Where can you go to feed the ducks and wander around a pretty little village enjoying the sights away from the coastal resorts of the Algarve?
The unspoilt village of Alte is less than 30km from the coast, and yet it seems a world away from the bustle and noise of the tourist region. Full of narrow streets, locals cafés and bars, and even a couple of half decent restaurants, this little village is full of surprises.
As you arrive in the village you will find free car parking alongside the impressive statue of Jose Cavaco Vieira, who was born in Alte and founded the Alte Amateur Music Academy and also the Folklore Group of Alte, the latter of which he was president of for nearly 60 years. He was also a Justice of the peace and served on the local town council, for many years as President of Alte.
One of the delights of Alte is just to be able to wander the streets catching sights and moments of a traditional way of life that does not seem to have changed much over the years:
There are some nice cafés and little gift shops to enjoy:
And an impressive flag of Portugal painted into the hillside – try as we might we cannot find out why it is there!
There are so many little streets to explore and intriguing doorways and entrances to enchant you:
Most impressive is the main church sat magnificently at the centre of the village. Built in the 13th century and also known as the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, this is an impressive building and worth exploring:
It’s all very Manueline and Baroque both inside and out!
It was also the theme for one of my recent painting commissions, we had the delight of meeting the clients in the village and touring around looking for potential painting subjects .. and the church came out a clear winner! Here is the finished piece for you to enjoy:
After all that walking it’s always good to have lunch lined up – we can recommend the lovely café/restaurant ‘O Folclore’ – we had two tasty prato do dia main courses with a drink each and change from 20 euros:
And then it’s off to explore more of the village – follow the signs past the church to the biggest surprise this little village holds – the beautiful small and large natural ‘springs’ or the Fonte Pequena and Fonte Grande:
With walkways, little bridges, seating areas and gardens this is such a pretty little spot to stop and enjoy the view or even have a picnic – or a swim!
Our favourite part is watching the ducks float by on the water in the late afternoon sunshine:
Some of the locals have the most amazing plumage and colouring:
And they have such a serenity about them too:
Have a look through the gallery at the end of this post for even more photographs of them all to enjoy:
The springs also has a surprisingly modern sculpture in white and grey marble by the sculptor Victor Shrike. The sculpture symbolizes the muse ‘Naia’ of the Alte river, inspired by the work of the poet Emiliano da Costa. It is seen as a tribute to the washerwomen that used the fontes area to wash their clothes.
The Portuguese poet Francisco Xavier Cândido Guerreiro was born in Alte in 1871, and his work is also celebrated all around the fontes:
There are some lovely tiled pieces and seated corners to savour here, it’s a lovely way to commemorate a local famous poet.
Sadly the house in which he was born and lived in the village is in a state of disrepair – despite the plaque above the doorway. He is buried in the village cemetery.
There are other sights to enjoy including the small 16th century chapel of St Louis (we’ve never managed to get inside it yet!), a museum, and a profusion of flowers, front gardens and tucked away corners to explore.
And if you are in any doubt as to how a traditional way of life can still be celebrated here in the Algarve – this sight as we left the village should give you an idea!
Next time we visit we are going to visit the nearby waterfall – The Queda do Vigário – Or Vicar’s Fall, which looks quite spectacular with a drop of 24 meters into a natural lake. Last time we went over there the water had been inexplicably ‘drained away’ so we are hoping to return and photograph this for you soon!
In the meantime please enjoy the gallery of images below for more sights and views of Alte – and if you have any more recommendations please do let us know.
Click on any of the images in the gallery to start the slideshow:
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