Algarve On The Road

Riding along the southern coast of Portugal among golden beaches, cliffs, lagoons, and white fishing villages

  • Algarve On The Road
  • Algarve On The Road
  • Algarve On The Road
  • Algarve On The Road

There was a time when, to Europeans, the borders of the world sat on the Atlantic coasts of Spain and Portugal, overlooking a harsh and stormy sea. It was from there that, five centuries ago, explorers set out to discover the world, beyond the dreaded Pillars of Hercules.
And this is where our journey to Algarve, the wildest part of Portugal, begins. This beautiful region in the south of the country has beautiful landscapes and a magnificent light all year round. Its approximately 200 kilometers of coastline are gifted with an incredible variety of landscapes, from the long sandy beaches in the shade of the cliffs to the almost deserted islands, from the small inlets facing the ocean to an outback rich in history and culture.
The best way to discover these places is by hitting the road by motorcycle or on a car, heading where the instinct guides you and stopping wherever natural beauty calls. Here are the places you should not miss on the three main coasts of Algarve: the south-western coast (Sotavento), the southeastern coast (Barlavento) and the western coast (Vicentina).
The Sotavento Coast from Faro to Tavira (21 miles)
, the capital of Algarve, is a charming city that has managed to preserve a certain authenticity. The maze of medieval streets of the Old Town reveals ancient remains of the Arab domination, such as the huge11th century arch, as well as some beautiful churches, including that of Nossa Senhora do Carmo with the Capela dos Ossos, a chapel erected with the bones and the skulls of over a thousand monks.
About ten kilometers further east is the beautiful Olhão, with its pretty harbor, an old fishermen's quarter, a huge fish market and the typical whitewashed terraced houses. This relaxing destination offers excellent seafood cuisine and sits in the heart of the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa, a salt marsh ecosystem inhabited by many bird species. The beaches on the lagoon islands are incredibly quiet and beautiful, especially the fine sandy ones on the islands of Armona and Fuzeta.
About thirty kilometers further east is yet another gem: Tavira, beloved by the Portuguese, a picturesque town of whitewashed houses with colorful roofs overlooking narrow cobblestone streets. Nearby Ilha de Tavira beach, separated from the mainland by a narrow channel, is a long stretch of thin white sand.
The Barlavento Coast from Vilamoura to Sagres (63 miles)
The fashionable resort of Vilamoura is a holiday retreat for well-to-do yachts owners mostly from English-speaking countries, offering plenty of clubs and casinos. Not far away, the magnificent golden beach of Falésia, stretching between a blue sea and red cliffs surmounted by green pine trees, is undoubtedly the most beautiful one in the area.
About ten kilometers to the west is the popular resort of Albufeira, with its very beautiful but often too crowded beaches, and further west sits one of Algarve's most famous beaches, Praia da Rocha, also dominated by cliffs whose bright colors range from red to orange and ocher. Once in Lagos, you can either plunge into the nightlife of Meia Praia or take refuge in the quieter bays of Batata, Pinhão, Dona Ana and Camilo, overlooking some truly spectacular sea stacks.
Finally, it is worth venturing to the extreme western tip of the country, where the rugged and windy beaches close to Sagres are a real surfer's paradise.
The Vicentina Coast from Cabo de Sao Vicente to Odeceixe (43 miles)
This is without doubt the most authentic and pristine area in Algarve, part of the huge Natural Park of South-West Alentejo and the Vicentina Coast, a land of wild coastlines constantly beaten by the ocean winds, gray cliffs, deserted, often inaccessible beaches, and hills pervaded by the scent of agave and eucalyptus and dotted with small villages. From the spectacular lighthouse of Cabo de Sao Vicente up to the village of Odeceixe, where the winding Seixe river throws itself into the ocean, you will be swept away by the extraordinary power of nature.

Author : The Slowear Journal


Algarve  | holidays  | on the road  | Portugal  |

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