonte Grande and slip into the cool, clear spring waters and enjoy a refreshing wild swimming experience. The water is clean with shallow areas for children to enjoy themselves. This area has picnic tables that are close to the BBQ facilities and under trees or if you prefer, you can visit the cafe where you can enjoy a light snack. The largest waterfall in the Algarve can be found 2 kilometers from the village of Alte at Queda Vigario. The water falls 24 meters into an oval pond which is fun to swim in. This is a lovely area to picnic but take your own umbrella as there is not much shade!

Yoga and detox workshops

Imagine early morning yoga on the front deck overlooking the Funcho Dam. The only sound is the water below and bird song. Figs on the Funcho's wellness breaks are getting more and more popular and they work closely with yoga instructors and nutritionists in the UK and Portugal. Join one of Figs on the Funcho’s detox and yoga workshops and return home feeling refreshed, energized, and balanced.

Figs on the Funcho can arrange for a beautician, masseuse or even a reiki specialist to visit you at the river house or river lodge. Many larger groups like this option, especially if they are there for a wedding or special celebration. However, there are a few luxury spas close by that are definitely worth a visit. The Belmar Spa and Beach Resort is situated on one of the most beautiful beaches in the Lagos area. Another favorite is the luxury Royal Spa at Vale do Lobo Golf Resort and the 7SevenSpa at the Hilton Hotel, Vilamoura has thalassotherapy pools. A typical spa day packages could include full use of the spa facilities, a spa treatment, and refreshments on arrival.

  • 1 food tasting session
  • 2 hands-on cooking classes
  • 2 wine tasting sessions
  • 4 nights accommodation
  • Daily breakfast, lunches, and dinners
  • Daily housekeeping
  • Excursion transport costs
  • Ingredients
  • Airfare
  • Airport transfers
  • Sunday night dinner
For information about the booking conditions, please send Figs on the Funcho an inquiry.

Testimonials

  • Review by a traveler from Liverpool, UK

    "Cheryl, you and your house make holidaying with a large group so easy. From booking to the end of holiday, everything was brilliant. The grandchildren absolutely loved it and the pool was ideal. We were sad to leave."

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by Kate L

    "The River House is a perfect location for a relaxing family holiday. We traveled with teenage children and grandparents. The accommodation is extremely well appointed and quite luxurious, with great layout of upstairs and downstairs bedrooms. The surrounding area is just lovely with gorgeous views over the river, lovely walks, and activities close by. We went quad biking, which was a highlight, and we ended up in a swim in a cooling natural reservoir. The property is secluded and private, such a very peaceful place to relax by the pool, yet still close enough (30 minutes), to the Algarve beachfront and water parks. A highly recommended holiday rental property, with very approachable and friendly owners."

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by a traveler from London, United Kingdom

    "I have fully enjoyed my stay at the River House with my friends. The house is brilliant and the setting is stunning. It is situated on a hill, overlooking the river and right on the Via Algarviana (300-kilometer walking path). The infinity pool is very inviting and the terrace and decking are beautiful. This is a place to find peace, relax, and spend quality time with friends or family. I am taking my parents and my kids there in October for a week long holiday. I can't wait."

    TripAdvisor website, edited

Figs on the Funcho offers culinary cooking courses, wine tasting, detox breaks, and yoga workshops.

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