I haven’t been to the French Rivera. I haven’t been to the cliffs of Amalfi. I have driven, toured and run the soft sparkly sand through my fingers at the Algarve. The Algarve is Praia eo Camilo (Lagos)150 kilometers/90 miles of coastline.
We drove to S. Vicente, the Cape Cod of Portugal, the most southern point, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean.
It isn’t true if you’ve seen one beach, you’ve seen them all. They are all so different.
The Hawaiian personality of the thatched umbrellas was at the Falesia Praia, the picture below, and at no other.
We discovered all the beaches are topless, but not all the women were. No, you can’t see the ones that were topless. I don’t have them to share.
The path begins at the Nossa Senhora da Encarnação fort (GPS 37.09474, -8.46976), which is at the top of the steep hill leading to the left (east) side of the beach. The boardwalk extends for 570m to the car park at the top of the Algar Seco cliff (GPS 37.09332, -8.46556). A typical walk takes around 10 minutes but often takes much longer as the beautiful scenery is admired. The wooden path means that it is suitable for all and is perfect for less mobile visitors or families. At the base of the Algar, Seco cliffs is the Boneca Bar, a great setting for drinks and light meals.
Do note: The Carvoeiro Boardwalk does not extend down to the Algar Seco and to reach the base of the cliff a long flight of steps needs to be descended.
The town of Carvoeiro, where the stars reside, is a town known for entertaining kings and queens. You can find cafes at every turn. There were so many cafes, it was hard to choose.
Cafe Pine Cliffs Hotel, Algarve
We didn’t see any famous stars. The praia (the beach) was the star, with hills, cliffs, houses in the cliffs, sheer dropoffs, eloquent seascapes. Fishing boats right next to beach umbrellas, people at rest, children at play.
Custard tarts & and coffee (those tarts are outrageous) This pastéis de nata recipe makes as-close-to-authentic Portuguese custard tarts with a rich egg custard nestled in shatteringly crisp pastry. Tastes like home, even if you’re not from Portugal. If you live in Connecticut, buy these at Chaves Bakery in Bridgeport on Madison Ave.
Portuguese sundae, yum (atypical)
Coffee (above) is serious business in Portugal. Usually, espresso is served after every meal. After lunch at one of the cafes in Carvoeiro, we indulged. Decaf, brewed of course. We were horrified at our Tivoli Hotel in Villamoura, where they served Nescafe, a decaf espresso, not brewed. It wasn’t too bad. And that’s only b/c it was Nescafe. I tried another brand, not brewed, it tasted like bug spray smells. Plowing through all these places gave us both infinite pleasure. Not once did we see rain.
Alfama, Portugal is Lisbon’s oldest district made famous for its tight winding corridors and for having been one of the few neighborhoods to survive the devastating earthquake of 1755. Photo by Laura Pastores from Westminster College. – See more at: http://www.semesteratsea.org/2013/10/14/student-photo-gallery-portugal-and-spain/#sthash.Fr8RfmW1.dpuf
The white sand beach and cliffs of the beach of Praia da Rocha soft and reflective. The waves broke against the rocks and splashed up sizzling in the sunlight with colors of the rainbow.
Praia (beach) shell-shaped bay in Sao Martinho do Porto, the town my friends reside.
Sit under the blue skies with the warm white sand under your feet. The sands of Sao Martinho do Porto, the perfect place for peace and harmony.
Sure way to get a tan!
This coastline town is where my longtime Portuguese friends of forty-five years happen to spend their summers with their family. My last visit in 1988 was to do design work with Gigi on her new apartment.
Tall buildings are the apartments. In 1988 there was only one tower.
This visit, my third, I finally got to see the finished product.
Left to right: Lili, Gail, Gigi on the balcony of Gigi’s apartment overlooking the Bay.
Tents, blue and white striped, all connected.
This also was a chance to hug the family, and speak a little Portuguese. (Eu falar um pouco). Whenever I see Gigi’s mom, her sisters and cousins, I learn more. I like to speak the language. It is phonetic, and you really have to roll the “r”.
From the balcony you can enjoy the vista.
Blue and white tents on the beach with beach houses in the cliffs
Once a sleepy fishing village, Sao Martinho is now a favorite summer resort of the Portuguese and the bay is surely one of the most beautiful in Portugal.
Tents in red, orange and purple. The more traditional are the blue and white. But these are colorful on the beach. Gigi says, where you see the tents, you do not see umbrellas. They have separate sections. 24×30 oil on linen
The origins of the village date back to 1257. It was later famous for its ship building activities in the 16th Century during the times of the Great Portuguese navigators, but the real heyday of the village, as a resort, was during the fifty year span of 1880-1930.
Rooftops in Sao Martinho
Nestling between the modern buildings on the seafront there are still some of the original villas.
On the road out of Sao Martinho and near the Post Office stands the splendid old
Hotel Parque, now closed. It was also once a family home. In 1988 I had a room at the hotel. It was wonderful. There were two tennis courts. The clay is long gone, only to see the grown grasses bending in the breezes. The bar, once a popular gathering place in town, is disguised by overgrown foliage and trees.
Cafe’s everywhere, in yellow, in red, in many colors, between the cliffs and the sands.
Not far from here is a busy
Vegetable and fruit market in town center S.Martinho
little fruit and vegetable market and there are always restaurants, bars and cafes to be found.
Grilled sardines, a popular fair in Portugal. Gigi showed us how to skin and debone. it is tricky, but worth it. Fresh sardines, tastes like, well, chicken, it’s delicious, especially if you like chicken. The guys are the three brother-in-laws.
Sundown in S. Martinho
Beach walkers at sundown S. Martinho
There is still so much more to talk about. I will, next week. Will you come with me? Have you guessed what makes the magic in Portugal? Tell me what you think.