Estoi in the Eastern Algarve borders on the Central and Eastern Algarve in the Serra do Caldeirao foot hills. The Town has much to offer and well worth the inland trip, Estoi comes under the Parish of Faro famous for its Palace (nicknamed the Pink Palace), more about the palace further down. When entering Estoi from the east, a roman ruin building stand, known as Milreu roman ruins. The oldest part of the ruins is of a 1st / 2nd century AD Roman villa part of an agricultural settlement. Later in 3rd century AD a luxurious house with a large bathing complex. Later it became a sanctuary up until the 6th Century.
The centre of Estoi sits an impressive Church. With a mixture of styles a Corinthian columns door entrance with front facade of roman influence, then a Moorish style bell tower. At the bottom of the stone steps leading to the church entrance a running spring with 3 stone pipes leading into a solid stone trough.
A similar one is opposite with a tiled information Plaque. Off the small square are bars, restaurants which lead to a cobbled street. At the end sits an impressive arched gateway that is part of the Palace boundary. Estoi has many fine Merchants houses with carved stone adorning doorways and window surrounds, with fancy cast iron Juliet balconies. Estoi has other small squares in the town with influence of the Moorish period depicting in many of the larger houses. In the center of the village is a daily indoor fish, fruit/vegetables market that is open until midday. Estoi is not just well known for its Palace. Holding huge events just off a side road from the main church. May and August Estoi holds large equestrian shows that take place until the early hours. The parade has decorated horse drawn carriages and buggies. The town gets a medieval feel as the fair is alight with flame torches. In the past there has also been bullfighting, but these are becoming less due to the animal rights that seem to be creeping in across Europe. On the same site is a large monthly Market. The car park has dedicated parking for camper vans (motor homes).
The palace built at the end of the 18th century by a local aristocrat from the Carvalhal family. Considered a fine example of neo-classical architecture, its interior has more of a French and Italian feel. Paintings of cherubs on wall and ceilings the furniture of the Louis 16th style. Estoi palace remained in the Carvalhal family until 1893, when sold to a wealthy chemist and landowner from Central Portugal. The new owner had the palace restored and augmented by Portugal's pre-eminent architect of the time. He did such a good job it earned the owner the title of Viscount of Estoi in 1906. The palace passed down through the family until falling into disrepair. In 1987 it was purchased by the Municipal Council of Faro.
Now a Luxury hotel it is free to walk around the palace and gardens even if not a staying guest. A good place to have a coffee or light lunch, whilst taking in the splendour of the former palace. The exit road around the outer walls of the palace gardens, is the town’s public laundry. Its tiled covered roof now restored and wall decorated with hand painted tiles depicting its former use.
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