Days out and Exploring
The Eastern Algarve is generally regarded as the more unspoiled and traditional part of southern Portugal rather than the central region. This is the secret heart of the Algarve with villages whose simple charms and whitewashed houses take you back in time. Although you will find your own “special town/village/beach”, these are a few of our recommendations.
Loule is known for it’s daily covered market which is perfect for fish, seafood, local produce and handicrafts. Although it is a peaceful and unhurried town, it comes alive on Saturday mornings when two additional markets are held. There is a farmer’s market hosted in the streets surrounding the covered market and a vibrant gypsy market on the edge of town. There are lots of independent shops on the pedestrianised street to the south of the market. https://www.algarvetips.com/cities/loule/
You will probably fly into Faro, but if you spend time there you will discover a charming Portuguese city with a historic quarter – the Gothic Cathedral and Paco Episcopal palace are worth visiting. Outside of the city walls is a vibrant city, with pedestrianised shopping streets, characterful plazas and a wide variety of restaurants and bars.
Although we wouldn’t necessarily recommend in peak season, the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa is definitely worth a visit – especially if you are interested in fauna and flora. Of international importance, the Ria Formosa is a maze of canals, islands, marshes and barrier islands stretching 60kms along the coast. https://www.algarvetouristguide.com/attractions/ria-formosa
For your own Robinson Crusoe experience, try to visit Ilha Deserta. The boat leaves Faro every half hour in peak season – the last one around 19.30. https://www.ilhadeserta.com/
The sandy beaches of the Algarve are wonderful and there are plenty within a 20-30 minute drive of the Manoir. Our favourite is Fuseta which is very much a “locals” beach and free of tourists. The water is clear and calm and the sand very clean and golden. There are plenty of open air restaurants grilling fresh fish at the side of the harbour. Praia da Ilha da Fuseta with it’s fantastic stretch of sand is a 10 minute boat ride.
Tavira is one of the most charming towns in the Algarve. Situated on the Gilao River, Tavira is a delightful mix of traditional Portuguese Heritage with deep-rooted Moorish influences. Within it’s labyrinth of cobbled streets are lovely independent shops, family run restaurants and a myriad of decorative churches. Definitely worth a visit is the Camera Obscura which is run by an extremely informative Englishman.
Olhao is a characterful fishing village around 30 minutes drive from the Manoir. Possibly the most authentically Portuguese town in the Algarve, the daily fish market is exceptional. Just make sure that you arrive early….
Silves is a historic town that was originally the ancient capital of the Algarve. Although today the town is peaceful and unhurried, remnants of its illustrious past can be seen scattered throughout the town. The cobbled streets with open air cafes have a distinctly Portuguese ambience.
A day trip to Spain! You can visit the delightful Spanish town of Ayamonte during your stay with us. Drive to Vila Real de Santo Antonio (around 40 minutes) and take the little ferry across the Guadiana river into Spain. The ferry leaves every hour and only takes a few minutes. https://www.portugalallover.com/2016/02/vila-real-de-santo-antonio-ayamonte.html
You are spoiled with an abundance of restaurants serving paella, seafood and other Spanish dishes. Do remember that there is an hour’s time difference between Portugal and Spain.
SHOPPING AND RESTAURANTS
Your local restaurant is Ruis Steakhouse which is a 10 minute walk from the Manoir and is highly recommended. There is also a bar and mini-market attached.
Portuguese Pottery is on sale across the Algarve, but Porches Pottery is possibly the most authentic, where you can see the local women painting their work. If you are looking for the famous tinned sardines, then Conserveira de Portugal in Faro sells thousands of these ubiquitous fish in highly decorative tins!
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