Getting away from the beach in the Algarve

The vast majority of tourists head for the stunning beaches or golf courses, and you can’t blame them.  There is though so much more to the Algarve, and right on the Spanish border you will find something special – the Rio Guadiana and Alcoutim.

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Alcoutim smuggler looking towards Spain

The Rio Guadiana rises in Spain and for most of its journey to the Gulf of Cádiz, around 500miles, flows through Spain. The final section in the Algarve is a border, separating Portugal and Spain. Rio GuadianaMany navigate from its mouth at Vila Real de Santo António up to Alcoutim in the Algarve hills.


We have had some glorious drives beside it from Castro Marim up to Alcoutim, using minor roads rather than the IC27.  Although we have yet to take a Rio Guadiana cruise, we have as you will have seen in “Magical Road Trips” travelled by road as far as Mértola where the river becomes un-navigable by boat.  But as usual I am getting sidetracked!

Sculpture, Alcoutim
Statue in Alcoutim’s square
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That’s another Alcoutim statue in the foreground!

2014-05-13 001 2014-05-11 026I really wanted to tell you aboutPortugal 066 Alcoutim.  We visit Alcoutim regularly, it is a delightful village with a castle, wonderful restaurants and numerous sculptures.

You can ramble round the cobbled streets, go round the Castle, join the local residents as they watch the world go past or even hop on a tiny boat for the 5 maybe 10minute crossing to the village opposite – Sanlucar de Guadiana in Spain.Algarve colours Out of season Alcoutim is very quiet.   We’ve never visited at DSCN8156the height of summer but even in May it was not too busy.

Watching the world pass by
Alpine Swifts, we think!
Alpine Swifts, we think!

The countryside surrounding the village is some of the least populated in Portugal, and if you leave the IC27 at junction three heading towards Foz de Odeleite you will have had a wonderful drive through the hills and wild flower meadows.

View of Barragem de Odeleite on the road to Alcoutim
View of Barragem de Odeleite on the road to Alcoutim

Portugal 067There are the odd houses with vegetable gardens and Olive groves, but mostly it is just open countryside.  2014-05-13 001 2014-05-11 009The only tip I have is be prepared to be stopped by goats!2014-05-13 001 2014-05-11 013

Author: BeckyB

It had been a good life walking, cooking, photographing, volunteering, blogging, and best of all spending time with MrB, family, & friends. Sadly it no longer is. Suddenly and unexpectedly I have become a widow.

3 thoughts

  1. Another of my favourite places. If you’re there first weekend in May the Romeria in Sanlucar de Guadiana is well worth a visit. 🙂

      1. You need to get the ferry across late morning as the village more or less closes for the afternoon as they join the procession up the hill. 🙂

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