A Day in Alvor, Portugal

I have been remiss with my posts but I got busy finishing a book that I promised myself I would finish by years’ end and I accomplished that goal so now, for two weeks, I am taking a break and enjoying…writing.

Now onto Alvor.

The Pride of Alvor by Alyson Sheldrake

Alvor, which is a short ride from Portimao, was the next stop on our tour through the Algarve.

The history of Alvor dates back to the 4th Century BC during the Roman occupation of the Iberian Peninsula. Alvor was a prosperous port and later became the Moorish town of Al-bur.

Entry of the Church of the Divine Savior of Alvor

We visited the Church of the Divino Salvador de Alvor which displays the decorative Maueline style of architecture. This style, which is particular to Portugal, originated in the 16th century, during the Age of Discovery. And for me architecturally, is somewhere between the Gothic style, the architecture of the Renaissance period with a dash of the Baroque.

The best example I have seen of the Manueline style is the Jerónimos Monastery in Belem which I wrote about in an earlier post.

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A column along the interior courtyard of the Jerónimos Monastery

The construction of churches and monasteries in the Manueline style was financed by proceeds from the spice trade with Africa and India. The name is based on King Manuel I, whose reign was during its development. The design was influenced during the voyages of Portuguese navigators, drawing on the influence of the Moors and the decorative style of East Indian temples.

After our visit to the church, we took a walk to the harbor and like Lisbon, the streets are interesting to wander through. The houses are mostly painted white with usually bright blue or yellow painted trim around the windows and doors.

A view from our table looking onto the harbor

We had lunch at a cafe along the harbor then took a walk through the Ria de Alvor Nature Reserve along the boardwalk.

Each spring and autumn the estuary of the Alvor river becomes a resting and nesting spot for thousands of migrating birds. 

The estuary is designated as a Natura 2000 site. Natura 2000 was established by the EU, and is the largest coordinated network of protected areas in the world providing environmental and conservation protection throughout the European Union.

The nature reserve in Alvor covers 5 1/2 square miles and is connected by walkways along the beach, the cliffs at Quinta da Rocha and inland along the Alvor river.

Next stop, Portimao.

Dora Taylor

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