Relax in the sun with villas in the Algarve

Southern Portugal is perfect for a self-catering holiday. Explore the beaches and coastal towns by day, then head back to peaceful villas in the Algarve region to maybe cool off in the pool before loading the barbecue with local seafood and sardines.

Villas in the Algarve (www.villasinthealgarve.com) specialize in exactly what the company name suggests. They offer a range of 2, 3 and 4 bedroom villas ideal for family holidays in the region. All the villas have private pools so you won't have to worry about sharing.

The villas are situated around the small towns of Silves and Carvoeiro, within close reach of glorious beaches, secluded coves and Atlantic cliffs. Silves has a 12th century castle, a cathedral and an attractive old quarter.

Casa Nunes, near Silves, is a traditional Portuguese villa in a tranquil location, with its own pool. It has 2 bedrooms and an additional Z bed, so will sleep up to 5 people. Rates for May and October are £415 per week; for June, the first week of July and all September, £499; from the second week of July and all of August, £578.

The Quinta Marta Luisa has a splendid private hilltop setting overlooking Silves.  It has 4 bedrooms sleeping up to 8 people. There is an upper terrace ideal for outdoor dining and sunbathing, and a lower terrace with a heated swimming pool. Rates for April, May and October based on 8 occupants are £866 per week, for June, the first week of July and all September, £1102, for the second week of July and all August, £1354. Rates are lower for fewer occupants.

Note that Villas in the Algarve offer some very attractive rates (and longer lets) for villa rentals in the winter months, when the climate in the Algarve is still very mild. Check www.holiday-weather.com/algarve for details of temperatures in January and February and be pleasantly surprised.

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