Going up the Guadiana
Running between hills brightened by wildflowers and the green of the oaks and pines, the Guadiana River has been for centuries a border between Portugal and Spain. From Vila Real de Santo António, the boats perform, with regularity, the tourist upstream trip of the river. It is an opportunity to meet a different Algarve, admiring the white houses of the villages perched over the water, with the millennial Alcoutim Castle guarding the river.
The charms of nature
In the Nature Reserve of the Marshland of Castro Marim and Vila Real de Santo António, and also in the Natural Park of Ria Formosa, bird and plant lovers can find prime locations for observation. Both have reception centres for guiding the visitors.
Good fish and seafood
A land of fishermen means fresh fish, such as the delicious bream, bass, mackerel and sardines that are the delight of lovers of grilled fish. In terms of seafood, the clams and cockles, caught in the sands at low tide, deserve special mention, as do the more aristocratic prawns and lobsters.
Traditional recipes include various ways of preparing fresh or salted tuna, ranging from a thick steak, with plenty of onion and bay leaves for flavouring, to the estupeta where the tuna is served with a refreshing salad of peppers, tomatoes and onions. And who can resist the delicious cuttlefish in its ink, that turns your mouth black but tastes divine?
The art of the people
The fine bobbin lace, forever associated with fishermen’s wives, indelibly mark the art of the county while still being produced in Vila Real de Santo António. Also from the past we have the harnesses and cantles decorated with colourful wool, produced by saddlers and used by mules in the farm work of the inland hills.