Hello everyone and welcome back to my brief Portugal series.
I spent four nights in Portugal in November, as you may have read in my last blog, that the initial portion of my trip didn’t quite go as planned. However, I made up for it during the remaining two and a half days, and I’m very happy to share the places I managed to visit during this short time.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning, I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Please read my Disclosure page for more info
I went on a safari trip to the Algarve countryside
It was the third morning in Portugal on the day of my safari trip, and I was super excited because the day before I had managed to leave my lazy relaxing for a half hour and go downstairs to the reception to book something exciting to do for this day. It had been recommended to me by one of the lovely ladies after I told her what I was hoping to see.
I’m really glad I made the decision to go on this trip since it taught me a lot and showed me things I never would have seen otherwise. I had such a unique and genuine experience travelling around the Algarve countryside. Seeing old villages and learning about rural traditions and agricultural life as well as the making of cork.
Let the adventures begin!
I was greeted at 9 a.m. outside my hotel by my tour guide for the day. I shamefully forget his name now, but he was a bundle of joy. You know when you meet those people who are so energetic and happy, and you just gravitate towards them? Well, he was that kind of person.
There were already another six tourists in the jeep, and I was the last person to be picked up, which was a little awkward as they all stared at me as I approached the jeep. Luckily enough, they were all super friendly and gave me a hi and a wave as I stepped into the jeep.
We arrived in the countryside in as little as 20 minutes, and the scenery had changed so drastically, in fact, I remember thinking how much it had changed within 10 minutes of the journey. We were surrounded by nature and lots of greenery, which was apparently unusual for this time of the year, and everything was so calming and relaxing, well, apart from being tossed around on the bumpy ride.
What I really loved about this trip was that as we learned about all the things Portugal produced, which was pretty much everything, we drove through all the trees producing the products and could often smell everything, and our guide would often stop and take things from the trees for us to smell, such as rosemary, tea, lavender, etc.
The first stop
Our first stop was the millhouse. I can’t really tell you much about the house; all I know is that it is owned by a German man. None the less, it was nice to see it and explore the nearby land.
The views were stunning up here.
Castelo de Paderne
Our next stop was Paderne’s Castle, one of the seven castles on the Portuguese flag.
There isn’t much left of the ruins, but it’s amazing how there’s anything left at all considering it was built from earth and sandstone and sits up high in the hills overlooking the Quarteira River.
The Romans first occupied this location in the second century, but the Berbers built the current building in the 12th century.
The castle had been battled for by Christian reconquistadors against the Muslim creators, which had been an ongoing battle until 1248, when the castle was captured by Portuguese forces, who brutally massacred all the inhabitants. It was abandoned in 1858.
Wine tasting, or perhaps whisky, or whatever it was
Our next stop was wine tasting, or at least that’s what we were told and was on the leaflet, but to be honest, I’m not really sure what we were tasting that day, and I’m still no wiser now, but I know the strongest one was firewater, known as Aguardente de Medronhos, which is a strong spirit made with a traditional fruit called medronho.
On our way to the distillery, we had the opportunity to eat this fruit because our tour guide had plucked some from a nearby tree. It tasted similar to a strawberry but was more subtle in flavor. It was lovely.
We arrived at the distillery, which has been in the same family for over 100 years. As we arrived, the owner looked surprised. It turned out he wasn’t expecting us, but he kindly set up the tables for us.
It was a really nice experience tasting all the jam, honey, and spirits. The firewater was so strong that my entire insides felt like they were on fire!
I don’t usually like honey, but this honey was so pure and tasted so good that I just had to purchase some. I also got some bee pollen.
The village of Alté
We got to go through a couple of villages, including one where we stopped for a small cafe break, but the village that stuck out the most to me was a little village called Alte in the northwestern part of Loulé tucked away in the mountains.
Unfortunately, as much as I would have loved to have walked around here, we were running out of time, so we’re only really able to see what we see in the moving jeep, and the rough ride through the streets made it difficult to capture pictures and videos. But I managed to snap a few photos, although not the best.
Because of where it is located, the village has kept its authentic and traditional Algarvean style. The streets are so narrow, and the houses are simplistic and white washed with a touch of colour and decorative elements owed to its past Arabic motifs. And there are lots of impressive chimneys here, and I couldn’t help but notice how tiny the doors on some of the houses were.
We briefly got to visit and have a quick stop at Fonte Grande and Fonte Pequena
It was a place in the past where women would come to get clean water for laundry, but now it’s used as a place where people come to swim.
The iconic flag
We also got to see the iconic Portuguese flag painted on a hillside. It was painted here to support the Portuguese football team during the Euro 2016 games, which they went on to win.
This pretty much was the end of the tour. I hope you enjoyed the blog this week.
Thanks for visiting
Stay blessed 🙏🏾