always a reason to get out of bed when there's food involved.
For day 2 of my Faro 3 day tour, I booked a tour with the
Eating Algarve Food Tours so I could learn more about the local gastronomy. And
when I say learn, I mostly mean taste. The Fishermans Tour
started at the Mercado Municipal de Faro, a modern market where fresh produce
is put on display and carefully picked by passersby making their weekly
me on the tour were two American journalists and three young ladies from the
We met the tour guide and local resident, António, at 10 am and immediately set off to try our first treat. We popped inside a small café where we sampled a pork dish, which was to be the only meat stop of the tour. From then on, we were treated with a selection of luscious seafood and local sweets. After a leisurely walk through the market’s fish stalls and picking up live crabs, we slowly made our way to the Old Town and the marina.
We stopped at several
cafés en route, including a wine shop where we enjoyed a wine tasting
accompanied by a plate of tuna and mackerel. For dessert, Vila Adentro
delighted us with their traditional roll cakes, which combined almond, fig, carob,
orange and sweet potato. The building itself breathes history,
with catacombs running below the ground dating back to the 13th century and
decorative tiles embellishing the walls, a memory of the time where the
building served as a tile factory. Today, the restaurant is a mandatory stop
for those who, like us, are eager to taste the Algarvean cuisine.
of the places on the tour were quite hidden, making them easy to miss on a
first visit. With the tour, we had the opportunity to unravel some of these
secret spots and learn more about the region’s food heritage. Our
last stop was at the Columbus Bar, an award-winning cocktail establishment with
a passionate team ready to pour you a drink at any time. It was here, that we
bid our farewells, an hour later than expected as the food, wine and engaging
conversation with our guide made us completely lose track of time.
I left the bar and headed straight to Cais da Porta Nova, where I hopped on a ferry to Ilha da Barreta, also known as Ilha Deserta, and Portugal’s most southern point. 35 minutes later we reached the island’s shore. Deserta is worlds apart from the jam-packed beaches of the Algarve. In fact, this is one of the least frequented beaches in the South. It belongs to the Ria Formosa Natural Park, along with four other islands that make up this coastal lagoon considered one of the country’s Seven Natural Wonders. Not many foreigners make it this far, and even for some locals, this paradisiacal refuge remains an unknown territory. For those who do venture this way, you’ll be rewarded with white sandy beaches, incredible wildlife and crystal clear water, all for a 10 euro trip - now, that’s a cheap ticket to paradise!
I took my towel out of the bag and sat down reading a book, before dipping my feet in the water. At least here I didn’t have to worry about someone splashing water on me, there was plenty of room for everyone.
you get hungry, there’s really just one place you can go - Estaminé is the only
restaurant in Ilha Deserta and surprisingly, one of the best restaurants in the
Algarve. Its specialities include seafood dishes such as sea bass, clams and
Since I had my fair share of fish for the day, I decided to head back to the mainland for dinner. I ended up at Portas de São Pedro, a local restaurant, conveniently located right beside my hotel. "It is strictly forbidden to leave this tavern hungry" - that was the last of the ten "commandments" written on the restaurant’s menu and I wasn’t about to break it. I started by ordering a plate of cheese, followed by a dish of pork cheeks stuffed with tomato sauce and to finish it off a rice pudding and a glass of port wine. Mission accomplished.
It was a tiring day so I
walked straight back to the hotel and instantly fell asleep.