The Algarve has become one of the most popular destinations in Europe for holidays. It is known for its fantastic beaches, rich heritage, and great golf courses. As such, it has become more and more difficult to find a destination in the Algarve that isn’t crowded and noisy. Hotels in Algarve can be extremely expensive sometimes and almost impossible to find during the high season. Many people have stumbled onto a hidden gem, Aljezur Algarve. It seems unchanged for centuries with cobblestone streets and ancient castles. But it is also one of the liveliest towns on the west coast, close to national parks and great beaches like Carrapateira for example.
How To Get There
There are many cheap flights to Faro Airport on a number of the major discount airlines operating out of European capitals. From Faro it is easy to make a connection to Aljezur, which is 112 kilometers from the airport. Aljezur Algarve is usually reached from Faro through Lagos. It is about an hour and a half trip by car, and costs around 10€ for the bus ride. You can also take a train from Faro to Lagos, and then catch a local bus from the station which is about a five-minute walk from the train station. The most comfortable way to make the trip is to book airport transfers to Aljezur.
Things To Do
The town lies in the loop made by the Aljezur River that snakes through the valley. In ancient times, the town was a major port for the Algarve region. East of the river is the new part of town with many of the governmental offices. Much of the old part of town is nestled in the cliffs that line the west side of the river. At the top of the cliffs, you will find the remains of an old Moorish castle from the 11th Century. From the castle, you get great views of the surrounding area and it is a great place for a noon-time picnic or an evening glass of wine. The town has mapped out a short walk around the old town that tells its history and goes by the town’s many churches and six museums. The most interesting of them is the home of local artist, José Cercas, who painted landscapes of western Algarve. For the energetic, there are biking and hiking trails in the surrounding hills.
While Aljezur lies several kilometers up river from the coastline, the town is still known for the beautiful beaches west of town along the coast. You can take a public bus southwest out of town and in ten minutes come to the largest of the beaches in the area, Praia da Arrifana. The small village above the beach has a number of cafes and restaurants, along with an ancient fort. From the village you can walk down a steep dirt road to the beach which has one cafe. If you continue north out of Arrifana for about ten minutes you’ll come to Praia da Monte Clerigo. The beach of Praia do Monte Clerigo lies in the north-western corner of the Algarve and is within the Vicente Coast National Park. It has wide sandy beaches and a small village at the north end where you can get refreshments. At the south end of the beach are a number of rock pools that are home to a vast array of marine life from starfish to octopus. The beach is a favorite among locals and there is a camping area within walking distance of the beach. There are other small beaches nearby such as Praia de Amoreira and Odeceixe. All the beaches are well-regarded for their surfing and kite surfing with consistent wind and waves. If you are a newbie, there are several surfing schools in town that will help you get started.
Nightlife & Dinning
While Aljezur Algarve is a long way from the wild night life of Lagos, there are several clubs in town, SOS and Bar dos Bombeiros, which have DJs or bands during the week. The town has a number of restaurants serving local fare with Pont a Pe being considered the best. Nearby, along the coastline, you’ll find a number of small establishments serving seafood caught that day. The largest celebration in town is the Sweet Potato Festival in late November to celebrate the local agricultural heritage.
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