Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Aljezur Overview

The boundaries of Aljezur municipality mark out a broad rectangle delimited by the sea and the hills, and its landscapes reflect this dual influence. While the coast is marked by high cliffs beneath which huddle sandy coves and pristine dunes, the hinterland is a place of rolling hills covered with vegetation that recede, row upon row, as far as the eye can see. Between the two extends a broad strip of fertile fields and valleys where the traditional crops of vegetables, sweet potatoes and peanuts are still grown. Time spent in Aljezur municipality is thus an opportunity to rediscover peace and tranquillity, to experience a silence broken only by the singing of birds or the crash of waves on the rocks and to savour the beauty of verdant fields, gentle slopes swathed in wild flowers and majestic cliffs with the pounding sea as backdrop.


At the top of the hill, the castle ramparts, symbol of the long struggle between Christians and Moors. A cascade of white houses that almost tumble down the hillside towards the river. Facets of Aljezur, a town, centuries old, that found in the plain that it faces a route to growth and a future.


In the streets that wind down the slope from the top of the hill crowned by the castle are houses typical of the coral architecture of the Algarve, with the colourful borders painted around windows and along the edges of immaculate whitewashed walls. At the base of the hill is the Fonte das Mentiras (literally the Fountain of Lies), which is associated with the legend of a beautiful Moorish woman and the conquest of the castle.


Sun and Sea


The sea has carved tall cliffs from the schist hills along the coast where birds nest and wild flowers grow. Here and there, in bays that face the sun and the ocean, are long beaches of dark sand.


Odeceixe


Has a long beach, cut in two by the mouth of the Seixe creek. The resort is calm and family-oriented with facilities for visitors. There are impressive views of the sea from the Miradouro da Ponta Branca.


Quebrada


Is a narrow beach squeezed between the sea and the cliffs. Little visited.


Samouqueira, Vale dos Homens and Carriagem


Quiet, little frequented beaches.


Amoreira e Monte Clérigo


These two beaches lie next to each other, separated by rocks. There are facilities for visitors. The coast is punctuated by fascinating rock formations, ending at Ponta da Atalaia, which means Lookout Point.


Arrifana


Along stretch of sand sheltered by cliffs with a picturesque fishing port, Arrifana is linked to the historical figure of the Moorish prince and poet Ibn Caci (12th century) who lived here as a recluse. There are ruins of an old fort (17th century) built to defend the tuna fishermen and their gear. At the end of the cliffs Pedra da Agulha (literally Needle Rock) rises majestically from the sea.


Penedo, Vale Figueiras and Canal


Beaches of great beauty that see few visitors.


Bordeira and Amado Long beaches.


In Bordeira stand the ruins of a former defensive fort built to repel pirate attacks (17th century). Near to Amado the so-called Pedra do Cavaleiro (Knight's Rock) stands amid the waves. Between the two beaches lies the rock formation of Pontal, surrounded by bays and high cliffs.


Sports


The whole of the coast of Aljezur municipality is a paradise for sports anglers who dream of landing big fish. The waters here teem with sea bass, dory, conger, eels, snook, sea bream and many other species of fish. Bata dos Tiros, Samouqueira, Esteveira, Vale dos Homens, Carriagem, Pipa, Fonte Santa, Atalaia, Canal, Vale Figueiras, Bordeira, Pontal and Amado are among the most famous fishing grounds. The perfectly-formed waves that break off Aljezur's beaches are among the best in Europe and ideal for surfers and body-boarders alike.


Gastronomy


With the sea so close at hand, there is no shortage of fresh fish, to be enjoyed grilled over an open fire or cooked in tasty stews called "caldeiradas". Seafood of various kinds is also to be had. One interesting local speciality are "perceves", a kind of barnacle which grows on the rocks along the shoreline. Sweet potato, grown in the fertile valleys where water is plentiful, is a recurring ingredient in the region's typical dishes and cakes which can be accompanied by the full-bodied wine grown on the terraced slopes or by aguardente de medronho, the arbutus-berry liqueur distilled in copper stills in the hills of the interior.


Handicraft


Craftsmen and women still make typical basketware and pretty wooden spoons reminiscent of the rural life in days gone by. Of the old tradition of reedmace chairs, once found in every home, all that remains are the exquisite miniatures made by two local artisans. The women of Aljezur continue to make lace coverlets and cloths to age-old patterns. Pottery is a craft that is enjoying a strong revival and some local ceramicists produce work of a very high standard.


During your holiday don't forget to visit the most famous and important highlights of the Algarve .Beginning with the Algarve 's capital, located at the sea side Faro, is surrounded by the Ria Formosa, a nature reserve of 17.00 hectares and stopping place for migrating birds. The Faro airport is connecting the Algarve with most European capitals by direct flights and handles several million passengers a year. Drive west and you will arrive to Vilamoura. A special place, an exclusive leisure and recreation resort community where the peace of life is so easy it feels like summer all year round. Driving a few kilometres more, you will get to the centre of the Algarve , Albufeira, acknowledged as one of the main tourist regions of the country. Continuing towards the heart of the sunny Algarve , you will find the small inlet of Carvoeiro protected between high cliffs. A few kilometres ahead, Lagos is our last stop. A Marina presents a lovely picture and the harbour, is the first sight a visitor has. With its relaxed atmosphere and quiet charm, make it one of the most appealing locations in the Algarve to visitors from abroad, an important tourist town there are still many architectural signs of its ancient past.Car Hire in the Algarve at a cheap price, a brand new vehicle and a helpful team to assist you. We suggest the following websites: Algarve Car Hire, Car Hire in the Algarve, Car Hire Portugal, Portugal Car Hire, Car Hire Lisbon, Faro Car Hire, Vilamoura Car Hire, Albufeira Car Hire, Carvoeiro Car Hire, Lagos Car Hire. If you need airport transfer from or to Faro airport check out Algarve Transfers.