Set amongst the hills of
the Costa Vicentina National Park, Aljezur is one of the most peaceful
regions of the Algarve. The most important landmark here is the castle,
which dominates the old town centre, offering sweeping views of the
countryside and the ocean. But there are also charming churches, museums
and plenty of beaches to explore.
Our itinerary below showcases the best things to do in Aljezur, so you can make the most of your stay.
Carrapateira is a tiny village on the west coast popular among surfers
and bodyboarders. From here, you can access the Praia da Bordeira, one
of the largest beaches in the Algarve, especially at low tide. Sometimes
the nearby stream flows into the sea, forming a small lagoon ideal for
Continue along the coast until you reach the Fortaleza da Arrifana. Not
much remains of this 17th-century fortress, that was once a defensive
post against invaders and a protected ground for tuna fishing. These
days, it acts more like a viewpoint where you can contemplate the ocean
and the rugged cliffs bordering the coastline.
Near the fort is Praia da Arrifana. Stretching for half a mile, this
beach has a horseshoe shape, meaning it’s sheltered from much of the
winds that batter the west coast. On the south end of the beach is a
striking stone known as Pedra da Agulha (Needle Stone) jutting out from
the water. Meanwhile, the northern section is popular among scuba divers
thanks to its crystal clear water. There’s also a surf school on-site
where you can rent wetsuits and boards or book a lesson.
Arrifana, the most popular beaches in Aljezur are Praia do Monte Clérigo
and Praia da Amoreira, a bit further up. The whole area is part of the
Costa Vicentina National Park, and there are plenty of nature treks and
mountain biking tours to follow around the hills, allowing you to see
foxes and badgers in their natural habitat. Check Rota Vicentina for
more details on routes.
Drive to the centre of Aljezur, following the narrow road leading to
the castle, which is free to visit. It was built during the 10th
century and was occupied by the Moors until the Christian reconquest in
the 13th century. From here, you can see the whole town of Aljezur, the
river and the bridge separating the old town from the new town.
While in Aljezur, you can check some of the town’s museums. Visit
the Museu Municipal in the old town to see some ancient artefacts
uncovered in the area and then stop by Casa-Museu Pintor José Cercas.
This was once the home of local painter José Cercas, and you can see
great examples of his work inside.
Still in the old town, you can tour the Igreja da Misericórdia, a
16th-century church that was rebuilt after the 1755 earthquake. Attached
to the church there is a small Sacred Art Museum which showcases a
great collection of religious art.
Cross the river to the new
town and head to the Igreja Matriz de Nossa Senhora da Alva, also known
as the New Church. This area was created to relocate the population
after the old town was affected by an outbreak of malaria in the 18th
century. Around the church, there are several shops and cafés where you
can sit down and enjoy the quiet atmosphere of the town.
In the afternoon, make your way to Odeceixe, a sleepy town
on the edge of the Algarve and the Alentejo. Drive down the valley until
you reach the bay of Praia de Odeceixe. The beach almost seems like an
island, with the river flowing on the right side and the sea on the
left. Usually, there is only a handful of people in sight, and you can
spot a few surfers in the water. Sit down at Café Dorita, a small café
overlooking the beach and stay there a while gazing at the waves while
sipping your coffee. Then head to the centre of Odeceixe and visit some
craft shops and an old windmill which offers amazing panoramic views of
Costa Vicentina Natural Park: Aljezur sits in the middle of the Costa
Vicentina Natural Park. You can explore many coastal trails from here,
including the Fishermen’s Trail, a 226.5 km route that crosses the
Algarve and the Alentejo regions.
Sagres: Head south to Sagres, about a 40-minute drive from Aljezur. The
area is known for its rugged coastline, impressive cliffs, and wild
beaches that are popular among surfers. Don’t miss the Fortaleza de
Sagres and Cabo de São Vicente.
Lagos: Take a 30-minute trip to the charming town of Lagos. Enjoy a walk
around the old town before taking off on a dolphin-watching tour, or
enjoy the surrounding beaches like Praia da Dona Ana or Praia do Camilo.
Monchique: Venture inland to the hilltop village of Monchique and enjoy
the scenic drive through the mountains. Wander through the town's narrow
streets, relax in the thermal springs and take in the views from the
top of Fóia, the Algarve’s highest peak.
Aljezur offers several family-friendly attractions. Kids will have
fun wandering through the town’s castle and exploring the surrounding
streets. In summer, you can hit the beach for a swim. Praia de Odeceixe,
Praia da Arrifana, and Praia do Monte Clérigo are a few popular options
nearby. For a bit of action, you can book a surfing or bodyboarding
Another alternative is to explore the Rota Vicentina, a
network of trails stretching along the Algarve and the Alentejo region.
There are plenty of marked paths that take you through the middle of
nature and along the coast. Some of these can also be tackled on a bike.
The cuisine of Aljezur is mostly based around fish and seafood, but the
town is also the largest producer of sweet potatoes in Portugal, so it’s
common to see this ingredient in soups, stews and even pastries. Below
are some of the best places to eat in Aljezur:
Pont’a Pé: Located
in the old town, this restaurant occupies a typical Algarvean building
painted in white with a blue trim around its doors and window.
Unsurprisingly, most of the menu is made up of fish and seafood dishes,
including sea bass, octopus, and monkfish. For dessert, don’t miss the
sweet potato pudding or the sweet potato cake.
Taberna do Gabão: Also in Odeceixe, this restaurant specialises in fish
dishes, like fresh tuna and sea bream. If you prefer meat, try the Carne
de Porco à Alentejana, a tasty pork dish served with potato chunks and
Tasca D’Arrifana: If you want delicious seafood, head to Tasca
D’Arrifana. With friendly staff and a welcoming atmosphere, this is
traditional Portuguese cuisine as it is meant to be enjoyed. Pure and
Herdade Monte do Sol (4 stars): About a
six-minute drive from Praia da Arrifana is this quiet rural estate. The
property features several houses that can take up to four people. Guests
also have access to an outdoor pool and an organic garden.
da Fontinha: Just a few miles from Odeceixe, already in the Alentejo
region, is Cerro da Fontinha, a rural property amid the natural park.
There are six houses here, each following a different colour theme. The
surrounding lake is an ideal spot for swimming and activities like
canoeing and fishing.
Quinta Alma (3 stars): This eco-friendly
retreat is nestled in the countryside near Aljezur. It features a mix of
wooden cabins, tepees and safari tents, all surrounded by nature. It's a
perfect choice for those seeking a peaceful retreat away from it all.
The best time to visit Aljezur is around spring and early autumn. The
weather is mild, and the flowers are in bloom, making it an ideal time
for hiking and cycling the surrounding trails. Summer is the peak
season, with temperatures often exceeding 30ºC. However, there are
plenty of beaches where you can retreat for a refreshing swim.
Festa da Nossa Senhora da Alva: Held in early September, this festival
honours the town’s patron saint, Nossa Senhora da Alva. The event
includes religious processions, traditional music and dance