Portugal’s Algarve region can be SO much more than the predictable deck chair, jam packed beaches and being surrounded by other foreigners. Unfortunately the Algarve has gained a reputation for being the Magaluf of Mallorca, the Fuengirola of Spain.
But there is lots more to the Algarve than the resorts within a thirty minute radius of Faro airport. There is the COSTA VICENTINA!
Where the Portugese coastline shoots north, more or less at the old “set-sails-for-the-world” departure town of Sagres, Costa Vicentina starts revealing its jaw dropping beauty. We’re talking soft, golden sand hidden between craggy cliffs of dark slate. Here and there you get rivers meandering down to the coast surrounded by the most pristine sand dunes imaginable. Paradise on Earth? Sure!
Some may hate me for revealing this spot. But then again, it’s a bit off the beaten track, the beaches can get quite rough and I believe this is enough to deter the masses. You need a drop of bohemia in your blood to flip flop your way along the nearly deserted beaches. Or a desire to unleash your inner surfer. This is my kind of place! And definitely my kids’ summer paradise. This is somewhere they feel free, wild and they do in fact – like Costa Vicentina’s slogan says – breathe nature.
We wrote an article aimed at families traveling to the Costa Vicentina for Norway’s main newspaper VG last year (2009). The text is in Norwegian but the photographs have no language barrier http://www.vg.no/reise/artikkel.php?artid=571893
A great overview of Costa Vicentina can be found on this link http://www.portugalvirtual.pt/_tourism/algarve/aljezur/index.html
Personal favourites of ours are Odeceixe, Aljezur and Arrifana.
This blog post is featuring in the 5th Lonely Planet blogger’s Carnival about KIDS AROUND THE WORLD http://glenniacampbell.typepad.com/silenti/2010/07/blogsherpa-blog-carnival-kids-around-the-world.html
It is hosted by Glennia Campbell over at http://glenniacampbell.typepad.com who is more than used to traveling with her nine year old, and knows all too well the benefits of a child globetrotter.