I’m padding down a smooth, wooden boardwalk. This one is different, constructed not parallel to the shoreline, but perpendicular, thoughtfully enabling beachgoers to reach the shore without traipsing over a lengthy stretch of sand. When I reach the clear water, a warm wave gently washes over my feet, a perfect start for my journey.
I’m on a whirlwind tour of the southern region of Portugal known as the Algarve—a trip that will take me from the Atlantic Ocean on the west across to the eastern border with Spain. I want to discover what’s made this area so desirable to European vacationers for decades. Is it the miles of golden beaches, the majestic cliff stacks jutting above them, and access to protected rivers and pretty coves?
Is it the string of fishing villages, some of which retain their sleepy, low-key nature, others of which have metamorphosed into booming real estate enterprises?
Is it the sense of history and romance reflected by the area’s Moorish and medieval architecture? Maybe it’s the whole package. Stay tuned for my full report in an upcoming issue.