Another dazzling September weekend, another bus trip and this time it was off to one of our more traditional and much loved Algarve beach resorts, Armação de Pêra!
It took just over an hour from Lagos and cost 9€ each and from the bus stop along the N269-1, it was just a few minutes’ walk to the western end of the main avenue, Avenida Marginal. Luckily for us, this is our favourite starting point in Armação de Pêra, with first point of call always being Busiris Café. Sitting in the sunshine, sipping a drink and listening to classics like Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” and The Temptations “My Girl”…well, nothing beats it!
After a couple of drinks, much as it was hard to drag ourselves away, we headed across the car park in front to soak up the stunning coastline. With crystal clear waters, beach bars, beautiful cliffs and rocks to the west and the vast sand stretch to the east, it’s easy to see why so many love Armação de Pêra and why it’s a firm favourite with Portuguese holidaymakers in summer.
With lunch next on the agenda, it was time to stroll along the fabulous cobbled promenade, Avenida Beira Mar. Despite being flanked with quite high-rise apartments, it’s so spacious that they don’t feel imposing and the other side is just uninterrupted beach views. The Holiday Inn Algarve hotel undoubtedly boasts the best location in town, right on the beachfront and the entrance steps right out on to the promenade, where there are shops, bars, restaurants, a mini-mercado, tourist information office, a small play area for kids and a wonderful view point area with benches and palm trees.
Further along there is a lovely little church, Igreja Matriz de Armação de Pêra and the remains of a 17th century fort, Fortaleza de Armação de Pêra, with a chapel inside. The route then forks to the town on the left (where there are popular nightspots as well shops) and the right leads to the more traditional fishing beach, which is the part we like because it’s a bit more chilled and less touristy.
We checked out Pedro’s bar, where we had a drink the last time (amazing little place right on the beach and serves snacks) but then we spotted Restaurante - Marisqueira Hera in a little row of places behind. The marinated carrots, vegetarian options and “choco” (cuttlefish) had us sold and with a table on the furthest edge of the terrace, we were just metres away from the beach.
It was one of the best couvert starter’s that we’ve had (fresh Portuguese bread, olives, carrots, garlic and herb butter and sardine paté), the vegetable gratin was a lovely change from omelette or salad and the deep fried “choco” is so Algarve! While we finished our bottle of 7.90€ house white wine it was just an “Aaaaaaah” moment and “Chin Chin” to the joy of September…incredible weather, beach time, people watching and still feeling like summer but without the queuing and chaos.
After the obligatory “duas bicas” (two expressos), Amarguinha and Medronho liqueurs and a naughty but nice “pudim flan” (caramel custard), we asked for "a conta" (the bill) so we could buy some souvenirs from the shop next door…an Armação de Pêra mug to go with the collection and some friendship bracelets, like we all wear here.
As we headed back to catch our 6.20pm bus, the sight of people sunbathing, playing in the sea and relaxing at the viewpoints said it all…”WOW, what a day, Armação de Pêra style!”
Quick guide to Armação de Pêra!
- Where is Armação de Pêra? Central Algarve, southern Portugal; 52km from Faro Airport.
- When to visit? Armação de Pêra is a working town and all-year-round resort and it's ideal for couples, groups and families with young children. The busiest months are June to September and the quietest are November to February.
- What to do? There are restaurants, bars and shops aplenty, a beautiful long beach dotted with beach bars, boat trips and excursions, culture and history and the nearest tourist attractions are Zoomarine Algarve theme park in Guia, Albufeira and Aqualand Algarve water park in Alcantarilha.
- Where to eat? Armação de Pêra has some fantastic Portuguese restaurants, with fresh fish and seafood coming straight from the sea and there are all types of cuisine on offer too, from Italian to Indian. Check out Armação de Pêra restaurants on TripAdvisor!
- Disabled access: Armação de Pêra is ideal for wheelchairs (and pushchairs) because the main part of the resort is flat and the main avenida is completely accessible. Praia da Armação de Pêra is officially classed as "Praia Acessível" and suitable for disabled access, with beach chairs and full support facilities during beach season (April to October).