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You wouldn't be here if you weren't curious.*

Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?

*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

Algarve Dreaming. Five Travel Tips inspiring you to stay.

History. Culture. Food. Hospitality. The Algarve region, in the very south of Portugal, evokes many different sounds, smells – and memories, in my case. Last year only, I had an opportunity to visit the historic city of Loulé, home to a cradle of creative minds and artisans working to develop creative travel in the Algarve region. Find out more through their website LouleCriativo.pt, which does a great job in marketing the myriad of travel activities there. Just recently, my travel writing colleagues Julie Dawn Fox & Nicole Barnes, among others, have visited too, recommending “Lovely Loulé, Another Unspoilt Gem in the Algarve” or “Kreativ an der Algarve: Loulé Criativo“. I just love it.

 

This time, let me share my favourite, personal hotspots for art & history, fresh seafood, food markets, and sunset / beach magic with you. After all, 40 million (!) visitors a year cannot be wrong about one thing …

… and that is this: The Algarve, besides its beautiful beaches and successful sun / sea formula, is a haven of Portuguese hospitality. Not only does it offer an eventful history that spans many millennia, boasting fascinating traces of the many peoples that transited through here. It also breathes with the humble pride of its people, so welcoming and warm-hearted in their nature that once again, it makes your heart melt leaving you with a desire to come back any time soon.

Here thus are five hotspots on how to structure your trip to the Algarve. The following map is an overview as to their exact location around the capital city Faro, whose far-stretching beaches are right by the airport’s nature reserve. Quite something, if you ask me!

 

1. Albufeira for a walk on the beach. Ditch the tourist craze and opt for its magic swath of natural coastline instead.

Albufeira has had its share of tourist clichés, noisy bars & overrun cafés. Try Sal Rosa Wine, Cocktail & Tapas Bar for some of the best views across the coastline (less tourists involved!) and stop for the sunset any time you can … Amazing that one, and truly worth your while.

Wonderful, traditional houses in Albufeira ...

Wonderful, traditional houses in Albufeira …

 

… evoke the beach time sunset magic here in beautiful Albufeira, some 30 minutes' drive from Faro.

… evoke the beach time sunset magic here in beautiful Albufeira, some 30 minutes’ drive from Faro.

 

2. Loulé, Estoi & the Roman Ruins of Milreu for history & culture travel.

The city of Loulé combines well with any kind of travel activity, especially related to culture, creative travel and simply to relax and enjoy its pretty city centre and old market hall. I am just so happy going for another walk here after visiting for the first time more than a year ago. A little later, my friends Susana & Marco take me out to visit the Roman Ruins of Milreu, near the small town of Estoi whose main Praça & Castle are equally worth your visit. Check this out.

Back in lovely Loulé ...

Back in lovely Loulé …

 

… for a stroll in the old town of this formerly Roman, Arabic & Christian settlement.

… for a stroll in the old town of this formerly Roman, Arabic & Christian settlement.

 

Right now, at the end of October, the park colours are still surprisingly green, hinting at the mild seaside temperatures of the Algarve region in the south of Portugal.

Right now, at the end of October, the park colours are still surprisingly green, hinting at the mild seaside temperatures of the Algarve region in the south of Portugal.

 

Next to Loulé, only some 15 minutes drive, is the palace of Estoi ...

Next to Loulé, only some 15 minutes drive, is the palace of Estoi …

 

… with the Roman ruins of Milreu next to it.

… with the Roman ruins of Milreu next to it.

 

Excavations date them at around 200 - 400 years AD, meaning those mosaics are more than 2.000 years old .. Impressive!

Excavations date them at around 200 – 400 years AD, meaning those mosaics placed here for a bath are more than 2.000 years old .. Impressive!

 

3. Olhão for a morning at the fish & food market right by the Strait of Gibraltar.

If you don’t mind the smells & crowds of a true fish & veggie market atmosphere, then this is the place to go to in order to mix & mingle with the locals. Check out Olhão, just some 20 minutes drive from Faro, for its lovely market place right by the sea (and fishing boats).

Fishy greetings ...

Fishy greetings …

 

… for happy foodie travellers / shoppers at Olhão fish market.

… for happy foodie travellers / shoppers at Olhão fish market.

 

Stepping out, you are greeted by morning views such as this one, overlooking the fishing port of Olhão.

Stepping out, you are greeted by morning views such as this one, overlooking the fishing port of Olhão.

 

4. Tavira for a foodlover’s fish feast at Ilha da Tavira, complimented by a lovely boat excursion on the calm Tavira estuary.

Next up further down the road towards the Spanish border is the seaside town of Tavira, offering an interesting fortified castle dating back to the Moorish age, as well as a calm, natural estuary home to sea birds, peace & quiet along the coast. Check out Tavira and its lovely little streets beckoning for a walk.

The view over Tavira from its ancient Moorish castle ...

The view over Tavira from its ancient Moorish castle …

 

… leads right down to the main church, decorated with beautiful Azulejos tiles ...

… leads right down to the main church, whose interior is decorated with beautiful Azulejos tiles.

 

From the port, a short boat ride ...

From the port, a short boat ride …

 

… takes us out to a fish feast on Tavira Island.!

… takes us out to a fish feast on Tavira Island.!

 

Flavia, my Brazilian friend for the day who like me joined this year's #ISTOForum2015 in the Algarve region, is a new fan of my recently launched "Creative Traveler's Handbook".!

Flavia, my Brazilian friend for the day who like me joined this year’s #ISTOForum2015 in the Algarve region, is a new fan of my recently launched “Creative Traveler’s Handbook”.!

 

And so are (perhaps) the cats, waiting for some love as you pass them by in the city of Tavira.

And so are (perhaps) the Algarve cats, waiting for some love as you pass them by in the city of Tavira.

 

5. Faro beach for a final farewell, before “leaving on a jet plane” … It literally is two minutes from the airport only.

Before dropping me at the airport, Susana & Marco make a point of bidding me farewell at Faro beach. “If you walk 200 metres, you will be guaranteed less tourists around you during summertime”, Susana laughs, taking the popularity of the beach easy. “We like to come here, and we know where to go to avoid most of the crowds”, she winks. Must come back to the Algarve next year then …

… where the temperature still invites us ...

… where the temperature still invites us …

 

… not just to go for a walk ...

… not just to go for a walk …

 

… but run right in!

… but run right in, into this beautiful Atlantic sea!

 

Até já, lovely Algarve & Portugal!

Até já, lovely Algarve & Portugal!

 

And if you really, really crave some more … Here are some final tips and images on why & where to go for love, food, or else out here in the Algarve region.!

<a href="https://flic.kr/s/aHskndUBsy" target="_blank">Click to View</a>

Disclaimer: Thank you dear team at INATEL ISTOForum2015 for putting together the excursion programme around Algarve, and for Susana & Marco for taking me out on their Sunday leisure time. All opinions are my own.

Written by Elena

Elena writes about creative destinations, shares her personal travel stories and brings inspiring photography & interesting news updates home to you. Her mission is: "Continue to be amazed at this world, one creative travel experience at a time."

Ready for learning even more about creative travel?

Elena has recently published "The Creative Traveler's Handbook". Chock full of inspiratinal stories, travel tips and advice, it offers everything you need for planning and managing your next creative escape, addressing beginners and experienced travelers alike. Here's how to get your hands on it now!
INATEL #ISTOForum2015: European Tourism For All Conference in the Algarve, Portugal
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4 Comments

  1. Hilton

    Great post about the Algarve, I happen to live here and it’s wonderful. To add to the information in your post, it’s worth mentioning that a great way to get around and visit various towns and/or golf courses is to book a transfer with a company like https://faroairporttransfers.net. It is even more convenient than a regular taxi as there is no time spent waiting in line for your turn to hire a taxi at Faro airport for example. See you in Portugal!

    Reply
    • Elena

      Dear Hilton,

      I have already been contacted by the company itself directly, and will try out their services once I am there next! Not really so much into golf (and artificial golf courses); it’s more about getting to know the locals, and a feeling for the local vibe of the Algarve here 😉

      Cheers,

      Elena

      Reply
  2. Catbets

    The Benagil cave is beautiful! The lighthouse in Sagres is also a great sight to the Algarve!

    Adam

    Reply
  3. João

    Great article! It’s very well written and clarifying.
    Consider adding some information about how to visit the Benagil caves. Check our 2018 guide: https://experitour.com/benagil-caves-best-ways-visit-2018/

    Regards!

    Reply

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