The Portuguese Algarve is possibly one of the most touristy areas in Europe, but at the same time, it has a traditional past related to the art of fishing and is home to several quaint fishing villages and small towns. In a summer as peculiar as summer 2020, tourism in this area may not be as busy as other years, but all the more reason to visit and take in its coastal and fishing charm.
Several of the towns on the Algarve coast are home to beautiful little fishing villages that are halfway between modernity and the purest seafaring tradition. These charming little fishing villages are the escape we all need to disconnect from a difficult year, where you will be able to wake up every morning to sea aromas and enjoy a diet rich in the freshest fish.
Let's have a look at several quaint fishing villages in the Algarve that you can't miss this summer.
Carvoeiro, in the municipality of Lagoa, is a town known for its spectacular beaches, cliffs and coves, which still retain much of their traditional maritime charm. This former fishing village has become a popular destination for tourists visiting Portugal who appreciate its impressive sunsets and the unique shapes of its cliffs and caves.
If there is one thing that sets Carvoeiro apart from other towns in the Algarve, it is its sense of tranquillity. Only in summer will you find some animation and music on the beach and in the small main square.
The houses in this wonderful village, mostly white, are low in height but being located on a steep cliff, it seems like they are almost hanging over the Atlantic. In addition, their decoration with blue, red and orange details make for a beautiful contrast that will be perfect to light up your Instagram account.
This tiny parish in the area of Budens is one of Portugal's greatest treasures. Even today you can see some fishermen working and looking after their small boats on the coast. It has a beautiful white sandy beach that is tucked between cliffs that almost surround the village. Don't forget to walk along its streets to appreciate its curious and colourful tiled facades.
In its day, fishing was the only activity in this village, although now tourism has taken over. In spite of this and although Salema truly comes to life in the summer, it does not become crowded and even less so in the summer of 2020. Salema is one of the best places to disconnect from the stresses of daily life this summer.
Olhão is another charming town close to Faro which was originally a fishing settlement heavily influenced culturally by the trade routes between Portugal and North Africa. Its port, one of the most important in the Algarve (well worth a stroll through) and one of the gateways to the Ria da Formosa Natural Park, is a reminder of these routes. Several ferries depart from the port to the islands of Farol, Culatra and Armona, where you can swim in crystal-clear waters.
It is worth taking a walk through the picturesque historical town centre and letting yourself be carried away by the rhythm of the city which overflows into the estuary. Don't miss Avenida 5 de Outubro, where all the restaurants and shops dedicated to tourism are concentrated.
This Portuguese town was occupied by the Arabs in the year 716, and it originally went by the name "Albur", which means "uncultivated land". Due to its location in front of a natural lagoon open to the ocean, it served for centuries as a military fortification to defend the area from pirates.
To all this history, we must add that its inhabitants have devoted themselves to fishing for generations, to the point that a sculpture in homage to the fisherman proudly stands in its port. Therefore, if you want to enjoy a delicious dinner based on fresh fish and shellfish, Alvor will be one of the best options in Portugal.
If you're after the perfect sun and beach combo, we highly recommend Praia dos Três Irmãos, the largest and most famous in the area, or Praia do Submarino and Prainha.