The Wines & Gastronomy of Portugal – The Western Algarve

Suffering from none of the Alentejo’s extremes in temperature…

Suffering from none of the Alentejo’s extremes in temperature because of the chain of mountains that run from the Atlantic coast to the Spanish border, the area receives more than 3000 hours of sunshine each year, and the grapes love it.  It’s never too hot or too cold in the Algarve.  You’ll find it more temperate to the west of Faro, fresher and more humid, while it’s normally warmer to the east, from Faro to Spain because of the Mediterranean influence.  The region has four DOCs, Lagos, Portimão, Lagoa and Tavira and produces some excellent white and red wines, Vinho Regional Algarve, from traditional grapes; Arinto, Malvasia, Fina, Manteú, for white wines, and Síria, Castelão and Negra Mole for reds, and increasingly from the varieties selected from other areas of Portugal including Touriga Nacional, Syrah, Aragonez and Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Viognier.

From the Surfer’s Paradise west of Lagos to the Portimão wine growing region.

Praia da Bordeira, north of Farol do Cabo de São Vicente

The Atlantic coast, with it’s whitewashed fishing villages, rugged cliffs, sandy coves and beautiful beaches of white sand and warm waters, is considered to be the more scenic part of the Algarve. It’s rugged interior is less developed. The wine country of the western Algarve lies less than an hour’s drive east of Bordeira, or 30 minutes northeast of Lagos.

Fall colors in the vineyards of Quinta do Francês

Some of the wineries you can visit from Lagos on a day outing include the Quinta do Francês Family Estate, which is located along the Odeloca River, a 20-minute drive north of Portimão, and Quinta da Rosa Silves, northeast of Silves, off the N-124. Quinta da Vinha is a few minutes drive southeast of Silves on the M-529. And don’t forget Quinta dos Vales in Estômbar.

Don’t forget to stop by the historic Castelo de Silves, the thousand year old Moorish red sandstone castle with several towers & sweeping views of the countryside.

Where to Dine

For lunch you can consider O Barradas, which can be found just south of Silves in a renovated country farmhouse, closed Wednesdays, or head back to Lagos for a late lunch at Cantinho Algarvio. Try their famous shrimp on a skewer. If you happen to find yourself near Sagres around lunch time, then you need to head to Retiro do Pescador for a typical fisherman’s lunch of grilled fish.

A typical serving of fresh grilled fish at Retiro do Pescador, Sagres

Exclusive Travel Planning Services by Iberian Traveler & Maribel’s Guides.  Contact Maribel to arrange a custom itinerary for your next trip to Spain, Portugal, or France.

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