The old and the new co-habit in style in Guia, a small upmarket town where life rotates around good food. If you are staying in a villa in Guia head to the main street, which is lined with traditional family-run tavernas serving braised clams, grilled sardines, and succulent swordfish steaks. Most visitors want to try the fiery piri-piri chicken, said to have been invented here and reputedly the best in Portugal. A huge shopping mall on the edge of town offers a great line in retail therapy if you need an air-conditioned break from the pool or the beach.
Like many settlements in the area, Guia dates back to the Romans. It is now a rather exclusive resort for villa holidays, where celebrity spotting is not uncommon. Guia is slightly inland, and the nearest beach is the impressive golden sands of Galé, which is 10 minutes’ drive away from most villas.
There are several glorious beaches just a short drive from most Guia villas. Praia do Manuel Lourenço is a small, sheltered sandy bay surrounded by shallow rock formations just to the east of Galé beach, with good parking and a restaurant. Castelo also has a lovely sandy beach, and is named after the strange cliff formations that look a bit like a castle. When you’ve had enough sunbathing on your Guia villa holiday you can spend happy hours exploring the many little grottos and caves.
Guia is the piri-piri chicken capital of the world and for the past 25 years, it has held a giant annual two-day fiesta. The whole town comes out on the streets for one huge barbecue with live music Portuguese style. But don’t worry if your villa holiday doesn’t coincide with the festival, there are plenty of places to try this spicy dish!
If the children have had enough beach-life, take them to Zoomarine where they can swim in the pool with trained bottlenose dolphins and learn how to communicate with them – it’ll be a holiday experience they’ll never forget!