Algarve

Aug 20th, 2019, 04:41 AM
  #1  
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Algarve

We are planning a trip to Portugal in August 2020. We will tour Lisbon, Sintra, Porto, Duoro Valley for a week. After that we would like some rest and beach time combined with some sightseeing. We know it is the busiest time but because of time constraints that is the only time we can do it. We are looking for a town in the Algarve region that is still authentic, not over run with tourists and is more on the upscale side. Probably we will have to rent a villa. I am looking at Carvoiero, Ferragudo, Salema, Burgau, Luz, and Lagos. I am not sure if I am on the right track. There will be three generations traveling together, the youngest will be around 19 at the time. Thanks is advance!!
andabanda is offline  
Aug 20th, 2019, 08:41 AM
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I'm sorry I can't answer your question, but wanted to recommend the Hotel Avenida Palace in Lisbon.
It's a fabulous, historic hotel with great customer service and the best breakfast/brunch buffet you'll find anywhere.
https://www.avenidapalace.com

We LOVED Lisbon and Cascais, in particular.
MoBro is offline  
Aug 20th, 2019, 01:33 PM
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The western Algarve is much more busy than the eastern Algarve. Lagos, Carvoeiro ... never again!
Check out Tavira (Luz is very near). Still pretty authentic and less touristy.
MyriamC is online now  
Aug 20th, 2019, 01:59 PM
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Authentic does not really exist, at least not in the sense of finding an old fishing village that has not been surrounded by condos and expensive villas. Carvoeiro is a prime example of that. Olhão (sp.?) has a nice old town, and an important port berthing mainly Japanese fishing boats. We stayed in Lagos, in a modern apartment overlooking the channel going to the pleasure boat port. The city central market was a 5 minute walk, where a lot of fresh fish was available. My understanding is that Portimão was the actual fisherman's harbor for the fish available in Lagos. Tavira has a nice center, but the minute you go toward the coast, it is like any other developed area; we got lost in the modern section looking for the freeway entrance. The beaches near Lagos are said to be very crowded at the height of season.

Here are my pictures of the Algarve: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmENSCvb
Michael is offline  
Aug 20th, 2019, 02:24 PM
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Great pictures, Michael!
MoBro is offline  
Aug 21st, 2019, 12:56 AM
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The Algarve is one of the most popular places in Europe for tourists, so you're going to have to accept that you won't find what you're looking for too easily. West of Faro is the main area where it will be very busy in August, so if you want a bit quieter, then go east and choose one of the smaller resorts. Tavira will be quite busy too.
Rubicund is offline  
Aug 21st, 2019, 01:20 AM
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I visited Portugal last year and we went to Lagos on the way to Spain.
I did not like it... Cascais would be much nicer. I would spend more time on the west of Portugal rather than visit the Algarve..
millie2112 is offline  
Aug 21st, 2019, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by millie2112 View Post
I visited Portugal last year and we went to Lagos on the way to Spain.
I did not like it...
We visited Lagos and stayed in Carvoeiro. Didn't like either one. Far too busy, far too many loud bars. And this was in early June.

andabanda
If you want unspoilt beaches, a wild and dramatic coastline and very few tourists in the quiet villages, check out the Alentejo Coast a.k.a. Costa Vicentina, located south of Lisbon, roughly from Sines to Cabo São Vicente. We stayed in Vila Nova de Milfontes and loved the place. Aljezur was nice, too.
I tried to include a link to my album in this post, but it doesn't work. Sorry.

Last edited by MyriamC; Aug 21st, 2019 at 07:44 AM.
MyriamC is online now  
Aug 21st, 2019, 01:25 PM
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Lagos will be extremely busy in August as will Tavira (so our hostesses warned us).

We did enjoy both (but not as much as pretty Cascais), but we went in fall, the "quiet" time. Our enjoyment primarily had to do with our lodgings, not necessarily the towns themselves. This Algarve coast doesn't have much left that's unspoiled that we could see, other than the fishing village of Olhão, which is working on becoming a bit more upscale with its new 5-star hotel.

In Lagos we stayed west of town in a lovely Quinta, closer to Praia da Luz, so weren't bothered by any noise from in-town bars.
In Tavira we stayed outside of town in a country house hotel/villa. We didn't love Tavira as we had expected to only because we didn't find it nearly as attractive a white Moorish hill town as those on the Spanish side (compared to pristine & upscale Vejer).

Before heading south we spent several nights on the unspoiled Costa Vicentina, Alentejo coast, a new destination for us.
The Costa Vicentina is beginning to become known internationally. There are a few new upmarket properties there now, along with simple B&Bs for the surfing crowd and fishermen's trail walkers.
We stayed at the Paraíso Escondido-Living in Harmony with pool, fabulous food, incredibly gracious hosts, beautiful décor (hostess is an accomplished artist), spa treatments, private suites and two "tree house" bungalows tucked into the their 20 acres of woods. The only trouble was that we didn't want to leave!
https://paraisoescondido.pt
There's also Teima there, another "country chic" property. They were both nominated this year for a prestigious award as best rural Alentejo hotel.
TEIMA | Alentejo SW, Country Chic

Just two ideas for a relaxing stay in a more unspoiled locale...
Maribel is offline  
Aug 21st, 2019, 03:50 PM
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Thanks a lot MoBro. The hotel looks lovely. We will check it out.
andabanda is offline  
Aug 21st, 2019, 04:24 PM
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Thank you all!! Now I have some serious homework to do. I will check out all the recommendations! Cascais, the Alentejo coast, Aljezur,
MyriamC, Rubicund, Tavira will not work because we have to be close to a beach. For three generations the easy beach access is important.
Michael, your pictures are really nice. Thank you for sharing.
Maribel, If we still pick the Algarve, probably we would stay outside of town too, with some nice views and close to beaches. Our problem is that we have to get to the restaurants ....We do not mind tourists, as long as they are not the rowdy crowd. We also LOVED Vejer. When I planned our trip to Spain, I could not figure out the Costa de La Luz beaches so I picked Vejer de la Frontera and we did day trips from there. I kind of liked the surfing town close to Gibraltar. I cannot remember the name. It was easier to stay inland during that trip because it was just the two of us traveling.
I will also have to take into consideration the travel time from the airport. Different people will arrive at different times from different countries... hmmm
Thanks again to all of you again. If you have more recommendations, please share them.

andabanda is offline  
Aug 21st, 2019, 05:16 PM
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andabanda,
Given your requirements, the 2 Alentejo coast properties I referenced above probably won't work for you. They would require a 15-20 minute drive to beaches...not as close as Vejer to El Palmar beach or the windsurfing capital of Tarifa, and great restaurants nearby aren't plentiful. That's why we dined every night at the Paraiso Escondido (& because the food was fabulous).

In Lagos we did look at the Belmar Spa & Beach resort and the Vila Miranda, both within a quick walk of the beach in the very upscale (the most upscale in terms of real estate) Porto do Mós area of Lagos. The Belmar might work for you since you could walk to the lovely beach and have restaurants nearby. But the Porto do Mós area requires a short drive or taxi ride into downtown Lagos.
https://www.belmarresort.com/en/

But for convenience to an airport, you might instead consider very pretty Cascais.
We have our eye on the Villa Cascais, the small boutique property of the venerable Hotel Albatroz, with gorgeous sea views and access to the pool/other facilities of the 5-star Albatroz. We looked at it and liked it on our last visit.
In Cascais you would have beaches within an easy walking distance, lots of restaurant options and plenty of different activities to keep 3 generations happy.
And there's the lovely promenade walk from Cascais to the other resort, Estoril.
https://www.thealbatrozcollection.com

Just some thoughts.
Maribel is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2019, 07:55 AM
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Im going next week to algarve but just because my flight lands there, everyone i spoke that knows the place says that its too turistic and to go north, very diferent places in the same country.
dmcd38 is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2019, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Maribel View Post
We didn't love Tavira as we had expected to only because we didn't find it nearly as attractive a white Moorish hill town as those on the Spanish side (compared to pristine & upscale Vejer).
It's not fair to compare Portuguese towns with Spanish towns. The atmosphere alone is totally different! If I were to choose: ¡España, por favor!

MyriamC is online now  
Aug 22nd, 2019, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by andabanda View Post
I kind of liked the surfing town close to Gibraltar. I cannot remember the name.
Tarifa? Bolonia? Love both!

Tavira (Algarve) town is not on the beach, as you know. The nearby Cabanas de Tavira is on the beach - miles long fine white sandy beach is to be reached by small boats (over the Ria Formosa Natl. Park). Praia Verde, closer to the Spanish border, is also on the beach and has a lovely beach restaurant Pézinhos na Areia.

*
MyriamC is online now  
Aug 27th, 2019, 05:26 PM
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We're headed to Portugal in late October, and had been planning to head to the Algarve for about 4 days starting November 1st. Wondering if we should reconsider the Costa Vincentina? I am assuming if we went to Lagos at that time of year we'd be off season enough to avoid crowds, but is the scenery and walking just as beautiful on the western coast just south or Lisbon? And is the wildlife better? I don't need to do the most touristy spots, unless they are so gorgeous I wouldn't want to miss them.
We do love good food and wine, and generally like to go to different restaurants, so perhaps that's tougher in the Costa Vincentina?
debwhite is offline  
Aug 27th, 2019, 05:39 PM
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Wine is not produced in the Algarve in any great quantities if at all; in fact, the alcool used to make alcoholic drinks such as a cherry liqueur comes from the strawberry tree. The Alentejo has a much larger wine industry. If you seek local wines, the Alentejo is preferable to the Algarve. In late October, the Algarve may have better weather and warmer waters because it is farther south and has a southern exposure to the Atlantic waters. Lots of good seafood in the Algarve.
Michael is offline  
Aug 27th, 2019, 06:21 PM
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Thank you, MIchael. Will consider one night on the Costa Vincentina and three in the Lagos area.
debwhite is offline  
Aug 27th, 2019, 07:16 PM
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As I mentioned upthread we spent this past early November first based on the rather unexplored Costa Vicentina and then on the Algarve, driving its entire coast west to east from Sagres to Vila Real de Santo António at the Spanish border.
The only difficulty with the Costa Vicentina is that some restaurants will be shut down by then as the surfers have left (surf schools closed), and it's considered low season. But we had no trouble dining with recommendations from our host.

Even though some restaurants on our "hit list" on the Costa Vicentina were closed, our hosts outside of Zambujeira do Mar gave us other wonderful recommendations such as Tasca do Celso in Vilanova de Milfontes and *O Paulo high above Arrifana beach next to the castle in ruins, where we enjoyed the best arroz de tamboril in our lives. Fish is exemplary in the Algarve, anywhere you go.

The beautiful, expansive Costa Vicentina beaches with their high cliffs were virtually deserted at that time save for some Northern European campers and those who were walking the fishermen's trail there. *We enjoyed the area a great deal just walking/ wandering/photographing with zero crowds. *We did have rather nice, sunny weather both on the Costa Vicentina from Porto Corvo to Aljezur. *We experienced no rain at all except for sunset at windswept Cabo São Vicente (very typical) and later in Tavira to the east.

We love Alentejo wines and have visited several wineries (adegas) there, from the large Esporão to Herdade de Malhadinha Nova to the Siza-designed Adega Maior. It's a great wine producing region with beautiful landscapes of endless cork and olive groves, horse and cattle farms, castles, megalithic sites and whitewashed Moorish hill towns that we've explored several times (most recently in October-November) and always want to go back to in the fall. *And we've had glorious sunny days there in late fall. *We avoid the Alentejo in the summer because of the soaring temperatures (the wine harvest took place last year in August in 40 degree heat).

There is wine production in the Algarve, albeit small, several in and around Silves, but they're not international known. *From Lagos we toured two wineries, Quinta do Francês and Cabrita in Silves and Monte da Castaleja in Lagos.We didn't visit Quinta dos Vales in Estômbar, near Lagoa, but it has very interesting sculptures.
https://www.quintadofrances.com
https://josemanuelcabrita.wixsite.com/quintadavinha
Algarve Organic Wines -Monte da Casteleja
https://en.quintadosvales.eu
Maribel is offline  
Aug 27th, 2019, 07:34 PM
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For those who enjoy bird watching, the area around Sagres in the western Algarve is one of the most important bird migration bottlenecks in Portugal, especially around Monte da Cabranosa, one of the best viewing points.
Maribel is offline  

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