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