Aljezur

Aljezur was founded by the Arabs that occupied this area for a long time. The original village clings close to the hillside, on top of which there is a fortress (now in a state of total disrepair). The stream around the base of the hill was once infested with mosquitoes that spread malaria, formerly a killer disease in the Algarve, but has long since been eradicated. To encourage villagers to move away from the stream, Bishop Francisco Gomes of Faro ordered the building of a new church on the far side of the valley in the mid-18th-century (as shown in the photo which was shot from the castle).

The best overall view of the valley and the two sides of the town is from the 10th-century Moorish castle ruins, which you can walk or drive up to. Legend has it that the Knights of Santiago under Dom Paio Peres took the castle without a fight one night in 1249 when a Moorish maiden opened the door and let them in.

The beaches are the big attraction in the area. They are all fabulous. Just south of Aljezur a turnoff leads to the beaches at Arrifana and Monte Clérigo. Just north, there is a turnoff sign posted 'praia', follow it to Amoreira beach. On the Alentejo border, Praia de Odeceixe is a sheltered cove that is popular with surfers.



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