South We Go

A long weekend in the Algarve

This post in Francais

After our first attempt to go to Faro, that was blocked by massive rain clouds around Paris. We made it, to Faro known as the capital of the Algarve region, the southern coast of Portugal. This prolonged weekend in the sun was very relaxing. The itinerary contained good food, nature, culture and no stress or long car rides.


We arrived in the capital of the Algarve by Europe’s favourite low cost airline Easy Jet. The airport of Faro is modern, clean, and friendly. We had two options on how to get to the city centre, Taxi or Bus. We choose to go by Bus, and in less than 10 minutes and having paid just over 1€ each we arrived next to the train station in the heart of the city.

What to see in Faro

The best thing to do to find out everything thing there is to do, is to pass by the tourism office, you will be welcomed with open arms, greeted in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese or with a hello in your own language if it is not listed above. There you will get all the information you need to know, a map, and the ‘daily tip’ of what is happening in the city that day/night.
Faro has a very well preserved ‘old city’ which is in part surrounded by the old city walls. We entered through the main gate which is old a few steps from the tourism office. Coddle stone streets and orange trees are there to great you. Don’t be surprised to look up and see storks flying over head; they like to make their nests on top of the towers of the old buildings within the city. The cathedral is worth a visit, built in mix between Gothic and renaissance style, it is captivating and intriguing. If you continue to follow the cobble stone streets you will find yourself in the heart of the old centre, which will offer you, cafes, restaurants and shops.
The Marina of Faro is a good place to have a cool drink and watch the air planes fly over head. In fact you will see more air planes taking off and landing then you will boats moving in the marine. The Marine is used mostly by the wealthier as a parking for their boats and yachts, which they pick up after arriving in Faro and travel along the cost in. Unfortunately, tourism developed in the Algarve during the period when package holidays where all the rage, so don’t be surprised to find, big hotels, and restaurants all serving the same food.

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Olhao's harbour

Olhao's harbor


A small fishing village, the term small fishing village is relative as over half of the fishing boats that are registered in the Algarve are in Olhao. This small village is connected to Faro by a train that leaves every hour, taking less than 10 min and costing 1€. It is a good idea to ask for a map at the tourism office in Faro or at the airport, as there are no tourism maps available at the train station in Olhao, making it difficult to find where you are going.

If you want to relax, then this is the place to do it. In contrast with Faro that has been over developed for tourism, Olhao has kept its charm and peacefulness. Instead of finding your standard, run of the mill hotels, you will find small Pensao (guest houses) that have on average no more than 8 rooms each.

Pension Bicuar

Hidden in the coddle stone streets in the heart of this charming village you will find the Pension Bicuar if you want to stay in a typical pension in the region at a good price, we recommend you stay there. After climbing up a few steep steps you will be greeted by one of the owners Frank or Kasia, that give you you a very warm welcome and truly go out of their way to help you have the stay best possible.

From the roof top Terrance

This is a really wonderful and relaxing place to spend time, sit up here what the birds fly over head, chat to the other guests or just soak up the sun, the choice is yours.

You can find them on the internet

Ria Formosa Nature Reserve

The Ria Formosa

Ria Formosa

A visit to the Ria Formose Nature Reserve is worth the detour. Spend the morning or afternoon walking around the nature reserve at your own pace with a map in hand. You see the fora and flora with are indigenous to this region. We recommend you bring a pair of binoculars to get a better view of the birds.

Natura Algarve

Many tour companies offer boat tours  in the Ria Formosa nature reserve. We opted for a tour with the company Natura Algarve. Several excursions are possible, we opted for the full day. We spent the on a beautiful, very comfortable boat, with only a few other passengers. Our guide Skipper were more than happy to give us information about the wildlife around us. We came a shore at various small ports,  where the guide gave us, information on species of birds, marine wildlife, local landmarks, and the history of the region in both Portuguese and English.

Video Clip of Natura Algarve


Most Portuguese people speak English and a number of other languages, they are always more than happy to speak with you in your language if they can. However, is is also useful to know the basics.

Useful Portuguese Expressions


Bom dia. (bon DI-a)

How are you ?
Como vai voce ?
Mine name is _____
Me chamo ____ (mè CHA-mou _____)
Por favor
Thank you
Obrigado (masculin). Obrigada (feminin). (o-bri-GA-dou/da)
You are welcome
De nada
Excuse me
I'm sorry
Até logo
I do not speak _____.
Não falo ______. (NAOUN FA-lou por-tou-GUÈJ)
Sorry i speak English
Desculpe falo Inglês
Do you speak English ?
Fala Inglês ?
Is there someone here that speaks English ?
Alguém fala Inglês ?
Help !
Good morning
Bom dia (bonnn dilla)
Good Afternoon
Boa tarde
Good evening
Boa noite.
Good night
Boa noite.
I don't understand
Não entendo
Where are the toilets ?
Onde fica o banheiro (pt-br)/ a casa de banho?

Our map of Algarve

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  1. Excellent blog. I know you say people speak english but how well? Im visiting the algarve in a couple of weeks and dont want to exactly live in my hotel complex.

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