Activities to experience that show case the beauty of the Algarve, heritage, traditional practices
Whether you live in the Algarve or are coming on holiday there plenty of activities to experience that show case the beauty of the region, heritage, traditional practices. From simple walks or cycling, visiting a vineyard, an olive farm, a working salt mine or experiencing how cork is harvested through to the end product and more. We have listed a few that we feel will allow you to get to know the true Algarve
Carob Harvesting - a local tradition
Carob is known as the gold of the Algarve: its seeds were used by the merchants in the old days to weigh jewellery.
Carob seeds removed from the pod are used to make locust bean gum, sometimes known as Ceratonia. This product is extremely good in confectionary as it can be used as a stabilizer, emulsifier or thickener and can also prevent sugar crystallising.
The dark brown or black pods are edible too and are ground into flour that is rich in sucrose as well as containing Magnesium, Calcium, Iron, Phosphorus, Potassium Manganese, Barium, Copper, Nickel and the vitamins A, B, B2, B3, and D.
The flour is often used in health foods and for giving a chocolate flavour. It’s low in calories, fat free, rich in pectin and protein and has no oxalic acid, which interferes with the absorption of calcium. All in all a healthier option to cocoa powder.
Monte da Ribeira offer this activity available during the summer, ideal for a different Algarve experience
To find out more go to their website:
Cycling in the Algarve
With a personal love of cycling we feel there is no better way to explore the Algarve than on a bike and with stunning countryside and views to enjoy there is much which you simply could not reach or see in a vehicle.
Whether you simply want to stay on accessible roads and lanes or are more adventurous with cycling and wish to go fully off road and onto the stone tracks and downhill paths you will never get bored. It would take a lifetime to explore them all. Cycling is incredibly popular in the Algarve so don’t be surprised if you see more than one fellow enthusiast while you are out on your bike.
There are many places to hire or even buy a bike in the Algarve but our personal favourite is Avalanche Bike Shop in Sao Bras de Alportel. When it comes to bike rental, why settle for less than the best?
Offering their clients some of the best brands of bikes available - Mondraker, Bianchi, Focus, BH and Superior you won’t be let down by the quality of both standard and e-bikes in their extension range of rental bikes available.
Known for their passion for quality and service - their experience is world class. None other than their own Jose Luis Duarte Salgueiro being the technician for all the bikes has recently come Second in the Men’s 55-59 Age Category at the 2021 Master's World Championships Downhill at Pra Loup. Rui Manuel Barros Da Cruz, owner of Avalanche Bike Shop came 16th in the Men’s 45-49 Age Category at the same event.
Renting a bike in Algarve is an environmentally friendly way to get to know more about this extraordinary place. When it comes to choosing a bike, speak to them in person and they will advise you on the one that suits you best. Bikes can be delivered for free to the hotel or villa you are staying at within two hours of booking. They offer a full maintenance call out service whilst the bike is with you and will collect the bike again on the day of your choice. No problem with booking multiple bikes for the whole family or a group of friends. From just one day or for as long as you want, make an Avalanche Bike your choice of rental.
Already own a bike and need someone to maintain it for you? Again they are here for you. From dealing with a flat tyre to repairs and maintenance they offer a full service and are happy to attend to your bike on site at your own home at a time arranged in advance to suit you. Their mobile maintenance service is able to act quickly and efficiently taking the hassle away to allow you to enjoy your bike without getting your hands dirty. For more technical repairs they take your bike to their workshop in Sao Bras de Alportel and then return it to you.
To find out about the full range of bikes available visit their web site:
Cork Tour Experience
From the cork oak to the traditional factory, what better way than to discover the story and witness the processes of one of the most characteristic industries in the Algarve. You will never look at cork the same way!
One of the most comprehensive tours and experiences that we have found and can recommend is with Algarve Rotas.
Based in Sao Bras de Alportel. In 2013, Sofia Carrusca, created the Algarve Rotas company, which operates in the field of tourist activities for the interpretation and valuation of the local cork industrial heritage, the promotion of cultural tours, nature tours and develop workshops in the field of traditional arts and crafts improving new experiences to the customers.
To find out more and to book your tour visit the Algarve Rotas web site:
Dive into the only Portuguese Mine, which is below sea level and possible to visit!
The Salt Mine - Gema de Loulé opens its doors to the general public, where all those interested can during a 2 hour tour, discover the extraordinary world of the Sal-Gema underground mine with more than 45 km of galleries and dive into the only Portuguese mine that is below sea level that is open to the public
It's worth a visit so check out their website:
Horse riding can be a wonderful way to explore the countryside when you visit a different part of the world and in the Algarve this for sure is true. The region offers such diverse countryside and we have chosen a selection of Riding Centres that give you a chance to experience very much difference aspects of our beautiful region:
Adventure Riding , Aljezur:
Situated in the Nature Park Costa Vicentina. Rides cross the Rota Vicentina, a national hiking path. Enjoy the most stunning surroundings, some of the cleanest beaches, beautiful mountains and breath taking views. Explore and fall in love with the West coast. For full details check out their website:
Country Riding Centre, Silves: Located at the foothills of the Serra de Silves, Country Riding Centre provides for all tastes, be it a gentle hack through the scenic hillsides with magnificent views across Silves to the Monchique Mountains, Portimão and beyond, or a gallop along the almost forgotten tracks through orange and lemon groves and eucalyptus forests, or even a swim on horseback in the lake. For full details check out their website:
Tavira Equestrian Tourism, Tavira: A truly different way to enjoy and explore the amazing nature and beaches of the Ria Formosa Natural Park. For full details check out their website
Loulé Criativo - workshops to experience the traditions of the Algarve
Whether you are a full time Resident or visiting the Algarve on holiday, we highly recommend what Loulé Criativo has to offer. Set up to promote the revitalisation of the Algarve's cultural heritage, traditions, crafts and art and design by Loulé Camara Municipal there are plenty of courses from tile painting, cookery classes in local cuisine to hand spinning wool on the spinning wheel and much, much more. For full details and to book your place on any of the courses on offer visit their website:
What better way to get to the know the history of a Region than by taking some time out to explore one or more of the Museums in the Algarve.
The list below gives you examples of the best on offer in the Algarve. Simply click on the name and a link will direct you to their location:
Olive Oil - visit an olive oil farm
For any lovers of olive oil we highly recommed taking time out at least once to go and viist an olive farm. One such farm that we recommend is Monterosa Olive Oil Farm, Moncarapacho with 20 hectares of olive groves.
To find out more and to book your tour visit the Monterosa Olive Oil Farm web site:
Organic Herb Plantation
Monte da Ribeira offers a unique interactive experience for organic plant lovers. It is not only a wonderful way to learn how to identify plants but also a great gastronomic experience with tasty food and wonderful teas.
Visit an aromatic and medicinal plant family production to learn about cultivation processes, harvesting, grinding, their properties and applications. At the end of the visit all participants will have the opportunity to taste tea and cookies produced in this farm hidden in the Algarvian Barrocal.
To find out more visit their website:
Potty about Pottery
Since 1968, Porches Pottery has become a unique and famous institution the Algarve.
This working pottery creates the most distinctive ceramics to be found in Algarve, and began as the idealistic dream of two artists, Patrick Swift and Lima de Freitas, one Irish and the other Portuguese. The two were determined to demonstrate that old crafts, and artistic traditions, need not be lost to the modern plastic age. That was fifty years ago and Porches Pottery has proved that it is possible for hand crafted works to survive on their own merit. To this day, many of the artisans that Patrick Swift taught are here continuing a tradition that is thousands of years in the making.
At Porches Pottery you can see these artisans at work, acquire a truly unique souvenir of Algarve, and enjoy a light lunch in their Bar Bacchus café.
Throughout the year, Porches Pottery is open Monday to Friday from 09:00 until 18:00, and on Saturdays from 10:00 until 14:00. For full details go to their website:
Vegetable growing - an ideal experience for those of you who live here
Would you like to have your own vegetable garden and sow the crops of your choice? By participating in this activity, you will get to know the hole process from land preparation to harvesting in the Algarve and our climate. Cultivation - Varieties available:
Lettuce, cabbage, turnip, tomato, courgette, pepper, cucumber, pumpkin, eggplant, onions, watermelon, melon, cantaloupe and figs among other.
Monte da Rebeira offer this opportunity so to find out more check out the link below:
Walking in the Algarve
From our beautiful coastline to the hills, the Algarve offers unforgettable countryside to explore and for those wishing to do so on foot, there are endless opportunities.
There are endless opportunities. Indeed the famous Via Algarviana, a walking route stretching for 300 km across inland Algarve, starting in Alcoutim, next to the River Guadiana, and finishing at Cape St Vincent, in Sagres. The route is divided into 14 sectors, none of which is longer than 30 km. Recharge your batteries between each stage of the route by staying at rural tourism properties. Try the regional cuisine, admire the local handicrafts and meet the artisans and locals.
If you decide to explore the region’s south-west coast, the Vicentine route lets you travel along more than 400 km of pedestrian trails between Cape St Vincent and Santiago do Cacém. Travel the Historical Route and visit the main towns and villages on a rural itinerary boasting several centuries of history and with a connection to the Way of St James and the St Vincent pilgrimages. Follow the Fishermen’s Trail, a complementary route along the coast. Explore the paths used by the locals to get to the beaches and fishing grounds.
Another route worth exploring is the Cork Route in São Brás de Alportel. Here, you will have the opportunity to learn about the entire production cycle of this fantastic raw material. Start with the cork oaks and finish with the end product as it leaves the factories. Go walking and visit museums. Discover arts, crafts and the local cuisine. This route focuses on six themes: heritage, nature, rural life, traditions, innovation and knowledge.
The Algarve with its exceptional climate is a great terroir for growing vines. The vines grow in a variety of soils including clay, limestone, sandstone and even some areas of schist and produce high-quality grapes. In the 1980's, the Algarve gained the status of demarcated Region for : Lagos, Portimão, Lagoa and Tavira.
For any wine lover a visit to a vineyard is a wonderful way to find out the process from grape to bottle and of course to then sample, enjoy and then hopefully take a few cases away with you. We have chosen three vineyards that we highly recommend to you in different areas of the Algarve and with one you get to enjoy an Art Gallery too!
Firstly, Quinta do Francês is a Family Estate, with 9 hectares of vineyard, nested in the hills of Silves, on the Odelouca River Valley. Upon your arrival at Quinta do Francês you can enjoy beautiful views of the surrounding hills and all of the vineyard. It is said by some visitors that it looks like a small Douro Valley. To book a tour and to find out more about their wines visit their website:
Next is, Quinta da Tôr, just in the hills above Loule is the little village of Tôr. Near the Roman bridge, you will find Quinta da Tôr.
Get to know the history of the Quinta da Tôr family, learn more about their production processes and taste their wines while enjoying the magnificent view of the mountains.
In a calm, familiar and sharing environment their aim is to bring home a little of their tradition. At the on site store you can choose the wines that you preferred so that you can appreciate it where and when you wish. If you prefer you can come to their lounge and enjoy a glass of wine while enjoying the astonishing vineyard view. You can bring your swimsuit and enjoy the on site pool!
To find out more visit their web site:
Finally, for a truly unique experience then you should also visit Quinta dos Vales.
Quinta dos Vales Wine Estate is a superb estate situated in the heart of the Western Algarve. From very humble beginnings this 44 hectare estate is now considered one of the best wineries in the Algarve with recognition from international organizations and visitors coming from far and wide. This estate is a place full of surprises. There is plenty in store for those who wish to delve into the world of winemaking or simply enjoy a nice day out exploring the history and natural beauty of the grounds.
Art and wine have always had a close relationship and when you visit Quinta dos Vales Wine Estate, you will also enjoy stunning sculptures in the grounds. In several garden locations there are exhibitions of well over a hundred pieces in different styles, materials and sizes. Art was a founding element of Quinta dos Vales, and continues to be at its core today. The artist behind the majority of these sculptures is actually the owner of Quinta dos Vales, Karl Heinz Stock.
To find out more visit their web site: