The Algarve’s best towns to visit

From Seville we drove to the Algarve.  The day was April, 16, 2012. Our first stop was in charming Tavira, as it is close to the Spanish border, and also famous for being one of the prettiest and best preserved villages in the Algarve region.

Tavira‘s center is well preserved,  and its Roman bridge is an attraction in itself. The white walls, dozens of churches (most of them in Renaissance and Baroque styles) and countless boats, make if a perfect postcard for anyone looking for charm, atmosphere, uncrowded beaches and very affordable prices. It’s like paradise, he?

Tavira-1

Tavira’s charming bridge over the Gilão River

Tavira-2

White walls, beautiful skies and red roofs: Portugal as its best

Tavira-3

Tavira’s Castle was partially destroyed in the 1755 earthquake. There are beautiful gardens there to be admired.

Castle

Castle

I highly recommend you “get lost”  walking along the cobblestone streets. You probably will bump some shops selling traditional sweets, made by fisherman’s wives.

We had a delicious meal at Casa Simão (address: Rua Joao Vaz Corte real 10Tavira). This restaurant is awesome and I highly recommend it! One of the best meals we had during our trip.

From Tavira we drove to Alvor, where we checked-in at Pestana Alvor Praia. The price was excellent (only € 79.00 including full breakfast)! It’s a five stars hotel, so it was quite a deal, he?   😀

Pestana Alvor Praia  is difficult to find because there is no address to write on the GPS and there are no street’ signs directing to the hotel.   Using google maps on my Iphone 4s we managed to get there. Why the hotel does not use some visual information? It would be helpful for tourists!  We see arrows pointing hotel directions everywhere but not at Pestana Alvor Praia….

The hotel is beautiful and the bedroom was good.   But… no way it deserves 5 stars!   In my opinion 4 stars would have been more than enough!

We left the luggage inside the bedroom and went to see the beach.  The hotel is located in front of the prettiest sector of Alvor beach.

Alvor Portugal-20

Pestana Alvor Beach: leaving the bedroom in order to take pictures of the rocks on the beach.

The “falesias” (stones)  are amazing!  Only staying there you can see how magical and beautiful our little planet can be!

We took dozens (hundreds?)  of pictures!

Alvor, Portugal

Alvor, Portugal

Alvor, Portugal

Alvor, Portugal

Alvor, Portugal

Alvor, Portugal

Alvor, Portugal

Pestana Alvor Praia, swimming pool

After walking along the beach we got on our car and went to Alvor’s town center.   It is a small village located almost 1 km away from the hotel and  we needed a car (specially at night, as there is no walking path linking  the hotel to the town center).  

Or you go walking through the sand (not possible at night) or you walk along the road’s shoulders (no sidewalks), so… not an option, at least, not an option after dark.

Although the hotel has air conditioner we could not turn it on.   Only hot air was blowing out!  As it was cold outside, I guess they probably keep the air conditioner turned off (??). Anyway, if it was turned off or if it was not working it  is  bad, specially for a five stars hotel!

We were exhausted, so we didn’t bother to call the receptionist and ask “what is wrong with the air conditioner?” .  We opened the  balcony  doors and drop  “dead”  on the bed!

Breakfast at Pestana Alvor Praia was delicious!  Lots of options, fruits, cheeses, eggs, champagne, etc.   My tea came cold.  I didn’t complain but…… it was cold.  Really cold.  Anyway, everything else was excellent. We appreciated it.

After breakfast we went walking by the beach to Alvor Center where we could see the fishermen repairing their nets, etc.   Alvor is a very pretty city!

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After walking around the village center we walked on the sand, back to our hotel.  We decided to visit the pool in order to use our new bath suits! 😀  Our bath suits remained at our rental apartment in Lisbon, so we stopped in Tavira a few days ago in order to have new swim outfits! 😀

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The pool temperature was set to 28 degrees Celsius, and  this is “cold” when compared to body’s  temperature.  I didn’t enjoy it in the way I usually enjoy inside pools.

“hot” (in fact cold) pool at  Pestana Alvor Praia

“hot” (in fact cold) pool at Pestana Alvor Praia

While we stayed based at Alvor, we decided to visit Silves. It is an ancient and beautiful town not too far away.

We found it delightful to drive and contemplate dozens (hundreds?) of stork’s nests along the way. It looks like April is stork’s season, so it was absolutely amazing to see that they make their nests everywhere! From postes that are used by the electric companies, to house’s roofs, walls, everywhere you look you will see a nest! It’s amazing!

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Silves, Portugal

Silves, Portugal

Silves, Portugal

Silves, Portugal

Silves, Portugal

Silves, Portugal

Another very interesting village that should be visited near Alvor is Ferragudo. We parked our car outside the village center and went walking through a beautiful bridge.

Ferragudo is a tiny fish village with amazing Portuguese architecture and narrow roads where car’s don’t fit.

Ferragudo, Portugal

Ferragudo, Portugal

When returning to Alvor we had the best dinner experience possible! Restaurant “Rio a Vista” serves excellent traditional Portuguese dishes, with great wines and a friendly service. You feel like having dinner at a family’s home.

Restaurant Rio a Vista, Alvor, Portugal

Restaurant Rio a Vista, Alvor, Portugal

We hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as we enjoyed this part of our trip to the Algarve.

We checked out on April 18 and drove to Ponta da Piedade.  You can read about it on the next post.

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About CeciliArchitect

World Traveler ~ Photographer ~ Social Media Specialist ~ Tourism Vancouver Certified Specialist ~ Independent Tour Manager and Events Coordinator ~ Blogger ~ Architect & Interior Designer (in my previous life)
This entry was posted in Alvor, Europe, Ferragudo, Portugal, Tavira, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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