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How to explore the Algarve’s cultural heritage through gastronomy

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A group of chefs prepare a cataplana in the Algarve
In 2021, over 2.73 million tourists visited the Portuguese region of Algarve – Source: Statista

The Algarve region of Portugal boasts a rich and vibrant culture that has been shaped by its geography, history, and people. Under nearly five centuries of Muslim rule the Algarve, originally called ‘Al-Gharb’, meaning ‘The West’ still holds Arab influences through its architecture and names of its towns. The area is steeped in tradition with a long history of fishing, agriculture, and crafts that are based on sustainable principles such as a circular economy, sea to table gastronomy and the maintenance of old traditions.

The region has a myriad of interesting tours, led by passionate locals and small enterprising companies, that are keen to share with visitors unique and unforgettable experiences to reveal their cultural heritage in areas of the Algarve less visited by tourists.

E-Bikes Culinary Tour of Rural Algarve

A chance to explore the authentic Algarve by electric bike, starting with a morning ride through the stunning hills of Silves. Enjoy a homemade breakfast made from locally sourced ingredients in a secret garden. Cycle through picturesque villages to a cheese factory, followed by a bakery where you’ll learn to make the famous “Bread with Chouriço”. Savour these delicacies while taking in the panoramic views of the Silves valley. This farm-to-table experience is a must-try for food and nature lovers alike.

Duration: 6 hours / Price per person starts from €89 approx. £78 / www.algarvefoodexperience.com/

Oyster Experience 

This unique tour starts in the vibrant town of Olhão and a chance to explore the local market packed with a diverse range of fish and fresh vegetables. Stroll through the narrow, cobbled streets to admire the traditional paintings on buildings that depict the history of the fishing community. Then embark on a scenic boat tour of the stunning Ria Formosa Natural Park, where you meet the fishermen and observe them picking oysters. The tour continues to Culatra island to learn about the art of oyster picking and to meet Silvia, the president of the island community. The tour includes a fresh oyster tasting and lunch.

Duration: 4-6 hours / Price per person starts from €130 approx. £114 / www.pt4u.pt/

Algarve Rock Brewery Tour

Discover why Portugal is named as one of the 11 largest beer producers in Europe. Algarve Rock Brewery, located outside of Faro, is a state-of-the-art brewing facility producing a variety of completely natural and full-flavoured craft beers. The Taproom is open to the public and offers beer tasting and brewery tours by appointment, where guests can see first-hand the process behind Algarve local craft beer. To join in with the locals – live music and street food events are hosted every first Friday of the month.

Duration: 1 hour / Price per person €20 approx. £17 / www.algarverock.com/

Cataplana For All 

The Algarve region is famous for its unique cuisine and its renown cataplana, a traditional Portuguese stew made with a base of onion, garlic, red and green peppers with the addition of seafood or pork with clams. In this culinary experience, participants will have the chance to explore and learn to prepare a delicious fish and shellfish cataplana. This hands-on experience offers an opportunity to discover the secrets of Algarve gastronomy and indulge in a feast for the senses.

Duration: From 3 hours / Prices start from €128 per person approx. £112 / www.tertulia-algarvia.pt/

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