The Portuguese island of Armona is an unspoilt paradise and a great base for exploring the Algarve. No cars. Sand in your shoes. Away from the mainland. Surrounded by water. Sharing this slice of paradise with chameleons, seahorses and thousands of bird species. Sounds too good to be true? Well it isnt!
Ilha da Armona as it is known to the locals, is a 15-minute ferry ride across the bay from the fishing port of Olhão,, a mere 15 minutes from Faro airport, The entire island lies within a naturally formed lagoon. On one side the water is calm and warm and ideal for swimming. On the other is the more aggressive Atlantic coast, offering a dramatic, windswept contrast and great for kite surfers.
A leisurely stroll between the two takes only 15 minutes. Many of what were once fishermen’s cottages, simple and basic, have been modernised and transformed, some more than others, but they all retain a similar characteristic of being painted brilliant white against the bright blue skies.
The island itself has little in the way of development with no ATMs, cars, hotels or clubs – a few simple cafes and restaurants and endless sandy beaches stretching along its four-mile length. More importantly, there is the Armona lifestyle, which is deliciously chilled, laid-back and worry-free. In the summer months, islanders walk around in swimming costumes and shorts, and everyone is very relaxed. The Ria Formosa (translation: beautiful coastal inlet / beautiful river), a protected natural park since 1987, consists of over 18.000ha of estuary and wetland with Olhão at its mouth and the wild Atlantic beyond. This area is lovingly protected by the Portuguese for its outstanding natural beauty.
Pronounced "oll-yowng", Olhão, the nearest town, is the Algarve's largest fishing port with an active waterfront and pretty, bustling lanes in its old quarter. A rare gem, its centre is crumbling, charming, faded, and stuffed full of appealingly batty characters. Over the last ten years, the town has been smartened up considerably and featured in many travel magazines. There are now very few old buildings that are yet to be restored. The flat-roofed, Moorish-influenced neighbourhoods and North African feel make it a very pleasant place to wander. Walk along the promenade from the jetty to the other end where the hotel is and you will notice how the town has been smartened up! The town’s fish restaurants draw the crowds, as does the morning fish and vegetable market on Avenida 5 de Outubro, best visited on Saturday.. Around 80% of Portugal's clams are fished here, around its four low islands.
Our beach house, named Jabulani reflecting our background and years spent in South Africa, has been sympathetically updated and equipped to a high specification, close to the lagoon beach and off the main pathway (50 paces to child friendly beach) Many of the houses on the island can be quite overlooked with small rooms, which Jabulani, meaning 'be happy' is not. The house has three terraces; a large covered terrace area for eating which includes a large built in BBQ and external kitchen facilities, a front terrace where one can enjoy the full sun and a magical roof terrace with views across the Ria Formosa towards the mainland. At night time the coast line twinkles with lights and is mesmerising. Beach wise, there is a lot to choose from; the house is very close to a secluded lagoon beach which is lovely when the tide is partially or fully in. Similarly the side beach which is directly behind the house is a great place for young children to play in the sand, to swim as the water is shallow enough with no unexpected surprises, or to kayak or use a SUP. The beach by the ferry terminal is usually lively in peak season, manned by lifeguards with a safe swim area on both sides of the jetty. Alternatively, take a 15/20 minute wander along the main path way or walk across the beach behind the house at low/mid tide to the Atlantic Beach regarded by many as one of the nicest beaches in the Algarve. Near the boardwalk you will find more people and a excellent beach/cocktail bar (which also serves snack food). They also rent out sunbeds with parasols so you can escape the fiercest summer sun. Away from the beach bar, you will find even fewer people until you feel you have the beach to yourself
As owners, we spend considerable time on the island and have thus made sure the house has all that one needs to enjoy a relaxing break. Guests who book are given, prior to their arrival, detailed notes on the house and the island itself to ensure their stay is as pleasant and hassle free as possible.
Note regarding prices-Prices are based on six persons using the house, an additional person will attract a 10-15% surcharge depending on age.. All bedrooms have double beds, the smallest bedroom has a triple bunk with a 4ft 6 inch (135 cm) bed below and single bed above. The largest bed is 160cms in the main bedroom. The owners reserve the right to exercise their discretion in terms of accepting or rejecting any booking requests for 7 persons.
Bookings in low season, April, May, October, November where rates are much reduced attract an additional cleaning charge of £50.
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