Algarve, the less traveled road
The Algarve is a region of warm weather, sunny beaches, delicious food, and Moorish influences. Vila Real de Santo António is right next to the border with Spain. It’s not the typical beach resort but it’s a great city to visit.
Castro Marim is an old medieval town that had a determinant historical role. It is also the city where the Order of Christ was created. Located on a hill with an amazing view from the hill to the sea.
Come explore this quiet area of the Algarve region. Get ready for astonishing landscapes and quiet beaches.
Castro Marim is a medieval village, situated on the top of a hill, overlooking the Guadiana river, the sea and an important part of the territory. After a period of abandonment, the city gained new life when the Portuguese started to explore overseas.
Close to the North of Africa Castro Marim was a fortified city so it was the perfect location for a military base. Inside the walls of the castle, you can find the Santiago church, the first built in the city, dating back to the 14th century.
The castle is, nowadays, the site for the Medieval Festival, which takes place every year, on the last weekend of August, with recreations of medieval life and entertainment.
From there, you can see the Sapal Natural Reserve, where you can often observe flamingos. The River Guadiana makes its way from Spain into the Atlantic Ocean. On its path, it branches out into creeks, lakes, marshland areas, and salt pans right next to Castro Marim.
Follow the itinerary proposed by the natural reserve, walking or by bike, and let yourself be amazed by the beauty of the surroundings. Most of the salt pans are still used to extract salt, using traditional methods. While going through the drier areas, you’ll find the typical flora: carob-shrubs, fig-trees, and almond trees. All of them provide the ingredients for traditional delicacies.
If you’re into nature and want to get away from the busy beaches, this is the perfect place for it. You’ll be surrounded by nature, quietness and bird cries.
Vila Real de Santo António
Vila Real de Santo António is the city where you can find the perfect balance between the sea and the river, the city life and the so needed quietness. If you’re looking for a place where you can enjoy some peace and quiet, you’re at the right spot. The nearest beach is located 2.5km away. It’s a 30-minute walk from the center. The city center is quiet and quite appealing.
Built from scratch in 1773. It is a perfect example of Enlightenment. Marquês de Pombal was the mind behind this construction. In fact, in the aftermath of the 1755 earthquake, a fisherman’s village closeby was destroyed and so he decided to build a new city. The architecture reminds us of downtown Lisbon, with its geometric design.
The city started to develop and it was also a strategic geopolitical site for its closeness to the Spanish border and also because the foreign vessels came to the harbor. The population was mainly fishermen and so the canning industry started to develop in Vila Real de Santo António, thanks to the existence of tuna and sardines on the Algarve shores.
Close to Vila Real de Santo António, you can find two of our favorite beaches in the Algarve: Praia Verde and Cacela Velha.
Praia Verde is the perfect place for a relaxing day at the beach with your family and friends. There’s plenty of room for all of you, the beach is clean and the water is usually at the right temperature. ‘Pézinhos n’areia’ is the most famous beach bar! This beach bar used to be located right on the sand. That has changed but the food is still quite good. Definitely the best bar / restaurant around!
Not far, Cacela Velha awaits you. This is one of the most incredible villages in the Algarve. Dating back to the Roman times, Cacela Velha is an old small village, with visible influences from the Moorish occupation of the territory. The small white houses, the decoration, the streets… it feels like you’re walking into a fairy tale. And then, there’s the beach! Lying in the Ria Formosa, the landscape will take your breath away…
The Algarve is a region of many wonders. Forget about the Caribbean. Come explore the sandy beaches of the South of Portugal, learn more about our Moorish heritage and delight yourself with some of the best delicacies in the country.