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Western Algarve: Enchanting Coastline and Breathtaking Landscapes

Western Algarve

150 kilometers of coastline facing the Atlantic Ocean, incredible cliffs, and a rich history. The Algarve is now a well-known tourist destination, able to offer tourists a consistently sunny climate, golden beaches, and endless opportunities for relaxation and fun. But while the eastern and central parts of the region are now dotted with large hotel complexes and suffer from over-tourism, the western Algarve maintains a more wild and unspoiled spirit. Here you will find a Natural Park, a city full of life, hidden beaches, fishing villages, and plenty of nature.

Western Algarve, PortugalPhoto via Canva Pro

The Algarve is located in the extreme south of mainland Portugal and at the very southwest point of the Iberian Peninsula and the entire European continent. The western Algarve is therefore one of the most remote yet easily accessible places you can visit in Europe. Our journey begins in Lagos. But before we depart, here is our essential rule. Always choose the low season. It’s the only way to experience the western Algarve without many tourists and in a more eco-friendly way.

Lagos, a city of navigators and surfers

Lagos, the capital of the western Algarve, is the perfect blend of Moorish atmospheres, traditional Portuguese culture, historic monuments, beautiful beaches, nature, and city life. The city is like a maze of ancient cobblestone streets, lined with characteristic restaurants, cozy cafes, lively bars, and trendy shops. Rich in history and tradition, it tells of a glorious, yet simultaneously painful past, linked to maritime explorations. It was from here that Henry the Navigator set sail for his voyages in the 15th century, thus launching the Age of Discovery. But it is also here that we find, at Praça do Infante, the building that was Portugal’s first slave market.

Lagos, western AlgarvePhoto via Canva Pro

The ancient walls, still intact, tell stories of bygone eras, while the vibrant atmosphere permeating the streets of the historic center testifies to the vitality of a city that never sleeps. Here, tradition and modernity harmoniously blend. The charming old town overlooks the elegant new marina, located right between the historic center and one of the longest beaches in the Algarve, the splendid Meia Praia.

Forte da Ponta da BandeiraPhoto via Canva Pro

In the city, it’s worth visiting the Church of St. Anthony, one of the few buildings left standing after the terrible earthquake of 1755, and the famous Forte da Ponta da Bandeira, a fortress built near the harbor to prevent sea raids in the 17th century and now housing an exhibit of ancient voyages.

Silves, the heart of Moorish Algarve

Silves, village in AlgarvePhoto via Canva Pro

Silves' castlePhoto via Canva Pro

What was once the Moorish capital is now probably the most scenic town in the Algarve. Dominated by its majestic red castle, the town is characterized by a typically Portuguese atmosphere and its relaxed rhythms. Its narrow cobbled streets lead to picturesque squares, where you can admire the interesting cathedral and the Portas de Cidade. The Arade River flowing beside the town adds a touch of serenity to the landscape. With its sweet oranges, whose cultivation characterizes the surrounding landscape, Silves offers an authentic experience of traditional Portugal and the Algarve.

Cape St. Vincent, the end of the world

Cape St. Vincent, western AlgarvePhoto via Canva Pro

Cape St. Vincent (Cabo de São Vicente in Portuguese) is the southwesternmost point of mainland Europe. A magical place where wild nature merges with history and myth. Once this place was considered the end of the world: walking on the cliffs, towering between 60 and 80 meters, and admiring the vastness of the Atlantic, one truly feels at the edge of the world. Small coves with sandy beaches like Praia do Tonel and Praia do Beliche offer a refuge from the force of the sea.

The most beautiful beaches of the western Algarve

Praia da Bordeira, AlgarvePhoto via Canva Pro

The western Algarve boasts a series of dream beaches, capable of satisfying every taste and need. Among the many, we recommend:

  • Meia Praia, in Lagos, is a wide expanse of golden sand ideal for families and sun lovers.
  • Praia da Rocha, in Albufeira, offers a lively atmosphere with restaurants, bars, and beach resorts.
  • Praia da Luz, in Lagos, is a lovely bay with calm and clear waters, perfect for swimming and snorkeling.
  • Praia do Burgau, a small fishing village, offers an authentic atmosphere and an untouched beach.
  • Praia do Martinhal, in Sagres, is a wild beach with powerful waves, ideal for surfers and nature lovers.
  • Praia da Bordeira, in Carrapateira, is a wide sandy beach with golden dunes and breathtaking views of the ocean.

The Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park

Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural ParkPhoto via Canva Pro

The Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park stretches for over 100 km along the southwestern coast of Portugal, offering an incredible variety of landscapes and biodiversity. Part of its territory is therefore part of the western Algarve and is a must for nature-loving travelers.

From cliffs overlooking the ocean to sandy and unspoiled beaches, from sand dunes to pine and cork oak forests, the park is a true paradise. It hosts a wide variety of flora and fauna, including many rare species. Among the park’s most iconic animals is certainly the white stork, which builds its nests on coastal rocks. Another rarity is represented by otters. In all of Europe, this is where you can see them in a marine habitat. The flora, which includes most of the country’s common species, also includes plants existing only in the park, such as the Vicentina Biscutella or the Almograve Plantago.

The park offers numerous opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, surfing, fishing, and birdwatching.

Monchique, the hinterland of western Algarve

Monchique, nestled among the rolling hills of the western Algarve, is a hidden gem rich in natural beauty and authentic traditions. Famous for its cork oak trees and eucalyptus forests, this picturesque town offers a quiet escape from the crowded coast. Visitors can explore the cobblestone streets of the historic center, admire panoramic views from its heights, and taste delicious local products in markets and taverns. Monchique is also an ideal starting point for hiking and biking excursions through the surrounding mountain landscapes, perfect for experiencing an authentic and relaxing inland Algarve experience.

Your green stay in the western Algarve

Where to stay in western Algarve

Tinyhaus Quinta da Paz

Yoga in Algarve

Where to stay in western Algarve

But where to stay to fully experience the atmosphere of the Algarve, visit these and many other places, all while respecting the environment? In this welcoming accommodation where you can discover a sustainable lifestyle and learn yoga and meditation techniques. You will stay in a comfortable eco-tiny house or glamping tent in a beautiful valley, just steps from Praia Boca do Rio and Praia da Salema beaches. The facility is not connected to the public electricity grid; everything works with solar energy.

Western Algarve is not just a tourist destination, but a place to live and discover slowly, to savor its most authentic essence.

The article Western Algarve: Enchanting Coastline and Breathtaking Landscapes was originally posted on Ecobnb.

By: Chiara Marras
Title: Western Algarve: Enchanting Coastline and Breathtaking Landscapes
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Published Date: Wed, 20 Mar 2024 07:55:41 +0000

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