Joana here, Farah Trading Co's content writer based in Leiria, Portugal - sharing another fantastic day trip for those of you staying in the ever so exciting Algarve. Today I’m sharing a circuit that will take you to discover the “Sotavento”, the east side of the Algarve, all the way to the Spanish side of the Peninsula. This is designed for those staying in Faro, but you can really do it from anywhere in the region.
You should start by getting a nice breakfast in Faro, get your rental car and drive east all the way to the cute little town of Tavira, where you must have lunch at one of my absolute favourite restaurants and then continue to drive east for a relaxing moment at a saline spa in Castro Marim just before driving to the tiny little town of Vila Real de Santo António where you can stop for a coffee or a glass of wine.
SPEND THE MORNING WALKING IN TAVIRA
Often named one of the most beautiful cities of the Algarve, Tavira is a traditional town with clear Moorish influences really worth visiting. Take some time and walk the cobbled streets and beautiful plazzas to discover an array of monuments and interesting sites like Praça da República at the center, the Roman Bridge that connects both margins of Tavira, the Mercado da Ribeira where you have an array of shops and restaurants and the food market where you can find many fresh products, including some delicious local produce. In the center of town you can also find the ruins of a Moorish Castle ( no entrance fee!).
HAVE LUNCH AT NOÉLIA & JERÓNIMO RESTAURANT
A restaurant that’s all about flavour, textures and the Algarve heritage. Noélia is the name of the actual cook behind every dish and her passion for food and the Algarve shines through every dish they serve. The restaurant is famous for dishes like lemon rice with seabass and clams, octopus “pataniscas” and the famous “carabineiro” prawns rice. My advice is to always call and book in advance because they're usually booked.
Av. Ria Formosa 2
Thursday to Tuesday » 12:30am to 3:00pm // 6:30pm to 10:00pm
Closed on Wednesdays
RELAX IN A SALINE SPA IN CASTRO MARIM
A chance to relax on a unique setting while enjoying a floating bath on mineral salts with a clay rub and fleur de sel (flower of salt) exfoliation. You can even get a massage or and do yoga.
These are millenar salines in Castro Marim where you can enjoy a relaxing moment or even get a tour of the place and understand how sea salt extraction works in one of their guided tours.
Salina da Barquinha, EN 122
8950-285 Castro Marim
Everyday from 10:00am to 6:00pm
HAVE A COFFEE IN VILA REAL DE SANTO ANTÓNIO, NEAR THE PORTUGUESE-SPANISH BORDER
This small border town on the was redesigned by Marquês de Pombal in the 18th century, just like Lisbon was after the big 1755 earthquake. That’s why Vila Real de Santo António, even though it is an old town, has those straight parallel streets just like Lisbon’s downtown.
Due to this design it is a city designed very much towards restaurants and traditional commerce so it is a pleasure to wonder and do a little shopping in the traditional shops, where you can buy textiles, ceramics, cutlery, clothes and all kinds of goods.