The pretty seaside town you must visit in summer

Hotel Guadiana is now the Grand House, its light-filled rooms recreate the splendor of its past and its bar serves the best martini in town. A pousada opened last year in four of the historic 18th-century townhouses, right on the main square lined with orange trees, where you can see the characteristic sloping terracotta roofs from the rooftop pool. Hot on their heels was an outpost of The Addresses, a beautifully restored three bedroom house available for rent with concierge services just off the main square.

The hotels have added to the already existing restaurants, which mainly serve Portuguese regional dishes from chicken piri piri to grilled squid. There are plenty of shops between the restaurants, including the Soares wine shop on Teófilo Braga Street, where you can explore the very rich world of Portuguese wines.

And then there’s the beach. Praia de Santo António is reached through a pine grove rich in resin scent and across sand dunes adorned with yellow flowering succulents and the occasional sunbathing chameleon. The Atlantic Ocean, warmed by the nearby Mediterranean Sea, can reach a mild 26 degrees, making it the hotspot of the Algarve. What’s not to love?

Visit to Vila Real de Santo António in summer 2022

Where to sleep

The Grand House (00 351 281 530 290) stands on the riverfront and offers old-world elegance in its 31 rooms. Double rooms from €313 (£265) including breakfast.

Pousada Vila Real de Santo António (00 351 281 249 120) offers a choice of swimming pools and a restaurant that overlooks the town’s main square. Double rooms from €75 (£64) including breakfast. Casa Três sleeps six people with three double bedrooms and a swimming pool. From €1,200 (£992) for a week.

For more places to stay see our guide to the best hotels in the Algarve

what to eat

Live like a local and eat Algarve mussels. The best ones with garlic, olive oil and coriander can be had with your feet in the sand at Grand Beach Club.

Do not miss

A visit to the neighboring salt pans of Castro Marim. Recently restored by the artisan salt company Sal Marim, they now supply many of Portugal’s finest restaurants. Their nicely packaged salts make the perfect souvenir to take home, especially if you opt for piri-piri.

how to get there

BA and Easyjet fly from several UK airports to Faro, which is a 50-minute drive along the coast from Vila Real de Santo António.

This article will be updated with the latest information.

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