The Algarve, Portugal
The beautiful Sotavento - East Algarve
The best sights
The Sotavento (eastern Algarve) runs from Faro in the west to the River Guadiana, the border with Spain, in the east. In the north, there are the mountains: the Serra de Calderao and the Serra do Cume Alcaria. Between the mountains and the coast stretches a lovely rolling landscape. The mountains (highest peak in the Serra de Calderao is 577 metres) give a protective effect against any cold northern weather. They are covered with forests of eucalyptus and chestnut trees, with many pine trees, holm oaks and cork oaks, and lots of underbrush. A beautiful setting for your holiday!
Moving down from the hills, we come to orange, lemon and olive groves with agaves, fig trees and palms. Characteristic of the landscape is the carob tree; the many hours of sunshine and mild subtropical climate provide ideal conditions for it to thrive. especially in spring and autumn, this area is a green oasis, and always somewhere in the distance is a view of the blue ocean. There are stunning views both towards the coast and the hinterland from the top of the Serra de Monte Figo (410 m).
Tourism can be found here only in a few small fishing villages on the coast, with just one slightly larger toursit base (Monte Gordo) near to the Spanish border..
The foremost of all the villages and towns is Tavira. Built on the banks of the Rio Gilao, Tavira invites you to stroll through its alleys, visit one of its 30(!) churches, buy fish at the market or just have a drink at one of its many riverside restaurants. Not far from Tavira is Santa Luzia, an original unspoilt fishing villages with many good (fresh) fish restaurants near the quay.
East of Tavira is the tiny Cacela Velha, an older "robbers'den" situated above the lagoon, witha fantastic view over the Ria Formosa and the coast.
Olhao is a moorish-looking town. Take a stroll through the tiny streets an alleys and have a closer look at the many interesting shops. Also interesting is the lively covered market on the quayside where you can drink delicious cappuccino (or something stronger!) overlooking the marina or the sea.
It is fascinating to visit the Moncarapacho church museum where one of the former priest's archaeological and ethnographic private collection is on display. The adjacent church has beautifual yellow-blue and olive green azulejos (tiles) from the 16th and 17th centuries. In the "Olaria" at the entrance to the village, the ctraftsmen still bake the traditional ceramics.
The capital of the Algarve, Faro, is also worth visiting. Look out for the Cidade Velha (Old Town), the pedestrian area with shops, a magnificent cathedral and of course cafes and restaurants everywhere.
So come soon to the Algarve and stay at Casa Josephina, your ideal villa for rent in the Algarve!