1. Monte Gordo Trip File Facts
Cost per person: £300 based on 2 sharing
Number of Nights: 4
Flights With: Ryanair
Flight Times: Early evening outbound, early evening inbound
Flight From: Glasgow Prestwick
Flight To: Faro Airport, Portugal
Time of Year: November 2022
Distance from Airport to Hotel: 61km via the A22 motorway
Accommodation: Prime Energise Monte Gordo Junior Suite (4 Star)
Board: Half Board (daily breakfast and dinner included)
Transport: Hire car included from Faro Airport
Weather: Warm and windy. Temperatures 23-27 degrees Celsius
Trips Out: Vila Real San Antonio, Huelva (Spain), Tavira (Barril Beach)
1. Flying from Glasgow Prestwick to Faro Airport with Ryanair
Glasgow Prestwick is a budget airport that is 33 miles away from Glasgow itself. It is on the coast near Ayr. There are two main car parks, one next to the terminal and one just another short walk away. If you need to drop off or pick someone up from the airport entrance there is still a charge to use the car park. Tickets are dispensed on entry and the payment terminal is opposite the main airport building.
Glasgow Prestwick Airport is pretty basic. There is one bar before security, one security lane, and then one bar/cafe through security. This can get quite busy as it is really the only place to wait for flights. There is also a WHSmith bookshop.
Ryanair has a strict one bag policy for those just booking standard seats. The bag size must be 40cm x 25cm x 20cm and it must fit under the seat in front of you.
Ryanair doesn’t have seat pockets making it difficult to have things like books, magazines, or tablets with you. There is an onboard flight service with hot food, drinks, and snacks. This is payable only by card – Ryanair is a cashless airline.
2. Landing at Faro Airport
Faro Airport is a very easy airport to use. Passport control is generally quite quick, although it was a quieter time of year to travel. After passport control is a large baggage hall and then out into the main airport building.
The airport building is a semi-circular shape with a selection of cafes and shops both before and after security, including a very popular cafe outside.
Check out all the facilities at Faro Airport
3. Getting from Faro Airport to Monte Gordo
The cheapest transfer price was 160 Euros (both ways) so a hire car was a much cheaper option.
The cost of hiring a car that was offsite (ie. not in the main airport terminal) was 80 Euros less than hiring a car onsite. We hired a car from OK Mobility as it was the cheapest. We found it very difficult to understand the directions to the shuttle bus so we ended up getting a taxi. Actually, the shuttle bus goes from just near the Travellers Restaurant which is outside the main airport building. If you are facing Travellers with the airport behind you the shuttle bus goes from the left-hand side where there are a couple of benches.
Collecting the car was straightforward. We hired a Fiat 500 hybrid. It had a sunroof and USB charging points.
(Check out my guide to Excess Car Hire Insurance policy to save money when hiring a car)
4. Getting from Faro Airport to Monte Gordo
If you are hiring a car in the Algarve and planning to travel on the motorway (the A22) you need to pay around 7 Euros extra for the tag in the car which automatically pays the motorway tolls. These are then charged back to your credit card at the end of the car hire period.
It is 62km from Faro Airport to Monte Gordo via the A22. This is easy to reach from Faro Airport – just follow the signs for Spain!
5. Monte Gordo Location
Monte Gordo is located in the Algarve region of Portugal. It is 62km East of Faro and is very close to the Spanish border.
6. Monte Gordo Weather
Current Weather in Monte Gordo
Average Weather Temperatures for Monte Gordo
7. Monte Gordo – What’s It Like?
Monte Gordo is a tourist resort, mainly aimed at Portuguese holidaymakers. There are lots of holiday flats, apartments, and hotels too.
Monte Gordo has a very large and very long sandy beach which is one of the reasons it is so popular. The beach has sun loungers available for hire.
Monte Gordo has a beach boardwalk area with lots of cafes and restaurants along it. Set back from the beach boardwalk is a promenade with more cafes and a few small gardens and play parks. Set further back again is the main road running the length of Monte Gordo which has sea-view cafes, restaurants, shops, and accommodation all the way along it.
Monte Gordo also has several streets in the town centre which have shops, cafes, and restaurants – it feels like a small ‘old town’ area.
In terms of attractions the beach is the main focus in Monte Gordo. There are some walking trails through some nearby woodlands.
8. Monte Gordo Prime Energise Hotel
The Prime Energise Hotel is a fitness and wellness hotel located at the Eastern end of Monte Gordo. It has the following facilities;
- Rooftop swimming pool with bar
- Spa area with jacuzzi, steam room, foot spa, and swimming pool
- Gym with treadmills, free weights, kettlebells, and bike
There is a selection of room types available at the hotel including standard rooms, junior suites, and larger suites. The Junior suite had the following facilities;
- Separate bedroom with kingsized double bed, large TV, small balcony with table and chairs, patio doors to balcony
- Living room area with desk, small table inside, patio doors to balcony with table and chairs, large TV, coffee machine, fridge
- Bathroom with large walk-in shower, washbasin, toilet, and bidet
The room was very clean and serviced every day.
There was separate air conditioning for the bedroom which was helpful.
The suite was on the 4th floor overlooking the road.
9. Facilities at the Prime Energise Monte Gordo
The rooftop pool was open daily. There were sun loungers around the pool and a small poolside bar.
The spa needed to be booked in advance. Only the jacuzzi and pool area were open. The sauna and foot spa areas were closed. A swimming hat was compulsory for the spa area. It cost 4 Euros from the reception desk.
The gym had a treadmill, bike, free weights, kettlebells, and water machine. Swimming hat 4 Euros for spa
The hotel advertised free fitness activities each day but these were not on during November.
There was a Stand Up Paddleboarding activity available but this required an 8.30 am pickup.
10. Dining at the Prime Energise Monte Gordo
When staying as a guest on half board you have to choose a time for breakfast and dinner. We had the option of 7.30 am or 9.45 for breakfast and 7-8.30 pm or 8.30-10 pm for dinner. Guests have to keep to the same time slot throughout their stay.
Breakfast was a little confusing in terms of service. Guests have to wait to be seated but there was confusion about what tables were occupied and which ones were empty. Breakfast was a hot buffet with eggs, bacon, sausages, mushrooms, and beans. There was coffee from machines, fresh orange juice, bakery goods, cold meats, cheeses, and pastries.
A couple of examples of evening meals, which are buffet service;
Pasta with garlic sauce, green beans, spare ribs with chilli sauce, volcano pudding, and rice pudding.
Coconut and coriander spaghetti, turkey breast, roasted veg, rice, chips.
There was also a daily fresh soup.
Drinks are table service. A Virgin Pina Colada was 5 Euros, Vino Verde was 4 Euros
11. Prime Energise Monte Gordo Beach Bar
The hotel has its own beach area about 1/2 mile away from the hotel itself. In November there were no loungers available to hire on this section of the beach.
There was also a beach cafe/restaurant where hotel guests could book breakfast for an additional 5 Euros per person. Breakfast was available between 10 am and 12 noon and had to be booked in advance.
12. Monte Gordo Facilities
Close to the Prime Energise Hotel was a Spar convenience store. It was easy to reach by taking a right out of the hotel, bearing left, and going straight ahead through a car park.
Next to the Spar is a bakery that does lovely coffee and amazing cakessho
There are also gift shops, a Chinese restaurant, and a tobacconist shop.
Beside the Spar is a small street that has a selection of cafes, shops, and restaurants along it as well as a small market area.
13. Monte Gordo Beach
The beach is wide and sandy. There is a consistent wind coming off the Atlantic.
Beach area – cafes, most of the cafes closed. Little bar near fishing boats 1.70 Euros for a coffee, boardwalk
14. Trips Out from Monte Gordo
Vila Real De Santa Antonio is the next time East of Monte Gordo. It is quite a pretty town, especially the older central part which runs West from the Guardina River which forms the border between Spain and Portugal.
There are some pleasant cafes and shops along the riverside and also in the town centre.
There is a pier that looks like it would give a great view over the Algarve and Spanish coastlines. However, the potholes were too much for our hire car so we had to turn back.
Find out everything you need to know about Vila Real de Santa Antonio
A22 and International Bridge to Spain
From Vila Real, you can cross the International Bridge, which is on the A22 motorway, and go to Spain. You can see the old border checkpoint.
Huelva is the first town you will come to. This is a small fishing-type town with some narrow streets.
Tavira is 20km West of Monte Gordo. It is a pretty town with a central square alongside the river. There are pleasant cafes, shops, and restaurants to enjoy as well.
One of the great features of Tavira is the market building. There are a variety of local food stalls inside. The market is open until 1 pm each weekday. There is free parking right beside the market and cafes and snack bars nearby.
Check out things to do in Tavira.
Barril Beach Santa Luz
Barril Beach is a wide sandy beach. There is free parking on the road which is to the West of Tavira near Santa Luzia. There is also a paid car parking area.
To reach Barril Beach there is a footpath, that runs alongside the railway track. There is also a train service to save the walk. The fare is 3.60 Euros return and there is a ticket machine that takes cash or card. There are some great views from the train.
On arrival at Barril Beach, there are several cafes and a couple of small shops. There are also public toilets.
There is a small museum, loungers to hire, and a lifeguard point.
Read more about Barril Beach on Tripadvisor
Homem Nu (Nudist Beach)
To reach the nudist beach turn right out of the cafe area and walk around 1200 metres. There is no sign marking the start of the nudist beach, just naked people.
Some people stay out on the main beach area and some tuck themselves in between the dunes.
15. Eating Out in Monte Gordo
This was a small restaurant with great reviews. It looks more like a takeaway. The right-hand side of the building is a takeaway area and the left-hand side is a restaurant. There is a small menu with only 5 or so options for meat and the same for fish. Everything was freshly cooked. It was delicious and quite reasonable. It was the best meal of our stay.
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Vilamoura Holiday – a fantastic destination in the Algarve
Vidamar Resort Algarve Review – a great hotel with everything in one place
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