The historic village of Alvor is part of the popular coastal region of the Algarve in Portugal. Like many other resorts in the Algarve, Alvor has become a favorite destination of tourists. The village enjoys a location less than an hour’s drive from Faro airport and is flanked by the commercial centre of Portimao and the beautiful beaches of Lagos and Praia da Rocha. Alvor’s own sandy beach faces a lagoon that spreads out onto the sea and has a few coves sheltered under the cliffs.
While Alvor has opened its arms to tourism with several hotels, apartments, restaurants, and other establishments now catering to visitors developments have still been kept to a minimum. You can still see remains of its past starting with its narrow streets of cobblestone, its whitewashed houses and the docked boats that remind you that it was once a humble fishing village.
A central historic landmark is the town’s antique parish church from the 1500s, which is the only survivor of the big earthquake of 1755 that destroyed all the other buildings in the original village, including a great castle. The church remains an evidence of the elegance and craftsmanship of Manueline architecture during its time.
Alvor is a family-friendly resort town with most accommodations and establishments catering to both adults and children. The most popular hotels offer apartment-style rentals with either studio or one to three-bedroom apartments. These typically include a kitchenette complete with all the necessary appliances to give holiday makers the option and convenience of preparing their own meals although the apartment hotels usually have restaurants and snack bars as well.
Some of the nicer hotels include the Pestana Dom Joao II, the Pestana Alvor Atlantico and the Pestana Alvor Park. The Dom Joao is located right on the beachfront which is ideal if you want to spend a lot of your time on the beach. The Pestana Delfim Beach and Golf Hotel is likewise only 500 metres away. Other notable places to stay are Clube Alvorférias with its simple yet elegant set of low, light-colored apartments and Alvormar Apartments which is a relatively smaller complex but nonetheless ideally located on a high area close to the beach.
Alvor has a variety of dining establishments offering a world of cuisines from authentic Portuguese to British, Indian, and other international cooking. Make sure to visit Na Colina which has a vegetarian menu in addition to favorites like fish and chips. If you like meat and you like watching it cook right before you eat it order Steak-on-a-stone at a restaurant called Buganvila. The slab of meat is served raw on a sizzling hot stone where it cooks, with some chips and dips on the side. Other recommended places include the Crow’s Nest and Taverna do Guedes.
Alvor also has a colorful nightlife especially during the tourist season although it is really more of a destination for golf enthusiasts. There are eight golf courses within a 15-kilometre radius from the town including the Alto Golf Club.