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Algarve

Holidays to Algarve

Whitewashed fishing villages on low cliffs overlooking sandy coves were transformed in the 1960s, and now its central coast between Lagos and Faro is lined with villas, hotels, bars and restaurants. The region's western Atlantic coast and rugged interior are less developed. The light on the Algarve is fantastic. To draw the curtains each morning and see the high blue skies and the bright, energising light never fails to raise my spirits, even after 12 years of living here. But there is much more than that. It’s a region of hidden delights, of golden beaches framed by beautifully wrought limestone rocks, of small, simple restaurants where the taste of the fish – just caught, just grilled and drizzled with a local olive oil – will pull you back time and time again. There are so many layers to the Algarve. Inland, up in the hills of Monchique, you will see a way of life that has disappeared from much of Europe. Days revolve around the seasons – killing the pig and gathering provisions for winter; collecting chestnuts and picking berries to make the local firewater. Olives, oranges, carobs and almonds are pulled from the trees and sold at markets. In villages of small cobbled streets, you’ll find whitewashed houses, cafes with cloth-capped men having their bica (espresso) and women grilling sardines in the streets. The sea is part of a different layer of Algarve life – one that’s also closely bound to nature. You can see locals wading into the Atlantic at low tide to find cockles and barnacles, and all along the coast, fishermen, who learnt the trade from their fathers, go out for squid and octopus, for sardines and tuna. Against this backdrop of real life is the layer for holidaymakers. 
 
 
 
 

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