Aljezur - Algarve - Portugal
Welcome to Aljezur Uncovered! Your Aljezur holiday guide
Welcome to Aljezur Uncovered! Your guide to holidays in Aljezur, in western Algarve, Portugal. For tourist information about Aljezur, its beaches, accommodation, restaurants, shops, things to do and in fact, all things Aljezur Uncovered!
Aljezur is about 30km north of Lagos on the N120 and is situated in a lush, green, fertile valley, an area well known for it's sweet potato crops. It is built on either side of the river that runs through the valley...the old town being on one side and the new town on the other. The remains of a Moorish 10th century castle can be seen high on the hill over the old town and the views from there are fantastic!
In the 18th century the old town was rife with malaria and the Bishop of the Algarve wanted the people to move across the river, to get away from the disease, so the 'new' town was built. However a lot of people stayed put, (malaria has long been eradicated!) so Aljezur now is a town of two halves.
The old town is built on the side of the hill, with the main street running parallel to the river and numerous small cafes on either side of the bridge.
To drive to the castle (rather easier than walking!), follow the sign to the 'historic centre' which takes the road to the left of the bridge, through a rather narrow street and then up the hill, again quite narrow and cobbled and very steep..just keep going until you reach the top.
There is room for parking and entry to the castle ruins is free, and the views are absolutely amazing! When you leave, you can either return the way you came, or continue on the road down the other side. This brings you back onto the main road..turn left and you go back to the N120...turn right and head for the coast!
Cross the river to the 'new' town and the first thing you see is the 18th century church, Igreja Matriz de Nossa Senhora da Alva, at the top of the main street. Next to the church is the town square with shops and cafes around it and space to relax and enjoy the peacefulness of the town, broken only by the bells marking the hours as they pass!
Aljezur is only 10km from the nearest beach, Praia de Monte Clérigo, a short drive through wonderful countryside and with spectacular views of the Western Atlantic coast as you approach the beach. In springtime the roadsides and the clifftops are covered in flowers of all colours and with all the foliage and grass fresh and green it really is quite a sight to see.
Aljezur and the villages and countryside in this corner of the Algarve are quite different from the more hectic south coast - there is no hustle and bustle. You can see farmers ploughing their land with an oxen and a hand plough as they have done for centuries, take a walk along the cliffs or a stroll on one of the beaches and you might not see anyone unless it's a wet-suited surfer or someone fishing from the rocks.
If this appeals to you, then now is the time to visit as there's no saying how long it will stay like this! A wide strip of the western atlantic coast is protected parkland (Parque Natural da Costa Vicentina), so at least there should be some restriction on developments.
While you are in Aljezur, take the time to explore some of the villages and beaches in the area - like Bordeira which is in the countryside just a short distance from the beach of the same name and nearby Carrapateira, where the remains of a 17th century fort on the hill is another reminder of the days when the Algarve had to defend itself from pirates and corsairs.
If you take the road towards the beach at Bordeira and follow it up the hill to the left of the beach, you can drive along the cliff tops all the way to Amado beach. Although it is quite a rough road in places, you don't need a 4x4 to tackle it! It is worth it for the view and when you reach Amado there is another, better road that leads you back to the main road just south of Carrapateira.
If you want to venture a bit further afield - it's only about a 30 to 40 minute drive to Lagos with it's historic town centre still surrounded by medieval walls, a fort at the harbour entrance and the 'Golden Church' of St. Anthony. The long sweeping beach of Meia Praia and the secluded coves of Dona Ana and Camilo to enjoy, a modern marina and a town centre of small squares linked by a network of cobbled streets, plus, of course, plenty of restaurants and cafés!
Aljezur is ideal for a relaxing holiday in the countryside, where you can enjoy walking, cycling or horseriding, or just sitting at a café with a good book. There are near deserted beaches within a short drive and lots of villages to explore - the 'alternative' Algarve!