|Private tours in Lisbon & surroundings||
We take the motorway towards south, to cross Alentejo province, with its endless plains, its cork, olive oil, wine, the
vast golden wheat fields undulating in the wind – and a great deal of space left over for simple nature, rosemary and
We then get in the Algarve. Wherever you look, the colours of the mountains and sea are always with you, creating the
impression of a water-colour dotted with highlights of gold, green and blue.
Silves is our first stop. The dark red of the mighty castle walls loom over the city and the surrounding countryside. The
interplay of stone and light on the gothic architecture. Vestiges of the Moorish presence in the city's history. Streets of
white houses that reflect the sun and the blue sky.
Silves retains much of its former charm in the streets of the old 'almedina', which are still laid out as they were in
medieval times. The Jewish quarter was situated between R. das Portas de Loulé and what is nowadays the parish hall.
Here we find the biggest castle in the Algarve and the most beautiful military monument to the Islamic period in Portugal.
From the castle there are spectacular views of the town and surrounding countryside.
The Sé Velha (Old Cathedral) was built out of the region's fine red sandstone in the 13th century.
In Silves you find the handicraft of the nearby Porches, known for its artistic potteries, which try to preserve ancient
Iberian and Moorish patterns.
Portimao, with its narrow streets of the old fishermen and tradesmen quarter, old of many centuries. A degree of port
atmosphere pervades the area near the numerous simple eating-places, small family businesses, where one can enjoy
excellent fresh fish.
Next is Lagos. Its fame derives from its association with Portugal's 14th-and 15th-century Age of Discovery and it offers a balance of the charm
and history of the Portuguese culture. The beaches around Lagos are some of the most beautiful of the Algarve. However, it is the promontory
named Ponta da Piedade and sheltering the bay of Lagos which is most admired by visitors, with its caves, rocks and wonderfully transparent
waters. The Governor's Castle is an Arab construction, and possibly was once a fortress. The ancient walls remain.
A modern and well equipped marina dominates the sea front and the town is now firmly positioned as a centre for tourists from all over the
world. There is a delicious array of fabulous dishes to try and when visiting definitely don’t miss the fresh fish!
We’ll proceed to Sagres, to visit the old fortress of the Portuguese school of navigators "who brought new worlds to the World". It can be a
powerful sensation to sit quietly anywhere along the cliff tops here and look out to sea and ponder the extraordinary adventurers who have
passed this way.Both Sagres and Cabo de Sao Vicente lie on a rocky plateau which terminates abruptly at the coast to form steep cliffs.
Saint Vincent cape is the most south western point of Europe and known as 'Fim do Mundo' - the end of the world. In ancient times this area
was considered a sacred spot - religious ceremonies being held here and that it was inhabited by gods. The cliffs rise nearly vertically from the
Atlantic to a height of 150m/500feet and it´s one of the most scenic places in Portugal.
The cape is a site of exuberant marine life and a high concentration of birds nesting on the cliffs, such as the rare Bonelli's eagle, peregrine
falcons, kites, rock thrushes, rock pigeons, storks and herons.
|...The first people in the Algarve were traders and Estate stewards that established their colonies on the coasts,|
like the Phoenicians and the Carthaginians. The Algarve was once part of the Roman province of Lusitânia, later
becoming part of the Visigoths' jurisdiction. One of the most important facts in the Algarve's history: the five
centuries of Arab occupation, visible in the regions architecture (lattice chimneys, tiles, whitewashed houses,
labyrinthine streets, etc.). Since 1249, and until the Republic proclamation, the Portuguese monarchs were
entitled "King of Portugal and of the Algarves". The Algarve became a lot more important during the Discoveries,
being used as one of the main departure ports. Nothing stops the “algarvios” – people of Algarve -, who despite
all the adversities made it what it is today: a wonderful resort by the sea!...