We recently took a trip further inland to Alentajo’s ‘village in the sky’, the beautiful medieval Monsaraz.
One of the oldest settlements in Portugal, Monsaraz was highly coveted in the early 1100’s for its priviledged location, perched atop a high hill with panoramic views. Over the years it saw several fierce battles and takeovers, but was eventually recovered in 1232 by King Sancho II with help from the Templar Knights, to whom he donated the village in gratitude.
Located near the Alqueva dam (and coincidentally the best place to view the dam from), Monsaraz feels other-worldly. Almost as though somebody has attached large balloons to the vast wall ringing the town and let it float away in to the open air. A stoic castle looms at one edge of the village, with closely packed streets spilling away from it over the undulating blanket of the hilltop.
While you’re there take some time to browse the artisan shops, and stop for a traditional Portuguese lunch in one of the handful of restaurants hidden among whitewashed buildings.
How about some good news to distract you from the current madness of the world?
For the 7th time in the last 10 years the Algarve has been awarded Europe’s Leading Beach Destination 2020, ahead of Mallorca, Sardinia and Cannes by the World Travel Awards! Even a year as challenging as 2020 hasn’t been able to compete with the Algarve’s beauty.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit this beautiful coast yet, get in touch with us. We’d love to help you discover what all the fuss is about.
Nossa Senhora da Rocha is a must see in the Algarve, situated in the Porches area between Carvoeiro and Armação de Pêra. This spectacular chapel was built back in the 16th century and it’s believed that it was originally enclosed by a fortress protected by a pit and drawbridge. Unfortunately an earthquake destroyed the fortress walls in 1755 but despite all odds the chapel still remains today. You’ll find that the locals enjoy spending the last hours of their day here, chatting away with their fishing rods hanging over the headland, patiently waiting for a fish to bite. We highly recommend you head to this beautiful spot in the late afternoon, in time to watch the sunset. The panoramic views will take your breath away. Be sure you venture down to the beaches on either side of the chapel too, they’re some of our favourites in the area. The easiest way to reach Nossa Senhora da Rocha is by car but by all means, if you’re feeling energetic and have the time, cycle or walk. Happy travels, The bluespot team
Grutas de Benagil (Benagil Caves) are a must visit if you are in southern Portugal. They are located in Praia de Benagil between Carvoeiro and Armação de Pêra, two traditional towns with some of the best beaches and restaurants in the Algarve.
The grutas are only accessible from the ocean which means the easiest and most typical way to visit the grutas is by boat. You’ll find plenty of companies offering trips to the caves on nearby beaches such as Praia de Armação de Pêra and even further away in Albufeira. From the boat you’ll also get a great view of the impressive Algarvian coastline known for its spectacular rock formations and other hidden seaside caves.
If you’re looking for something a little less typical, why not try a guided kayak or SUP tour to the caves. If you want to push the boat out even further, why not swim to the caves on a guided swimming tour? Get in touch with us if you’d like us to arrange any of the above for you.
Please note however, we do not recommend kayaking, SUP or swimming to the caves without a guided tour due to boat traffic and risk of getting stranded at sea. That would not be so fun!