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History | Beaches | Water Sports | Sightseeing | Lodging Algarve

The boundaries of Aljezur municipality mark out a broad rectangle delimited by the sea and the hills, and its landscapes reflect this dual influence.
While the coast is marked by high cliffs beneath which huddle sandy coves and pristine dunes, the hinterland is a place of rolling hills covered with vegetation that recede, row upon row, as far as the eye can see. Between the two extends a broad strip of fertile fields and valleys where the traditional crops of vegetables, sweet potatoes and peanuts are still grown.

Time spent in Aljezur municipality is thus an opportunity to rediscover peace and tranquility, to experience a silence broken only by singing birds or the crash of waves on the rocks and to savour the beauty of verdant fields, gentle slopes swathed in wild flowers and majestic cliffs with the pounding sea as backdrop.


Archaeological sites confirm man's presence in the area since prehistoric times, most notably for a period around 4,000 BC. (the so-called "mirense" period) and during the Bronze Age. The Romans too have left traces of their culture. Moorish rule lasted for six centuries and ended with the Christian reconquest of Aljezur (in around 1250). The town received its first charter during the reign of King Dinis, in 1280. For hundreds of years agriculture was the regions main economic activity and its produce was at one stage shipped to market via the port on the Aljezur creek. When silting made the creek impracticable the road running down from the north to Lagos was used. The earthquake of 1755 caused a great deal of damage to the town and led to the construction of a new settlement across from Aljezur called Igreja Nova. This was built at the initiative of Francisco Gomes de Avelar bishop of the Algarve, as a means of encouraging the population not to leave the town and move elsewhere. Aljezur, after remaining largely untouched by the 19th and early 20th centuries, is now sharing in the social and economic renewal of the Algarve.


The sea has carved tall cliffs from the schist hills along the coast where birds nest and wild flowers grow. Here and there in bays that face the sun and the ocean, are long beaches of dark sand.

Odeceixe - has a long beach, cut in two by the mouth of the Ceixe creek. The resort is calm and family oriented with facilities for visitors. There are impressive views of the sea from the Miradouro da Ponta Branca.
Quebrada - is a narrow beach squeezed between the sea and the cliffs. Little visited.
Samouqueira, Vale dos Homens & Carreagem - Quiet, little frequented beaches.
Amoreira & Monte Clérigo - these two beaches lie next to each other, separated by rocks. There are facilities for visitors. The coast is punctuated by fascinating rock formations, ending at Ponta da Atalaia, which means Lookout Point.
Arrifana - a long stretch of sand sheltered by cliffs with a picturesque fishing port. Arrifana is linked to the historical figure of the Moorish prince and poet Ibn Caci (12th century) who lived here as a recluse. There are ruins of an old fort (17th century) built to defend the tuna fishermen and their gear. At the end of the cliffs Pedra da Agulha (literally Needle Rock) rises majestically from the sea.
Penedo, Vale Figueira & Canal - beaches of great beauty that see few visitors.
Bordeira & Amado - long beaches In Bordeira stand the ruins of a former defensive fort built to repel pirate attacks (17th century). Near to Amado the so-called Pedra do Cavaleiro (Knight's Rock) stands amid the waves Between the two beaches lies the rock formation of Pontal, surrounded bays and high cliffs.

Water Sports

Fishing - the hole of the coast of Aljezur municipality is a paradise for sports anglers who dream of landing big fish. The waters here teem with sea bass, dory, conger eels, snook, sea bream and many other species of fish, all waiting to provide subject matter for tall tales told at nightfall, among friends, over a glass or two of local wine. Baia dos Tiros, Samouqueira, Esteveira, Vale dos Homens, Carriagem, Pipa, Fonte Santa, Atalaia, Canal, Vale Figueiras, Bordeira, Pontal and Amado are among the most famous fishing grounds.
Surfing - the perfectly formed waves that break off Aljezur's beaches are among the best in Europe and ideal for surfers and body boarders alike.


At the top of the hill, the castle ramparts, symbol of the long struggle between Christians and Moors. A cascade of white houses that almost tumble down the hillside towards the river.
Historical centre - in the streets that wind down the slope from the top of the hill crowned by the castle are houses typical of the coral architecture of the Algarve, with the colourful borders known as platibandas painted around windows and along the edges of immaculate whitewashed walls. At the base of the hill is the Fonte das Mentires (literally the Fountain of lies), which is associated with the legend of a beautiful Mooress and the conquest of the castle.

Castle - erected on a hill overlooking the creek that has been inhabited by man since the Iron Age, the castle served to control the river port that provided a link with the sea and to defend the population from enemy attack. Built during the period of Arab rule (10th century) it consists of a broad courtyard surrounded by high ramparts reinforced by two towers, one round and the other square. It was badly damaged by the earthquake of 1755. Inside there is a cube shaped cistern covered by a vault. Its walls afford panoramic vies of the surrounding countryside.
The Pillory - where criminals were exposed to public scorn, has been rebuilt from 16th century, remains.
Misericórdia (Mercy) Church - this church was rebuilt in the 16th century and then again after the earthquake of 1755. It has recently undergone extensive restoration work inside and out. The main doorway is in the Renaissance style. It has a plain interior with interesting flags and a fraternity table.

Main Church - built at the end of the 18th century, this church served as the nucleus of the Igreja Nova quarter. Its interior is composed of three naves, with an imposing main altar. It boasts a fine statue of Nossa Senhora da Alva (Our Lady of Daybreak) (18th century) flanked by two 17th century statues, probably taken from the former main church, which was destroyed in 1755. The side chapels contain 17th/18th century retables taken from the former monastery of Nossa Senhora do Desterio (Our Lady of the Exile), in Monchique.
José Cercas Museum - canvasses and drawings by the painter José Cercas, who was born in Aljezur, and other Portuguese artists, furniture, religious art.
Aljezur Municipal Museum - sited in the building that was once the town hall, this museum contains archaeological finds that trace the history of human settlement in Aljezur from 7000 BC.

A village surrounded by hills and farmland. Some of its streets retain the charm of houses in the traditional style and there are ruins of an old country manor house. The main church, which dates back to the 18th century, is worth a visit to see the triumphal arch and the retable in the main altar, with the statues of Nossa Senhora da Encarnação (Our Lady of the Incarnation) (18th century). São Francisco (St. Francis). Santo António (St. Anthony) and São Luis (St. Louis) (17th century) and a São Sebastião (St. Sebastian) (probably
16th century ).

The only monuments in this village perched high above the sea are a defensive fortress buffs to ward off raiding corsairs (17th century) and a hermitage dedicated to Nossa Senhora da Conceição (Our Lady of the Conception).
Seen from a distance Odeceixe is a charming jumble of houses scattered over hills with the sea in the background. On one of its streets is a curious Cellar Museum, which reconstructs the atmosphere of a traditional winery and cellar.
A picturesque village. Perched on the top of a hill the Arregata windmill shows how for centuries the wind was harnessed to mill cereals.

Costa Vicentina Natural Park
The Costa Vicentina natural Park extends from Odeceixe to Burgau, a broad sweep that takes in approximately 80 km of coastline. It offers an opportunity to appreciate, in their natural habitat, almost a hundred plants which have adapted to life in an atmosphere laden with salt and scorched by the sun, and thrive in environments ranging front the soft sand of dunes to the rocky fissures and poor soils of limestone and schist areas. For lovers of wildflowers, this is a paradise. The region is no less rich in animal life, in addition to foxes, wild boars, badgers, wild cats and rabbits, birds are the great attraction of the Costa Vicentina. More than twenty species inhabit the creeks and wetland areas; including herons, storks, kingfishers and water hens. The crags of the coast are home to ravens, rock doves, pigeons, gulls, magpies and many others. Birds of prey, such as eagles, falcons, sparrow hawks and owls share the skies with more than thirty other bird species, such as blackbirds, nightingales and finches.

History | Beaches | Water Sports | Sightseeing | Lodging Algarve
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