After leaving Armação de Pera we continued along the coast heading for Alvor our next overnight destination. I had read about a coastal walk in my guidebook called Percurso dos Sete Vales Suspensos, described as a spectacular clifftop walk that connects the beaches east of Carvoeiro 5.7km along to Praia da Marinha. As we were heading east to west we parked at Praia da Marinha and started our walk from there. There is plenty of parking and also plenty of rough camping to be done here. You can walk down to the beach at Praia de Marinha where there is also a beach bar. From the cliff top the rock stacks are easy to see and we followed the path which was signposted however some of the terrain is a bit rugged in places, mainly where everyone has tried to take short cuts and avoid heading inland around the ravine. It was extremely hot so we only walked as far as Benagil and back again. We followed the inland path back along the ravine avoiding the rough and unsteady terrain. We walked just over 3 miles which was more than enough in the heat!
As we drove along the coast we drove down to Carvoeiro but as it got narrower and narrower with a one-way system and nowhere obvious to park the camper, we drove straight back out again. Somewhere to explore on our bikes next time.
We managed to get parked at our most favourite beach from 30 years ago Praia da Vau, next to Praia de Rocha and it didn’t disappoint so spent the afternoon do the usual, sunbathing, reading and swimming.
We arrived at the large Aire in Alvor set back from the beach and with all facilities including electric hook up for a mere €7.70 euros per night. Without electric it is only €4.50 per night.
We had stayed in Alvor 30 years ago so were keen to rediscover it. We walked to the vast beach that has a wonderful boardwalk running all along the back and dotted with various beach bars and restaurants and walked into town. We could not recognise the town at all, the streets leading down to the river were top to toe with small bars, restaurants and shops, it had changed so much and was completely unrecognisable. It had a very lively atmosphere and I must have counted at least three Irish bars but it felt nice and comfortable to walk around. We stopped at a restaurant to eat along the river front before walking back to the Aire.
We spent the following day on the beach at Alvor and have to say that it is the softest sand that we have experienced so far in the Algarve and surprisingly the least amount of pounding waves, making entering the water for a swim so much easier.
We decided to walk to the most easterly end of the beach as that is where we spent most of our time back in 1987 and it did look similar with the rock stacks but now had more refined beach bars and private beach areas than we remembered. We tried to retrace our steps from the beach to the apartments that we had stayed in and did indeed find them, although the road layouts were not the same. We continued our walk down into the town of Alvor and walked through the old part, still not recognising any of it and walked back down to the riverside where we had a couple of drinks watching the sunset. We spoke to the owner of the bar there and mentioned that it has changed so much and in his words “Darling, you have changed, I have changed so much in the past 30 years, so has Alvor”. I was very tempted to respond by asking “do you remember me from 30 years ago then?”. Of course, he was absolutely right and actually we really liked the changes and would definitely come back again. The most notable change was that the original houses had been converted into the bars, shops and restaurants, it was just a little old fishing village before.
We left Alvor this morning and are now just up the road on a campsite in Lagos, another of our favourite resorts on the Algarve and ready to explore the beaches and town over the next couple of days.