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Home Travel News Destination Travel Hidden Gems of the Algarve
Hidden Gems of the Algarve PDF Print E-mail

 

When you think of the Algarve you think sun, sea and sand- let’s not forget it is home to the best golf courses and amazing beaches. However, if you go inland by just a few miles you will discover a completely different Algarve to the one you expected. The Algarve that is unhurried by the rest of the world, has a charm of its own and its’ very own captivating traditions.

A Moorish Kingdom in times gone by, the prefix ‘al’ in many of the Algarvian words today (Albufeira, Alvor) provide us with vestiges of the past.  For example, take a trip to Silves, which was once considered the main Moorish city of the Algarve. There, one can meander along the charming cobbled streets of this original town and indulge in a spot of sightseeing. Silves is home to a magnificent ancient castle that overlooks the entire town, providing breath-taking views of the surrounding landscape and the River Arade. In medieval times the Arade was the primary waterway flowing into inland Algarve from Portimao.

During the month of August, Silves plays host to a Medieval festival where one can enjoy re-enactments of the past. All this excitement will make you hungry – indulge in some traditional food provided in eateries dressed up in the Medieval style. Here, one can enjoy the entertainment of wandering minstrels and raise an earthen cup of Algarvian wine bought with xelb, the currency at the time – Euros are no good here!

To better explore the Algarve region you should consider rent an Algarve Car Hire to drive free throughout  the region.

Go inland even further and you will find the ‘green lung’ of the region, the Monchique area. The area is home to long stretches of cork trees whose bark is harvested and used to produce the area’s world celebrated cork products. One can also see the source of the local fire-water, Medronho, in the form of the Arbutus bush with its bright red berries. At the Caldas de Monchique, the source of thermal spas, one can even store up on the natural spring water which is thought to have magnificent curative powers. The Monchique area is also the ideal locality to enjoy picturesque country walks and picnics as well as BTT biking.

If you want to explore the area properly, try an Algarve jeep safari to make the most of the beautiful Algarve weather and sites. Explore off-road and discover the local flora and fauna. One could also take a trip up to Foiá which, at 902m above sea-level, is the Algarve’s highest point.

If you like local cuisine, Monchique has some fabulous restaurants serving up traditional fare such as chicken piri-piri, goat stew, smoked ham and wild boar to tantalize those taste buds. If you can’t go home empty handed, the area best buys include wicker baskets and pottery all made by traditional craftsmen. The roadside can also provide you with fresh fruit and more unusual, locally-sourced honey.

So remember, next time you visit the Algarve – set off on your own adventure and you never know what you might find!

Algarve Car Hire is available at the lowest price full inclusive so you can fully enjoy your visit to Algarve, Portugal at a budget price.

 

 

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Hidden Gems of the Algarve
Sunday, 27 March 2011

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