A small fishing village that has retained its charm
Alvor is one of the Algarve’s most popular destinations. The village has succeeded in retaining its essence along with offering all that you could want for a superb holiday and that is its charm. The warren of narrow winding streets offers a huge selection of restaurants, cafés, bars and shops yet in the evening you can see the locals, sitting in their doorways, bemusedly watching the throngs of strolling tourists enjoy their village.
Check out our guide to the best of Alvor restaurants, bars, things to do and beaches!
From the high point of the village church – which boasts a remarkable Manueline doorway and has been the setting for many a wedding, head towards the pedestrianised centre of Alvor (better to park on the outskirts and travel on foot). Most streets lead down to the riverfront. This is the ideal place to relax. Choose from the several cafés, all with open-air terraces and enjoy the views across the Ria Alvor. There is a small marina that offers boat trips and from the river walkway there are pathways to the mudflats and marshland which make the estuary a nature lovers paradise, particularly bird watchers.
The beaches at Alvor are heaven on earth. Access couldn’t be easier – just park and walk onto the beach. To the East, you can choose from small cove beaches (they become very small at high tide!) that are nestled at the base of the red cliffs, or to the West, a marvellous broad expanse of fine golden sand that extends to the river estuary and over to Meia Praia. The beach is lined by restaurants and there are various water sports on offer. Across the bay you can see the town of Lagos. There is a wooden boardwalk that runs between the beach and the estuary, among the dunes - a beautiful walk at any time of day.
Alvor quite possibly has more restaurants per square metre than any other point along the coast. You can choose from the beach restaurants which offer very good food and the most amazing views or head into the centre of Alvor and try to decide between Portuguese, Indian, Italian or Chinese cuisine. An absolute must is fresh fish brought in each day by the local fishing boats, grilled to perfection on the open barbeque, served with a salad and washed down with some of Portugal's excellent, but under-rated wine.
Special mention for the weekly Farmers Market which is held on Sunday morning - a great chance to buy fresh produce - fruit, vegetables, cheese, honey, olives and sweet treats - from local producers. It is held each Sunday morning by the riverside.
Alvor is a short taxi ride from Portimão and Praia da Rocha.