I recently spent two more glorious weeks in the Algarve. Only this time, I moved east, staying in the delightful town of Tavira. My days were spent exploring the town, the back country, the waterfront and, of course, the many fine dining opportunities that abound in the Algarve. Off-the-beaten track Algarve continues to be what calls to me. This recent trip helped confirm, yet again, just how much diversity is packed into this tiny region of wonderful vistas, friendly, gentle people, great food and culture, fabulous beaches and good shopping.
The coastline feels more gentle because you are pretty much behind the barrier islands of the Rio Formosa in this part of the world. Beaches are broader and backed by sand dunes rather than cliffs. The food feels more traditional, but perhaps given that it was the dead of winter many restaurants were offering all kinds of stews. There are several very small fishing communities that are still highly traditional and are delightful to spend time in. Boardwalks along the waterfront are much more popular in this part of the region.
And the countryside, oh my! The almond blossoms were just coming out when I arrived and were at the peak of perfection during my visit. And there are sooo many of them. In some places, there were white and pink blossoms as far as they eye can see.
Unfortunately, there are also some depressingly overbuilt and congested tourist traps in this area too. And it was scary to be driving the back hill country only to encounter the massive up-scale golf courses and gated housing communities that have sprung up as ugly blots on the rural landscape. But I suppose that tourists must be attracted in whatever way possible. Sad to see, though.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks, folks as I document my most recent discoveries. Great art galleries, public art displays in unusual places, villages, restaurants, country drives will all be featured to help make your visit to the Algarve an amazing and rich one. Or perhaps even to tempt you to visit this wonderful gem of a destination tucked away in the southern-most reaches of an equally delightful country.