Archive for November, 2013

Vale Navio: a ghost resort in Algarve

Posted: November 21, 2013 in Portugal

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This place, located in Albufeira area, was one of the first time-sharing resorts in Portugal and one of the largest. The original project included 300 apartments and 95 villas, but in the end the whole thing collapsed.

The project was designed in 1972 by the architect Ramos Chaves. It was a special project, thought to be a model of positive interaction between urbanization and environment. Amazingly, only three trees – pine trees – would be cut down to make space to the buildings. But in the 80’s the success of Vale Navio was so intense that greediness dictated the expansion of the resort and the good principles were forgotten.

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I couldn’t determine when it finally collapsed but probably in 2003. Initially I thought of 1988, because in the workshop there I found plenty of documents – repairing requests – with that date. But no. Googling it (there is plenty of information in Portuguese in a newspaper Público article here) made it clear. In 2000 Vale Navio was still up.

It’s an easy exploration. Located a couple of hundred meters from the main road in the region, there is even a parking spot and then, it’s just a matter of walking in and take pictures. The  most interesting spot in the former Mexican restaurant, significantly named Mexiko. What’s really awkward is that many properties initially included in the resort were saved from abandonment and people now live there. How strange can be to live surrounded by a ghost resort?

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