NOMADS BEST TIPS OF 3 MONTHS LIVING IN SOUTH-WEST PORTUGAL

We lived 3 months in Aljezur, on the West Coast of Portugal. In this blog post, you will find our tips about the daily life here, where to rent a (cheap) car, where to surf, where to get a good massage, and so much more! 

PS: We lived in Portugal during the pandemic, so not everything was open. We couldn’t explore the complete country, but we still have many great tips to share with you!

Renting a Car

We rented our car with www.yor-car-hire.co.uk

We paid 642€ for 90 days (7,10€/day), which was a perfect deal. This price included unlimited kilo-meters, a second driver, the basic insurance, and 160km of toll roads. A good deal!

The deposit was about 950€ via Credit Card.

We pre-booked the car online, picked up the car at Faro airport (car park number 4) and paid per cash. 

When you pay per cash at Yor-Car-Hire, you get another discount. You can also pay by credit card to have a complementary insurance (with your bank). 

Concerning the toll roads, if you drive more than 160 km, you’ll have to pay the outstanding balance to the car rental place. There is a little machine in the front window which gets charged every time you drive on the toll road. So let’s see if we’ll have to pay an additionnal little something (We’ll update this post after).

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Renting a House

We found a house to rent via www.simplyowners.net  This website is great because you directly can contact the owner, and they don’t take any fees. November to February are winter prices here so you can expect lower prices. 

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Internet

The coverage in Aljezur isn’t the best. We had internet in our house, the operator is MEO. It was working fine for both of us but as soon as we were more than 2 people using the Wi-Fi, the signal was super slow!

We then ordered a Sim Card from www.portugalinternet.com – it was about 130 € for 3 months with unlimited internet. Unfortunately we had no coverage with this SIM card in or around our house. Luckily Portugal Internets support is efficient, and we got refunded.

We both have a Free sim card (from France) which included 25go of internet when you’re abroad. We couldn’t use it in or around the house but it does work well in the surrounding areas.

Shopping in Aljezur

You’ll find everything you need in Aljezur for shopping. There is a supermarket (Intermarché), an organic shop, a market, a bakery, a pharmacy, and so on.

Tap-Water in Portugal

The water in Portugal is safe to drink but it can have a weird taste – so we always filter it with some active charcoal. The charcoal releases minerals into the water and improves its taste. We always carry these sticks inside our drinking bottles.

Which Surf School To Choose?

There are a lot of surf schools in the area. On recommendations from friends, we took surf lessons with Aldo in Arrifana – and it was awesome!

  • We paid 120€ for 5 sessions of 2 hours (in small groups). This price includes the rental of the board and a wetsuit.

Find their website and Facebook page here.

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Where To Get An Amazing Massage?

If you are looking for a talented massage therapist. I recommend you to contact Mauro Gatto. He has a cabinet in Vale da Thela, in Aljezur. I got an amazing deep tissue massage which relieved my back/neck/shoulder pain. Highly recommended. 

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Hairdresser

If you are looking for a trustworthy, friendly, professional hairdresser who listens to you and can give you proper advice, then I would highly recommend Chrissy who did an amazing job with my hair.

Find here her website and her Facebook page.

Dentist

If by mischance you need to see a dentist (or an oral surgeon), I recommend you to go to Luz_dent in Luz (next to Lagos).

I had a bad toothache and got an appointment immediately. The dentist who took care of me could speak Portuguese, German, English and French, amazing and super convenient! She took her time to explain my options and took good care of my tooth.

Where To Eat Near Aljezur ?

Click here to discover our list of amazing restaurants in the surroundings. 

What To Visit Near Aljezur ?

We lived in Vale da Thela in Aljezur. Every weekend, we visited the surroundings. Here are the beaches, villages and cities we explored with some tips:

Aljezur

Aljezur sets amongst the hills of the Costa Vicentina National Park. The coast is absolutely gorgeous. It’s a paradise for hikers and surfers. The village of Aljezur is cute. There are many great restaurants. There are some ruins of a castle on the top of a hill which offers a beautiful panoramic view over the village.

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View Aljezur from the castle
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Aljezur Cliffs
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Praia da Pipa

NORTH OF ALJEZUR

Monte Clerigo

We loved hiking between Vale Da Thela (where we lived) and Praia de Monte Clerigo. The path is easily accessible and the landscape is stunning. The beach of Monte Clerigo is really charming. There are some bars and restaurants who have a beautiful view over the beach.

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Praia do Amoreira

Praia do Amoreira is another gorgeous unspoiled beach where the river enters the sea. Just Love it

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Odeceixe

A few kilometers up North of Aljezur is the small village of Odeceixe. Odeceixe’s beach combines surfing waves, a calm river & beautiful cliffs. There are some cafés & restaurants which offer a panoramic view over the beach.

The village of Odeceixe a few km away from the beach, is also worth a visit. The white & colorful houses are cute and there is a windmill on the top of the hill which offers a nice view over the village.

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SOUTH OF ALJEZUR

Arrifana

We love Arrifana. It’s a tiny village with wonderful cliffs and beach. It’s a perfect beach to learn to surf and to watch the sunset. You need to know that the beach gets packed.

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Praia de Vale de Figuiera

The beach Vale de Figuiera and its black cliffs are beautiful. There is about 2-3 km of gravel road to access to the beach. We took it with our tiny Fiat Panda. Considering the size of its tires, it was a bit risky but we made it! Just make sure to have good tires on your car 😉

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Praia do Bordeira

Praia do Bordeira is one of our favorite beach on the West Coast – magnificent beach, waves, dunes & cliffs, it’s a perfect spot for surfing, hiking and chilling!

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Praia Do Amado

Praia do Amado is another perfect beach to catch the waves. 🏄‍♀️ We were impressed by the colorful cliffs & rocks. There are some bars/restaurants from where you enjoy a beautiful view over the beach. Good spot for sunset time too.

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Praia Da Cordoama

Definitely stop at the Miradouro da Cordoama, the view of the coast and the beach are spectacular.

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Sagres

In Sagres, we visited the Fortaleza de Sagres. The fortress is located on Portugal’s most south-westerly point. It was built to protect the town and offers now a splendid panoramic view over the Atlantic Ocean and the Portuguese coast.

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Burgau

Located in the western region of the Algarve, Burgau is an old fishing village. There are some cute cafés/restaurants that overlook the small beach of Praia de Burgau. We enjoyed the view while drinking some local beers 😉 Some colorful houses in the inside of the village are really charming too. Good Surf Spot as well!

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Lagos

We enjoyed walking through the city of Lagos. There are some beautiful streets & buildings. The most wonderful is definitely the coastline of Lagos. The cliffs and small beaches form a dramatic scenery.

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Alvor

Alvor is a touristy town with 2 main streets full of shops, bars and restaurants. Our favorite activity in Alvor is to eat at the Indian restaurant called Flavor of India, a real delight!

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Portimaó

We didn’t find anything special in the city Portimaó. Obviously, some beaches are gorgeous but also really touristy – which is not our thing.

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Ferragudo

Ferragudo is a small fishing village located on the opposite of Portimaó. This village has kept its authenticity & its traditional feel. The small narrow streets are gorgeous – it’s a real delight to wander around.

At the top of the hill, the place of the church offers a beautiful view over the Arade River, Praia da Rocha and Portimão.

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Between Praia da Angrinha and Praia Grande is the castle “Castelo de São João do Arade” (still in Ferragudo). Built on a rock right on the beach, this monument is quite impressive. This castle was build to control and defend the Arade river. Nowadays, the castle is privately owned and not open to the public. Still really nice to have a look 👍

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Carvoeiro

Carvoeiro is a touristy town. We didn’t enjoy visiting.

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Albufeira

At first, we found Albufeira beautiful, especially the view from the top. But then, when we walked through the town itself, we didn’t find anything interesting. Same as Alvor and Carvoeiro, it’s mainly a shopping town with bars and restaurants – not for us.

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Praia da Falesia

Praia da Falesia is (according to us) one of the most beautiful beach in the South of Portugal. We absolutely love it! The cliffs are really impressive. It’s nice to walk all along the beach – on the cliffs and straight on the beach. Praia da Falesia is a must-see.

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Praia São Rafael

Praia São Rafael is another stunning beach in the South of Portugal.

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Faro

We enjoyed wandering through the old town of Faro, it has lots of charm. The old town is quite small, so we headed to the natural park Ria Formosa. This park is a real gateway to the city, the perfect place for hiking and birds watching. We were alone enjoying the calm and the beauty that surrounded us. Loved it.

  • Entrance Fee: 2,80€ per person. 

We finished this beautiful day at Praia de Faro to watch the sunset 🙂

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Old City Faro
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Ria Formosa
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Sunset at Praia de Faro

Monchique

The peak of Foia in Monchique is the highest point on the Algarve. The area is beautiful and perfect for hiking. It offers an amazing view over the surrounding mountains, forest and the ocean. You just need to know that at the top of Foia is a military base which isn’t beautiful (at all), but the surroundings are great.

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Thanks for reading, Lots of love, Amandine


Where To Eat Amazing Food in the South of Portugal? Click here to see the restaurants we have been to & that we recommend you to go too!


 Amandine & Adrian @whynotabroad

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