Originally the road leading to Monte Gordo was an unmade track, the main traffic being donkeys and goats. The road was lined with blossoming almond trees, and according to Portuguese folklore, when the Moors came to the Algarve one of their princesses missed the Almond Blossom from her home so much that her Prince ordered Almond Blossom to be planted all over the Algarve. At certain times of the year there is an abundance of beautiful almond blossoms in the Algarve.
To reach Monte Gordo in the early 1960's was to drive from Lisbon Airport via Alentajo, or from Spain by car and boat. At this time Monte Gordo was a small sleepy fishing village, and the fisherman would sit mending their nets in the village square which consisted of a cafe and one shop.
The locals lived in very modest houses, and at the end of the village was a shanty town the whole village was surrounded by pine forests. There was one hotel The Vasco da Gama and an old Casino.
Once the airport opened in Faro, Monte Gordo began to flourish with further hotels and apartments being built and a new Casino. The locals prospered and today have nice homes, successful businesses all of which make Monte Gordo the holiday resort as we now know it. Many of the people in Monte Gordo are related, and up until recently everyone you met would originate from Monte Gordo.
Much of the Portuguese culture and traditions remain and there are often fiestas, carnivals, religious processions and folklore dancing. On a Saturday it is not unusual to see a convoy of cars parading around the village loudly tooting their horns, this is a local wedding.
The locals still gather in the square with their families on a Sunday afternoon to take coffee. Just behind the square is a pretty whitewashed church. The roads leading to the square host a wide variety of shops, cafes and restaurants. There are 2 banks, several small supermarkets selling fresh bread daily cash machines, a post office and a daily street market... Some of the roads are lined with orange trees. The Casino which was rebuilt is still by the square
On the beautiful soft, sandy beach there are all of the relevant facilities such as sun loungers, parasols beach sports and activities. Life guards are on regular duty, and there are first aid equipped beach huts.
Beach restaurants offer a wide selection of good food and wines at reasonable prices. The perfect spot to enjoy Sardines and a bottle of Portuguese wine.
Early morning you can still buy fish from the fisherman as they bring in their daily catch. Also a great place for a treasure hunt as you can find a host of sea creatures from the nets including starfish and seahorses.
In the evening the beachfront comes alive with the bars and cafes, there are also street entertainers, amusements to suit all, and horse drawn buggy trips around the village. Many of the hotels also have evening entertainment.
The local football team Beria Mar has this year made 2nd division. The coach is a local who played for them when they used to practice on the streets and beach, His name is Jose and together with his brother now owns Johns bar see them if you would like to see the local team play.
Just along the road in Villa Real is the Olympic approved Athletic Stadium. Also from here you can take a ferry across the Guadiana River to the Spanish town of Ayomonte. Or you can drive across the bridge to sample the delights of Spain’s Andalusia and the Costa da Luz (Coast Of Lights).
There are many places of interest around Monte Gordo including the nature reserves with Flamingos and Storks, the salt flats, Castro Marim with its Moorish Castle, and 6 top ranking golf courses.
Tavira, one of the Algarve’s prettiest towns is 15 mins away
Monte Gordo is the main holiday resort for the Portuguese, and this has ensured that it has kept it Portuguese flavour.
Yes there are now restaurants from various parts of the world, and an internet cafe etc, but typical Portuguese food still features on most menus and you are amongst the Portuguese people.
However turn right and you will discover the beautiful unspoilt Portuguese Eastern Algarve
Written by Antonio and Lesley - Owners of Property 52525 in Monte Gordo, Portugal