Castro Marim is a lovely village situated near the city of Vila Real de Santo António. If you enjoy small and typical villages, far from the crowds, then this place is a must visit when in the Easter side of Algarve.
What characterizes this village are its 2 castles, as well as the Sapal – a kind of swamp. From the top of the hill of any of the castles you get a superb view of the villages’ surroundings, as well as the swamp fields. Also, you see the bridge that connects Portugal to Spain, over the River Guadiana. If you are interested in visiting religious architecture, don’t miss the parish church.
During summer takes place a medieval fair, during which medieval behaviours and customs are reproduced inside the castle.
Beaches at the westcoast are quit different than the beaches in the south. Here you find interesting stones and rock formations.
Watch also my "Algarve - Westcoast" Tip!
At only 750 meters from the main square in Carvoeiro (Going east by the coast way)!
Here you find spectacular rock formations, some long tunnels in the cliff, and stairs which often end in a cave with a view.
Algarve is more than beach and sun. Algarve has an interesting countryside forgotton by 99,9% of the tourists who visit this part of Portugal.
If you're traveling in the Algarve, specially during winter or spring, I recomend you a visit to the countryside.
This is Alcoutim, a small village in the border of Algarve with South Alentejo (Beja District). In fact, what you see in the picture is not Alcoutim. It's what you see from the Youth Hostel of Alcoutim: the spanish village in the other side of the river. This is a beautiful and quite place for a few days of pleasure.
Cones, cubes, prisms, cylinders, pyramids, balloons; squat stumps, slender fingers, plain white or colorfully decorated: All these descriptions fit chimneys known as the chaminé Algarvia. If you come to the Algarve there is one thing that characterizes this sunny area: it’s ornamental chimneys. And if the chimneys have anything at all in common, it is that many bring to mind minarets, even miniature mosques. Most of the houses have two of them (minimum). One for the heating and one for the ventilation. We became fascinated with them, all the more because nobody seemed to know much about their origins. A tourist guide told us that there is a legend about the chimneys. The Muslims, who lived in the Algarve for more than 500 years couldn’t practice there religion after the recapture. It wasn’t allowed. So they found their own way to built little religious places where they could pray. People from Portugl often deny that the legend is true or even exists. There are no clues and nobody knows it exactly., but: centuries later it’s at least stylish to have chimneys, even if you are not a muslim.
On many cemeteries niches are used because they take up less space. These niches are not usually purchased but rented from the council, which runs the cemetery. If the rent is not paid the coffined remains are removed after a time and placed in a common grave site to leave the niche free for another incumbent whose family will pay the rent. The dead body comes into a coffin of zinc. Air is exhausted and the coffin is placed into a wooden coffin. The relatives have a key for the niche which most contains a window with a little curtain. They arrange some flowers, photos or personal items of the dead. For us this kind of burial is very uncommon but people get a very close and familiar relation to the deceased.
At Cape Vincent: the last sausage before America. I ate one! You get an orginal German Bratwurst there. It's not cheap (3 Euros) but you have to try it. you also get a certificate that you visited the most southern west point of Europe...
I first saw at another VT member page (quartinb) and got very interested. But if you really want to go, get lots of patience as road signs can be a nightmare.
We follow all the signs until we arrived at the car park (that of course as it was low season was empty) to find that there was no explanation of where to go.
After a while walking without knowing where to go, I saw in the distance a kind of wooden steps on the mountain that has a sing of no entrance only for residences….. and finally we founded this waterfalls.
They were not much spectacular as there was not much water and of course no people bathing in january hehehehe.
I recomend this visit to everyone going to Tavira.
To get there you have to get the little boat (for just one euro per person the return ticket) at about 2 km from Tavira. In winter the last one was at 5.00pm so we missed to see the sunset from there.
As we went in winter the beach was empty, but it was warm and sunny so it was paradise! Just km and km of sandy beach for you!
The National Park of Ria Formosa is composed by various islands and protects specially bird species. We were lucky to see some flamingos on our way, specially at the salinas of Tavira (where we enjoyed another great sunset)
almost off the beatten , from armacao de pera, ( my portimao page shows it, better ) prainha beach is my favorite one along the miles of strecht beaches in algarve. a wonderfull, and charming beach not always crowded and impossible to stay, if yu don´t apreciate crowdy/busy vacation.
Once we had satisfied our need to dip our feet in the cool ocean waves, we found a nice spot to spread our towel beside the basalt cliff at the edge of the beach. The waves were actually quite large but, because this was a gently sloping beach, they broke quite a way out. With our binoculars we watched cliff-fishers on the headland behind us as they cast their lines out into the surf. We stayed here sipping our wine and enjoying the sun and breezes, as well as the sound of the waves coming ashore, until about 7 PM. Then it was time to head back to Aljezur to see what we could find in the way of a restaurant!
We had not started the day well in Lisbon with our unexpected delay (you will have to see my Lisbon page for details on that!), followed by the long drive south to Aljezur that afternoon. By the time we had found our accommodations, it was already 4:30 PM. We wanted at least a little taste of the ocean on this 29 C day, so we very quickly headed for a nearby beach (only 5 km) on the not so touristy western Atlantic side of the Algarve. The beach at Monte Clerigo was just what the doctor ordered - a long smooth expanse of sand with hardly another soul there! These seaweed covered rocks greeted us as we strolled down to the sea fog rising from where the cold Atlantic waters met the hot sandy beach!
This was the first time since we had arrived in Portugal 4 days earlier that we had been able to visit the seaside! It was very refreshing to wander along the beach and feel the cool water washing around our feet. This mid-May time of the year seemed to still be a low tourism period from our experience. Combined with the great sunny weather, that suited us just fine! This particular location was not overbuilt, just many smaller beachfront houses - most of which still seemed to be deserted on this Monday evening.
You do not have to venture far of the Algarves well beaten track, to get away from it all in beautiful green countryside.
Plenty of activities to keep you busy, including hiking, horseriding, or just viewing the area from the comfort of your car, or preferably the local bus. The inland villages are very pretty, here you start to get a feel of the real Portugal.
As mentioned in my intro, I much prefered northern Portugal, here you can get a glimps of what it is like.
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