THE BEST PLACE TO STAY IN ALGARVE!
Armação de Pêra – this mysterious name refers to a charming town situated between the biggest city of Algarve - Faro, and a popular resort on the south of Portugal – Lagos. Armação de Pêra is a perfect place for couples looking for intimate and romantic atmosphere, families with children and anyone who would like to avoid crowded public beaches, streets or restaurants. Although, in the peak season starting from the beginning of July and finishing at the end of August, vast amount of tourists (mostly the Portuguese) come to spend their holiday here, there is still enough space on the beach for everyone. Moreover, people generally behave well and they respect each other.
The main public sandy beach called Praia de Armação de Pêra, which is over one kilometer long, borders with rugged and verdant cliffs on the western end. On the eastern side, at the outskirts of the tourist resorts, it naturally opens up and transforms into another beach, Praia de Grande Pera. Next to the main entrance from the slightly elevated promenade and from the handicap-friendly ramps, there are sun-beds with umbrellas, for 14-15 euro to rent for 2 people per day, stands with food and drinks, and free of charge toilets. The further from the main entrance, the more intimacy you will have, especially if you are heading east.
It is very pleasurable to take a walko along the Praia de Armação de Pêra. In the early morning, when the sun is not so unbearable, there are many joggers there. They are mostly local citizens, who usually work in travel department. Actually, it is the tourism which brings the higher income to this town.
A few decades earlier, Armação de Pêra była was a small, fisherman village, living off fishing. This is why there are organized beach parties every Thursday evening to celebrate the good old days. However, up until today, fishermen take their boats into the ocean at the dawn to provide the freshest fish possible to the morning market.
EATING ON THE BEACH
The most restaurants are situated by the promenade, though there are a few, which are placed on the beach, like: the posh Arte Náutica with an amazing view on the beach and the ocean, and also more price-friendly restaurant Buzio.
The town's market place is absolutely amazing. It offers variety of fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as fish, seafood, homemade preserves (jams, piri-piri sauces) and a lot more. To get to the butcher's, who sells ecological meat and crafted cheeses, you have to get a number, becuase there is always a queue there!
TIP: The best tactic is to get your number first and then go and do your shopping elsewhere. When you come back to the queue, it's no problem, you will be served according to the number's order.
There is a bakery near the town's market. It is also worth getting up early and going shopping in the morning, because the best bread is selling out quickly. Few steps further, there is a mini market and the big supermarket is situated near the resort district, where the family houses estate is as well.
There are the most restaurants and coffee shops can be found along the main treadmill, which links directly to promenade. Unfortunately, these are the most expensive places to eat, so if you are looking for something more budget-firendly, find a bar on the outskirts of town, where the locals come. The main served dishes are fish and seafood, paella, grilled meat, Mediterranean specialities and salads. Vegetarians and vegan have not a lot to choose from, although the staff is very helpful and is always trying to find a solution. Unusual dish, which is 100 % plat-based, is Migas, made of stale bread, garlic and olive oil, cooked together in boiling water and then sprinkled with a lot of fresh coriander. This traditional meal is available in almost every restaurant, and even if it's not on the menu - just ask, the chef will probably make it especially for you!
The best restaurant for meals without meat is a bio restaurant Boca Xica, where you have to try tofu - it's so delicious!
I recommend AirBnB and Filipa's, who is a vibrant and helpful young woman, apartments. She can speak English, so there's no problem with communication.
The four of us slept in one of her 6-beds apartment, which was situated in front of the promanade and offered big terrace, two bedrooms, living room and fully equipped kitchen and bathroom. You can book it HERE.
It is possible to get directly to Faro, Lagos and Albufeira from Armação de Pêra. The prices are:
- 4.85 euro to Faro,
- 4.85 euro to Lagos,
- 4.25 euro to Albufeira.
The best way of travelling around is by car. It is worth having a look around nearby car rentals to find the best deal. Autorocha doesn't require deposit when you are paying in advance (cash or card). We rented Hyundai i20 with air-conditioning and full insurance for four days. The petrol cost around 1.60 euro for liter. Moreover, the rental company will provide a device with a sensor, which attached to the central car mirror, sums up all the highway's charges. It sumps up after a few days, therefore it is necessary to leave you debit or credit card details when signing up.
WHAT TO DO?
- FIESA - sand sculptures, entrance: 9.90 euro (more info HERE)
- AQUALAND - water park, entrance: 13.50 euro (more info HERE)
- CAVE BOAT TRIP - boat trip to the nearest caves in the cliffs, price: 20 euro (more info HERE)
- HIKE to Praia das Fontainhas - one and a half hour walk on the edges of cliffs, head west - for free ;)