Alte - Algarve - Portugal
Welcome to Alte Uncovered! Your Alte holiday guide!
Welcome to Alte Uncovered! Your guide to holidays in Alte, in central Algarve, Portugal. For tourist information about Alte, its accommodation, restaurants, shops, things to do and in fact, all things Alte Uncovered!
Alte is a delightful village in inland Algarve, situated north of Albufeira on the N124. It is a typical, Algarve village of whitewashed houses with lattice work, handcrafted chimneys and narrow, cobbled streets nestling in the foothills of the Serra do Caldeirão. The church is at the centre of the village, and there are numerous little cafes in the surrounding area, to relax at and soak up the tranquility of the village.
At the eastern end of Alte, past the school, are the springs (fontes) for which Alte is well known. The area around Fonte Pequena (little spring) is picturesque...a bridge across the stream, the beginning of a series of waterfalls as the water flows down the hillside, a grassy area on the banks ideal for picnicking, and ducks making the most of the waters and the sunshine! There is a pretty, paved, garden area in front of the 'Fonte Pequena Inn' dedicated to Alte's famous poet, Cândido Guerreiro..there are tiled plaques on the wall with some of the poet's works on.
In February, Alte along with most towns and villages in the Algarve, has a carnival. The main street leading to the church and the side streets around, are cordoned off for the parade. (There is plenty of parking at the beginning of Alte, near the cemetery). The entry cost was just €1.50, including a bag of 'confetti' to throw at the floats - or anyone who happened to be near you! Everyone turns out for the afternoon.
Alte is ideally placed for exploring the towns and villages of the central Algarve with Messines and Silves to the west, Salir and Loulé to the east and Algoz, Boliqueime, Paderne and Albufeira to the south.
Silves (a 20 to 30 minute drive from Alte) is a pretty town on the Arade river, with it's skyline dominated by the large Moorish castle (the largest and best preserved castle in the Algarve). A stroll along the pathways on the banks of the river, then make your way up through the narrow cobbled streets to the castle and Silves Cathedral next door. The views from the castle walls are worth the effort as is the castle itself. There are a couple of handy cafés to refresh yourself at near the castle entrance!
Messines (about 10 minutes from Alte) has got a good selection of shops; a rather attractive Church in the centre originating from the 16th century, and is a good place for a wander! There are some pretty villages/hamlets between Silves and Messines to explore and if absolute peace and quiet seems like heaven, then visit Funcho dam. (Take the turning to Amorosa off the N124 just west of Messines and follow the signs to the dam).
This inland section of the Algarve is known as the baroccal (the area between the coast and the hills) and you will see orchards fullof fruit trees lining the roads as you drive along and lots of roadside stalls where you can get some real bargain buys. Going southwards towards Albufeira through Algoz or Paderne it's 'wall to wall', or perhaps that should be 'hedge to hedge' oranges!
Albufeira is about 30 minutes from Alte, so it doesn't take long to get to the Algarve's south coast for a day at the beach, lunch at one of the beachside restaurants and do a spot of shopping! The 'Algarve Shopping' Mall is also on the outskirts of Albufeira at Guia, and has shops, restaurants, cinema and bowling and opens until late in the evening. (Take the Albufeira turning off the A22, then follow the turn for Guia - it's very easy to find). For family entertainment it's hard to beat a day out at Zoomarine Sea-life park (which is also at Guia) or at Aqualand water park in Alcantarilha.
Going eastwards from Alte you come to Loulé which is well known for it's Saturday gypsy market and the Brazilian style carnival it stages in February / March each year. It also has an excellent daily market in the new Moorish style market hall. It also still has part of it's 13th century castle intact and you can walk a section of the wall between two towers. It's nowhere near as large as Silves castle, but still very interesting and offers a good view over Loulé town.
The choice is yours! Alte is such a pretty Algarve village and surrounded by beautiful countryside that it is an ideal spot for a blissfully relaxing holiday. Pick up a newspaper, sit at a café with a cup of coffee and a delicious Portuguese cake and it'll be lunchtime before you know it and the next big decision is - which restaurant for dinner?!