While thousands of visitors flock to the west and central Algarve every summer to party and enjoy the bustling atmosphere of resorts like Albufeira and Praia da Rocha, many Portuguese make their way to Monte Gordo. That’s because they know that they can avoid the overcrowded beaches to the west and enjoy the resort’s wonderful expanse of golden sand in relative peace.
Portugal’s Monte Gordo is peaceful, but don’t let me mislead you: this is no quaint fishing village with traditional charm. Monte Gordo is unashamedly a modern purpose-built resort, complete with high-rise hotels and wide modern streets. But if you’re not looking for charm and instead just want great access to a beautiful beach and the clear Atlantic-fed sea beyond, then this is the place for you.
Great For Families With Young Children
Vast Golden Beach
The first reason to take your kids to Monte Gordo is its beach: 14km of beautiful, soft golden sand which stretches from Altura to the Guadiana river. Not only is it beautiful – and seemingly endless – it is also completely flat, running into the sea at a shallow incline, perfect for children who like to play in the sea. The water here is also very calm with no strong currents, so swimming is very safe. And while we’re talking about the water, it is also a couple of degrees warmer here than it is to the west.
Compact Town Centre
No parent wants to trek for miles with young children in tow to get to the seafront, or to get from the sea to the nearest ice cream vendor. Thankfully the compact layout of the resort means that almost all the holiday accommodation here is close to the beach. The promenade which runs beside the sand is lined with restaurants, bars and kiosks, so cold drinks are never too far away, and if you want to go out to eat in the evening the town’s main strip is just a short walk again from either the beach or hotels.
Gentle Vibe for an Older Crowd
Another group of holiday makers who would certainly appreciate the modern charms of Monte Gordo are older visitors who enjoy the bustle of a lively resort without the pumping house music and endless bars and clubs of some of the busier Algarve resorts.
The flat landscape of the eastern Algarve makes it the perfect place to visit if you’re a sun-worshipper with mobility issues. There are no steep hills, cliffs or steps to negotiate here, just a compact town with a flat centre, close to a modern promenade with walkways leading down onto the sand.
Nature Lovers’ Paradise
Despite the built up nature of the centre, Monte Gordo is a mecca for cyclists and hikers who come to enjoy the beautiful flat scenery of the eastern Algarve.
Hiking and Cycling
Thanks to the flat topography and beautiful sand dunes and forests of the surrounding area, cyclists and hikers come here to explore the landscape. You’ll find plenty of bicycle rental companies in town and the local tourist office will provide a map of local hiking and cycling routes. One of the most popular outings is a trip down the flat coastal paths which link the local towns and villages and pass through some truly stunning coastal countryside.
The Algarve’s Largest Forest
Just to the east of the resort is the Mata Nacional da Dunas Litorais de Vila Real de Santo Antonio, The Algarve’s largest forest. Perfect for hiking or cycling through, the pine forest stretches for more than 440 hectares and is criss-crossed with pretty, shaded paths, perfect for cool summer walks or rides.
Salt Marsh Nature Reserve
Another great treat for nature lovers in general (and bird watchers in particular) is the Reserva Natural do Sapal. The vast 2000 hectares of protected salt marsh is home to more than 150 species of birds including storks, sandpipers and flocks of wild flamingos, as well as a variety of rare plants and animals.
How to Get to Monte Gordo
The closest airport to the resort is the Algarve hub of Faro Airport which has a fantastic range of flights daily from the UK. Airlines from easyJet and Ryanair to British Airways and Jet2 all offer non-stop flights here, with flight times of just under three hours.
Transport links to Monte Gordo are not great and taxis from the airport are expensive, so it’s worth booking your airport transfer in advance to prevent you from being ripped off. Shuttle Direct offers a range of transfer services from Faro including an economic shared group coach or a private car with a driver who will meet you when you land. Use the simple online booking form and relax knowing your transport needs are taken care of.
Where to Stay
Pensão Promar – For a great budget option try the Pensão Promar guest house, just two minute’s walk from the beach. All the rooms here have balconies (although you’ll have to ask if you want a beach view), flat-screen TVs and free WiFi. A basic breakfast is served in the morning.
Hotel Navegadores – A little further back from the beach (but still only a six-minute walk) is the mid-range Hotel Navegadores. Clean, modern design and great facilities – including an indoor pool, spa, gym, restaurant and free WiFi – make this a great choice for families. Facilities for visitors with disabilities also make it a good choice for anyone with mobility issues.
Alcazar Hotel & Spa – For a little more upmarket glamour try the four-star Alcazar Hotel & Spa. Again, just five minute’s walk from the beach, the stylish Alcazar Hotel includes a beautiful outdoor pool and sun terrace, tennis courts, children’s play area, wellness centre, indoor pool, and spa with treatment rooms. The restaurant serves excellent Mediterranean cuisine on a pretty terrace or in its light, airy dining room.
About Shuttle Direct
Shuttle Direct is the leading provider of airport transfers across Europe and North Africa. Services include shared transport (such as a shuttle bus service or shared-ride mini bus with a predefined meeting point), or a private transfer with driver, which offers door-to-door service in a vehicle exclusively for you and your group.