Aljezur on the Costa Vicentina
Travel advice for Aljezur in the natural park of the Costa Vicentina, the unspoiled landscape of the western Algarve, the ideal base for surf holiday on Portugal's Atlantic coast and for extended hikes & bikes
- District: Faro > Municipality: Aljezur > Parish:
- Population: 3.300
- Distances: Faro Airport 108 km, Lisbon Airport 244 km
- Tourist Info: Posto de Turismo de Aljezur
Aljezur is the most north-western municipality of the district of Faro (Algarve), the southernmost continental region of Portugal.
Aljezur location and access
The village of Aljezur is situated in the natural park Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e da Costa Vicentina near the border of the Algarve with the Alentejo region. The Atlantic coast with the famous beach Praia da Arrifana, especially popular with surfers, is only e few km away.
From the western end of the motorway A22 near Lagos the national road EN120 goes to northern direction to Aljezur. If you prefer a more attractive route to enjoy the landscape, you may go from Portimao to Monchique and then cross the Serra de Monchique. Or you can drive along the western coast, the Costa Vicentina, from Vila do Bispo in a northerly direction on the national road EN268. The „Carreira Interurbana“, a bus route of EVA goes from Aljezur via Lagos to Vila Real d.S.A. on the Spanish border.
Sports & Leisure in Aljezur
The beaches of the near Atlantic coast are great spots for surfing
The beaches of this part of the Algarvian coast, the Costa Vicentina, are less frequented even during high season, because the area is still almost untouched by mass tourism. Heavy seas caused by the strong western winds in autumn, winter and early spring attract surfers and other extreme sportsmen from all over the world. The beaches of Arrifana, Armoreira, Monte Clérigo und Odeceixe are populra with surfers as well as with nature lovers.,
The fertile valley of the creek Ribeira de Aljezur separates the village into the old part below the castle and the newer part situated on the eastern shore of the creek. The castle erected on hilltop in the 10th. Century offers great views to the village and the surrounding area. Only the external walls, a tower and the cisterna have survived. In the narrow and steep lanes of the picturesque old part you will find several small museums presenting various themes.
Surroundings of Aljezur
Aljezur is the perfect base to explore the natural park of the Costa Vicentina
The elevated plateau of the natural park provides ideal trekking conditions all year. The abundant flora of the heath is especially beautiful in spring time, already starting in February. Various viewpoints above the steep cliffs offer spectacular panoramic views to the jagged rocks and sandy beaches of the western coast and the rough Atlantic waves.
The southern part of the natural park between Sagres and Vila do Bispo is an ideal territory to observe various bird species living here or stopping over on their migration to and from Africa.
The best time in the year to learn more about life and habits of these birds is October. There are many places in the municipality of Vila do Bispo to observe these birds resting well protected in the cliffs and rock faces. The festival of bird observers offers an opportunity to interested visitors to participate in tours guided by specialists.
Menhirs, traces of pre-historic settlements, can be found near Vila do Bispo and Raposeira. A trekking route (Roteiro Megalitico) leads through the menhir field of Montes dos Amantes between Sagres and Vila do Bispo.
History of Aljezur
The Moorish castle of Aljezur
The castle of Aljezur, situated on hilltop in a loop of the Ribeira de Aljezur was erected by the Moors in the 10th. Century and extended during the following centuries. After the conquest by Dom Paio Peres Correia in 1249 the castle was given to the order of Santiago. Because of its loss of military importance it was abandoned in the 15th Century.
The settlement below the castle with its harbor was an important trading point, because the Ribeira de Aljezur was navigable until the 16th Century and its mouth was the only safe access to the sea of the surrounding jagged coastline. That’s why a town charter was given to Alcoutim by King Dinis in 1280.
After the devastations by the earth quake in 1755 the Bishop of Faro, Francisco Gomes de Avelar, initiated a new settlement on the eastern shore of the creek around the church Igreja Nova. Even today the commercial centre of Aljezur is situated there, including the municipal market and the tourist office.
Municipality of Aljezur
Municipality of Aljezur: The municipality consists of the parishes Aljezur, Bordeira, Odeceixe and Rogil. In 2011 more than 5.800 lived here, a growth of 10% compared to 2001, mainly due to the increasing importance of the tourism.