One of the most authentic towns you’re likely to find in the Algarve, Alvor is also one of the most historic. This ancient, once Roman, and then Moorish, fishing village was actually wiped out in an earthquake in 1755, but don’t worry - you can still visit the remains of the Old Town scattered around the town!
Alvor is unique in the Algarve, having managed to retain its authentic roots simply because developers have ensured it’s kept that way, with low-rise buildings and narrow cobbled streets that lead down to the harbour. Beach lovers can savour the recently renovated riverfront, now complete with palm trees and beach bars, ready for the summer highs of 30-degree sunshine. But it’s not just about the day time. As you walk down to the end of the riverfront, pass the lifeboat station and you’ll find the bars and restaurants that make up much of the lively Alvor nightlife.
You could be forgiven for assuming Alvor is just a sun, sand and sea destination, but the town has a lot more in store for those who might get itchy feet. Why not take a walk through the Old Town and into the shopping district, or, with the nearby Slide and Splash Water Park, canoeing trips down the Alvor River, windsurfing lessons and more, Alvor is a great place for the entire gang to try their hand at something new.
A short walk down the Meia Praia beach will bring you to the harbour entrance to Lagos. A historic town centre still surrounded by walls from medieval times, Lagos offers churches and beautiful secluded coves further along the beach to explore. A great chance to explore another of the Algarve’s beautiful destinations, within easy reach of Alvor.
Located a short drive from Alvor are the narrow winding streets of Portimao, a busy working fishing port. Simply a great day for food lovers, head to the Sardine Dock and the Old Quarter for excellent mooching and tasty snacks to be had all day long. Portimao is also a dream for shoppers and is especially good for leather goods.
The biggest and best-known resort in the Algarve, Albufeira retains a surprising amount of beauty and authenticity, especially in the old centre with its narrow streets and original blue-tiled houses. There is also a quiet beach, little way down the coast if the busy beach near town gets too much, with beautiful multi-coloured fishing boats.
Zoomarine Sea-life Park
Just 30-minutes away, on the outskirts of Albufeira, you will find the Zoomarine Sea-Life Park. The park hosts regular shows and also has a great range of water slides and attractions. It even has its own beach, an exhibition centre, and an aquarium.
Praia de Alvor
This is the main beach in Alvor and has an EU blue flag for safety, cleanliness and handy facilities. This beach couldn’t be more family-friendly and is a charming place to spend the day sunbathing and swimming. With plenty of bars and restaurants, you may even want to spend your nights here too. The beach is also right next to an estuary that is well known for and very popular among kite surfers and wind surfers (with plenty of places happy to teach newbies).
Although Alvor won’t offer the giant malls available at some of the other Algarve resorts, shoppers looking for a boutique Portuguese experience need go no further. These narrow streets are filled with unique gifts, from ceramics and basketware to handcrafted jewellery and artisanal jams. At the Kraftwork studio, you can watch modern clothes and jewellery being made by hand in the traditional way.
Did you know that Portuguese cuisine was one of the first in Europe to include exotic spices such as pepper, coriander ginger and paprika? Algarve cuisine descends from this rich history and remains surprisingly unchanged by foreign influence. The food here is all about the freshest ingredients, from locally-sourced produce to fresh seafood straight from the sea. The locals consider their sardines as sacred, so why not try to eat it the traditional way – putting the whole sardine on a slice of bread and eating one side, flipping the fish over and eating the other side, making sure to leave the head and tail of course.
And once you’re replete, make sure to have a traditional post-meal glass of the delicious local port, available “tawny” (light) or “white” (dry). If you are more partial to enjoying a beer with your meal then impress your waiter by ordering “um imperial” if you want a regular glass or “uma caneca” if you would like a larger half litre glass.
You will find a versatile selection of restaurants to choose from in Alvor, from international hotspots to authentic hole-in-the-walls, this town ensures that no visitor will be left disappointed. The harbour is the perfect place to watch the sunset over the Atlantic while enjoying some of the fresh catch-of-the-day seafood on offer. Alvor is also famed for its cockles, clams and oysters so be sure to give those a try.
Alvor caters for holidaymakers of any type, from those looking to swap their hectic days for days in the sun, or those looking for fun-filled nights. And with day trips to other fabulous destinations in the area, with links to world-class golfing facilities, water sports, historic treasures and of course unrivalled beaches, Alvor is a great place to visit all year round.
Booking your holiday to Alvor with easyJet holidays is an easy way to get to this must-see destination hassle-free. Best of all, you can save on your holiday when you book your flight and hotel together with easyJet holidays.
Alvor not quite sealing the deal? Have a read of our other Algarve destination guides for further inspiration and temptation!