Nestling a few kilometres inland from the Algarve‘s rugged west coast, Aljezur is an attractive little place of striking white houses and red roofs, surrounded by oak woods and fields emblazoned with wild flowers.
Lying along a narrow river, the pretty town of Aljezur was founded by the Arabs and conquered by the Portuguese in 1246 under the command of D. Paio Peres Correia and subsequently given a charter by King Dinis in 1280.
In remote times, the town had direct contact with the Atlantic Ocean through the river that bears its name but much of it had silted up by the start of the 19th century.
Reached via the old quarter, its domineering hilltop castle affords a commanding view of the surrounding countryside. Built of sandstone, it was constructed by the Moors in the 10th century but was badly damaged during the great eathquake of 1755.
The local parish church built after the earthquake has a fine Neo-Classical altarpiece credited to José da Costa of Faro.
Just outside Aljezur exists an area of cultivated land where the old medieval system of strip farming is still practised. Employing narrow plots bordered by irrigation ditches, this system is used for crop rotation worked mostly by hand due to the lack of space for modern machinery.
Up a steep, winding road 7 km to the west of Aljezur is the captivating seashore village and beach of Monte Clérigo, a paradise for sunbathers and surfers alike.
The charming little village of Arrifana nearby boasts a magnificent sandy beach, one of the best in Portugal.