Alvor is a picturesque town close to Portimão in the Algarve. This beautiful and charming town conserves most of its Moorish historic roots due to the fact that the whole region was under Moorish occupation for many centuries. An example of those Moorish roots can be found in its name – Alvor – which is still very similar to the old Moorish one: Al-Bûr.
Alvor would only be conquered by the Portuguese in the year of 1189 when the armies of king D. Sancho I were finally able to take Alvor’s Castle. The Castle is still there along with its lovely medieval churches.
This fishing village with its maritime roots is profoundly religious. Located on the western part of the south coast of Portugal, Alvor’s main economic activities are fishing, catering, commerce and tourism. The traditional white washed houses, narrow streets and Alvor’s river make for a relaxed holiday destination.
Where to stay?
Alvor has no lack of good hotels, hostels, houses and villas to rent with the best areas being located close to the beach or by the river banks. If you can’t find accommodation in Alvor you can always check the areas of Praia da Rocha, Ferragudo or Odiáxere, located very close to Alvor.
Praia da Rocha – This area is actually a beach with an extensive amount of sand. Regarded as one of the most beautiful beaches in the Algarve, this area is usually packed with tourists in the summer to the point where it is more common to hear English, Dutch or French than Portuguese. Because of its popularity the area offers plenty of hotels with breath-taking views over the Ocean.
Ferragudo – Ferragudo is considerably less touristic than Praia da Rocha, which means prices tend to be a bit cheaper and it also tends to be less crowded, something you might want to consider in case you are looking for a more discrete and relaxed holiday.
Odiáxere – Odiáxere is a charming little town right next to Alvor without many people. Many times overlooked between the popularity of Portimão and Lagos, the classic regional houses, ravishing beaches and delicious restaurants make it ideal for a romantic getaway.
What are the beaches like in Alvor?
Alvor has some of the most ravishing beaches in the whole world. Calm and long sandy beaches with golden dunes and crystal clear waters are the reason why a small town of 6 000 people is one of the most sought out touristic destinations in the Algarve.
Praia do Alvor – Within walking distance to the town centre there is Alvor’s main beach, a vast and sandy beach which stretches for kilometres. Its cliffs and rocks attract thousands of tourists every year who enjoy kayaking around them. This is also one of the best beaches to practice sports since it has a lot of sand and it is flat, meaning you can easily play beach football, beach volleyball, beach rackets and many others.
Praia dos Três Irmãos – This beach is actually an extension of Praia do Alvor, which allows you to walk from one to the other alongside the sea. The sea is most often calm and low allowing you to keep your head over surface long after you have stepped foot inside the water. This delightful corner has been enchanting tourists since the first fisherman set eyes on it and ran to the tavern to tell the tale of the most magical place in the Algarve.
Praia do Submarino – Submarine’s beach, the translation to English of this beach’s name, is definitely worth visiting. Because of its rocky formation the beach offers plenty of secluded areas, ideal for a romantic day with your partner or for a getaway with your group of friends. Have fun exploring the caves and diving from the cliffs. The place is also idyllic for photography enthusiasts because of the way the rocks and sand manipulate colour and light.
Praia do Vau – Linking the city of Portimão and Alvor, this is one of the most popular beaches in the Algarve. Usually very crowded during summer, this is a family friendly beach, with its safe shores, clear waters and easy access.
Which beaches have a Blue Flag near Alvor?
Every Alvor beach has a Blue Flag and, as you can see from the map below, there are plenty of other beaches located close to Alvor with a Blue Flag.
Blue Flag means that the beach has been assessed based on environmental standards, water quality and beach cleanliness, and also on important facilities including toilets and lifeguards.
In the Algarve, lifeguards usually work from July 1st to September 30.
What is there to do in Alvor?
Alvor has no shortage of attractions and activities. Besides parasailing, skydiving, kayaking, canoeing, mountain biking or stand up paddle (SUP) you can also chose to walk alongside the river, an activity suitable for the whole family, play golf (and crazy golf as well), play tennis or paddle, among many other activities.
Castelo de Alvor – Alvor’s Castle is built on top of an ancient mall that stood its ground during the Romans occupation. The Moors then, after taking the town of Alvor, decided to improve its defense mechanisms by building a castle. With its quadrangular blueprint and strong walls, the castle managed to resist the 1755 earthquake which tore down most of the village.
Boardwalks of Alvor – A very popular attraction in Alvor are the elevated walkways across the sand dunes and mud flats of Alvor’s Nature Reserve. The pathways provide a unique view over the Alvor’s river estuary, perfect for birdwatching. This very relaxing track, which has now been extended eastwards along the main beach, can be crossed by foot or by bicycle.
Igreja Matriz de Alvor – This is the main church of Alvor and is the foremost example of the Manueline-style architecture in the Algarve. Built in the 16th century, its main attraction is the entrance door. The gorgeous Manueline portico is heavily decorated with motifs alluding to fauna and flora, war scenes and religious symbols. In the interior, the tiles of the XVIII century stand out as well as the rich images present in the six altars of gilded carving.
Igreja da Misericórdia de Alvor – This church is one of the most charming churches to visit in Alvor. Its details are fantastic, such as the pulpit on the side wall, the altar marked by extreme simplicity and the fantastic stained glass with a representation of the miracle of the transformation of bread into roses by the Queen St. Elizabeth, patroness of the Church.
Boat trip – A fun day for the entire family or a group of friends consists in renting a boat for a trip around the beaches nearby. Spend a stress free and outdoor day exploring the multitude of beaches, caves and cliffs of the western Algarve.
What is the best time of the year to visit Alvor?
Summer – Summer is high season for the tourism industry in Alvor. Warm seawater and shiny days without clouds make this the favourite time of the year to visit the fishing village. The excitement is felt throughout the entire town with most bars and restaurants opening its doors for longer hours than usual. Even though it is undeniable that Alvor welcomes more tourists in the summer months, it still has less tourists than some cities of Algarve like Portimão and Albufeira, meaning that it can be a good destination for people wanting to experience summer in the Algarve away from the massive crowds.
Winter – Alvor, like the rest of the Algarve, has been exhibiting a rise in the amount of tourists it receives every year during winter. That is due to the low prices of hotels and most of the attractions, which are a result of the low season period. A calm sea and majestic sunsets allow for a pleasant getaway far from the cold of Northern Europe.
Autumn/Spring – Spring is particularly beautiful due to how lovely the Algarve becomes once its nature flourishes. In autumn, particularly in the beginning, it still is as warm as during summer months, making this a great destination for those who enjoy practicing outdoor activities and enjoy the beach or the pool. Kids back at school, and with most people having to work, these seasons are ideal for those wanting to experience the best Alvor has to offer.
What is the weather like in Alvor?
Alvor has a warm and temperate climate with the highest temperatures being felt during August and with much more rainfall in winter than in the summer.
The average annual temperature is 17.2ºC. The hottest month of the year is August with an average temperature of 23.4ºC and the coldest month is January with an average temperature of 12.1ºC.
July is the driest month of the year with the amount of precipitation being close to 0 mm, far from the 78 mm of precipitation in January.
The following graph shows the monthly average temperatures and the monthly rainfall average for 2017.
What are the best places to eat in Alvor?
Ruccula – Splendid food and lovely staff make this one of the trendiest places in Alvor. It is hard to get a reservation but its delicious dishes, superb deserts and an excellent choice of wines are worthy of the perseverance.
O Arco da Velha – From seafood to meat this restaurant is certain to make the delights of all those who try it. Try the local dish Arroz de Lingueirão, which is truly delicious, and wrap up the meal with a Tarte de Alfarroba, a very popular regional desert.
Adega D’Alvor – Famous for its seafood specialities, this restaurant is also popular because of its setting which consists in a cosy and charismatic interior courtyard. Good food choices in this place are the Cataplana, or the monkfish rolled in bacon with rice.
Salsa Bistro – Professional and welcoming staff, a relaxed and friendly atmosphere and good food make this another popular choice for tourists passing by Alvor.
What are the best places to go out at night in Alvor?
Families – Families looking for a night out in Alvor might want to check the harbour, by the fishermen’s huts, where in the summer there are trampolines, go karts and other attractions. Big Red’s Stakehouse with a bouncy castle or the Venue Bar with trampolines and a pool table are also suitable for families with kids.
Couples – The charming Mourisco Cocktail Bar, Michael’s Bar and the Old’up Bar are ideal for an easy and relaxed night with your romantic partner.
Groups of friends – Alvor has some excellent nightlife with lively clubs and bars such as the Hickey’s Irish Pub or the Sunset Bar. Sports pubs and the Chill Out Bar and Lounge Bar are also great options for a fun night out with friends.
How far is Alvor from…?
Faro’s airport – 75 km (approx. 50 min drive)
Albufeira – 45 km (approx. 40 min drive)
Portimão – 6 km (approx. 10 min drive)
Sagres – 55 km (approx. 50 min drive)
Tavira – 100 km (approx. 1 hour drive)
Vilamoura – 60 km (approx. 45 min drive)
Lisbon – 285 km (approx. 2hr 40 drive)
Spanish border – 125 km (approx. 1hr 20 drive)
Seville – 260 km (approx. 2hr 40 drive)
All distances have been rounded up.
Where is the bus stop and train station in Alvor?
The bus stop in Alvor is located by Farmácia Alvor close to a roundabout and next to the street Estr. Adega da Torralta, 8500-013 Alvor.
The closest train station is located in Portimão about 8 km away. This course normally takes around 15 min by taxi and the price ranges from 5€ to 10€.
How much is a taxi from Faro’s Airport to Alvor?
The price of a taxi from Faro’s Airport to Alvor, for one passenger, is usually around 60€ for one way. In case you decide to pre-book the price drops to around 35€ each way (70€ return).
If it is a private taxi or a van the price will tend to be higher.
Please note that if the trip takes place during the night, the price will be higher because a special night rate is charged.
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