Vegetarian and vegan travel: follow next year’s travel trend in the Algarve

Do you wish to taste some less traditional cuisine while in holidays in the Algarve? Find in Portimão some great veg-friendly spots and discover how delicious this alternative cuisine can be. BIKE MY SIDE AND ENJOY THE RIDE | TRAVEL AND LEISURE BLOG PORTUGAL

Accordingly to Regis St. Loius, Lonely Planet writer, vegetarian and vegan travel will be one of next year’s travel trends and we could not agree more.

Whether it is for healthy issues, animal or planet concerns, or simply to vary tastes and try new foods and flavours, vegetarian and vegan food is here to stay.

If you are vegan, vegetarian, raw food lover, or simply wish to taste some less traditional cuisine while in holidays in the Algarve, you can find in Portimão, some great veg-friendly spots which are well worth a visit, for the quality of the food and the friendliness of the staff.

Azul Naturally Healthy, Alvor

If you think vegetarian food is boring and tasteless, you are mistaken. In Azul Naturally Healthy eating is fun and colourful. Marisa Marques manages with a smile this small and friendly space in Alvor that serves meals 100% vegan, organic and gluten free. Here there is the believe that we can eat healthy food in the most natural way possible taking advantage of what nature gives us the best and being ethical towards animals and the environment. Serves lunch, drinks and coffee. There is also a small grocery store where you can buy some organic products for an original souvenir.

Marisa

Ask for the Peanut Butter Candies you might be lucky and savour some real sweet vegan and raw delight.

Bombons

Armazém Integral, Portimão

Armazém Integral is an original healthy food store in Portimão that sells in bulk and also serves 100% vegan meals, juices and raw desserts. Here you can find special and varied flours, healthy pastry, superfoods, oilseeds, seeds, cereals natural supplements, and more, all in bulk, for a sustainable and tailor-made consumption, always at your disposal with the attentiveness and kindness of the couple Érika and Adérito. A vegan dish, a fresh juice and a raw dessert are served for lunch every day of the week to eat on the site or to take away.

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Meals vary during the week and are always tasty but our highlight goes definitely to the original raw desserts that surprises all customers. Ah! And you must also taste the vegan ice creams. They are delicious!

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Mercearia Bio Café, Portimão

Just around the corner from Armazém Integral, you can find the Mercearia Bio Café that started its adventure ten years ago as the Mercearia Bio, an organic grocery online. The dream of Pedro Gonçalves, the owner, grew and materialized in the Mercearia Bio Café, where besides the commercialization of organic products, organic fresh, drinks and organic non food, you can have breakfast, light lunch, a snack or drink a natural juice, everything 100% organic certified. The Mercearia Bio Café has a cosy interior space, a small but pleasant outdoor terrace with partial river view and always a friendly service.

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If you are a coffee lover, you must taste their genuine organic coffee.

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Super Juice – Juice and Smoothie Bar, Praia da Rocha

Super Juice is located on Praia da Rocha and offers a variety of fresh fruit and vegetable smoothies, as well as salads, sandwiches and healthy snacks. It is less than 1 minute from the famous Praia da Rocha and we can even see the sea from the terrace. A relaxed space with a typical beach bar décor. If you want to start the day with an energizing juice before a dive, this is a great option. On the menu there are also salads and sandwiches with various vegetarian, vegan and non-vegetarian options, and two varieties of hummus.

Super juice

For a healthier holiday time, Green Detox is the juice you’ll want to try

Green Detox

Taberna da Casa da Tocha, Portimão

Casa da Tocha is situated in the center of Portimão, in an early 20th-century building. With a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, Taberna da Casa da Tocha serves meals, snacks and wines. Every day there is a fish dish, a meat dish and a special raw vegan of the day – a place that will appeal to all, vegetarians, vegan, raw food lovers, and non-vegetarians. The wine cellar offers a careful selection of Portuguese wines, with special emphasis on the Algarve wines. Casa da Tocha also has a family-friendly hostel with a maximum capacity of 10 people.

Casa da Tocha

The guacamole nachos are a real treat you can not fail to experience.

Nachos de guacamole e salada

Vegetarianus, Portimão

Vegetarianus is a small restaurant in the center of Portimão that exclusively serves vegetarian dishes, also offering the take away option. The couple that owns the restaurant is very friendly and makes delicious dishes that leads us to know new flavors and to truly realize that vegetarian food can be as, or more delicious, than the traditional cuisine. Every day there is a variety of different and colorful dishes and desserts that sometimes seem almost impossible that only two people can make so much delicious food in one morning! It is a residents’ lunch spot, so if you want to get a table easily, we suggest you go early in the opening hour at 12:00am.

vegetarianus

The food is all tasty, but our highlight goes definitly for the salty pastries that with a salad and a natural juice, are by themselves a delicious and healthy meal.

pasteis doces e salgados

If you wish to know more veg-friendly eateries across the globe you can check the Lonely Planet article here.

Aguardente de Medronho, the nectar of the gods of the Algarve

With the autumn and the first rains, it begins in the Algarve, the harvesting season of the arbutus, the fruit from which the famous Aguardente de Medronho is made.
BIKE MY SIDE AND ENJOY THE RIDE | TRAVEL AND LEISURE BLOG PORTUGAL

With the autumn and the first rains – which have been slow to fall this year – it begins in the Algarve, when the branches of the arbutus are filled with red and orange fruits, the harvesting season of the arbutus, the fruit from which the famous Aguardente de Medronho is made.

The arbutus is a spontaneous plant typical of the mountains of the Algarve and the south of the Mediterranean.

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Its fruits, yellow, orange and red, appear in mid-October and November and look like wild strawberries, although rounder and rough in texture.

Those of red colour already mature are sweet and edible and even quite healthy because they have an antioxidant action.

The use of the fruit of the arbutus for fermentation and distillation or for the confection of jams is a practice that dates back many centuries throughout the mountainous area of ​​the Algarve.

The distillation technique with stills originates in the Egyptian and Greek civilizations and usually takes place in mid-February.

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The fruits are carefully collected, fermented in wooden kettles, after which, after some time, they are distilled in copper stills.

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The quality of the fruit, its harvest, the care with the fermentation, the distillation and its time of duration, are some of the secrets of each producer. Secrets that are transmitted from generation to generation, so that the final product – the Aguardente de Medronho from the Algarve – is unique throughout the world and of unparalleled flavour.

A true gods’ nectar from the mountains of the Algarve, which you cannot fail to prove next time in the Algarve!

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If you want to know a little more about the stages of the arbutus – picking, fermentation, distillation and bottling, just look here.

8 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Lisbon

Lisbon is the city of Fado, with a mythical and romantic light that enchants who visits it, Here are 8 interesting facts that will certainly sharpen your interest in getting to know the capital of Portugal.
BIKE MY SIDE & ENJOY THE RIDE | TRAVEL AND LEISURE BLOG PORTUGAL

Lisbon, the city of Fado, with a mythical and romantic light that enchants who visits it, has so much to visit and to show beyond the obvious. There is so much to discover and here are just some interesting facts that will certainly sharpen your interest in getting to know the capital of Portugal. In the meantime, you can always make a good impression on your friends with these fun facts!

1 – Lisbon is known as the city of the seven hills (Castelo, Graça, Monte, Penha de França, São Pedro de Alcântara, Santa Catarina and Estrela). This designation goes back to the time of the Roman occupation, in which it is affirmed that Lisbon would have been founded under seven hills, like Rome. In each hill, we can find several belvederes with unique and magnificent views of the romantic capital of Portugal.

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2 – The Lisboetas are known as “alfacinhas” because in the time of the Arabs, the “alfaces” (lettuces) were cultivated abundantly in Lisbon. In fact, the word “alface” is of Arabic origin.

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3 – In the basement of Lisbon there are the enigmatic Roman Galleries of Baixa, unknown by the tourists and only open to the public for three days a year. The visits this year, will be held on 22, 23 and 24 of September and are already sold out!

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4 –  The statue of Christ the King on the left bank of the river Tejo is a copy of Christ the Redeemer of Rio de Janeiro, has a height of 28 meters and the monument in total reaches 100 meters in height.

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5 – The Belém area has two buildings classified by UNESCO as World Heritage: the Jeronimos Monastery and the Torre de Belém – formerly guarding the entrance of the boats on the river Tejo.

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Mosteiro dos jeronimos

6 – Lisbon it’s home to the oldest bookstore in the world. The Bertrand Bookshop has been around since 1732. It is located in Lisbon’s Bairro Alto neighborhood. The bookstore was destroyed in the 1755 earthquake that ruined the city, but was moved to the same location you can find it today and since 1773. And so it came to Guinness as the oldest bookshop in the world still in business.

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7 – Lisbon is older than Rome. Lisbon has been around four centuries longer than Rome and Portugal has maintained its original borders since 1139, making it the oldest country in Europe.

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8 –  The Vasco da Gama Bridge, inaugurated in 1998, is the longest bridge in Europe and one of the longest in the world, 17.3 km long, 12 km of which are on the waters of the Tejo river estuary.

ponte vasco da gama

Visiting Lisbon is in fashion and it conquers more and more tourists every year…It is easy to see why!

The wonders of Lagoa do Algarve

10 Wonders of Lagoa do Algarve will be in competition. Start your discovery here and pick your 5 favorites until August 31st. BIKE MY SIDE AND ENJOY THE RIDE | TRAVEL AND LEISURE BLOG | PORTUGAL

Lagoa is already well known for its beautiful beaches, crafts and wine. But there is much more to discover … Historical places, breathtaking natural landscapes, secular churches, intimate convents, among other sites and monuments, revealing the culture, history and traditions of this Algarve county, undoubtedly worthy of a visit.

Now, 10 of these wonders will be in competition to elect the last five “Wonders of the Patrimony of Lagoa”. The voting takes place until 31 August and the winners will be announced on 2 September.

Here is the list of wonders to contest so that you can visit and make your choice.

1. Natural Coastal Landscape – Algar de Benagil, Praia da Marinha, Algar Seco

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2. Promontory of Senhora da Rocha

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3. Nossa Senhora da Encarnação Church (Porches)

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4. S. José Convent (Lagoa)

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5. Nossa Senhora da Luz Church (Lagoa)

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6. São Tiago Church (Estômbar)

Interior igreja

7. Misericórdia Churches: Lagoa and Estômbar

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8. Sítio das Fontes Natural Park

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9. Santo António Chapel (Mexilhoeira da Carregação)

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10. Traditional urban hull of Ferragudo

Bike my Side Algarve in Ferragudo

You still have time to discover these wonders of the Algarve. Then, just leave your vote here. The invitation to participate in the selection of the “5 Wonders of the Municipality of Lagoa” is extended to all citizens, Portuguese and foreign residents in the county or not.

By the way, do not forget to share the photos of your experience in our Instagram and Facebook! #bikemyside_tours

Good rides through the lands of Lagoa do Algarve!

Portimão, so much more than Sun and Sea

Portimão is a city rich in history and culture, with monuments, archaeological sites and churches that are definitely worth a visit during your summer holidays. BIKE MY SIDE & ENJOY THE RIDE | TRAVEL AND LEISURE BLOG PORTUGAL

If you visit the beautiful city of Portimão in the summer you know that you can find magnificent beaches such as Praia da Rocha, Praia do Vau or Praia do Alemão, good restaurants with fresh fish and shellfish – do not forget that this is a fisherman’s land – and a Lively nightlife, with bars, discos and beach clubs for all tastes. But, Portimão is so much more than Sun and Sea …

What only few knows is that this is also a city rich in history and culture, with monuments, archaeological sites and churches in the so-called Historic Center of Portimão, in Alvor and in the vicinity that are undoubtedly worth a visit during your summer holidays.

Walking in the starlights

An interesting way to get to know the heritage of Portimão on summer evenings is through the nocturnal cultural tours, organized on four Fridays, in the light of the stars, by the Portimão Town Hall, where participants are invited to make the journey between the Praça Manuel Teixeira Gomes, Jardim Bívar, Manuel Teixeira Gomes House, Largo 1º de Dezembro, Igreja Matriz, Alameda da Republica and Largo 1º de Maio.

Igreja

There are also night walks to discover the interesting Islamic heritage of the fishing village of Alvor which has three buildings of Islamic origin currently transformed into small chapels. In this cultural tour you will visit the Morabito de São Pedro, the Morabito attached to the main Church of Alvor and the religious building, the Ethnographic Museum, the Castle and the civil architecture of the village

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Alcalar

About 10 km from the center of Portimão you will find the megalithic monuments of Alcalar, where about 5,000 years ago, lived a prehistoric community. In this amazing outdoor museum you can discover the daily life of the first prehistoric communities and their rituals.

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Museu de Portimão

The cultural ex-libris of the city is undoubtedly the Museum of Portimão, one of the most awarded Portuguese museums in Portugal and abroad, which was inaugurated in 2008 and has already been awarded with the “Council of Europe Museum 2010” by the Europe Council.

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Installed in an old fish cannery on the right bank of the River Arade, the Museu de Portimão invites you to discover the origins and evolution of the community, the territory and the most striking aspects of the industrial and maritime history of Portimão.

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Divided into three different tours “Origin and Destiny of a Community”, “Industrial Life and the  Challenge of the Sea” and “From under of the waters”, we are invited to explore into the past and discover ancient ways of living and traditions that the museum helps to keep alive in the present time.

O mundo rural

In the permanent projection room, the 20 minutes film “The Game of Sardine”, filmed in 1946 in Portimão in the S. António and S. Francisco factories, shows the process of producing canned sardines. It is worth watching and witnessing real images of the hard and demanding daily life of the Algarve canning industry.

A industria conserveira

In the factory’s old water cistern, where rainwater was collected and reused for supplying the brine tanks and the factory’s boilers, you can discover the Ocean Revival project that is based on the deliberate immersion of four warships of the Portuguese Navy for the formation of a unique artificial reef in the world, with the ideal conditions for the establishment and proliferation of marine fauna and flora, a reason of great interest for lovers of the underwater world.

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Visiting the Museu de Portimão is a great family program for a hot summer afternoon to escape the hottest hours on the beach, helping to enrich and further diversify your Algarve vacation experience.

And when you book the Bike my Side “Postcard Collection” sidecar tour you will immediately receive a €1 discount voucher to cash in on your entry ticket at the Museu de Portimão.

The next time you are on holidays in Portimão, do not forget these insider tips and get to discover the more cultural and probably more unknown side of this fantastic Algarve city. You will love it!

Museu de Portimão Contacts

Rua D. Carlos I, 8500 – 607 Portimão | Tel.: + 351 282 405 230
museu@cm-portimao.pt | http://www.museudeportimao.pt

Centro de Interpretação Alcalar

Tel.: +351 282 471 410 | alcalar@cm-portimao.pt

Cultural Night Tours

The registrations for these tours are free of charge but with limited number of participants and must be made prior to the day before the respective tours, through the following contacts: email: gabinete.patrimonio@cm-portimao.pt or Tel.: +351 282 470 799 /+351 282 480 488

Bike my Side private sidecar tours

Tel.: +351 917 015 996 | algarve@bikemyside.com | www.bikemyside.com 

Guaranteed to make you smile

Touring the Algarve in a sidecar motorcycle has a kind of magical feeling about it. You will find yourself smiling and waving at complete strangers for the simple reason that you just feel happy! BIKE MY SIDE AND ENJOY THE RIDE | TRAVEL AND LEISURE BLOG PORTUGAL

Yes! You are in the Algarve and it’s summer!

But, did you know that you can discover all the beauties of the region and at the same time, escape the tourist mess?

If you are visiting the Algarve on holidays and prefer a more quite adventure, our sidecar tours are the most enjoyable way you will find to experience the beautiful city of Portimão, the surroundings beaches, local treats and breathtaking landscapes whilst travelling in comfort, style and 100% safe aboard our classic motorcycle sidecar.

Três Irmãos

All you have to do is sit back and relax in the freedom of an open-air  environment  as your experienced Bike my Side driver and guide entertains you with stories and interesting facts about the Algarve – all the most famous tips and secrets that only a local knows.

Flavours on the go Algarve

As this is your own private tour we can stop at any time for you to take pictures and videos so you will be able to share your special journey for years to come with friends and family and have memories that will last a lifetime!

Algarve Sweets

Bike my Side Sidecar Tours are ideal for people of all ages, shapes, sizes and abilities as we travel at a leisurely pace and do our best to avoid  busy main roads.

sardinhas assadas

Touring the Algarve in a sidecar motorcycle has a kind of magical feeling about it. You will find yourself smiling and waving at complete strangers for the simple reason that you just feel happy!

Bike my Side Sidecar Tours Algarve winerays

Yes, it’s summer. Yes, you are in the Algarve and you can make the most of it!

For more information & reservations just visit us www.bikemyside.com 

 

5 Great reasons to visit Monchique the top of the Algarve, Portugal

Monchique, a quite different Algarve so genuine and so interesting to discover.
BIKE MY SIDE AND ENJOY THE RIDE | TRAVEL AND LEISURE BLOG PORTUGAL

When choosing the Algarve for your holiday’s destination you may not know that besides the sun, sea, beach, golf, culture and delicious gastronomy and all other amazing activities related to a holiday destination of sun and beach, you can find not far from the coast, a green paradise, fresh and full of alternative attractions, called Monchique.

The municipality of Monchique is characterized by a diversity of activities that have lasted in time and continue to be developed in traditional ways, with great interest and an important part of the Algarve identity.

Do you like honey, original handicrafts, firewater and mountain products?

If so, here are five good reasons to take a leap up to Monchique hills while you’re in the Algarve.

 

1. CALDAS DE MONCHIQUE

The Caldas de Monchique are known as the “Sintra” of the Algarve. A cool, green, serene spot, where there is a small square wrapped in large trees and refreshing water fountains, perfect for a picnic. If you like thermal baths, the Monchique Spa is excellent with its mineral-medicinal waters, used since ancient times for treatments.

Caldas

2. MONCHIQUE VILLAGE

In the centre of the village you can enjoy a magnificent view from the belvedere of the São Sebastião park, visit the Monchique main church dating from the beginning of the 16th century, the Convent of Nossa Senhora do Desterro, enjoy the narrow streets of the village, contemplating the vast white houses with the typical chimneys and stop to visit some of the craft houses. And of course, taste the traditional firewater, here called “Aguardente de Medronho” .

Monchique Experience I

3. FOIA

Climbing to the highest point of the Algarve – Foia – is a must. From Foia you can see a great stretch of landscape from the Cabo de São Vicente to the Serra da Arrábida. A breathtaking landscape! Prepare to be amazed!

Foia Way II

Foia view

4. MOUNTAIN FOOD AND ANCIENT TRADITIONS

In Monchique, in addition to being able to enjoy architectural, historical and cultural heritage along with the many natural beauties, you have a very rich traditional gastronomy, honey, traditional sweets and the medronho.

In Monchique, there is an important artisan activity of producing very good pig sausages and “presunto” from the “Porco Preto da Montanheira”.

Beekeeping is also a typical activity of Monchique and the “Honey of the Monchique Mountains” is a high quality product with “Protected Designation of Origin”.

The manufacture of the Aguardente de Medronho and make bread are another traditional activities of the Monchique hills.

Flavours

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5. GREEN BREATHTAKING LANDSCAPES

The Serra de Monchique is affectionately nicknamed “Jardim do Algarve” – the Algarve green garden. Crystalline banks, leafy trees and a natural freshness that contrasts with the warm Algarve coastline that complements even more, your holiday experience in the Algarve.

Monchique hills

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Monchique, a quite different Algarve so genuine and so interesting to discover.

Keep the suggestion and … have a good time during your Algarve holidays!