general information...

First Aid:
Doctors of all nationalities practise in the Algarve, especially in the centre of the algarve there is a wide variety of general practitioners, specialised doctors, dentists and health centres. Some operate with a 24-hour emergency number, also house visits are possible. Alvor and Faro have a private hospital with an excellent reputation, providing a 24-hour emergency service, accepting most credit cards, having a direct link to several major health insurance companies. Portimao offers a state hospital with a very good 24-hour open children's clinic. All current medicines, cremes, etc. are easy to obtain in the well equipped 'farmacias'; dozens are to be found in the region

Shopping:
Almancil is aiming at the exclusive clientele of the luxury resorts surrounding it. You'll find shops with renomated international flair and names, covering for all personal- and decorational shopping needs. Most of the resorts themselves have shopping possibilities; especially exclusive boutiques are widely spread. Bougainvilla Plaza for example is "the place to be" in Quinta do Lago resort, only a few car minutes away from Dunas Douradas. Faro, the Algarve's biggest city, offers everything to make a shopping heart beat faster. From small boutiques, crafts and art shops to shopping malls, there's something of interest for everyone (except for some men maybe...!?!?). In the historical centre there is a huge pedestrian area, narrow streets and several squares invite to wander around in good atmosphere. Spread throughout the city, smaller supermarkets, butchers and bakeries complete the wide range of shopping possibilities Faro has to offer. In tourist areas almost all shops are open 7 days a week, daily fresh bread to obtain in numerous places.
Armacao de Pera and Portimao offers several supermarkets to cover for all grocery needs, two daily markets, one for fresh fish, fruit and vegetables (all year round), the other one offering clothes, shoes and souvenirs (only in high and peak season, low season on Saturdays). Daily fresh bread at 1 km in the region's biggest supermarket, located along the main road between Porches and Armacao de Pera. Furthermore numerous boutiques, souvenir and crafts shops along the 2 kilometers boulevard and in the pedestrian street adjusting the beach complete the extensive range of shopping possibilities this lively village has to offer.

Golf...
is definitively the most popular sport in the Algarve, no wonder when realising the climatological conditions all year round and the exceptional beauty of lay outs (most of them by famous international golf architects!!) and surroundings. Read below a selection of 7 excellent golf courses.

Quinta do Lago
36 holes divided into Quinta Lago south course (now known as Quinta do Lago course (the old "championship" course), par 72, 6488m) and Quinta Lago north course (also known as Ria Formosa course, par 72, 6205m). A truly international setting, synonymous with luxury and exclusivity. Both the courses enjoy spectacular views. Quinta do Lago course hosted seven Portuguese Opens. Very picturesque, with lakes and umbrella pines.
Ria Formosa course
apart from the par 3's, nearly every hole has some form of dog-leg, some quite severe, others just hinting at a curve. What they have in common is that they demand accuracy from the drives to achieve the best results from the second shots.
Vale do Lobo
also offering two courses, named Ocean course and Royal course. As the name implies, Ocean course provides attractive links-style holes adjacent to the Atlantic. Some greens are set against a backdrop of white sand and the brilliant blue of the sea. There are parkland holes, too, meandering through the Vale do Lobo estate. The combination provides a challenging course for golfers of all handicaps. The Royal course is originally designed by Sir Henry Cotton and contains the famous seventh hole. "Rocky" Roquemore subsequently elaborated the original plans and laid out a wonderful test of golf. The sixteenth hole is the spectacular par-3 of 205m across the red sandstone cliffs for which Vale do Lobo is famous.
Pinheiros Altos
with two distinctly differing nines, Pinheiros Altos course(par 72, 6186m) provides a real golfing challenge, where "brain" is infinitely more useful than "brawn". The first nine wends its way through pine-clad, rolling countyside. The second nine drops down to a valley bottom, where intrusive lakes provide a test of accuracy.
San Lorenzo
set in the spectacular Ria Formosa Nature Reserve, this course(18 holes, par 72, 6238m) shares the same exclusive and charismatic location enjoyed by Quinta do Lago and Pinheiros Altos. Although the sheer magnificence of the setting can cause some confusion, the course is user friendly and it is consistently maintained to an excellent standard. Golf World currently rank it number 8 in continental Europe.
Vila Sol
this was the first course in Portugal designed by the English golf architect Donald Steel. It quickly gained international fame as it has hosted the Portuguese Open twice. Steel has always has a policy which seeks to protect nature. His initial good works have been carefully continued by the owners of the course and meanwhile Steel designed a further nine holes within the Vila Sol complex, which complement the existing cours admirably. Vila Sol course, 27 holes, a total of 9414m; 1-9 3241m, 10-18 3094m and 19-27 3079m.
   
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