by Carolina Maia 17th September 2021
Meet Figs on the Funcho!

Figs on the Funcho runs as a B&B establishment with winding pathways for easy waterside access for kayakers, paddle boarders, wild water swimmers and fishing enthusiasts. A range of painting, walking holiday and cookery packages are on offer. Its idyllic riverside setting overlooking the Barragem do Funcho makes it ideal for large events including weddings and birthday celebrations and with high speed fibre optic, it is perfect for business events or digital nomads who are nature enthusiasts and seek the ‘home-from-home’ modern comfort accommodation option.


We took 10 years to move to Portugal’s Algarve!

But it has been worth it. Since our permanent move to Portugal in 2021 we have hit the ground running. We’ve experienced positive outcomes regardless being in the travel industry and in the midst of a world wide pandemic. We survived the 2008 financial crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit!


In 2002, we watched the Channel 4 TV reality programme “No Going Back” that really inspired us to make Portugal our ‘living the dream’ destination. It was a documentary programme about UK families or couples escaping the rat race from their nine to five working days and forming a new, quieter lifestyle in a European sunny destination.

In 2007 just before the 2008 financial crisis, Graham and I found a waterfront property that had two buildings: a one-hundred-year-old farmhouse with stables on either side and a barn with adjacent pigsties. Both buildings offered complete privacy with a 365-degree view of the countryside. We renovated the 100-year old farmhouse into a stylish 5-bedroom villa and added an infinity pool with jaw dropping views of the Barragem do Funcho. The River Barn is currently being renovated into further bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms, a one-bedroom apartment and a large function room.

Once the renovations to the farmhouse (know as The River House) were completed in 2010, we weren’t ready to move to the Algarve for various reasons, so it was an obvious choice for us to offer the property as a holiday rental when not using it. The self-catering villa became a popular choice for families looking for privacy and peace, allowing the guests to disconnect from their hectic lifestyle.

We were at Figs on the Funcho during the COVID-19 pandemic that resulted in the first lockdown of 2020 and we used the forced downtime period to reflect and recognise what was important to us. Running the holiday rental business from the UK was not fulfilling our dream of forming a new quieter lifestyle in a European sunny destination that we set out to do over ten years ago. So we quickly made plans to sell our house in England, apply for Portuguese residency, and exchanged our current driving licences for the Portuguese equivalent before Brexit came into force. Our UK house was sold in March 2021 and we managed to transfer our household belongings to Portugal with very little difficultly under the new Brexit regulations. Nothing like a deadline to get you moving!

We are now running the business as a retreat/holiday experience venue in the Algarve,, and having great PR success, appearing in the glossy magazines from the region and have established ongoing relationships with the local journalists who are coming to multiple events that we put on so that they can cover them.


Recent past events at Figs on the Funcho that attracted media coverage:

– Painting Workshops and Painting Holidays suitable for all artistic levels,

– Carob and Tapas Event where guests learnt how to include the superfood, carob, into their diets followed by tapas under the large carob trees,

– Stand up Paddle Boarding experience followed by drinks on the “Out of Africa” waterfront deck,

– Walking Event where we follow the Barragem Funcho to the iconic “church hill”. The mayor from our village, São Bartolomeu Messines, joined us on the walk and she happily shared her local knowledge with the walkers about the historic 1834 Sant’Ana battle.



Media channels Figs on the Funcho have recently appeared in:

Filming on the Funcho and walking event (Tomorrow Magazine – August 21):

Figs on the Funcho – A New Life (Algarve Plus Magazine – August 21):

Painting Holiday and Workshops (The Portugal News):

Soon to be on TV – Figs on the Funcho Events (Algarve Daily News – September 21):

Get Involved Events at Figs on the Funcho (Algarve Plus Magazine – September):

Carob and Tapas event soon to appear in the Algarve Tomorrow Magazine.


About your hosts

You can read more about Cheryl & Graham’s adventures and what brought them to where they are now in Alyson Sheldrakes’ book A New Life in the Algarve Portugal:

Cheryl and Graham are currently being filmed by the British TV company, True North, for one of their popular TV series – couples who have left their homeland in favour of a new start in Portugal.  It follows the highs and lows of setting up a business in a foreign country and will be aired in January 2022.