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Portugal's Algarve Home Exchange

Beauty and the Beach
Photo source: flickr, GreenLakeBlue Photography

Coastal Algarve in the sunshine is sheer visual poetry. Quiet beaches tucked away between shoreline cliffs and majestic rock formations. Colorful umbrellas in the sand shading children, families, seniors, and young lovers. Music and song from a guitar strummer mingle with the chatter of sea gulls and the soothing roll of the surf.   Wine and cheese spread out on a blanket beside an open picnic basket. Sail boats on the shimmering ocean horizon. Ahh …..  
After the sun goes down,  it’s time for a delicious seafood dinner and a glass of Medronho brandy by candlelight. Then, in cities like Albufeira and Lagos, the bars and clubs come alive and the nightlife parties begin.

Monchique is an old hillside town with charming whitewashed houses and cobbled streets. Quaint shops invite browsing for local handicraft such as pottery and knitwear. Local food specialties feature traditional sausage and smoked ham, be sure to try some on your lunch break.  A day in Monchique, the mountains, and the country is a perfect way to round out your Algarve holiday.
Algarve, the southernmost region of mainland Portugal, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. Visitors come for the sun, sand and surf, for sure, as well as a myriad of other things to see and do in the beautiful Algarve.
History and archealogy buffs have ancient castles and Moorish ruins to explore in cities like Lagos and Silves, or traditional Arabic archiecture to admire in the original city of Albufeira’s Old Town. 
Lagos is regarded as an important city in the early days of the Portuguese Empire and the Age of Discoveries.  The patron of Portuguese exploration, Henry the Navigator, began many of his expeditions from Lagos.
The sports minded head for Portimao, known for its worldclass events in sailing, surfing, powerboating, and car and motorcycle racing. Kitesurfing and beach soccer are also big in Portimao. 
Marinas are everywhere in coastal Algarve, as you might suspect, and where there are boats there are boat trips and fishing. Many believe the Algarve's waters offer the best big game fishing in Europe with a variety of bill-fish, tuna, and shark waiting to challenge the skill of determined sports fishermen.  

If you’re a golfer, you’ll find  beautiful courses in many cities and towns in the Algarve, especially in the region’s capital city of Faro and in Porftimao. Thousands of tourists come to  Loule and Sao Marcos da Serra not to play but to pray. These are the Catholic faithful  who make pilgrimages to important Marian shrines in these cities.
The Algarve region is so rich in history and scenery it would be well worth your time to take a day to explore the countryside.  You can’t go wrong by making the town of Monchique one of your destinations. It is located in the Monchique Mountain Range and is only about 20 km inland. Getting there is a pleasant drive through picturesque farmlands, fruit groves, vineyards, and leafy forests. 

Learn more about the home-exchange accommodations available in the Algarve by clicking the photos.   To view properties in Portugal and neighboring countries click here.  If you are not a member of the International Vacation Home Exchange and would like to find out more about it and how it works, please go to

Thank you to Mike DiPrima


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