Culture – History, Food and Wine
A round of applause for the Algarve!
We must confess that many others have been here before you – Arabs, Lusitanians, Romans, Greeks, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Celts and Tartessians, as far back as the Neolithic period. Thankfully the passing of time has not diminished our Algarve Cultural Heritage, which continues to harbour secrets to be discovered in-between your trips to the beach.
Monuments, century-old customs, religious rites and craft markets are a living heritage handed down from father to son and from local people to visitors.
As for the food, it’s all about gathering the best that the sea and the land have to offer: fish and shellfish stews, clam cataplanas, sweets based on figs and almonds and wines from the DOP sub regions of Lagos, Portimão, Lagoa and Tavira, although not everything is traditional: the Algarve is the Portuguese region with the highest number of Michelin stars.
Look up from all this entire heritage and you will discover the symbol of the region, the result of five centuries of Islamic occupation: the chimneys of the Algarve. Just like our own individual experiences in life, no two of them are alike.
My name is Luís Vicente and I live in Faro, a city with two unmissable monuments: the Roman ruins of Ossónoba, the historic birthplace of the city of Faro, and the Lethes Theatre, an ancient Jesuit convent transformed into a beautiful Neoclassical theatre in the 19th century. I would also recommend you make time for one of the shows staged by the Algarve Theatre Company or to hear a concert by the Algarve Orchestra, one of the best, if not the best, in the country. And since culture is about more than just monuments and theatres, I recommend you taste the newly emerging wines of the Algarve. I particularly like the bouquet of wines from the Tavira and Lagoa area.
Luís Vicente – Actor
Algarve. Europe’s most famous secret
You have probably heard about the Algarve. A friend may have told you about one of its magnificent beaches, maybe you’ve seen a report about its cuisine or perhaps you’ve picked up a brochure before. But there is an Algarve that you haven’t seen, tasted or explored before: it’s the Algarve that the local people know and love.
For almost three thousand years Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Goths, Maghrebins and Mauritanians did what you do – they passed through the Algarve. Until, in 1249, the Al-Gharb (“the West”) was finally taken from the Islamic world by Sancho II, who took the title of King of Portugal and the Algarve.
Since then, the pride shared by the inhabitants of the Algarve has compelled them to reveal their region’s greatest secrets to visitors – about their favorite beaches, hidden hamlets, natural walks and even recommending the best restaurants.