Discover the rural East Algarve in this tour. This is the forgotten and unseen Algarve in the border with Spain.
We'll take you for a closer look at Vila Real de Santo António, a city founded in 1774, right in the middle of the Enlightenment, as a replica of the street layout of central Lisbon after the 1755 earthquake. The city was always associated with fishing; ferries cross the river to neighboring Ayamonte on the opposite bank, while other boats go up and down the Guadiana river. The central area is a shopper's paradise, with hundreds of shops and outdoor sitting areas. This city is also proud of its rich gastronomy with famous dishes made from tuna, a long-established tradition.
Another stop will be in Castro Marim, one of the oldest places in the Algarve, and an important centre of Arab power until 1242. Its strategic position on the border and the need to repel the Moorish attacks from North Africa, were the reasons for constructing the Castle, the Fort and the walls. Its battlements command an excellent view over the whole of the surrounding area, including the magnificent salt-pans which are used for traditional salt production, which reflect the sunlight in their white expanse. It is not difficult to find genuine handicrafts which will delight people who appreciate popular art.
Alcoutim, then appears on a hillside after a sharp bend in the road and river. San Lucar del Guadiana is the town on the opposite bank. The Castle of Alcoutim was built in the 16th century, but there's also the Misericórdia (Mercy) Church, the Chapel of St António and the country house of the counts of Alcoutim. The Main Church was one of the first Renaissance buildings in the Algarve, built between 1538 and 1554, in place of a mediaeval church. The gardens of the castle, which are perfectly cared for, provide an excellent viewing point.There are myriad legends involving the castle. They tell of brave knights and beautiful Moorish princesses, frustrated in their love, becoming enchanted.
There are other secrets to do with smuggling in amongst the rocky banks of the Guadiana, which ended up forging close ties with the Andalusian people on the left bank.
Find secret places and special moments off the beaten path and discover the Algarve others do not know about!