Arrifana and Aljezur: Nature and History Perfectly Combined
Aljezur is a small village located in the western Algarve. For many, it’s considered one of the prettiest towns in the region, where you can discover breathtaking landscapes perfectly merged with rich local tradition.
The Arrifana village spreads itself above a beautiful beach over the cliffs. The local economy depends on the tourism, but real estate development has been restrained to preserve the local ecosystem, and the village was able to maintain a strong sense of localness.
The largest beach in this region is the “Praia da Arrifana” (Arrifana beach) and is located 10 kilometers southwest of the village.
Arrifana beach is hugely popular with both swimmers and surfers and if you plan to stay overnight, you have a couple of options of staying on local hostels, or you can stay on the campsite which is located in the Monte Clerigo village, just 8 kilometers away from the Arrifana beach.
But Arrifana and Aljezur offer much more than beautiful beaches and picturesque villages. One of the top tourist sights in the region is the castle that has been inhabited by people for centuries. The castle was built in the 10th century and provided at the time control over an important river port. Nowadays it’s an important tourist sight and during the holidays you usually find tourists enjoying the beautiful landscapes and learning a little more about the regions rich history.
There are two different historical churches in Arrifana and Aljezur. The main church was built in the 18th century and displays an amazing detailed interior which still attracts tourists interested in monuments and history. The Misericórdia church was rebuild in the 16th century and represents another historical treasure of the region. The church was affected by the earthquake of 1755 and had to re-rebuilt once again.
There are 2 museums in the region. The municipal museum was actually home to the town council in the past, and it’s a museum that offers a small art gallery, and ethnography and archaeology treasures. The archaeological part of the museum is particularly interesting and shows there are traces of human settlement in Aljezur municipality from around 11,000 B.C. (the Epipalaeolithic period).
Near the museum is the Aljezur Municipal Gallery, which also hosts temporary and contemporary art exhibitions.
The other important museum is the José Cercas museum and was built during the 19th century. José Cercas museum was the house of the illustrious Aljezur painter José Cercas. The municipality of Aljezur converted the house into a museum in his honor. If you like art, this museum has a lot to offer. You can appreciate José Cercas drawings and pictures, other Portuguese artists paintings, and even religious artifacts and porcelain.
The historical center is another place you must visit in Aljezur. You can discover and appreciate the typical houses of the Algarve’s rural architecture, and the colorful borders painted around windows setting off the white facades.
Considering the natural ecosystem, the amazing beaches, and the unique history, no wonder Arrifana and Aljezur keep attracting more tourists each year.
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