Summer in the Algarve is...
Summer in the Algarve isn't just a season - it's a state of mind. There are some things so evocative that the mere mention of them conjures up sensory memories that last through the years, transporting us back in time to certain moments that are imprinted on our mind's eye. Here are some iconic summer staples that make summer in the Algarve summer.
Olha a bolinha! Generations of Portuguese have enjoyed licking sugar from salty fingers while devouring these tasty doughnuts. Tramping up and down the beach all day with a big basket of sweet goodies, the doughnut man is like a Pied Piper of hungry beach-goers as they gather around to buy their daily treat. Tourists look on uncertainly until curiosity gets the better of them and they join the party and discover the delights of light sugary dough eaten on the beach. Our favorite doughnut sellers give extra value for money, adding a little poetry to the transaction:
"Olha a bolinha, bolinha de Alvor
Feita com amor
Recomendada por Sr. Doutor!"
Skin salty from diving beneath the waves, toes wriggling in the warm sand, your mind drifting languidly were it pleases - nothing relaxes like a good day at the beach. Some prefer the morning when the sky and water are clearest, some prefer the evening when the setting sun and rising moon vie for our attention.
From busy summer beaches where the beautiful people go with lively beach bars and restaurants to quiet and relatively undisturbed west coast (Costa Vicentina) beaches and the immense natural beauty of the Ria Formosa, there is a beach to suit everybody. Whether you're a sunbed or towel on the sand person, the fine sands and clean waters of Algarve beaches have made the region one of the best beach destinations in the world. You can hop on board a boat trip to discover some secluded beaches, even enjoying a BBQ ashore before continuing to sail along the coast. Check out these beautiful long beaches with miles of fine sand.
Smoky, smelly, salty and delicious! A far cry from those tinned sardines, fresh sardines grilled over charcoal are an Algarve icon and should be on your Top 10 of Portuguese food. The unmistakable aroma of grilling sardines wafts across every village in the Algarve during the summer months, when the sardines are fattest and best. Packed with Omega 3s, sardines are inexpensive and healthy, a rare combination. One of the highlights of the summer is the Portimão Sardine Festival which takes place every August. Other summer favorites include prawns - boiled, fried, hot, cold, any way at all - and that delicious Algarvian salad of chopped tomatoes, peppers and cucumber generously seasoned with olive oil, vinegar and herbs.
Summer wouldn't be summer without a whole load of festivals celebrating different aspects of Algarve life and making for a very busy calendar. Many summer festivals in the Algarve revolve around food. You have the ever popular Sardine Festival in Portimão and Seafood Festival in Olhão and the lesser known Barnacle Festival in Vila do Bispo and festivals celebrating octopus, snails and even dried fruit. There are festivals celebrating a mix of local and religious traditions such as the Festival of Our Lady at Senhora da Rocha where local fishing boats are blessed. There are music festivals galore and the fabulous Medieval Festival at Silves.The warm summer nights are made for wandering at leisure among the stalls, sampling the wares and enjoying the atmosphere. Find out more about Festivals in the Algarve. Of course, Covid imposed plenty of changes on the festival calendar around the world, but the Algarve still celebrated summer with open-air concerts and lots of tasty food, and 2022 has seen the return of many festivals.
ok, maybe not a favorite, but evocative nonetheless. Weever fish, known locally as Peixe-Aranha, love to lurk just beneath the sand at the shoreline and sting unsuspecting feet, particularly when the water is warm. The pain is instant and increases as the venom enters the victim's foot. Luckily, the treatment is easy and effective if applied quickly. Soak the foot in hot water for 15 or 20 minutes, wriggling the toes and the pain soon passes. If left untreated however, the pain and swelling can take days to subside. Lifeguards on the Algarve's beaches are experts in treating the stings as they are a regular occurrence. A small price to pay for glorious days on the beach...
So, what makes your summer an Algarve summer?