Your guide to the Algarve, Portugal

BJ’s Canadian Bar -Grand Re Opening


On Friday 27th BJ’s Canadian Bar re opened its doors after a complete renovation, and what a fabulous transformation!

Pat, who is originally from Edmonton Canada and his wife Helen Ferreira have been the proud owners of BJ’s Canadian Bar for 16 years and decided it was time for a change!

Even with the complete modernisation they upheld and enhanced the famous Canadian theme throughout! On Friday’s grand opening many locals, holidays makers and friends gathered in anticipation for a glimpse of their new favourite bar!

The atmosphere was, as always buzzing and one of the favourite things about BJ’s Canadian Bar is you can always make new friends and everyone talks to everyone!

The bar always attracts people from all over the globe who have a story or two to tell over one (or 3) of Pat’s famous Ceasers or true Canadian Ryes!


A Great Giving Couple

As well as managing their busy bar Pat and Helen do a lot of work for charity. Pat is an avid golfer and runs two annual golf tournaments to raise money for local charities and also this year raised enough money to top up the Albufeira food bank. The food bank was more than delighted with their contribution. And if that wasnt enough, at Christmas, Pat dressed up as Santa Claus and delivered presents and clothing to the Pirilampos Orphanage in Albufeira.

Last year they raised over 12 000€. With the food drive at Christmas they also bought food for the bombeiros (firemen) that were working the Christmas shift.

Eye glasses and gift cards for the Gaivota’s children’s home in Albufeira are also made available.

Outstanding work by a very generous couple!

If you are planning a visit to the Algarve this year, BJ’s Canadian Bar is a must! You will most definitely be given a hearty welcome and soon become a regular.




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Sunset walk

Start around 3pm and walk along one of the two Boardwalks. The one leaving from below the Fishermen’s huts offers two separate

lengths 2k or 4.5k, skirting the dunes and  ocean front. If it is a windy day  you can see the Kitesurfers flying through the air, at the end of the shorter walk.




One of the best places to watch the Sunset is from The Alvor Waterfront.

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The second walk leaving from in front of Cinco Quinas Restaurant and is about 4k. in total.


After walking go to the waterfront and grab a front seat at Restinga Ria Cafe. The  sunset is between 6:00 and 7pm in October and November. If there are slight wisps in the air or light cloud you’re in for a spectacular treat, the photos won’t do it justice, the colours will go from blazing orange to subdued pinks, some fishermen will be zipping around in their boats or mooring up ready for the next nights fishing.


Plan a boat sightseeing trip or fishing trip for tomorrow with Fishing boat Donzela, Alvor Boat Trips or Happy Time boat trips.

Then stroll up the main road into Alvor for your choice of dozens of restaurants offering seafood as a speciality, can’t get any fresher than this.


Or dine at one of the classic Italian restaurants.

There is something for the whole family from seafood to pasta.

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Disappearing Donkeys

‘In recent years the numbers of donkeys in the Algarve and over all of Portugal, have reduced dramatically.


As they are seldom used in farming and the gypsies have replaced most of their donkeys with vans it is important to see this part of Algarve life does not disappear entirely.
On a back road to the Autodrome there is a quiet Donkey ‘Santuary’ with approximately 30 donkeys and many baby donkeys.
They are a part of a larger complex that rents apartments to tourists.
The state in its efforts to save the donkeys offers a symbolic subsidy of €40 per year to go toward their upkeep.
Although this is not enough to house and feed the donkeys, it is enough to help a bit, especially for extra feed in the very dry Summer.


They are always willing to show you around the complex and explain how you can interact with the donkeys or plan a holiday with your children here in the very peaceful countryside.
Because of the scarcity of fresh green food in the dry summer, the donkeys will come right up to the fence and take any green grass you have for them of apples, carrots etc. They are docile and welcome the extra nourishment you bring to them. Great photo opportunities for the little ones with the donkeys.

Donkey Holiday

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Award winning Marinha Beach

Since its designation as one of the top ten most beautiful beaches of Europe, and one of the top 100 beaches of the world by the Michelin guide, Marina beach is no longer a secret. Flanked by magnificent cliffs and having a very high quality of clean ocean water, it has become a mecca for travellers.

However if you go any time ‘off season’ (October to April) and ‘off the school holidays’, you can still experience its tranquil beauty with few other visitors.


There are picnic tables along the top and wonderful trails that lead off in either direction parallel to the coast, giving magnificent views along the east coast to Armação de Pêra & Albufeira, and to Carvoeiro along to the west. You will also encounter sink holes, that have been carefully fenced off and are amazing phenomenon created by a combination of wind and water erosion through the porous limestone rocks. Photos of Marinha beach have been used in many publicity shots for promotion of Portugal around the world.


This is a ‘must visit’ beach for its stunning beauty.

How to get there: Located in Caramujeira, Lagoa: Directly after (west) of the International School on the EN125 you come to a set of lights. Turn south towards the ocean, and continue following the small signs to Marina.

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There is a gravel parking lot. Please do not leave anything valuable inside you car not even in the trunk.

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With the coming of mid October we expect a change in the weather. But still the temperature is 25 to 30 degrees with a cloudless blue sky.
Suddenly, with little warning, a massive cloud front roles in from the north, bringing refreshing rain and an end to the long dry season and a dormant earth.


The magnificent clouds with accompanying thunder and lightening decorate the sky with rain and renew the plants, trees and flowers. One night of torrential rain and the next day we already see tiny shoots of green. The magic of a second spring is upon us in October.

The farmers can start to plant a second crop with knowledge that further rains will nourish and develop the fruits of the fall season.


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field of wild lupins west coast 2009

Three days after the rain we once again have Algarve’s clear blue sky with  25 to  30 degrees Celsius temperatures (75 to 85 Fahrenheit) and people are frolicking on the beach and basking in a warm s’western (Swest) wind that makes the water temperatures as warm as in peak summer.

Queteira Sunset over beach

Queteira Sunset over beach

Armao de Pera, beach at sunset

Carvoeiro Town Beach

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Mmmm Roast Chestnuts and the Portugal Tradition

On November 11th, if you’re in Portugal, settle yourself in for a real treat. It’s the day of the first tasting of the new wine, and also the roasting and eating of delicious chestnuts and the celebration of the harvest.

The chestnuts are roasted over a brassier in the street and sold in rolled cones Piping hot. There is nothing better than cracking open a hot chestnuts and eating them as you stroll down the street. Many restaurants will also hold special dinners on this night with tasting of the new wine with hot chestnuts at the end of the meal.
St Martin was a Roman soldier who shared his clothes with a starving naked beggar, upon this act the sun came out and Jesus said, ‘here is a truly good man who has clothed me.’

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So Many beaches, so little time


Starting with a cup of aromatic Portuguese coffee and a very fresh pastry in the morning in Aljezur at coffe shop Colmeia, we take the road heading west to the coast line.
The first beach we encounter is in the tiny fishing village of Monte Clerigo. Its been a bit of a drive and we could do with something to eat.
There is no better place to stop for lunch than at O Zé Restaurante where we had hake fillets, smoked salmon salad, melted goat cheese on crunchy country bread, that all made a delicious meal, washed down with some local green wine. All so very reasonable we marked it down to return another day.

Now on to examine the surfers paradise of the west coast.
Amado, with its surf classes looks like something out of a sixties hippy magazine, VW vans and campers lined up facing the sun,
with the occupants young travellers sitting on folding sun chairs catching the rays.
“How is it that the surfers are all so good looking?” one of our party proclaimed, watching the parade of young men and women carrying their boards down to the surf.
There is ‘Coffee Shop Amado’ with a mixed crowd of surfers and a few tourists, just in case you need another coffee.

Further along there are spectacular views from Carrapateira, which was originally a Moorish fishing settlement with the remains of their tiny rock houses perched on the cliffs.








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Christmas Fair in Armação de Pêra

A really fun christmas Party was held, November 11th by Fiona and a group of artisans and vendors of all things Christmas. The nice thing about this fair is that the ‘sellers’ were mostly friends of Fiona, and also many were friends of the clients. This made for a very congenial atmosphere all during the day. As well the day gave Fiona a chance to show off her wonderful line of garmets for the fall and winter.
Hans, Fionas husband was at a small table just outside the door offering up delicious hot swedish mulled wine to everyone free of charge.It was delicious! Donations were made for the Bombeiros.



Just upon entering the door was Sweet Marilyn selling her scrumptious squares of chocolate brownies, coconut crunch, mince squares, Christmas Puddings, Gingermen cookies and offering samples too! Its always impossible not to buy something from Sweet Marilyn.

Throughout the room were sellers of Christmas cards, Xmas crackers, new calanders, home made approved magnesium tablets and other vitamins & beauty products.


There was a group of 8 artisans from Caldas de Monchique selling items they normally only have in their shop ART@SPA including gorgeous glass beaded necklaces, hand blown fish, beautiful fine Ceramics, hand painted gift cards etc. You can also visit them in their unique shop in Caldas de Monchique, open February to end of November.

The fair was a great success, and we can look forward to many more in the coming years.

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Naval Club & Café Lunch


A short stroll down the walkway along the Arade River in Portimão brings you to a perfect spot for lunch. Look for the blue building shaped like a sail. Go upstairs to the restaurant. The Naval Club has a huge terrace overlooking the river, the yachts, and to Ferragudo and is open to the public.

While watching the boats coming and going from the Portimão Harbour and Marina, have a choice of their fabulous chateaubriand for two, the huge meat kebabs, or try a daily special such as goat stew with delicious tiny potatoes cooked in the stew and toast.

If you’re only hungry for a small bite, go into cafe on the ground floor facing the river and order one of their “tosta mistas” they are absolutely wonderful and one should do for two, with some left over for breakfast! But absolutely delish.

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