You don’t have to stay by the seaside to enjoy a great holiday in the Algarve. Head off the beaten track by venturing to the quiet village of Porches - found a few miles inland from the busy coastline. If you’re looking to get away from it all in a traditional Portuguese community, then you’ll find few better options than Porches. It’s a picture-postcard pretty village found at the top of a hill. Picture multi-coloured houses surrounded by vineyards and orange groves. It has the perfect surroundings for a romantic holiday; watching the sunset from an authentic Portuguese restaurant. As you wander along the cobbled streets of Porches, you’ll come across plenty of pottery workshops. The village is famous for its pottery and these handmade pieces make perfect souvenirs.
Just down the road from Porches, you’ll come across a craggy piece of coastline. On one of the rocky outcrops, you’ll find the remains of an 11th-century medieval castle. Nearby is the beautiful beach of Armacao - a brilliant spot if you’re looking to spend a day or two relaxing. If you’re looking to enjoy a more active holiday, why not play a round or two at the Salgados golf course a little further along the coast. Porches is not the only traditional town in the area. If you hire a car, hop on the bus or flag down a taxi, you can easily reach Silves or Lagoa. Both will continue your journey into learning more about the real Algarve.
The best beach resort within easy reach of Porches is the family-friendly town of Armacao. The long stretch of golden sand here is brilliant for kids and there’s plenty of watersports to have a go at. Children will also leap at the chance to visit the Zoomarine wildlife park and Aqualand water park on the outskirts of Armacao. Many older holidaymakers enjoy Armacao too, with a pretty old town area that is perfect for an evening stroll.
Travel back hundreds of years by making the short hop to the traditional Portuguese town of Silves. The main attraction in Silves is the fascinating Moorish castle. This well-preserved copper coloured fort has a perch looking down over the rest of Silves. One of the best ways of seeing the rest of Silves is by hopping aboard a boat cruise and sitting back as you trundle along the Arade River.
If you’re interested in trying some of the local tipple, head west to Lagoa. This small city is at the centre of the region’s wine production. There’s wine tasting and guided tours of the local vineyards available. History buffs will also enjoy a day trip to Lagoa. The charming old town area is filled with whitewashed houses, cobbled streets and a historic church dating back to the 16th century.
The Algarve is one of the most popular holiday destinations for golfers, with hundreds of courses found across the region. Make sure you pack the clubs on your trip to Porches because there are a couple of courses within easy reach of the town. The most scenic is the Salgados links course. The holes are relatively short, but they’re challenging as you try to avoid landing in either the sea or mini lakes.
Okay, the thought of spending five days eating snails is not for everyone. But if you’re a keen foodie, then time your holiday to Porches for July so you can attend the village’s huge snail festival. Snails are a real treat in these parts and there’s lots of twists on the dish. The carnival atmosphere at the festival can last well into the night, with live music keeping the revellers entertained.
One of the best things about a holiday to Porches is the range of genuine handicrafts that you can take home as souvenirs. You’ll find small workshops selling locally-made pottery and ceramics all over the place. Head south to Armacao, where there are shops selling leather goods and embroidered linens in the old town area.
Beaches in Porches
It only takes around 10 minutes to reach Armacao from Porches, so you’ll be at the beach in a jiffy. There’s a long strip of sand in Armacao along with beachfront bars to keep you well fed after a tough day sunbathing. Nearby, is the pretty beach of Senhora Da Rocha. As well as being a great place to work on your tan, there’s a small port here. Fishermen catch sea bass and swordfish, which is grilled to perfection in the nearby restaurants.
Lots of the food on the menu in the Algarve is based around the sea. It’s a great place to eat top quality (and very cheap) fish and seafood. One of the most popular seafood dishes is cataplana. It’s a stew made of different seafood cooked in a clam-shaped copper pan. It’s similar to a paella. Make sure you also try Bacalhau salted cod.
Restaurants in Porches
The locals love their seafood in Porches so expect all the tastes of the sea in the traditional restaurants dotted around Porches. If you’re looking for more international flavours, then some of the renowned hotel chefs are known to put a twist on the classics.
If you’re looking for a taste of the real Algarve, then Porches is a brilliant destination. It’s a cute town where you can unwind and soak up the local culture. When you fancy a day on the beach, then you’re only a stone’s throw from the coast. Booking your holiday to Porches couldn’t be any simpler with easyJet holidays. You’ll even save yourself a few quid for some souvenirs when you book a hotel and flight together with easyJet holidays. Still in two minds? Why not take a look at our other Algarve destination guides for further inspiration.