A week in Ferragudo, Portugal
What would you do with a whole week off work? In my case, I don’t even have to think about it: travel somewhere nice and warm. I have to admit that I have a soft spot for Portugal. Why? It’s kind of hard to explain, but it has to do with the calm and serene atmosphere that characterises the country, and especially the southern region of Algarve. I sometimes feel like I’ve stepped back in time when I’m in this area, and that is definitely a welcome respite from the hectic pace of my office job.
So yes, a one-week trip to the Algarve was in order. As I looked at the map trying to pick a destination, my mind automatically jumped to images of remote sandy beaches, top-notch golf courses, and fantastic food and wine. The town of Ferragudo seemed to fit perfectly with my plans, so I didn’t think twice and booked my flights and accommodation. Here’s how my week-long holiday in Ferragudo went.
Travelling to Ferragudo from the UK
The easiest and most convenient way of getting to Ferragudo from the UK to fly into Faro. The Algarve’s popularity as a holiday destination means that it’s possible to fly to the area from pretty much every UK airport. Just pick the airline of your choice and book online. Aer Lingus, British Airways, EasyJet, Flybe, Jet2, Monarch, Norwegian, Ryanair, Thomas Cook, and Thomson cover this route. There are plenty of options for ways to get to your closest airport, via local taxi service, pre-booked airport transfer or by public transportation. You can also fly with TAP with a stopover in Lisbon. The airport is 40 miles east of Ferragudo, so realistically speaking you have two options: take a local bus from the airport to Faro’s bus station and then hop on a coach to Ferragudo, or rent a car at the airport and follow the A22 road. I chose the self-drive option because I was planning on doing a bit of sightseeing during my one-week stay in Ferragudo.
An interesting alternative involves train travel. Check out this site to find out how to get from London to Portugal by train in 24 hours. The last leg of the journey would involve taking the ferry from Portimao to Ferragudo to get across the mouth of the Arade River.
Highlights of a one-week holiday in Ferragudo
Once you arrive in Ferragudo it becomes obvious that everything is geared towards relaxation and enjoyment. The town is compact enough to be visited on foot, and you’ll feel (and smell) the glorious ocean breeze no matter where you are in town. Ferragudo is as picturesque as a town can be: its gorgeous whitewashed houses are topped with pretty terracotta roof tiles and the narrow cobblestone streets gently slope down from the town’s highest point to the beach.
Ferragudo has been a fishing village for decades, and despite the (luckily controlled) tourist development, fishing is still central to the town’s everyday life. In the early mornings, local fishermen head out to sea and their traditional boats profile themselves against the beautiful colours of the Portuguese sunrise. Quite a sight if you ask me!
Of course, there’s a lot more to see and do in Ferragudo and the surrounding area. Here’s my list of must see’s and do’s:
Ferragudo’s fort is an impressive 15th century fortress that overlooks Angrinha beach and the nearby town of Portimao. Great for picture taking!
The local artisans are incredibly skilled at pottery-making, ceramics, and basket weaving. Don’t miss a visit to one of the local workshops, which double as souvenir shops.
Sample the local cuisine at the waterfront restaurants. My favourite is Fin do Mundo, which gets 10/10 for its decoration, ambiance, service, and of course the fabulous fish dishes.
The beaches: I loved watching windsurfers do their thing at Praia Grande, Ferragudo’s main beach. I drove to Pintadinho beach a few times and loved its unhurried atmosphere and picturesque beauty.
Listen to a traditional fado performance and be moved by the intensity of this music. The best place to catch a live fado performance is Casa Grande.
Silves castle & Golf: I drove 20 minutes north of Ferragudo and combined a few rounds of golf at the Pestana Silves golf club with a visit to the imposing Silves castle, which has stunning views to the surrounding countryside. I also visited the Onyria Palmares golf resort, a world-class 27-hole course.
Take a day trip to the quaint village of Monchique and experience “the other Algarve’, far from the beaches and high up in the sierra (mountains). This is the ideal place to disconnect from your holiday, if you know what I mean! And while you’re there, visit one of the local meaderies or stop at one of the local coffee shops and ask for a coffee and a bolo de tacho, a local dessert made with honey, coffee, cinnamon, and chocolate. Totally addictive!
Needless to say, my week-long holiday in Ferragudo was the highlight of this summer and I strongly encourage you to spend some time in the area too.