Sun. May 19th, 2024
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Alte is a beautiful and peaceful village in the Algarve region of Portugal. The quaint little village in the municipality of Loulé has a population of less than 2000 people (according to the 2011 census) and is considered one of the most unspoilt and traditional villages in the Algarve. Its main attractions are its cobbled alleys with terracotta-roofed houses, unspoilt countryside and its natural springs.

Alte Village in Portugal

Alte is known for its heritage of Esparto grass crafts. Esparto grass is a fiber that is produced from two species of perennial grasses that grow wild in Portugal. For a long time now, the residents of Alte have worked their magic on the E grass to produce functional pieces of items used in daily life like baskets, bags, net sacs, mats, cables etc.

At the entrance to the village is a sculpture of José Cavaco Vieira.

Monumento a José Cavaco Vieira

José Vieira, was born in Alte, moved to Lisbon for employment and eventually came back and settled permanently in Alte. He co-founded the Academia de Amadores da Música Altense. He also co-founded the Grupo Folclórica de Alte as a part of which he traveled throughout Portugal and also to other countries, teaching the dances and songs that were popular during his youth.

He was also the Justice of the Peace and President of the Parish Council of Alte for several terms and is one of the most famous people from Alte.

What to see and do in Alte

The most popular attractions in Alte are its two springs (‘fonte’ in Portuguese) – Fonte Pequena and Fonte Grande.

It is said that in the days gone by, the women of the village used to converge at the springs to fill their pitchers with water, to do the laundry or simply chit chat. Today, these springs are used by the locals and visitors to enjoy a relaxing picnic or to take a dip in the summer months.

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Fonte Pequena

Fonte Pequena (the Small Spring) is located close to the village centre.

Fonte Pequena in Alte

It was renovated sometime in the late 1940s and a welcoming space with some picnic tables and benches was created. It is a beautiful place, well-shaded by trees, and you can while hours away in the pleasant surroundings.

Picnic area near Fonte Pequena in Alte
Fonte Pequena in Alte

At the Fonte Pequena, there is a space dedicated to its most popular resident Cândido Guerreiro. You can read some of the poet’s best known sonnets here.

Fonte Pequena in Alte

 

Fonte Pequena in Alte

Fonte Grande

From the Fonte Pequena it is a short, lovely walk to Fonte Grande. There are a number of picnic benches here as well and some areas were equipped with a barbecue.

Fonte Grande in Alte

There are a few cafes on the site (but these were closed when we visited).

It looked like a great place to relax and enjoy a picnic.

Igreja Matriz De Alte (Church of Our Lady of the Assumption)

Even the smallest of villages in Portugal have a church and Alte is no exception. At the centre of the village is the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption (Igreja Matriz De Alte) which is not only a focal point of the village but also a repository of local history.

The church dates back to the 13th century but it was rebuilt in the 16th century in the Manueline style and features an interesting main door and a vaulted roof over the chancel.

Inside, the church has Rococo style altarpieces and Baroque tiling on the walls. A number of beautiful statues dating from the 17th century are also present.

Igreja Matriz De Alte in Portugal

The church is open for worship.

Polo Museologico – Cândido Guerreiro and Condes de Alte Museum Center

One of Alte’s most popular public figures is Francisco Xavier Cândido Guerreiro, a lawyer, playwright and poet. Born in Alte in the 1870s, Cândido Guerreiro is known for his writings like the Leafless Roses (1895), Eros (1907), Forward and Santiago (1949) and more.

Polo Museológico Cândido Guerreiro e Condes de Alte

You can visit the museum in Alte to learn more about the life and work of Cândido Guerreiro. The museum is free to visit and open Monday to Friday (9 am to 5:30 pm).

Street Art

It’s not just the big cities like Lisbon and Porto where you can see street art in Portugal; even the smaller ones are home to beautiful art in the streets. Street art is a big attraction for us wherever we visit and it was no different in Alte. Although I must admit that I wasn’t expecting to see so many pieces of work in this little village.

Alte did surprise us pleasantly with its collection of colourful street art some of which was tucked away in small, hidden-away lanes.

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Street Art in Alte, Portugal

 

Street Art in Alte, Portugal

 

Street Art in Alte, Portugal

 

Street Art in Alte, Portugal

 

Street Art in Alte, Portugal

 

Street Art in Alte, Portugal

 

Street Art in Alte, Portugal

If you love street art, don’t forget to look around as Alte has a whole lot of lovely art waiting to be discovered and enjoyed.

And if you are visiting the historic town of Silves nearby (40 minutes by car), don’t forget to check out their painted electricity boxes

Shopping in Alte

As you wander through the dreamy village, you can pick up some traditional Portuguese products to take back as souvenirs for friends and family.

Pottery and ceramics remain one of Portugal’s most important and traditional art forms. With a unique style that features floral themes, geometric designs and beautiful country life scenes, Portuguese ceramics and pottery make for great gifts. In Alte, you can pick up colourful pieces from the Centro de Artesanato.

Handicraft shop in Alte, Portugal

For a more interesting experience, head to Casa do Artesão which is a space dedicated to Portuguese arts and crafts and you can even watch artisans at work.

A visit to Papoila is recommended if you are looking for handmade olive oil products like soaps, hand creams, salves etc. They also stock cork handbags, jewellery etc.

Papoila - Olive Oil Shop in Alte, Portugal

Queda de Vigario Waterfall

Located at the Rotunda dos Combatentes de Alte roundabout in Alte is the local cemetery and if you follow the path downhill from the cemetery, you will reach the Queda do Vigário waterfall.

Queda do Vigário Waterfall in Alte, Portugal

The small waterfall is fed by water from a stream and depending on the rainfall and weather, it tends to dry up at times. So, please check this before visiting. When we visited, there was a small cascade of water. The area was very quiet with just another family there. It looked like there used to be a cafe or something on site which was unfortunately boarded up and covered in graffiti.

But the walk to the waterfall from the village is lovely and you get some lovely views of the orange orchards nearby.

There is a longer route for wheelchair users and a slightly shorter route (via wooden steps) to the waterfall.

Way to Queda do Vigário in Alte, Portugal

These are just a few of the many things you can do in Alte. As you can see, even though Alte is a small village it still offers a lot to its visitors making it a great day trip destination in the Algarve region.

Below: Portuguese flag painted on a mountain side (as seen from Alte)

Bandeira de Portugal Gigante

 

Where to eat in Alte

There are a number of small eateries, snack bars and cafes dotted around the village. Some of the popular ones are O Regional (known for burgers, sandwiches and local snacks), Pastelaria Agua Mel (yummy selection of pastries), Fonte Nova Snak-Bar (proper local cafe with some traditional snacks), O Folclore and Cantinho d’Alte.

 

O Regional Hamburgeria in Alte, Portugal

How to get to Alte

Alte is located a short drive away from many of the Algarve’s popular holiday destinations. By car, it is around 40 minutes from Albufeira, 35 minutes from Vilamoura, 40 minutes from the historical town of Silves and around half an hour from Loulé.

Limited public transport options are available, as well. If you are based in Albufeira, you can take a bus to São Bartolomeu de Messines and then a connecting bus to Alte. Bus fares are cheap but the frequency of buses is very low and the journey time is long.

Taxis are another option to get to Alte from other popular destinations in the Algarve. But having a car at your disposal is the best way to get to Alte and also explore the areas enroute and around the village. You can compare and book a rental car in the Algarve here.

There is free car parking near the Alte roundabout (adjacent to the José Vieira statue).

Car parking in Alte, Portugal

If you’re visiting the Algarve, we would highly recommend that you plan a day trip to Alte. It is a quaint little village with a close knit community, offering a glimpse into the rural Algarve life and is completely different from the bustling towns of Albufeira and Vilamoura.

Source: https://www.theglobetrotter.co.uk/

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By Lala