West Coast - Algarve - Portugal
Welcome to Western Atlantic Uncovered!
Your guide to West Coast Algarve holidays!
Welcome to Western Atlantic Uncovered! Your tourist guide to holidays in West coast Algarve, Portugal! For tourist information about the western Atlantic coast, its towns and villages, restaurants, bars, shops, things to do and in fact, all things Western Atlantic Uncovered!
About West Coast Algarve
West coast Algarve, or the western Atlantic coast as it is also referred to, covers an area that runs from Sagres in the south of the Algarve to Odeceixe in the north, the last town before the Alentejo. It is part of the protected 'Parque Natural da Costa Vicentina'. The coastline is much more dramatic and rugged than the southern coast and more exposed to the Atlantic weather - the reason that it is such a popular area for the surfing fraternity.
It is an area virtually untouched by tourism, with small hamlets and villages scattered here and there and many of the beaches are just that... beaches! No resort! This is what makes the region so special and enjoyed by those lucky enough to visit.
West coast Algarve falls under two municipalities (councils) - Vila do Bispo in the south and Aljezur to the north, with Sagres being the main town at the southernmost point and Aljezur town serving the northern end. There is only one route along this coast - the EN268 road goes from Sagres to Aljezur and then the EN120 to Odeceixe and beyond. To find the different beaches you need to watch for the signs. There are lots of seldom visited beaches (probably because they are quite inaccessible and not signposted!) along the way.
At the northern most point is the pretty town of Odeceixe where the Seixe River winds it way through lush green pastures until it reaches the coast a short distance away at Praia de Odeceixe. The main part of the town is a network of cobbled streets in the bottom of the valley but there is a road leading up the hillside, past a church, to a windmill at the top (still operational) from where you can see the town laid out beneath you and the river winding through the fields to the sea beyond. It really is a very picturesque and peaceful town and although the centre looks as if it is a pedestrian area, as the streets are fully cobbled, it isn't! The 'road' winds past the little clusters of tables and chairs from the cafes, which are tucked around nearly every corner, and take you through to the road for the beach which is a couple of kilometres away at the mouth of the river.
Monte Clérigo (just to the west of Aljezur) is a beautiful place to visit winter or summer! It consists of a relatively small modern residential area on the hills above the beach and a scattering of fishermen's cottages around the beach, some of which are now used as holiday accommodation.
There are a couple of restaurants, a car park behind the beach and a picnic area under the shade of the pine trees at the top of the hill complete with brick built barbecues. The views of the cliffs and the sea as you drive down towards the beach are stunning at any time of the year but especially in springtime (December onwards!) when the cliff tops are a mass of colourful flowers and vegetation in all shades of green.
Arrifana has a small fishing port - the mainstay of its economy so it comes as no surprise that there are several fish restaurants to choose from in the village!
The village perches on top of the cliffs along with the remains of a 17th century fort built to protect the fishermen. A handful of buildings spill down the hillside to the beach, adding to the drama of this spectacular stretch of coastline.
Arrifana is a favourite with surfers who arrive winter and summer to enjoy the rolling waves of the Atlantic and in the summer are joined on the beach by sun worshippers escaping the more crowded south coast beaches.
Vale da Telha
Vale daTelha is a little inland from Arrifana, and is a popular residential area with a few shops and a smattering of restaurants and bars, which being mainly gathered around the pine tree roundabout are easy to find! Everything is low rise and mainly single storey - the Algarve west coast is not an area where you will find high rise hotels and apartment blocks.
It is worth mentioning that the whole of this coast is in a protected natural park and building regulations are strict, so for anyone thinking of buying property it is essential to make sure that all the appropriate licences and permissions have been obtained and adhered to.
Carrapateira is a small town on the hillside just behind the sand dunes of Praia da Bordeira (often mistakenly called Praia da Carrapateira) about 14km north of Vila do Bispo and just south of the village of Bordeira.
The pretty central square, Largo do Comércio, has 3 or 4 cafes, a restaurant, a surf shop, a mini-mercado for everyday supplies as well as a market for fresh fruit and vegetables.
The surf shop not only has surf gear but also bikes for hire and internet access.
To really appreciate the ruggedness of the coastline there is a scenic, if a little rough drive along the cliff tops to Praia do Amado from Bordeira beach - take the road to the left of the beach and follow it up the hill and you can drive along the cliff tops all the way to Amado beach. Although it is quite a rough road in places, you don't need a 4x4 to tackle it! It is worth it for the view and when you reach Amado there is a tarmac road that leads you back to the main road just south of Carrapateira.
Praia do Amado is just that...a gorgeous beach! Oh, and there are a couple of snack bars! The large sandy bay with red and gold cliffs at either end and green hills as a backdrop ...wonderful! Judging by the number of surfers that gather here - the surf's not bad either!