Carrapateira, Portugal

Carrapateira, Portugal, is a village on the Algarve coast with a nice selection of beach house rentals. The village offers easy access to an isolated beach that features three clean kilometres of virgin sand. Carrapateira is the real Portugal, a place to let go of big city worries. This is a vacation for the discerning traveler, wanting to escape to a unique environment. It helps if you are a serious surfer, because the waves at the mouth of the Ribeira da Bordeira can be challenging. The beach is bounded by limestone cliffs and wide ranging dunes that extend inland to Carrapateira, a rural place with an easy going atmosphere, quite more relaxed from the more crowded resorts, also found in the region.

Find your inner poet in the peace and quiet of Carrapateira. This is where you go to find freedom, in a secluded beach house with a glorious view. The meaning of life comes clear to those who spend time in a village like this, where you will find a surprising range of affordable and convenient rentals.

And, when you need big city advantages, it’s only a drive of a few kilometres to a generous selection of restaurants, spas, and golf courses. The Algarve Coast has long catered to international tourism. Whether you are here to fish, surf, or just soak up the sun, this is a unique escape.

For your soul, spend time walking around Costa Vincentina Natural Park, a protected reserve with fabulous ocean views, pristine forest trails, and wildlife. Then, for fine dining, your favorite stop will be Restaurante Sitio de Forno, sited on a limestone cliff with an unobstructed ocean view. But for fun, learn to surf at the nomad surfer’s home, the Carrapateira Surfcamp, Surf School & Surfaris, Portugal. Remember, the Algarve’s southwestern tip is a surfer’s paradise unmatched anywhere else in Europe. Blessed with perpetual sunshine,
the Sagres Peninsula has a coastline with decent to excellent surfing conditions year round. The waves range in size from timid to heroic, while the variety of beach breaks and reefs will provide the perfect challenge for all surfers, from the tyros to the maestros.

The other option is to stay at the Carrapateira Surfhouse, a one stop business offering surf lessons for beginners, guided tours for the pros, and comfortable B&B housing. Connect with kindred spirits in the surfer’s village of Carrapateira, or enjoy a beach party on the ageless dunes of Bordeira Beach.

The Carrapateira Surfhouse boasts a multicultural, poly-lingual staff. Look forward to parties with Brazilian food, Mexican barbecues, and even the random belly dancer. For this and many other reasons, the Alrgave coast continues to be particularly popular for United Kingdom vacationers.

When you vacation at Carrapateira, look forward to a pristine beach with a charming café, romantic sunset surfs, and a feathery mist suspended off the coast like a distant shore. When the mist comes in, it will feel like the land that time forgot, to create a memory that you will savor, always.


Sagres, Portugal

For the traveler looking to avoid hustle and bustle, all-night parties and rampant overdevelopment, Sagres in the southwest region of Portugal’s popular Algarve region offers an oasis of relaxation. The relative remoteness of the small town from larger population centers has allowed it to escape the rapid development experienced by other areas of the Algarve. Sagres offers beautiful beaches, surfing, diving, cycling and bird watching.

During Roman occupation, the area around Sagres was known as Promontorium Sacrum, or Sacred Promontory. The Romans thought that the area marked the westernmost point of the world and that the setting sun caused the waters off the point to boil furiously. Legend has it that Prince Henry the Navigator founded Sagres around 1420. The school of navigation that Henry established is believed to have pushed Portugal forward as a leader in exploration.

The population of Sagres dwindled after Henry’s death, and the town began to fade. An earthquake destroyed the town’s church in 1755, forcing residents to travel a considerable distance to attend Mass, and even more people left.

Though history buffs may be disappointed that many of the town’s original buildings collapsed during the 1755 quake, the Fortaleza de Sagres survives. The fortress, originally completed in the 15th century and rebuilt in 1793, dominates Sagres Point. A small chapel from Henry’s time survives inside. Sagres Point itself affords breathtaking views up the coast to Cabo Sao Vincente, which is home to the second-most powerful lighthouse in Europe.

Though the town has recently undergone expansion, its population remains under 2,000. Sagres spreads out a considerable distance, but the shops, restaurants and cafes cluster along the main street, the Rua Comandante Matoso. Seafood lovers will enjoy the abundance and variety of fresh fish offered by the restaurants on this street.

Both Atlantic and Mediterranean currents influence the climate. Sagres enjoys moderate temperatures, and winds from the Atlantic help to keep summers cool. Rainfall is sparse and occurs mostly in the winter months.

Most people visit Sagres for its stunning coastline, popular with surfers and sunbathers alike. The shape of the coastline provides sheltered beaches and numerous surfing opportunities. Praia da Mareta is a popular family beach five minutes from the town center on the southern side of Sagres. Praia do Tonel on the more exposed northern side of the point is popular with surfers and is patrolled by lifeguards during the summer. Those seeking solitude will enjoy Praia do Martinhal, just east of Sagres.

Accommodations include hotels, apartments, guest houses and a campground. Concrete high-rises are almost nonexistent. Travelers should note that surfers flock to the region in late July and August, and accommodation may be more difficult to find during those times.

Travelers can get to Sagres by flying to the regional capital, Faro. The Faro International Airport has links with all the European capitals. Trains run from Faro to Lagos, which is 30 miles from Sagres. Bus service is infrequent and may take a long time, so travelers are advised to allow plenty of time when traveling by bus from Lagos to Sagres. Rental cars are also available in both Faro and Lagos.


Albufeira, Portugal

The Algarve region presents one of the premier Portuguese holiday destinations. With its breathtaking cliffs, natural bays and grottos, beautiful beaches, luxury resorts, and picturesque whitewashed towns, foreigners flock to the region when summer arrives.

Charming towns like Sagres and Carrapateira on the ragged west coast attract surfers. While Cliffside Albufeira, 18 mi (40 minute ride) from the regional capital of Faro and the International Airport, attracts a wider mix of travelers. Albufeira is located west of Portimao (12 mi), west of Faro, and south of Lisbon (122 mi) situated on the Gulf of Cadiz where the town experiences a mild coastal climate with cold winters and warm summers but without extremes in temperature and is bathed in daily sun for the majority of the year.

Under Roman rule, the town was known as Baltum, but during the Moors 8th Century occupation the name was changed to Al-Buhera and it became an important trading port and remained a thriving seaport with its own castle until it was destroyed in 1755 by a tragic earthquake
In 1833, during a civil over the Portuguese ascension, the town was set afire and the nearly destroyed town suffered a long period of poverty. Only now has Albufeira recovered (Population about 17 K) and become a tourist resort graced by the old fisherman’s village and Albufeira’s historic center of narrow white streets and beautiful churches.

Leisure facilities abound near the center and along the coast. The Albufeira Marina area provides hotels, villas, apartments, and facilities for diving and other water sports. There are also boat trips along the Algarve coast to explore the caves and towering rock formations or to provide fishing excursions.

As the sun goes down, Albufeira takes on the rhythm of a tourist resort as the sun lovers meet at the many discos and bars or restaurants that offer everything from regional dishes (seafood dishes constitute a strong gastronomic presence) to International European cuisines.

Albufeira’s beaches are internationally renowned for their variety and enchantment. Beaches are sheltered with naturally painted cliffs that drop to fine-sanded beach and turquoise blue  sea. A few minutes from the town center, Pescadores, Peneco, and Inatel beaches form a long strip of sand surrounded by Albufeira. Along the coast others include the Oura, Balaia, Maria Luísa, Olhos de Agua beaches and more. Many provide tourist and sports facilities available.

For golf, Salgados is an 18-hole golf course only 5 minutes from the town center and one of the symbols of Portuguese golf. Besides adjoining sea, the course is laid out around a variety of lakes that provide not only beauty but a challenge to any golfer.
Pine Cliffs is a nine-hole course laid out amidst pine forest and the edge of spectacular cliffs looking down over the beautiful beaches of the Algarve and the sea. Hotel Sheraton Balaia Golf Village includes a par 3 course ideal for families and beginners.
For accommodations, there are luxury resorts near the city center and marina or along the coast with beach front properties and large fresh water pools. Alternatively, choose hotels and villa accommodations occupying stunning cliff-top perches overlooking the beaches that are reached by winding paths.


Portimao, Portugal

For those desiring to head out onto the open seas and catch large game fish, Portimao, located within the Algarve region of Portugal, is an ideal destination. Although sport fishing is the most popular tourist attraction in the area, Portimao is a city rich in history and culture, offering visitors a plethora of activities to engage in, and historical sites to see.

Portimao’s population is around 40,000 residents, and the town offers all the modern conveniences typical of a tourist destination, while retaining its unique old world charm. The primary sources of economic sustenance for locals here lies in the tourist, fishing, and agricultural industries. Less than thirty years ago, this city was the premier shopping destination in all of the Algarve region, and today is still considered to be an excellent location for shopping enthusiast to locate great bargains and discover interesting artwork and crafts by local artists.

People taking up residence here, dates back to the Neolithic period, and evidence of this lies in a local excavation site that boasts remains of the town that existed a few hundred years prior to the time of Christ. Local resting areas for the deceased also afford visitors’ evidence of the regions prehistoric nature. Unfortunately, previous town councils attempted to modernize the area, and ultimately destroyed several historic sites in the process, yet a local conservation council stepped up effort to preserve the area’s historical sites.

One of the loveliest antiquated structures in Portimao is, The Church of the Immaculate Conception, which dates from the 15th century, and has been restored periodically over the years to maintain and preserve its original gothic beauty. Currently serving as Portimao’s City Hall, is a massive structure of baroque and neoclassical architecture that once acted as a palace in the 18th century.

The lure, no pun intended, of Portimao, lies in its spectacular deep-sea sport fishing opportunities. There are several charter boats available to take anglers out to the deep seas, allowing them an opportunity to snare some of the most highly sought after fish in the world, including marlin, bill-fish, tuna and other game fish. The highly prized, and most famous fighting fish, the swordfish, is present in these waters, and it is considered to be a once a lifetime experience to hook, and of course, to reel one in.

Golfing is a popular pastime in Portimao, and the city features several courses, including the Penina Championship Golf Course, which according to golf enthusiasts, is one of the most challenging courses in the world, due to the difficult terrain and the presence of multiple water hazards. The local beaches in the area feature soft sand beaches, which are interestingly connected via tunnels that run beneath the seaside cliffs of Portimao. The waters here tend to be calm and are considered to prime spots for swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, parasailing, windsurfing, and other water enthusiast activities.