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; quintadolago.com/en/