THE ALGARVE, ALENTEJO, & COIMBRA PORTUGAL - trip report
Hugely Popular Destination. The Algarve is the region on the very southern coast of Portugal. It is renowned for its amazing caves, arches and rock sculptures around some of the most beautiful sand beaches in the world. In addition enjoy the cute coastal towns, the great food, and fine boutiques.
THE ALGARVE, LAGOS
Our hotel in Lagos was right on the ocean with beaches below us. The grounds were beautiful.
We took a walk on a path from our hotel along the cliffs to see the amazing rock formations, coves and caves. The pictures speak for themselves. Inspired me to do a yoga pose.
We took a boat cruise for another view of the rocks and caves. Many rock arches, and holes; caves with hidden beaches sunlit by overhead openings; beaches with gnarly rocks jutting up and arches to walk through.
THE ALGARVE, TAVIRA
The next day we visited Tavira, a charming coastal town on the eastern side of the Algarves, near Spain, with Moorish architectural influences and lots of gleaming white.
Tavira has an old walled castle, and archaeological digs are finding more Moorish history.
We attended a moving Fado performance in a church with interestingly decorated anterooms.
The next day left for our visit to the Alentejo, one of Portugal’s major wine regions. We stopped on the way in Evora, a pretty historical city on a hill.
We visited the church and climbed the church tower for a rooftop view, explored the cloister and then quaffed a beer in an interesting bar/restaurant.
ALENTEJO, TORRE DA PALMA
We arrived at the Torre da Palma Wine Hotel in the heart of the Alentejo wine region of Portugal.. This is a working winery and a fabulous “designer” hotel. It knocked our socks off. An oasis of pure quiet beautiful sybaritic pleasure. Starkly tasteful.
The main lodge has serene rooms with soft cool jazz playing, where we could relax and read and catch up on our email. And the bar was cool too.
We did a wine tour with a remarkably informative sommelier. Not the usual stuff you get. Discussion of grape varietals, production, barrel tasting, and even cork production with examples (Portugal produces 60% or world corks – 5 billion per day). And a tasting with and without food pairings to demonstrate how food changes the wine experience.
We viewed the property and the sunset from the minaret atop the main building, while sipping wine served for the occasion.
Of course, the restaurant was superb, as was the service from the sweetest of people.
We then left for Porto, and on the way we visited Coimbra an important university city with a lot of history (third oldest university in the world). We strolled the main shopping street toward the university and found some interesting shops, plazas and buildings.
We climbed to the upper city where the university is. We got a nice overview of the town and found interesting tire chairs for meetings in the art school plaza.
The main plaza of the university is grand.