Tag Archives: Algarve-Portugal

Portimao – a small city big on what matters most

portimao portugal

 

Portimao offers a quiet unspoilt corner of southern Europe

 

ONE of the joys of travelling is finding a place that offers everything you could want and which hasn’t been flooded by hordes of other tourists in search of the same thing.

That place for me is Portimao, on the Algarve, Portugal, which I have had the pleasure of getting to know now at all times of the year and have never found disappointing.

Portimao is such a low profile place that tourist guides can’t decide whether it’s a town or a city. I lost count of the number of guides and websites that referred to it as a town when I read about its history.

In fact it was made a city in 1924 by the then President of the Republic, the famous Portuguese writer and politician Manuel Teixeira Gomes, who made a point of honouring the town where he was born during his brief two-year stint as seventh President of Portugal.

With a population of around 50,000, it’s a small city and that is part of its charm. You can wander around its centre and see all its key sites in an hour. It is unspoilt by the omnipresent brand names that plague other cities and has just small shops selling lace, shoes, jewellery, ceramics and wicker goods.

There is still a Moorish charm about the city centre and then there’s the nearby riverfront, where a series of squares – Largo do Dique, Praça Manuel Teixeira Gomes and Praça Visconde de Bivar – are filled with outdoor cafés overlooking the wonderful Arade river and its bridges.

The tourists who flock to this part of the world all year around for its superb climate tend to be farmed Doing so increases the performance of deleted data recovery lookup. out along the coast surrounding the city allowing it to retain its quiet dignity. It’s a wonderful place to stroll around and have a drink or a meal in friendly, relaxed establishments.

The area was once ruled by Romans and then Moors but modern Portimão came into being in the reign of King Afonso V in the fifteenth century.It was ideally placed to enjoy the fruits of the boom in international trade stimulated by the great Portuguese voyages of discovery and prospered as a haven for ships plying the African coast.

But it wasn’t all plain sailing. The earthquake of 1755 which decimated Lisbon also destroyed much of Portimao starting its economic decline. Its most historic building, the Igreja da Nossa Senhora da Conceição – Church of Our Lady of Conception –  had to be rebuilt after the earthquake but still boasts a Manueline door from the original fourteenth-century structure

portimao portugal Igreja da Nossa Senhora da Conceição - Church of Our Lady of Conception

Igreja da Nossa Senhora da Conceição – Church of Our Lady of Conception

Things got better towards the end of the 19th century with the return of trade, exports of dried fruit, milling, fishing and the fish-canning industry, activities which would continue into the 20th century.

Now the tourist industry dominates. The old fish canning plant is a museum and once mighty industrial chimneys no longer belch smoke. But they have been conserved to make life easier for the huge storks who take them over once dormant – and now provide photo opportunities galore for tourists.

portimao portugal riverside

Portimao riverside

portimao portugal museum

Portimao museum

Algarve, Portugal – inexpensive land of endless summer

Algarve

NOW is the time to visit Portugal’s beautiful south facing Algarve coastline which stretches for just around 100 miles from Sagres, the most westerly point of Europe, to Vila Real de Santo António at the border with Spain.

Within that distance lie some of the most beautiful beaches and coves in the world – at a rate of almost one a mile – blessed by possibly the best climate in Europe.

The tourist industry in this part of the world is having a rough time with the effects of the recession and the controversial introduction of electronic tolls on autoroutes.

This is reducing the usual influx of Spanish visitors and Germans and other European tourists. Bars and restaurants are cutting prices to win trade and it’s not too difficult for a couple to dine out for 20 to 30 euros all in.

So there has probably never been a better time for visitors to take their traditional route to the Algarve via its gateway of Faro airport.

Travel west or east from here and you are spoilt or choice with pleasant towns like Alvor, Carvoeiro, Monchique,  Portimão, Quarteira, Sagres, Silves, Tavira, Vilamoura, and Vila Real de Santo António all waiting to welcome you.

The Algarve boasts possibly the most unpolluted climate in the European continent and its sea temperature can be often be surprisingly warm even in some of the winter months.

It is an easy destination for Brits to feel at home as English is taught from an early age in schools, maybe something to do with the fact that Portugal is England’s oldest ally – an international friendship which goes back to the Treaty of Windsor, signed in 1386..

Everyone on the way to your hotel room – the taxi driver, the train station staff, the hotel workers – seem to be able to speak English. The clocks go back and forward seasonally at the same time in both countries.

Forget all the gloomy things you read and hear about Portugal and its debt problems. It may not be the wealthiest country you will visit but its people are fun-loving, have a great way of life, and know how to have a good time.

From Faro you can head east or west for fun in the sun and, outside of peak season, you can easily find decent hotels on the internet from around 40 euros a night per room.

If you hire a car and head east you can also visit Spain. A small ferryboat runs between Vila Real de Santo António and Ayamonte on the Spanish side.

Head west from Faro and you are likely to meet more Brits, Albufeira being the hotspot for nightlife and stag and hen parties. Maybe not the best spot for families.

Go further for classy venues like Alvor where you can sit out under the stars and wine and dine very inexpensively.

So get browsing the budget flights and head for the Algarve.

www.visitportugal.com

algarve private rentals

Almond trees are blossoming – winter’s over on the Algarve, Portugal

FROM the middle of January they create a blaze of colour all over the beautiful Algarve region of Portugal.

Almond tree blossom

Local residents say the blossoming of almond trees is a sure sign that the winter is over.

This year they are looking better than ever after some welcome rainfall on the Algarve’s sunny south-facing coastline in the last months of last year.

Almond tree

 

busy bee

They are a sign that the region is a great place to visit at almost any time of the year.

The pictures shown here were all taken along the Algarve during January and prove just how vibrant and colourful its coastline can be.

 

It’s a fact that is maybe not as much appreciated by British mums and dads in need of a break as by northern Europeans like the Dutch and Germans who are a familiar sight all year round on the tourist trail. Many spend the winter on the Algarve in motor homes or hotels offering cheap off-peak rates.Why not join them? There’s possibly never been a better time to visit Portugal with prices for holidaymakers at their lowest levels for years.

The country is weathering an economic crisis and hotels and restaurants are responding by offering their best deals ever. It’s quite easy for couples to dine out for 20 euros all in and families for 30 to 40. Read more about the Algarve and other areas of Portugal in other articles listed on my blog.

 

what a hedge

 

pokerface

 

flower power

 

coffee culture

 

 

sea view

 

 

 

 

 

Ten images today from the beautiful Algarve region of Portugal

IT’S the start of the New Year and the Algarve region of Portugal is bristling in colour.

Praia da Rocha, Portimao

Residents are still tending their gardens and enjoying the sunshine although it is time to wrap up a little. The occasional sunbather can still be spotted on the beach although it is more of a time for walking, golfing and sailing..

I hope you enjoy these pictures, taken early January, which are an attempt to catch the colour and vibrancy of the Algarve which still flourishes even at the darkest time of the year.

beach wildflower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

marine warrior

 

 

 

 

 

 

coastal wildflower bed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

lemon tree

a rose garden

 

 

sunset

 

 

a hedge

 

sea landmark

orange tree