Portugal has fast become a popular destination. Magazines are filled with articles on trendy Lisbon, bustling Porto or the soothing hinterland. The Algarve is attracting more and more tourists and for our Algarve B&B that is obviously good news. Every week we receive guests in The White House who introduce themselves with an hesitant ‘this is the first time we visit Portugal’. It sounds like a deep confession. Of course we answer enthusiastically with a soothing ‘Well, you are certainly not the only one’, and we tell them how we fell in love with this country. For some, Lisbon is the only Portuguese destination (Portugal é Lisboa, o resto é paisagem – Portugal is Lisbon, the rest is forrest), but for all others it’s time for the Algarve. Unfortunately, there are still many prejudices about the Algarve. And as often, these are no longer valid. Time to discuss the most important misconceptions one by one.
- Algarve is expensive
Of all the prejudices this is perhaps the strangest one. Portugal is still a rather cheap country. Especially according to British or American standards, the pleasant things of life are welcoming affordable. So eating out, grabbing a terrace or just a quick lunch leave you with a smile on your face. But also an afternoon of shopping is often an advantageous experience, also due to the immense, recently opened outlet center and the many local shops in the inner cities with all very affordable prices.
- People only eat Bacalhau
According to a Portuguese saying, there are as many recipes with Bacalhau (stockfish) as there are days in the year. But fortunately there are also very different things to do in a culinary way. Honest is fair, Portuguese love fish and on every street corner you buy delicious sardines, squid or sea bass. But meat lovers and vegetarians also get their money’s worth here. And if you really want to spoil yourself, then the Algarve has seven restaurants with one or more Michelin stars.
- Algarve is full of seniors
Just ask your hip cousin or swinging aunt. The Algarve is no longer the place full of older people and mobility scooters. Thanks to the favourable air fares, the Algarve has become a trendy destination. For example, Faro is the most popular cocktail bar in the country (with the most handsome men behind the bar). In Villamoura there is PURO Beach, the trendy beach bar with large white beds and trendy lounge music. But cities such as Portimão, Tavira and Loulé also have more and more hip spots. In addition, the Algarve is a great destination for active sports such as supping, rafting, quatting and much more.
- Algarve is sun and beach only
Before we lived in the Algarve, we had no idea that this area has so much fun to offer. Especially in the summer there are (village) festivals, fairs, shows and much more every weekend. Portuguese love a party and as a foreigner you are welcome to have a beer and a dance. In addition, there are many old cities full of rich cultural heritage, nice little museums and beautiful nature. And for the film fans it is good to know that all films are shown here in the original (English) language, so for an evening of cinema you are very welcome here well.
- Algarve is a province of Spain
If you want to become friends with a Portuguese, you’d better not start in Spanish. After the Portuguese king Sebastian died childless in Morocco in the 16th century, the Spanish king Philip II thought it was time to add Portugal to his enormous empire. This resulted in a 60-year-old occupation, which Spain ultimately lost and which led to the renewed Portuguese independence. A familiar Portuguese proverb sounds: ‘De Espanha, nem bom vento, nem bom casamento’. In other words, ‘Spain, not a good wind, nor a good marriage’. From The White House you are in Seville in two hours. So Spain is actually in our backyard. But if you’re return, we’d rather hear obrigado instead of gracias ….
And so the Algarve surprises with an exceptional combination of beach and culture, tourism and nature, chic and less chic hotspots and everything in between. And if you still have doubts, the Algarve has sunny weather almost the whole year round, with only a few rainy days a year. In short, all ingredients are present to make it an unforgettable experience, whether you’ve been here before or this will be your first visit … Bem vindo em Portugal!