Algarve, Portugal

The Algarve is a fabulous corner of Europe, where the calm and tranquility of endless sandy beaches, to which white houses seem to run down the slopes, are replaced by delight from bewitching fiery red grottoes – they look like giant shells, from steep cliffs, on which ocean waves break into thousands of fragments, sparkling with gold of the gentle Algarve sun. See Countryvv for labor market in Portugal.

The Algarve is the southernmost province of Portugal. In the north, a mountain range protects the area from northern winds, while in the south, the warm currents of the Atlantic and African winds contribute to maintaining a uniquely mild climate. There are 300 sunny days a year, and the average temperature is 25 degrees in summer and 18 in winter. More than 150 km of beautiful sandy beaches, many of which are protected by rocky ledges, attract tourists from all over Europe to the Algarve all year round.

In this southern province of Portugal, where the mountainous terrain is covered with lush greenery, for many centuries Greeks, Romans, Arabs made their way. A little to the east – and we are already on the picturesque coast of Guadiana – it separates the Algarve from the Spanish Andalusia. The beauty of this country was conquered by the Romans. Warriors tired of battles built luxurious villas here, fish processing workshops, which were intended for the feasts of the imperial court of Rome. In the 8th century, the Arabs conquered the delightful lands of the Algarve and turned them into a paradise for rulers and the rich, a source of inspiration for philosophers and poets. The Arabs called this land “Al-Gharb” – the west – hence the name – Algarve. The Arab presence here is reminiscent of numerous monuments of original architecture with its characteristic narrow streets, upper terraces, figured chimneys and whitewashed houses.

The writer José Saramagu told the legend of a northern princess who came to the Algarve to marry a Moorish king. But she was so bored away from her homeland and its snowy expanses that she fell ill, and everyone feared for her life. The palace was in a large city, and it was surrounded by houses the color of earth and clay, according to local customs. And then the king ordered to immediately paint all the houses white. When the princess went to the window. Then she saw a city dressed in all white, like a snowy plain. And soon the princess felt better. Since that time, all houses in the Algarve began to be painted white and decorate the facades of houses with edging at the corners of walls, doors and windows. Yellow – to drive away evil spirits, blue or green – to attract good spirits that bring happiness.

Throughout the Algarve, old traditions are intertwined with new trends, and the delightful beauty of the surrounding nature reigns over everything.

The legend of the beautiful princess has another version. She is usually remembered when flower petals fall from almond trees, covering everything around with a white mantle. It is said that Princess Romakia yearned for the snows of her homeland, and her husband, King Al-Mutamid, who was passionately in love with her, also became sad. Then, on the advice of the wisest people in his kingdom, he ordered that thousands of almond trees be planted on the hills around the palace. And one day, when the princess opened the windows of her bedroom and saw the trees covered with white flowers, it seemed to her that these were the snow-covered plains of her homeland. Her sadness was dispelled, and the inhabitants of the kingdom, satisfied with the happiness of their masters, planted almond trees in all fields. They probably believed that these trees would bring happiness to their families.

Today the Algarve is an international tourism center with a rapidly developing economy. This is a favorite tourist route not only for lovers of the sun and the sea, but also for those who dream of flowers and spring warmth in the dead of winter. The Algarve has 300 days of sunshine a year, and at the same time there is never a sweltering heat. Sports can be practiced here throughout the year. The choice of sports is huge – golf, horseback riding, tennis, athletics, all kinds of water sports and just wellness walks in amazingly beautiful places – walks that allow you to admire the richness of the flora and fauna of this corner of Portugal.

The locals are proud of their traditions, which they carefully keep and which find their expression in the applied arts, in festivals and fairs, as well as in the excellent cuisine of the Algarve, famous for its fish and seafood dishes, excellent fried sardines, juicy lobsters, wines and ports., confectionery. Aromas of seafood cooked in traditional local dishes – cataplana, local dishes, the sophistication of which is given by almonds and figs, excellent wine from Lagou or fragrant vodka made from strawberries – “aguardente de medrona”

Over the centuries, the Algarve has managed to maintain its main wealth – the reputation of a welcoming and hospitable people and one of the most peaceful and safe places in Europe.

The Algarve is the land of fishermen. Fish and other seafood caught by bright, colorful vessels will satisfy the tastes of the most demanding gourmets.

Sports anglers have chosen the coast north of Sagres, rich in a variety of fish species, including sarg, sea flounder, sea bass, sea eel, golden mackerel, horse mackerel, hake, etc.

“Big Fishing” also attracts many enthusiasts who are ready to surpass the achievements of one amateur who in 1993 managed to catch a fish weighing more than 700 kg 8 km from Faro.

FARO has been the capital of the Algarve since 1756.Once a fishing village became a trading outpost for the Phoenicians and Greeks, then it witnessed the heyday of the Roman Empire and Arab rule. The Romans called this place Ossonoba, and the city received its real name from the Arab prince Ben Said Ben Haroun during his reign in 1031. This city was greatly favored by the royal house of Portugal and Faro gained such importance that in 1540 the episcopate from Silves was transferred here. But in 1596 The Earl of Essex, a well-known favorite of Elizabeth I of England, captured and ravaged the city, and then set it on fire. The city was able to restore, but in 1755. it was destroyed by an earthquake that shook all of Portugal. Acquired in 1756 the status of the capital of the Algarve allowed the city to receive strategic, political and other privileges, which helped to overcome all the vicissitudes of history and achieve prosperity again.

The main attractions of the Algarve: the fortress wall, the Romanesque-Gothic cathedral, built in a mixed architectural style; monastery of the Assumption of the Virgin (1543), the church of St. Francis of the 16th – 18th centuries, the church of St. Peter, the baroque church of Karmo (1719).

Of great interest are the city museums: Henry the Navigator, local history and St. Antonio di Alto. At the exit from the Algarve towards Olhau there is an observation deck that offers a magnificent view of the natural steam of Ria Formosa with many canals and lagoons, unique plants, bright pink flamingos, graceful storks.

PORTIMAU – the second most important city in the Algarve, stands at the mouth of the Arado River. Portimão is located on the site of a fishing village and is proud of its marine fish. Along the promenade, there are numerous small restaurants that set up tables in the fresh air and serve freshly caught and aromatic fried sardines.

In the suburbs of Portimão, there is the Praia da Rocha beach, famous for its beauty, with the fortress of Santa Catarina de Ribamar, as well as monuments of ancient architecture – the ruins of the Roman villa Abikada (IV century), the ancient necropolis of Alcalar, dating back to 1600 BC.

VILAMOURA. Even the Romans were delighted with the beauty of this town. Since ancient times, the local population has been mainly engaged in agriculture. Now Vilamoura is one of the tourist centers of the Algarve, magnificent hotels, casinos and restaurants are concentrated here, as well as a whole range of all kinds of entertainment. The city is surrounded by luxurious private villas, manicured gardens, golden beaches. Vilamoura is an international center for sailing and is very famous for the golf courses that stretch to the pine groves.

ALBUFEIRA. The Arabs called this place “Fortress on the Sea” – Al-Bukheira – and indeed, the fortress towered in the middle of the lake, which was connected to the waters of the ocean during high tides or heavy rains. But in 1755 a terrible earthquake destroyed it completely. Today, this place is “San Tropez” Algarve. From year to year, more and more tourists come to this amazing white-stone town, which is scattered like pearls on the ocean. The city is surrounded by beaches of amazing beauty, framed by pine and orange trees. Albufeira is famous for its cuisine. Who can resist the variety of fresh fish, lobster and other seafood dishes? We advise you to try sardines prepared in a variety of ways (for example, grilled) and sea bass. The signature dish can be “cataplana” – a dish of fish or shellfish cooked in special high pans, which can be seen in the kitchens of the Algarve. In the interior of the country, dishes made from corn flour, pork or sausages, and young horse meat are common; chicken baked with giblets, lamb shoulder with almonds, honey and rosemary. And of course, desserts, which all of Portugal is so famous for. In the Algarve, the most characteristic sweets are made with almonds: the famous almond balls, almond nougat and cakes.

Algarve, Portugal

About the author