12 Memorable Things To Do In Aljezur, Algarve
If you’re seeking a less-traveled gem in Portugal’s Algarve region, Aljezur should be on your radar. Nestled within the Southwest Alentejo and Vicentina Coast Natural Park, this quaint town, though about 8 km from the nearest beach, offers a serene escape with various beautiful coastal options.
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Aljezur’s charm lies in its unhurried pace, making it a haven for those who relish slow travel. The town’s tranquility, coupled with its undeniable beauty, draws in a community of creatives and healers, ensuring there’s always something intriguing happening.
Geographically, Aljezur is divided into two parts—the old town, and the newer, more residential section built after the 1755 earthquake. Igreja Nova and its surroundings, completed in the late 1800s, form the newer part, providing essential amenities for daily life.
The old town, spread along the Ribeira de Aljezur stream, exudes a quaint charm, with hidden gems, dining spots, and accommodations waiting to be discovered.
Now, let me guide you through my top recommendations for exploring Aljezur and its surroundings.
1. Embrace the Coastline at Aljezur’s Beaches
While Aljezur itself isn’t directly on the coast, it’s a short distance from some delightful beaches.
Praia do Amoreira is perfect for families, featuring the Aljezur stream providing calm, shallow waters for little ones. A short cliff-side jaunt leads to Praia de Monte Clerigo, boasting golden sands, rock formations, and convenient facilities.
If you crave dramatic scenery and surf, venture about 10 km southwest to Praia da Arrifana.
2. Immerse Yourself in Aljezur’s Festivals
Attending a local festival is always a joy, and Aljezur is renowned for its sweet potato production. The Festival da Batata Doce e dos Percebes in autumn celebrates this vegetable and locally harvested goose barnacles.
If you find yourself in Aljezur in November, don’t miss the festivities; details can be found on the festival’s website.
Throughout the year, the town hosts various festivals and fairs, such as Night A in August, a multicultural celebration, and the festival of Nossadas d’Alva. Extend your stay to fully enjoy these cultural events.
3. Uncover the Charm of Old Town Aljezur
The oldest part of Aljezur may show signs of age, but its character is undeniable. Explore cobblestone streets and the remnants of the castle, with helpful information boards providing insights into local history.
Moagem stands out in the old part, a veggie bistro named Mó, utilizing the original mill features. Overlooking the river, it offers a café, a local produce shop, and a cultural center hosting yoga and various classes.
4. Ride the Waves: Learn to Surf
If the idea of catching waves and experiencing the thrill of surfing captivates you, Aljezur has several local surf schools to choose from. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned rider, the beaches mentioned earlier offer suitable facilities.
Consider taking a surf lesson for all levels, guided by certified instructors, to make the most of your aquatic adventure.
5. Embark on a Wild West Road Trip
Experience the wild west, Portuguese style, along the stunning Western Algarve coastline. Join a road trip with a private guide, exploring hidden gems, secluded beaches, and breathtaking vistas that Elise, your experienced guide, has uncovered over her years of living here. Choose from full or half-day road trips to immerse yourself in the beauty of this region.
6. Embark on a Unique Wild West Journey
Experience the wild west, Portuguese style, with soaring cliffs, secluded beaches, powerful waves, and breathtaking scenery along the Western Algarve coastline. Joining a road trip with a private guide opens doors to numerous WOW spots and hidden locations discovered by Elise, your seasoned guide and driver, over her years of residence. Choose between full and half-day road trips to delve into the beauty of this region.
7. Soak in the History and Views at Aljezur Castle
Aljezur Castle, though bearing remnants of its 10th-century Muslim architecture like underground storage silos, requires a bit of imagination to envision its past glory. Originally built by the Arab population and later taken over by the Portuguese in 1249, the castle’s history unfolds through English information boards. For a deeper insight, consider a guided tour.
From the castle walls, enjoy views of Praia Monte Clérigo, a charming beach. Once a bustling port and fishing town with navigable rivers in the 15th century, Aljezur’s decline began in the 16th century as the river silted up.
8. Immerse Yourself in Aljezur’s Cultural Scene
9. Journey through Time with a Museum Visit
The municipal museum, housed in the 19th-century town hall, pleasantly surprised me. It showcases archaeological remains from the Neolithic period, tools reflecting past lifestyles, and a room dedicated to the area’s Islamic heritage. Other museums in Aljezur include the Museum of Sacred Art and the Museu Antonino, offering insights into local history and art.
10. Discover Aljezur’s Countryside with a SUP River Tour
On a guided hike with a local tour operator along the Rota Vicentina, I captured the photo above. They offer walks lasting from 2 to 6 hours, even including a swim in a secret lake! Another option is the 4 km PR1 AJZ trail around the old town and countryside, offering a blend of history and scenic landscapes.
AllTrails provides various Aljezur routes, and if you’re up for it, a guided historical tour along the coast unveils not only the local flora and fauna but also historical facts, including the Muslim influence and a World War II battle.
12. Explore Hidden Gems with a Jeep Safari
For a true off-the-beaten-track experience, opt for a jeep safari. This tailor-made adventure takes you to historic sites, Aljezur Castle, monastery ruins, and cliff viewpoints. The family-friendly 6-hour tour even includes a picnic, offering a unique and immersive journey.
Where to Stay in Aljezur
Discover my recommendations for comfortable accommodations in and around Aljezur:
Guesthouses and Holiday Homes in Aljezur
Experience a coastal haven at Beyond The Palms. This charming home accommodates up to 5 people and features a delightful terrace for sunny alfresco barbecues. Enjoy sea views from the bedroom windows and convenient free parking. Explore details here.
For an eco-friendly retreat, consider Muxima – Aljezur. This uniquely designed house, constructed with regional materials, offers rooms with an African touch. Set on a private estate with a forest and bio-pool, you can engage in activities like archery or mountain biking. Indulge in an excellent breakfast with fresh ingredients. Secure your spot now.
Opt for the heart of the Old Town at Aljezur Old Town, just 400 meters from the castle. Choose from a 1 or 2-bedroom house with a terrace, mountain views, and a fully equipped kitchenette. The accommodation is bright, clean, and incredibly cozy. Check available dates.
Enjoy city and quiet street views at Casa do Sapateiro, a recently renovated holiday home with a calming atmosphere. Nestled in the historic center, the apartment features full-length glass windows for ample natural light. Book your stay today.
Indulge in tranquility at Herdade Quinta Natura Turismo Rural, just 5 km from Aljezur. Set in its expansive 19-acre grounds in Costa Vicentina Natural Park, this rural tourism spot offers only 4 uniquely decorated suites, each opening out to a private terrace. Revel in a beautiful pool and various relaxation areas. View enticing photos here.
Experience modern luxury at Praia do Canal Nature Resort. This spacious resort boasts indoor and outdoor pools, a garden, sauna, and restaurant. Surrounded by nature, the staff is friendly and attentive. Many rooms offer balconies or views, and a rooftop suite even features a private small pool. Check availability now.
How to Reach Aljezur
Traveling to Aljezur from Lisbon is convenient with the Rede Expressos coach, taking just over 3.5 hours. Alternatively, buses between Lagos and Aljezur run approximately 50 minutes. To fully explore the area, especially if staying outside the town, renting a car is recommended—check out my tips for renting a car in Portugal.