São Bartolomeu de MessinesThe historic market town of São Bartolomeu de Messines is a typical inland Algarve town, set in a valley, to the north east of Silves at the base of the Serra do Caldeirão hills. It is ideally situated for a taste of the 'traditional' Algarve, and yet close enough to the coast for days at the beach. 

There are a small selection of cafés, bars and restaurants - mostly serving traditional Portuguese food, and at very reasonable prices. The daily covered market with fish, cured meats, bread, fruit and vegetables, is very popular with the locals and thoseDaily indoor market from small nearby villages.

The countryside around Messines is lush and green, with fruit trees galore either side of the roads. You often see locals with roadside stalls selling fruit along the way. Not far from Messines is the Funcho dam, with spectacular views of the mountains all around. Incredibly peaceful and well away from any crowds, this is a perfect spot to relax with a picnic.

AlteTo the east of Messines is the village of Alte, another typically Algarvean village with pretty white washed houses, a small church and a stream that runs down from the spring (fonte) creating a small waterfall near the main road. There a a selection of bars/cafés to sit and relax while you watch the world go by.

The coast is just a 25 minute drive from Messines and boasts many beaches and coves. For a more lively day head towards Armação de Pera or Albufeira. Why not stop at Guia, the home of Portugal's national dish 'Piri-piri chicken' or to take a tour of the vineyard of Sir Cliff Richard.Galé beach

If the quieter, calmer beaches are more your thing visit the beautiful Galé beach, or more intimate beaches such as those at São Rafael and Castelo. The coastline is spectacular, with great views and great walks.

For golf enthusiasts the closest Golf Courses are those at Silves, only a 20 minute drive from Messines - the new Amendoeira Golf Course and Pestana Silves Course. There are however many Golf courses throughout the Algarve, the majority within a 40 minute drive of Messines.