Type in the Algarve into Google images and you’ll be hard-pressed not to find yourself opening another tab within 5 seconds to book a flight. Clean, unadulterated beaches, stunning blue waters, insanely delicious cuisine and affordable enough to make your partner nod their head in agreement that a vacation cabana style is the way to go.
The Algarve is incredibly rich in culture and diversity, especially if you’re looking for a surfing, trekking or simple food friendly experience. The entire region contains over 100 beaches that are unique and brimming with biodiversity. For the nature lovers, you can choose from over 30 hiking trails including: the Ria Formosa, Monchique mountain, Caldeirão mountains and Sagres cape. For golf aficionados there are over 30 courses dotted throughout the region, not to mention enough restaurants to keep the gourmand satiated.
The Algarve’s gastronomy, east to west, would be best described as a rustic twist to Mediterranean, and very much from sun, earth and ocean. Traditional Algarvio’s insist on using the region’s infinite nutrient resources and demand fresh, honest and unpretentious ingredients that you can smell, feel, taste and cook with the guidance of a local expert. Allow our tour guides to inform you on the history and culture of the stable Portuguese food, ‘bacalao’ (salt fish), alongside freshly caught fish and seafood. Experience exotic lands while touring sacks of curries from India, piri piri and rich spices from Africa. In the Algarve’s city of Guia, as per locals, is where some of the best ‘frango piri piri’ (spicy grilled chicken) got its fame, although it originated in Africa during the colonization period. Romans left their mark with olives, and olive oil and cheese production, of which you will find a dizzying selection. Enjoy the Celtic carry over of meat preservation with the savory ‘linguiça’ and ‘chouriço’ (cured sausages first marinated with herbs, wine and red spices), or the popular stew sausage known as ‘alheira’ (pork free garlic sausage). Moorish influences have prolonged throughout the region, with grilling of meats and fish, strong uses of herbs: garlic, mint, thyme, cilantro, and spices: cumin, paprika, saffron – the list is long, very long. A large variety of nuts: almonds, pine nuts, as well as many varieties of fruits: oranges, figs, pomegranates and exotic varieties of berries are also part of this culinary mashup, and enjoyed fresh, and where possible dried to keep during winter months. Staples such as rice, grains and beans also make a mark in both savory and sweet dishes. And we’re not done, yet. The region, and country, also appears to have a strange obsession with yogurt, every variety and possible flavor combination imaginable seems available; belief exists this too may be carry over of Moorish influences. To enjoy a gourmet food or market tour with our guides is to walk through an exotic land very rarely visited if on your own.
Whilst the Algarve is not blessed with the vineyards of the Douro or other famous wine-producing regions of Portugal, rare is a meal served without its company, and it is still possible to visit several excellent wineries in this Southern part of the country. The region’s wine consumption is affected by the warm climate; hot summer days call for super chilled beverages. Grilled fish and seafood; typically brushed with a garlic, cilantro and olive oil mix, scents the region, as do steaming clay pots of seafood stew paired with a light Algarve red hits the spot. ‘Cerveja gelada’ (iced beer) is also common, as are ‘mini’s’ (small versions of regular beers). Mini’s let you pace yourself and ensure your full beer doesn’t overheat on those hot summer days…recall the earlier note of a food obsession. It may also, be a good time to mention when asking for water, the question of ‘natural’ (room temperature), ‘fresca’ (chilled) or ‘gelada’ (iced) may be posed. And on things iced, ‘gelado’ (ice cream) is also very popular and can be found in a variety of unusual combinations – all elements our culinary tours can give you a crash course in! Coffee options have a complexity of their own, but are chiefly the same as the rest of the country.
Below find our current list of recommended culinary experiences in the Algarve, including cooking classes, vineyards tours, gourmet food tastings and guided gastronomic walks.
ALGARVE FOOD & WINE TOURS
Full listings coming soon!