Region Around Dunas Douradas

Vale do Lobo

Ria Formosa Natural Park

Our villa in the resort of Dunas Douradas is set beside boundaries of the Ria Formosa Natural Park which is one of the most beautiful natural areas of the Algarve, both for the variety of its ecosystems and for its location. This unspoilt natural paradise spreads along 60 kms, from the Dunas Douradas Praia do Ancão area to Manta Rota near the Spanish border.

The tidal inlet area that is part of the Ria Formosa is recognized as a wetland of world importance and a natural habitat protected shelter for rare and endangered species of migrating or nesting birds (IBA - Important Bird Area).

There are only 2 rivers that feed the Ria Formosa lagoon all year round. The rest of the streams and rivers are seasonal and dry up during the summer. The areas exposed in the lagoons can be completely submerged due to tidal influences.

The several islands in the area are sensitive and unstable and vary from 500 metres to 2 kilometres in width and length. The area is used for mussel and oyster farming, though traditionally it was used for salt production as well as agriculture.

The objectives of the Ria Formosa Natural Park is to preserve and develop natural resources. This helps in the preservation of natural habitats of wildlife. Although there is human activity in the park and resort developments, it does not alter the equilibrium of the ecosystem as everything is done in a traditional way.

Concern for the environment is the primary focus of the patrons of the Ria Formosa Natural Park. To maintain the delicate ecological balance within the estate, which is flanked by the Ria Formosa Natural Park, stringent regulations have been implemented and adhered to by the resorts.

A strict, low density master-plan allows for only 8% of construction of the total area of the estate, ensuring plenty of green space. Private villas, townhouses and village developments are carefully integrated into natural areas, nestling at lakeside, secluded by woodland or flanking the golf courses.

A wide variety of species, as well as other wildlife, can be observed in their natural habitats on your walk from our villa in Dunas Douradas towards Praia do Ancao and Praia Do Garrao and also along Quinta do Lago's two nature trails which were established to allow residents and visitors to fully appreciate the beauty of the natural landscape in an organized way.

Since its formative years Dunas Douradas has worked closely with the Ria Formosa Natural Park administration to protect the flora and fauna and to integrate high quality touristic development with the environment. This has been achieved with an eco-friendly programme of landscape and garden maintenance aimed at preserving the delicate ecological balance.

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Golf near to Dunas Douradas

If you fancy a few rounds of golf – our villa in Dunas Douradas is perfectly located for the best golf courses in the local area, including:

Tennis near to Dunas Douradas

Our villas in Dunas Douradas are perfect if you want to play tennis. Tennis is very popular in the Algarve and generally you can play tennis all year round. There are communal tennis courts in Dunas Douradas, but there are several other tennis centres in the local area.

Day Trips from Dunas Douradas to beaches in The Algarve

The Algarve is blessed with over 100 beaches or praia in Portugese, from long, open, flat beaches of the East to the trademark red cliff beach beaches of Central Algarve to the windswept, deserted beaches of the west. There is literally a beach for everyone and to suit every one and every family. Often the best beaches are hidden away from the more popular ones!

The exception to the above is the coastline running from the west point of Sagres up to the north. This coast is very variable and being open to the winds and Atlantic Ocean waves from the west it normally presents different conditions to those found on the same day along the southern coastline. This area has a rugged atmosphere and the at times the winds can be biting. The sea is many times choppy with big waves and often combined with a dangerous fast undercurrent.

All main beaches have in the season Lifeguards on safety patrol. Many beach concessions offer all the usual water sports facilities along with restaurant food and snacks. Out of the approximately 150 named beaches some useful ones are listed below.

Praia Da Falésia – Near Vilamoura

This beach takes its name from the fascinating gouged red cliffs that form a backdrop to the endless stretch of sand. As these cliffs are not very tall it makes access convenient whilst acting as a suitable barrier to any winds from the north during the out-of-season. This beach is to be found west of Vilamoura before reaching Olhos de Água.

Praia Da Galé

Another long sandy stretch but as there are no cliffs it has many point of easy access by road. This beach is located to the west of Albufeira and runs round the Bay of Armação de Pera to the town.

Praia Verde

Located to the west of Monte Gordo it stretches westwards towards Tavira. This beach takes its name from the line of trees and bushes that line the land side of the broad endless beach. Ideally suitable for most families with their children.

Praia Ilha De Tavira

To some this is the jewel in the crown of the eastern side of Faro. It is also often locally referred to as Praia das Cascas. A few minutes boat trip will take visitors from the jetty of Tavira located just outside the town across to this attractive sandy bar. For visitors with naturist inclinations there is an area reserved especially for their needs which is about one km walk to the west end of this beach.

Praia Do Barril

This beach is really an extension of the above beach known as Praia Ilha de Tavira. However, this section is easily reached from the tourist villages of Santa Luzia and Pedras del Rey. From the later village a small train takes the visitor across the intervening water to the sandy island bar in a slow journey which reminds everyone that they are definitely on holiday!

Praia Da Armona

The three Islands of Armona, Culatra and Farol act as a barrier to the sea and on the inland side there are the extensive lagoons forming the nature reserve of Ria Formosa. Reaching these beaches can only be done by Ferryboat which leaves from the fishing port of Olhão. The journeys can takes some 30 minutes and leave at about 15 minute intervals during the day – in season each ferry with the destination to one of the three islands. As you can imagine once you arrive at the chosen Island you are going to find yourself as one of the limited number of human visitors.

Praia Da Ilha De Faro

This beach is a long narrow sandy bar that is accessed by a road traversing a lagoon just south of the Faro airport. Being near to the principal town of the Algarve it is usually very busy and there are many water sports faculties and plenty of restaurants.

Praia Da Rocha

This is probably the oldest and best known beach in the Algarve. It is located just south of the main town of Portimão and was originally much shorter in width and with a lot more charm. This beach in the past has been seriously enlarged with the sand that was pumped out during the dredging of the Portimão Harbor and at the same time meeting the needs of the many visiting tourists to this area.

Praia De Alvor

The beach is located and accessed from the old popular fishing village of Alvor. It stretches just over two kms from the village to the west in the direction of Lagos. This beach acts as a sand bar creating an interior lagoon which acts as a form of port for Alvor. Some twenty years ago a tourist could walk at low tide by beach all the way to Lagos by wading across a small sea the then shallow outlet from the lagoon.

Meia Praia

This beach forms the other half of the previous walk from Alvor to Lagos. It takes its name from being part of this walk as “Meia” indicates the word “half”. The approach to this beach is from the town of Lagos and it is easily accessed. This beach is popular with windsurfers and surfers alike as it faces the open Bay of Lagos and also protected to the west by the promontory of Ponta da Piedade. The beach is possibly a little longer than that of the Alvor and there are many small beach bars to satisfy the thirst for those who wish to walk its length.

Praia Do Martinhal

This beach is located in the Bay of Baleeira close to Sagres. Another windsurfers paradise and is a smaller beach in a reasonably shallow bay that is shouldered to the west by Ponta da Atalaia. It is recommended as a location if visiting the area of Sagres.

Praia Do Castelejo

One of the few beaches on the west coast where it is safer to swim due to the underlying dangerous currents. This beach is located just to the north-west of the small town of Vila do Bispo. It is one of the smaller beaches and has a completely different atmosphere to those found on the southern coastline. It may not suit everyone but those that do visit tend to return.

Praia Da Bordeira

This beach is on the west coast of the Algarve and can be reached by travelling north from Vila do Bispo, then after passing the small village of Carrapateira turn seaward where there is a sign that reads “Praia”. Virtually a long sandy beach with many sand dunes and very often virtually deserted out of the season. Enjoy the feeling of being open to nature and exploring the surrounding area on foot.

Praia Da Arrifana

This is a beach which also is considered to be reasonably safe for swimming and a very special place with quite stupendous views. Take the road north to Lisbon from Lagos. Just before reaching the small town of Aljezur take the turning left when you see the name “Arrifana”. On reaching Arrifana you will find the beach on your left at the bottom of a very steep narrow road with little or no parking area at the bottom.

If you are interested in staying in our villa, contact SandyBlue for pricing and availability. Click Here

This one is by far and away the finest.

We would just like to say that the family had a great time at Villa Gela-mar the quality and the maid service was first class.


We are already thinking about next summer’s holiday.

We had a wonderful holiday at Villa Gela Mar. We have stayed in the area several times before and this was by far the best villa we have stayed in.





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