I had the most amazing week in Portugal. It was my first time to this vibrant place, bursting with colour, fresh food and heat. I wanted to stay somewhere traditionally Portuguese rather than touristy, for a few reasons but, mainly because I think it gives you a more authentic experience of the place you’re visiting, and Alte did not disappoint. From waterfalls, to street art, food and the people I met, I loved exploring little Alte.
Alte sits approximately 35 miles from Faro Airport and takes roughly 45 minutes to reach by car. There are trains and buses, but that all seemed a little complicated, and I couldn’t see a timetable anywhere, so I’ll be honest, I ordered an Uber Taxi. The Taxis quoted me 65 Euros at first, but an Uber cost me £33 so I would recommend using an Uber, unless you’re used to the public transport! Plus I had a nice chatty driver who gave me a bit of a talk about the country. He pointed out that Uber will take you long distances, but they’re less likely to drive you a shorter distance. The Town of Alte did not have a Taxi service, but Uber still came and picked me up to take me back to the Airport.
Alte itself is very steep, so if you’re not great at walking it might not be the best place to visit, however, although it’s a bit hilly, it makes up for it with spectacular views, pretty art and really good food. It hasn’t rained here for a year and so the heat is very dry, there is no humidity so it can sometimes feel a lot hotter. If you like soaking up sun and relaxing, this place has a good selection of hotels.
Also, if you get burnt, the locals were very kind and gave me some Aloe Vera. There is a Pharmacy, but I prefer natural methods when it comes to my skin. In general Alte has everything from a Cash point to buses so it’s isolated, but in a good way. I even broke my phone when I was there, snapping off my charger in the phone, ouch! A bloggers worst nightmare, however I took it to the Chinese shop next to the beautiful Church and amazingly she managed to fix it, (for free) although, I did try to pay her!
Restaurants to try in Alte
The soil in Alte is very rich and filled with iron so plants grow here very well, expect fields of orange trees, olives and Aloe Vera in abundance. I was speaking to a local woman with green fingers, who was telling me about the healing properties of certain plants. She also told me that soon they will plant fields of Avocados in Alte, which will be imported to different countries, such as the UK. The locals here are worried about this as it doesn’t rain much in Alte, and they take 10 times the amount of water as the orange trees do. She said that there was a flowing river last year, which now had dried up, so they are not sure how they will sustain the Avocado plantation. Please think of this when you purchase Avocados.
The oranges in Alte are so sweet. You can eat them alone, or expect them to be served with salad or fish. I also tried a white sangria with slices of orange in it and it was amazing, I would absolutely recommend you try this. The food I tried was fantastic, everywhere, I didn’t have one bad meal, from squid to wild boar, there are a range of dishes, and restaurants here so expect to be amazed. I tired a traditional Portuguese meal at Fonte Nova, of beans with Squid, Chorizo and Octopus and rice which was out of this world. I highly recommend this place. It’s also very reasonably priced.
The food here is typically meat or fish, I didn’t see much in the way of vegetarian cuisine, other than salads, however they are very accommodating in Portugal, so I’m sure they would prepare something for you. Expect a good portion of meat, carbs and veg with every meal. The portions were big enough to share and the beer is cheap, as is the wine. I loved the green wine in particualar, which is a sparkling wine on tap, It’s not Prosecco, but it was better than the bottled wines I tired and is priced at around 2 Euros a glass.
There’s a Mexican restaurant called Chill Alte, which is top rated, although it’s a little out the way. Generally, you can find good food everywhere. The desserts were also spectacular, there’s a little bakery called Agua Mel with the sweet dish of the region to be custard tarts, so if you like desserts, I’d try this place out! Of course if you’re looking for more restaurants there’s a bus to Loule, which is the bigger surrounding province and has many more options.
Things To Do in Alte…
The main reason I picked this place was the waterfall. I’ve never seen a waterfall and place really was beautiful. The water is an ice crisp cool which is perfect, for swimming during hot days in the sun. The water here is fresh and not stagnant so it is safe to swim. There were people free jumping from the top, and jumping into the water from about 50 ft, however after speaking to locals, they said not to do this as there are sharp rocks at the bottom, so please be aware of this if you visit. Do not let children jump!
On the other side of Alte there is a fresh water swimming pool and a picturesque place to feed the rare breeds of ducks. I really enjoyed this place, it was tranquil. In the summer they host weddings here, and more. Alte is a very small place but filled with cute little shops and restaurants. There is a pottery shop also, which would make amazing souveniers and somewhere I’d recommend going to see for yourself.
The sunsets in Alte were stunning and memorable, as were the cats. There are many stray cats in Alte, however they are looked after, fed, spade and safe, as are the ducks. Don’t be afraid to make friends with the wildlife. There are frogs, that love to make noise at night and so much wildlife to see. If you’re looking for a peaceful place to stay, full of walks or just somewhere to relax I’d recommend Alte.
Finally after speaking to a few people, I started to realise how heavily Portugal relies on Tourism, with the average wage only being around 700 euros per month, no free health care and the worldwide hyper-inflation, I just wanted to point out that these people are hard working, with no help from their government, so remember to tip if you visit here, it was certainly cheap enough for me as a tourist, but sometimes you can get swept up in a holiday and forget that people all over the world are struggling.
Thanks for reading,