Grand António

Santo António: Celebrating 13th June with Lisboa’s Patron Saint

One of Lisboa’s most eagerly-awaited festivals – the Festas dos Santos Populares, is celebrated in the Portuguese capital as the Festival of Santo António. Saint Anthony of Padua (August 15th 1195 – June 13th 1231) was a Portuguese Catholic priest and Franciscan friar who became a saint in 1232 and was made a Doctor of the Church in 1946.

We in VRSA will also celebrate this day, not only because as so-called “Little Lisbon” we are a small edition of the capital of Portugal. Anthony of Lisbon is also the patron saint of Portugal as well as of lost things. We invite you to stay with us at the Grand House during these holidays.

The soul of the Sotavento

Portugal’s Eastern Algarve is an undiscovered gem. One of the country’s best-kept secrets, this special destination is a tribute to tradition, a song of saudade, an emotional state of mind that describes the Portuguese soul and identity by preserving ancient history, a unique cultural heritage, traditional crafts and a unique ecosystem.

Let`s Grand together

Sometimes you must give your consciousness a break. … find places and create moments that breathe ease of mind. Such as the Grand House. A thoroughly positive place.

We encourage you to live life in the slow lane, to appreciate human connections, to be intentional with your time, to give yourself a “negative-free break”.

So, next time you plan a trip to the Grand House, enjoy the moment, watch the sunsets, laugh at jokes, walk barefoot on the beach, hear the sound of the ocean, and enjoy our good food with family and friends.

Salt Journey & Gastro Tasting

When visiting the salt pans of Castro Marim, you will meet Jorge, a really amazing and authentic host.  He not only tells you everything about the Flor de Sal production and let you harvest the salt by yourself, but also invites you for a salt tasting with typical local products.

During this personalised tour guests discover that salt from this protected landscape is once again a prized commodity, but this time by gourmet chefs and enthusiastic home cooks.

‘Salmarim’ is one of the few remaining family-owned artisan companies that still harvests salt in the traditional way. Jorge Raiado, our tour host, shares his passion and expertise in salt making.

It starts at the salt basins. Once flooded with seawater, the magic begins. As the water evaporates, Jorge explains, flor de sal (delicate, jewel-like pyramid crystals of salt) form and rise to the surface. You might even get the chance to try your hand at harvesting this ‘caviar of salts’ using traditional tools.

Once inside Jorge’s traditional salt barn one learns more of the different types of salts: from robust sea salt to the different types of subtle flor del sal, valued for its natural moisture, complex flavour, and richness in healthy minerals (including magnesium, calcium, and potassium). Little wonder some of the finest award winning restaurants across Portugal and beyond use this Algarve flor de sal to finish their dishes, often coming to Salmarin to create their own unique ‘blend’ of crystals.

What better way to experience the transformative powers of salt than trying it with food? Jorge begins with offering local artisan cheese and organic tomatoes so one can relish the difference in flavours with a dusting of flor de sal.

Glasses are filled with sparkling Portuguese wine, and the barn is filled with the sound of pops and crackles, and the fresh smell of the sea. Jorge places a large tray, laden with a generous layer of sea salt, upon a small gas stove. This bed of white jewels is all that is needed to cook jumbo Scarlet Cardinal carabineros Atlantic prawns to perfection.

Visit an Oyster Farm

The Ria Formosa oyster has a taste impossissble to beat. If you do not just want to enjoy it fresh at our Grand Beach Club, you can also go straight to where the magic starts.

Visit an oyster farm on the breath-taking beautiful island of Culatra. You will be welcomed personally by the president of the island that has many surprisingly facts about the island life and future, the locals, and of course, about oysters, to tell. Culatra is not only a beautiful tourist destination, but also a pioneer in sustainability. Needless to say that the oysters will be tasted on the spot.

There is plenty of time to relax on one of the idyllic beaches and then stop off at one of the rustic restaurants.


When embarking on this journey, you support the sustainability project “Culatra 2030”. The value of your experience will go in part towards this project, thus making you an important part of the community’s sustainable development projects. You will receive information on the progress of the project and all the news.

“Culatra 2030 – Sustainable Energy Community” is a project selected by the European Secretariat for Clean Energy on Islands to be one of six pilot projects throughout Europe. The aim is to make Culatra a self-sufficient community in terms of energy, exclusively using clean and renewable sources. A strong commitment to the preservation of environmental values and sustainability.

PS: A juvenile oyster is between 2mm to 6mm in size and here in the Algarve it takes one to one-and-a-half years for an oyster to be fully grown. The final size and appearance of an oyster depend on the quality of water and ambient temperatures. In France it takes up to four years for an oyster to be fully developed. One reason (unbeknownst to most French oyster consumers) the largest French aquaculture enterprise grows a substantial part of their production in Algarvean waters. Only for export to France!