Portugal – the edge of the Algarve

We finally managed to persuade ourselves to leave Spain and promptly fell in love with Portugal.  We’re staying in Tavira which is magical.  Although there are tourists, it still feels like a thriving fishing village and while it is really quite a large town it has the feel of a village with its cobbled streets, many flower filled squares, Roman bridge over the river which provides a harbour to the fishing boats, beautifully tiled houses, numerous churches and overlooked by a ruined castle.

From here we’ve explored the route of forts along the Rio Guardiana (which forms the border with Spain) built initially by the Phoenicians as a main line of defence and also gone inland into a world of rolling dry hills, cork trees and emptiness.  Just north of Faro we visited the ruins of a grand Roman villa dating from the 1st century AD, complete with baths, temple and beautiful mosaics as well as the remains of wine and olive presses.  Nearby is a magnificent church, the Igreja de Sao Lourenco de Matos built in the 16-1700s: plain from the outside, the interior is completely covered in azulejos, blue and white hand-painted tiles.  Also close by is the crazily rococo baroque mansion, the 18th century Palacio de Estoi, now partly derelict and partly restored into a posh hotel.

We’ve also explored the Rio Formosa natural park, a marshland lagoon system which includes salt pans and islands, through which meanders a cycle route (which in fact continues the length of the Algarve); a route which also takes in enchanting fishing villages filled with white-washed cottages and cobbled streets and olive and orange groves.

8 thoughts on “Portugal – the edge of the Algarve

  1. How we love our weekly “fix”! What enchanting sites – loved the central square of Estoi, the superb tiled church, the cottages – and the clever photo of you reflected in the mirror.
    M and T.

  2. At last reception on my tablet, at my Mom in Colesberg!!And time to read all your adventures. All amazing Brenda is going to love joining you soon. You both look so well on all the sun and fun, super fit, I am sure. I will make a point of looking each week, lots of love , Carol Anne

  3. Hello you two crazies!! Lucy – thank you so much for the mail! I spent 8 month in Lagos in Portugal – and traveled there widely, so that part of the world is very close to my heart – it is beautiful!! They are becoming a force and destination in Surfski too – in fact the 1st ever world champs is being held there. Enjoy, enjoy enjoy – as Bob Dylan so wisely wrote, if you win the rat race, you’re still a rat! stay outta the race, and on your bikes :) cheers and itchi balagoota skieta rama goota!! Andrew

  4. Still so interesting and making us thing that Portugal should be the next destination for us. Bumped into your mother at an art exhibition and she still has not quite reached earth after her great time with you! Here it is festival in cold but blue sky weather and a buzzing atmosphere.And for the first time ever, as we now have a dish, we are able to watch Wimbledon which is a great treat,.SABC never have it. Much Love R and M

    • You would love Portugal – so much to see and so much history. Hope you’re enjoying the festival – we’re thinking of you all xx

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