Summer in the Algarve is...

The doughnut man is the Pied Piper of hungry beach-goers

There are some things so evocative that the mere mention of them conjures up sensory memories that last through the years. Here are some iconic summer staples that make summer in the Algarve summer…..

Summer is....

Olha a bolinha! Generations of Portuguese have enjoyed licking the sugar from their  fingers while devouring these tasty doughnuts. Tramping up and down the beach all day with a big basket of sweet goodies, the doughnut man is like a Pied Piper of hungry beach-goers as they gather around to buy their daily treat. Tourists look on uncertainly until curiosity gets the better of them and they join the party and discover the delights of light sugary dough eaten on the beach.  Our favorite doughnut sellers give extra value for money – adding a little poetry to the transaction:

“Olha a bolinha, bolinha de Alvor

Feita com amor

Recomendada por Sr. Doutor!”

Olha a bolinha!

Skin salty from diving beneath the waves, toes wriggling in the warm sand, your mind drifting languidly were it pleases - nothing relaxes like a good day at the beach. Some prefer the morning when the sky and water are clearest, some prefer the evening when the setting sun and rising moon vie for our attention…..

From busy summer beaches where the beautiful people go with lively beach bars and restaurants to quiet and relatively undisturbed west coast beaches, there is a beach to suit everybody. Whether you’re a sunbed or towel on the sand person, the fine sands and clean waters of Algarve beaches have made the region one of the best beach destinations in the world.

Lazy, languid beach days

Smoky, smelly, salty and delicious! A far cry from those tinned sardines, fresh sardines grilled over charcoal are an Algarve icon and should be on your Top 10 of Portuguese food. The unmistakable aroma of grilling sardines wafts across every village in the Algarve during the summer months, when the sardines are fattest and best. Packed with Omega 3s, sardines are cheap and healthy – a rare combination. Other summer favorites include prawns  - boiled, fried, hot, cold, any way at all - and that delicious Algarvian salad of chopped tomatoes, peppers and cucumber generously seasoned with olive oil, vinegar and herbs.

The humble sardine

Summer wouldn’t be summer without a whole load of festivals celebrating different aspects of Algarve life and making for a very busy calendar.  Many summer festivals in the Algarve revolve around food. You have the ever popular Sardine Festival in Portimão and Seafood Festival in Olhão and the lesser known Barnacle Festival in Vila do Bispo and festivals celebrating octopus, snails and even dried fruit. There are festivals celebrating a mix of local and religious traditions such as the Festival of Our Lady at Senhora da Rocha where local fishing boats are blessed. There are music festivals galore and the fabulous Medieval Festival at Silves.The warm summer nights are made for wandering at leisure among the stalls, sampling the wares and enjoying the atmosphere.

Festivals for all

ok, maybe not a favorite, but evocative nonetheless.  Weever fish, known locally as Peixe-Aranha, love to lurk just beneath the sand at the shoreline and sting unsuspecting feet, particularly when the water is warm. The pain is instant and increases as the venom enters the victim’s foot. Luckily, the treatment is easy and effective if applied quickly. Soak the foot is hot water (with a little bleach) for 15 or 20 minutes, wriggling the toes and the pain soon passes. If left untreated however, the pain and swelling can take days to subside.  Lifeguards on the Algarve’s beaches are experts in treating the stings as they are a very regular occurrence. A small price to pay for glorious days on the beach...

So, what makes your summer an Algarve summer?

Summer stingers