Rainy days in Algarve - survival tips
Without the rain, those delicious summer salads would simply not be so delicious
The weather in the Algarve is usually very fine. With an average of over 300 days of sunshine per year, not much rain falls in the Algarve compared say …..well, pretty much anywhere else in Europe. However, that does leave 65 days when there is the chance that rain will fall and potentially enforce a change from Plan A to Plan B. If you don’t have a Plan B, read on – here are a few handy tips for some great rainy day activities in the Algarve.
Head for the beach
Really. You can’t beat a brisk walk along the beach in stormy weather. - and the Algarve has beautiful beaches. Elementally invigorating and with the promise of a fortified coffee at the end, it’s hard to beat. Drink some locally brewed Medronho (a serious liquer brewed from arbutus berries, made usually in the Monchique area) to heat every cell in your body should you get caught in the rain. During the quieter winter months (let’s call it the green season) the beaches are near deserted and perfect for romantic walks and soulful meditation.
Die hard surfers of course, will not be put off by a spot of rain, and those tempestuous days can sometimes be the best surfing days. The Algarve is one of the best surf destination in the world with Sagres and the western coast, the Costa Vicentina providing some great surfing spots.
Learn more about the local history
The Algarve has many, many interesting galleries and museums showcasing the regions rich history. They are usually inexpensive to visit. Silves, Tavira and Lagos are probably the most interesting towns in the Algarve from an historical viewpoint, and have spectacular, castles, cathedrals and town walls to prove it. However, even resorts such as Vilamoura can surprise with their rich past – check out the Cerro da Vila museum next to the marina and see the fabulous roman remains there. Or pay a visit to the stunning Estoi palace, the Sardine Museum in Portimão or the megalithic remains at Alcalar, just outside Portimão. Artcatto art gallery in Loulé always has interesting exhibitions, and you can combine a visit there with a trip to the Loulé produce market – always a great experience, packed with noise, smells and strange sights.
Family holidays and rain can be a challenging combination. Luckily in the Algarve you have the Centros de Ciencias Vivas – Living Science Centres – in Faro and Lagos. These are amazingly good value venues for educational and interactive family fun where kids can learn all sorts of strange and wonderful things.
Karting is a sure fire winner for entertainment, but not in the rain. Enter the Hot Wheels Indoor Karting track at Albufeira marina - 400m of speedy track, tricky corners and inviting stretches, all indoors so perfect in any weather. There are 200cc karts for the adults and 160cc karts for juniors.
Indulge in some local food
Portuguese food is delicious no matter the weather. The rain that does fall in the Algarve usually does so during the winter months, in perfect synch with local restaurant menus that offer hearty stews at this time of year. Start with a homemade soup (did you know that Portugal is the largest consumer of soup, per capita in Europe? They know their soup here), follow with a tasty lamb stew, or some wild boar, hare or rabbit. Accompany with some good Algarve and Portuguese wine and the rain will soon fade to the background.
The good thing about rainy days in the Algarve is that you can be pretty sure there won’t be too many of them. And let’s not forget, without the rain, those delicious Algarve summer salads would simply not be so tasty, the almond blossom would not bloom so beautifully and those delicious, fat, Algarve oranges would not be so juicy.