VILA VITA Parc was once again the stage for some of the best cars in the world.

Between 14 and 16 February, VILA VITA Parc had the pleasure of welcoming The Porsche Hybrid Trackdays event. 

The event, organized by Porsche AG, offered the opportunity for several international tv stations from Germany, France, UK, China and USA, to test and film the performance of Porsche Hybrid systems, both on the race track and over countryside roads in the Algarve.

The Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo and the Porsche 918 Spyder were tested by the media at the race track of the Algarve’s International Autodrome, in Portimão, only 20 minutes away from VILA VITA Parc.

Several have been the people and cultures that, throughout the centuries, have recognized and taken advantage of the Algarve’s natural beauty and richness.

From the Fenitians, the Carthaginians and the Romans, to the Arabs which for 5 centuries occupied the region, leaving behind traces still visible nowadays in its architecture, names of lands and culture. The Algarve is today an open air museum, filled from East to West with several monuments and historical places worthy of including in a visit to this region.

Discover below 5 historical places to visit in the Algarve and start planning now your next trip to the region!


Silves Castle

Silves was, for a long time, the capital of the Algarve. From 700 to 1200 a.d., Silves was used as the region’s strategic centre by the Arabs which occupied the region. Today, several traces of the Arab occupation are still visible. Its castle, with over 1000 years old, is strategically located in the top of the highest hill of the city. Although devastated throughout the years by several earthquakes, the castle was subject to rennovation works during the 40’s, which have restored its original characteristics, making it one of the best preserved castles in Portugal nowadays.

Tavira’s Old Town

Located in the shores of the river Gilão, Tavira is one of the Algarve’s most charming cities. Its historical centre is filled with museums, churches, centennial gardens and even traces of the Roman and Arab occupation. Visit the Church of Santa Maria do Castelo, built on the 13th century over an old mosk, take a walk in the Public Garden, admire the magnificent views over the city from the top of the castle’s towers, cross the river on the Old Bridge and get lost in its charming cobblestone streets.

Roman Ruins of Milreu (Estói)

Located in Estói, in Faro, the Milreu ruins are one of the most interesting and relevant traces of the Roman occupation in the Algarve. They were discovered in 1877 and named National Heritage in 1910. Here, you’ll be able to see what’s left of an old manor house, a wine press, a bathhouse, agricultural infrastructures and a temple used as a private cult centre. The ruins still feature some of its decorative mosaics.

Paderne Castle

Located in Paderne, in Albufeira, the Paderne Castle, also known as the Almóada Castle, is one of the 7 castles featured in the Portuguese flag. It was occupied by Romans and Arabs and finally conquered by the Portuguese Crown in 1218. Its ruins feature a characteristic red colour, and on the inside there are several traces of the Arab and Portuguese architecture.

São Lourenço Church (Almancil)

The São Lourenço dos Matos Church is considered to be “one of the Algarve’s biggest artistic treasures”. Located in Almancil, in Loulé, the church dates back to the 18th century and is particularly known for its magnificent interiors decorated with beautiful mosaics in shades of blue which tell the story of Saint Lourenço’s life.   

One of the most typical elements in the Algarve’s landscapes are the countless almond trees in bloom that fill up the fields with a delicate white and pink colour in the beginning of each year, around January and February.

Legend says that the almond trees first appeared in the Algarve, particularly in Silves, around the time of the Arab occupation, hundreds of years ago.

After one of his many battles, the Arab king Ibn-Almundim fell in love with one of his prisoners, a tall, blond and blue eyed princess called Gilda. As time went by, and after he gave her her freedom, he ended up winning her heart and marrying her. But one day, the princess, feeling homesick, fell into a deep depression. The king, desperate, ended up finding a creative solution: he ordered almond trees to be planted all over the region. In the following spring, the king took the princess to one of their terraces so that they could both look over the almond trees that, at the time, where already covered with small white flowers. Seeing that scenery that resembled her homelands’ snow covered fields, the princess cured her depression and started to improve day after day.

In the Algarve, the almond is one of the main ingredients for the local gastronomy and especially confectionery, like for example the famous “doces finos”, “Dom Rodrigos”, “morgadinhos” or “carriços” that don’t leave anyone indifferent.

Besides the delicious sweets it originates, the almond is also nowadays considered a “super food”, and it’s one of the most popular snacks worldwide due to its high health benefits. Rich in protein, vitamin E, magnesium and monounsaturated fat (heart friendly), it’s considered, just like avocado and olive oil, extremely effective to prevent diabetes, heart problems and to lower bad cholesterol levels.

And why not indulge your sweet tooth with this Almond & Chocolate Delight recipe, made by VILA VITA Parc's Pastry Chef?


Almond & Chocolate Delight Recipe

Almond Mousse

Ingredients:

  • 175 grs almond flour
  • 250 grs almond milk
  • 75 grs sugar
  • 4 sheets of gelatine
  • 350 grs semi-whipped cream

Instructions:

  • Boil the almond milk with the sugar and the almond flour
  • Add the previously cold water soaked gelatine
  • Cool down to 28 degrees and add the semi-whipped cream
  • Put the mix in the mold and freeze it

Chocolate cream

Ingredients:

  • 100 gr milk
  • 100 gr cream
  • 40 gr egg yolk
  • 20 gr sugar
  • 1 sheet of gelatine
  • 200 gr 64% black chocolate

Instructions:

  • Boil the cream with the milk
  • Mix the yolks with the sugar, add it to the boiled cream and heat it in a water bath at 84º
  • Add the gelatine and pour it over the chocolate
  • Put the mix in the molds and freeze it

VILA VITA Parc Resort & Spa, in Porches, Algarve, has recently invested on a large format high-resolution LED screen in one of its largest meeting & events rooms.

The screen, with a dimension of 12 x 3m, is the first and only large format LED screen in Portugal with a resolution of P2.5, is suitable for any kind of presentation and now complements the already very attractive offer at VILA VITA Parc in terms of meetings & events. 

This recent addition now joins the list of features that again confirm this resort as one of the best spaces in Portugal for social or corporate meetings and events. With over 1100m2 of events space, not including outdoor gardens and terraces, VILA VITA Parc offers 9 meeting rooms with sizes between 40 and 600m2, amongst which an elegant and contemporary boardroom located in the resort’s library, as well as a large Events Pavilion with capacity up to 400 people, featuring natural daylight.  

The recently-launched coffee breaks, with an organic and healthy concept featuring lactose and gluten free products, are also part of the latest news at VILA VITA Parc, guaranteeing a special touch to any event. 

For more information on the meetings & events offers, please contact groups@vilavitaparc.com, +351 282 310 145 or visit www.vilavitaparc.com/en/incentives-events/all 

Along with Winter comes the colder weather and the urge to indulge in more consistent dishes that warm us up inside. 

Take our Executive Chef's suggestion and enjoy a recipe made with some of the best POrtuguese ingredients such as sweet potato, chestnuts and the famous black Alentejo pork. 


  • Ingredients for  4 :

Black pork cheeks  - 1kg
Onion- 300gr
Garlic clove - 2
Red wine from Alentejo (Herdade dos Grous) - 1lt
Meat broth - 3lt
Bay leaf - 3
Thyme - 30gr
Thick sea salt - 500gr
Paprika - q.b.
Salt / Pepper - q.b.
Sweet potato - 700gr
Skinless chestnut- 150gr
Baby carrots - 100gr

 

Preparation:

  1. Clean the skin, any impurities and fat off the pork cheeks. Make a brine with 13g of salt per kg for 45 minutes.
  2. Wash and dry the cheeks; Brown both sides in a frying pan and remove. Braise the onion, the garlic and the paprika in the same frying pan where you browned the cheeks and add some Red Herdade dos Grous wine. Put all in a pan with the meat broth and stew for 1:30h until they’re soft and juicy.
  3. Put the washed and dried sweet potatoes over thick sea salt in a tray for 45 minutes in the oven. Peel them and grind them (in the Bimby) and season with salt, pepper and olive oil.
  4. Peel the onions and the garlics and chop them into small cubes.
  5. Peel the carrots and fry them. Roast and peel the chestnuts.
  6. Plate the cheeks along with the sweet mash potato, the carrots and the roasted chestnuts.

The 2 Michelin star Ocean Restaurant, located at VILA VITA Parc Resort & Spa, in Porches, Algarve, is once again on the famous La Liste ranking of the 1000 Best Restaurants in the World.

This year, Ocean has reached the 64th place in the list, 38 places higher than last year’s 102nd place. With a score of 97,5%, Ocean, lead by Chef Hans Neuner, was the only restaurant in Portugal to be included in the Top 100, ahead of the other 7 Portuguese restaurants also included on the list.

Every year, La Liste, founded by Philippe Faure (French diplomat and a devotee to the world of gastronomy) and composed of some of the best names in the world of international gastronomy, launches the list for the World’s Best 1000 restaurants.

La Liste is based on an algorithm that cross-references over 550 specialised publications & food critics to calculate an annual score that sets its ranking scale. The end result is an impressive range of outstanding food experiences which have been handpicked by discerning critics.


Portuguese Restaurants included on the list (by order):

Ocean, Porches (97,50%)

Il Gallo D’Oro, Funchal (95,00%)

The Yeatman, Vila Nova de Gaia (94,50%)

Belcanto, Lisboa (94,00%)

Vila Joya, Albufeira (90,75%)

Fortaleza do Guincho, Cascais (83,25%)

Henrique Leis, Almancil (80,50%)

Largo do Paço, Amarante (80,00%)

Christmas is the ideal time of the year to, regardless of our lifestyle and daily pace, get all those who matter the most, family and friends, together in moments of joy, comfort and intimacy.

The typical delicacies and dishes of the festive season fill up the tables and it is impossible to remain indifferent to the myriad of smells, flavours and colours that indulge our senses. This Christmas dedicate more time to what really matters – those dearest to you – and leave the Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas lunch preparations up to our dedicated and experienced team. See below VILA VITA Parc’s restaurants’ special Christmas menus and get ready for one of the most perfect Christmas ever.


Adega Restaurant

Occupying a rustic, whitewashed building on the VILA VITA Parc estate and boasting a spacious sunny terrace with views over the swan lake, Adega channels the rustic romance of the Mediterranean. Punchy Portuguese tapas plates and regional specialties from the likes of Madeira and Azores introduce authentic local flavours, while live music courtesy of traditional Portuguese guitarists and Fado singers bolsters the atmosphere at dinner

Reservations: +351 282 310 100 / fb@vilavitaparc.com | WebsiteAdega Restaurant

 

Bela Vita Restaurant

Located in the main building, the Bela Vita Restaurant offers a warm and inviting space, with a sleek and urbane retro-chic décor, soothing pastel furnishings and a distinctive chevron wooden floor. The outdoor terrace, with its intricate Portuguese calçada, is a favourite spot to enjoy the view over the gardens and the lake..

Reservations: +351 282 310 100 / fb@vilavitaparc.com | WebsiteBela Vita Restaurant

 

Arte Náutica Restaurant 

Arte Náutica is an elegant beach restaurant with a large terrace, located less than 2mi/4km from VILA VITA Parc at the neighboring town of Armação de Pêra. By day, it is a charming spot for a carefree bite by the beach, while at dinner, the romance factor rises as the sun sinks over the ocean. The menu is made of a selection of fresh fish straight from the market, plus grilled meats, salads and snacks. It’s the perfect choice for a Christmas Lunch with the soft sounds of the crashing waves as the soundtrack.

Reservations: +351 282 314 875 / fb@vilavitaparc.com | WebsiteArte Náutica Restaurant

 

Atlântico Restaurant 

The Atlântico Restaurant offers a Mediterranean cuisine with a French and Portuguese flair. This oceanfront fine dining with magnificent views of the Atlantic and the infinity pool below features seasonal, local, regionally and organically grown products. Views from the terrace that will literally take your breath away.

Reservations: +351 282 310 100 / fb@vilavitaparc.com | WebsiteAtlântico Restaurant

 

Praia Dourada Restaurant

Praia Dourada is a casual beach restaurant with a breathtaking view of the sea’s sparkling blue shades from the beach at Armação de Pêra. It offers a fresh and modern young atmosphere, as well as a vibrant menu made of freshly made dishes like mussels, prawns in aioli sauce, beef tournedo, homemade burgers, artisan pizzas, spicy spareribs, wraps and bites and tasty desserts. More than 15 special gin drinks, med cocktails, coffees, shakes and cold press juices natural juices complete the menu. The perfect spot for a relaxed Christmas lunch. 

Reservations: +351 282 310 230 / fb@vilavitaparc.com | WebsitePraia Dourada Restaurant

 

VILA VITA Biergarten

Recently remodelled, the VILA VITA Biergarten resembles now, more than ever, like an authentic Bavarian mountain chalet. A comfortable and cosy atmosphere and a menu made of the finest delicacies from the German gastronomy, are key elements for its growing success.

Reservations: +351 282 310 230 / biergarten@vilavitaparc.com | WebsiteVILA VITA Biergarten

Is there anyting better than a hot beverage on a cold winter day? Some might say "hardly". We agree. 

This winter, take our suggestion and relax with the sweet and cosy taste of chocolate mixed with the deep kick of whiskey. Top it with caramel and marshmallows or whipped cream, put your feet up and just enjoy.


Prep time: 5 mins

Cook time: 8 mins

Total time: 13 mins

Serves: serves a healthy 2

 

  • Ingredients
    • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
    • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/4 tsp chili powder
    • 2 cups whole milk
    • 3 fl. oz. whiskey
    • caramel and marshmallows or whipped cream for topping

 

  • Instructions
  1. Add the cocoa, the chocolate chips, sugar, chili powder and milk to a small saucepan 
  2. Heat over medium high, whisking constantly to dissolve the cocoa and melt the chips
  3. Bring the hot chocolate to a steam–not a boil–then remove from heat
  4. Add the whiskey, and divide between two mugs
  5. Top with caramel and whipped cream or marshmallows

 

The  Algarve is known for its coastline filled with beautiful golden sandy beaches and an extraordinary climate that guarantees over 300 days of sunshine and mild temperatures throughout the year. 

But the Algarve is much more than only its beaches and golf courses. It’s a region characterized by an impressive landscape diversity, which can be fully appreciated by foot through the numerous existing walking trails that allow for a direct contact with nature, while promoting a physical and mental wellbeing.  Oak tree woods, fields of cork trees, local strawberry trees (medronheiros), rosemary and aroeira trees, as well as lagoons and large sand dune areas, are some of the elements that make up the Algarvian landscape.

Below you’ll find some information about the nearest walking trails to VILA VITA Parc, so that you can make the most out of your stay, and discover the year-round extraordinary beauty of the region.  

Recommended equipment:

  • Comfortable and suitable walking shoes;
  • Sun glasses, sun screen and hat;
  • Small backpack to carry water, snacks and energy bars and a small first aid kit;
  • Camera and/or binoculars;
  • Mobile phone 

Special Precautions

  • Avoid walking the trails alone;
  • Don’t step on the sand dunes;
  • Follow the signalling on the tracks;
  • Pay attention to your surroundings

Walking Trails near VILA VITA Parc:

Sete Vales Suspensos” Walking Trail

This trail accompanies the cliff by the coastline, and is interrupted by 7 small valleys, created over the years by ancient water lines. The trail begins at the picnic area of the beautiful Marinha beach and ends at the Centeanes beach, a total of 12kms (round trip) and an average duration of 5 hours.

Along the way you’ll be able to see amazing rock formations such as large arches and caves; several plants such as juniper, Peruvian pepper trees and the local “carrasco” bushes; animals such as cormorants and seagulls; the Alfanzina lighthouse and several fishing boats at the Benagil beach. You will also have the opportunity to relax and enjoy the view in one of the many viewpoints located along the trail.

Location: Praia da Marinha, Lagoa

GPS: 37º 05’ 24,635’’N, 8º 24’ 46,181’’ W (beginning) / 37º 05’ 28,799’’ N, 8º 27’ 14,762’’ W (end)

 

Interpretação da Praia Grande” Walking Trail

This particular trail is ideal for birdwatching lovers, since it’s located in an area with a large diversity of bird species. It runs for a total of 5kms, with an average duration of 2 hours. The trail begins at the Praia Grande car park, in Pêra.  

When walking by the Salgados Lagoon, you’ll be able to watch flocks of flamingos, black-winged stilts, purple herons and ferruginous ducks. You will then proceed through the beach, on a wooden walkway that crosses over the sand dunes, on to an area of stone pines. The trail ends at agricultural area where you’ll be able to see the ruins of old windmills and barns.   

Location: Praia Grande, Pêra

GPS: 37º 05’ 44,304’’ N, 8º 20’ 11,296’’ W (beginning) / 37º 06’ 19,743’’ N, 8º 20’ 20,544’’ W (end)

 

Ao Sabor da Maré” Walking Trail

This trail, located in Alvor, near Portimão, is almost entirely done on a long wooden walkway (the largest in the Algarve) which starts by the fishing dock. The trail is 6kms long with an average duration of about 2 hours.

It runs over the Ria de Alvor and goes all the way to the Três Irmãos beach. Throughout the trail you’ll be able to watch several bird species such as the common terns, herons, gannets, amongst many other species. You can return by the beach.

Location: Alvor, Portimão

GPS: 37º 07’ 35,004’’ N, 8º 35’ 46,461’’ W (beginning)

 

 

VILA VITA Parc has been recently considered one of the Best Resorts in Europe by the readers of Condé Nast Traveller.  

Condé Nast Traveller, the luxury lifestyle and travel magazine from the North American publisher Condé Nast, launches every year a readers survey for the Readers Choice Awards, to distinguish the best of the best in tourism, at a worldwide or regional level. This year the voting took place from the 1st April to the 1st July, and gathered more than 300.000 votes from the magazine's readers, revealing the best within several categories such as: Best Hotel, Best Resort, Best Cities, Best Restaurants, Best Islands, amongst many others. 

VILA VITA Parc has been distinguished as one of the Best Resorts in Europe, with a score of 89,98, in a total of 100.