The Algarve has been a destination for years. Europeans have long enjoyed this warm and sandy Portuguese paradise, and many have made this southern region their home.
Places like Portimão – famous for its Praia da Rocha beach, the vibrant town of Albufeira and its nightclubs, and the city of Lagos, surrounded by luxury resorts, have made the Algarve one of the most popular beach destinations on the old continent. But like all beaten tracks, there is always that surprising spot that, somehow, manages to keep out of the mainstream, and be true to its true identity. Sagres is such place.
The Portuguese once called it the end of the world. A dramatic title, for sure, but could not be more worthy. This little town of 2,000 sits quietly in the southwestern-most point in Europe. Its name derives from the word Sagrado (‘Holy’) and various peoples worshipped their divinities there. The Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians and Romans believed that, because of the lack of human settlement, this was the gathering place of the gods.
Because of this location, Sagres and Cape São Vincente played a key role in the Portuguese Age of Exploration. In the 15th century, Prince Henry established a nautical base there, which made Sagres, and its fortress the hub of Portuguese maritime exploration. When you’re standing at the very edge of the fortress, you can almost see caravels sailing by, south bond, with its brave sailors hoping to find exotic places and luxury goods. In the very beginning, leaving Sagres was a leap into the unknown.
The town is part of the Costa Vicentina National Park, which stretches along the Alentejo region coastline. As a protected natural area, you will not find the typical summer hype, but you are a short drive away from golf courses, bars, shops and nautical sports centers. There are a few nice local restaurants, but if you’re looking for something more sophisticated, you will find it at the Martinhal Beach Resort & Hotel. Open for business since 2010, this is one of the best luxury, family beach hotels around. It was voted ‘Portugal’s Leading Family Resort’ on the World Traveler Awards in 2013, and ‘Europe’s Leading Villa Resort’ in 2014.
Whether one chooses to stay at the hotel or at the resort’s village houses, two things are guaranteed: a stylish design and a family friendly atmosphere.
The architects’ choice of natural materials – such as cork, wood or stone – blends the hotel with the surrounding landscape, in a simple, sustainable harmony.
The food is a point of pride but based on local ingredients and traditions. The three restaurants and four bars in the resort, use only quality, local produce. From the traditional fish dish at ‘O Terraço’ restaurant, to the international cuisine at the ‘Os Gambozinos’, to the light food at the ‘Family & Surf M – Bar’. And of course, all this comes with award-winning Portuguese wine.
The resort features a wide rage of activities for children of all ages, from toddlers to teenagers. There are several activities clubs, which provide fun workshops such as face painting, treasure hunts, arts & crafts, but also sports activities (tennis, windsurfing, swimming, etc.) and a game room with the most popular video games, pool table, table tennis and foosball.
So, while your kids are having the (supervised) time of their lives with other children, you can pamper yourself at the Finisterra Spa or simply enjoy a lazy afternoon, looking at the Atlantic Ocean from the beach pool. If laziness isn’t your thing, walk down the private path to the beach and take a stroll to the fortress.
Martinhal offers family deals, specifically for the US market, and has recently started a ‘Babymoon’ package, designed to give parents-to-be a luxury relaxing escape vacation during pregnancy. This offer includes accommodation, breakfast, one meal per day, access to all facilities and a spa treatment for the mother-to-be.
Sagres and Martinhal are the ultimate duo: the ever so rare combination of an authentic and historical town, and the luxury of a modern beach resort. What was once the end of the world is now the perfect place to start your family vacation.
Martinhal Beach Resort & Hotel is a luxury family resort with a playground of possibilities and more than 365 different things to do all year-round. Located close to the historic village of Sagres, in the Western Algarve, Portugal, this region as temperate climate all-year round. The 100-acre beachfront resort is surrounded by the Costa Vicentina Natural Park.
For more information about booking or the Martinhal Beach Resort & Hotel visit www.martinhal.com or call +351 282 240 200.