Burgau

Originally, it was a small fishermen’s village. Now, it has turned into a cluster of holiday cottages, all surrounding a sandy beach that’s enclosed by cliffs. Still, Burgau’s traditional charm hasn’t disappeared and the village on the south-eastern edge of the Costa Vicentina national park makes for a pleasant visit, particularly outside the high season. What to do in the Burgau area? Enjoy the Algarve suggests these nine things.

See the original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine October 2017

 

Check out the town

In Burgau, it’s all about the beach. Getting to that sandy bit of coastline means going on a nice walk through the village; stroll along steep cobbled streets with white & blue cottages and cars parked next to old fishing boats. Very popular with English expats, Burgau lives up to its name of the ‘quaintest beachside village’ in Europe (as voted by Lonely Planet readers in 2010). If it wasn’t so warm and sunny, you’d almost think this was somewhere on the Cornish coast.

 

Go to the beach 

Praia do Burgau is sheltered by rocks on either side, so the water is quite calm. It isn’t a very large beach (especially not when the tide is in), but it’s big enough to accommodate plenty of sun seekers, with umbrellas and sunbeds for rent and a large seafront restaurant. Take care when parking your car directly on the beach, it’ll get wet with high tide. If Praia do Burgau is too crowded for your liking, consider moving to Praia da Boca do Rio, a few kilometres to the west. This beach doesn’t have any amenities whatsoever, but on the plus side, it’s almost deserted.

 

Walk on the cliffs

As Burgau is located on the edge of the Costa Vicentina Natural Park, it’s a good region to go for a coastal walk. It’s possible to walk all the way to the neighbouring villages of Luz (to the east) and Salema (to the west). When walking you’ll see fishing boats bobbing on the water below, surrounded by seagulls. However, those cliffs are quite high, so better watch your steps as well as the scenery.

Go rockpooling
Crabs, small fish and starfish hide in the small pools that form between the rocks at low tide. Searching for them is a foolproof way of keeping the kids entertained at Praia do Burgau; buckets and nets are sold in various souvenir shops in town. Rockpooling is best done on the eastern side of the beach, but beware of loose rocks and possible cliff falls.
Eat a bola
Do as the Portuguese and line up when the bola van arrives (usually mid-morning). From June to September, bolas de Berlim are sold directly on beaches all over Portugal, including at Praia do Burgau. Apparently these warm sugary donuts are best enjoyed when it’s hot outside. Read more about typical Portuguese snacks here.
Discover the Forte de São Luís de Almádena
Actually, more accurate would be: discover the ruins of the Forte de São Luís de Almádena. Located 3.4km west of Burgau, there isn’t much left of the fortress other than crumbling walls and half-destroyed stairs. Still, it’s worth a visit for the views over the Atlantic Ocean (on a clear day you can see all the way to Lagos (look left) and Sagres (right)). The fort was built in 1632 against Spanish pirates who were after the gold made by the nearby tuna trade. Originally it was an impressive building featuring no less than three canons, but most of it was destroyed by the earthquake of 1755.
Create some art

Monday to Friday from 11-16h, Mattes Matou and his colourful van can be found next to the Forte de São Luís de Almádena. Originally an artist in his native Germany, when he came to the Algarve, Mattes was done with art. However, karma decided otherwise and now he organises painting workshops for children. He also uses elements of various children’s drawings and combines them into a bright canvas. Mattes: “For me as an artist, the most important thing is authenticity. Therefore in my paintings, I copy parts of the children’s drawings exactly. Even if that means having a see-through house or a man without feet.”

Get in touch with Mattes on 960496871. If your child wants to participate in the 2.5h workshop, there’s no need to reserve beforehand, just don’t turn up any later than 13.30h. 

 

Visit Lagos

Want to explore a bit more than just Burgau? Lagos is less than 15km away (to the east). Visit this coastal town for water sports such as sailing and SUP, shopping, museums, zoo, and the famous Ponte de Piedade rock formations. Another option is Sagres, just over 22km to the west. When going to Sagres, definitely drive the extra bit and check out the Cabo de São Vicente which is the most southwestern point of Europe. If it’s a windy day, you might want to go ecokart landsailing, which can be done between Sagres and Vila do Bispo.

 

Stay the night

If you’ve got a campervan, try to find a spot at the car park just above the eastern part of Burgau’s beach. Here, overnight camping is still allowed and you’re located conveniently close to the public toilets and showers that stay open the whole night. The nearby shack offers food, drinks and live music at the weekend. Park so your sliding door is facing the Atlantic Ocean and wake up to an amazing view. At night, go for a moonlight beach stroll. (Yes, we’re pretty romantic here at Enjoy the Algarve).

 

See the original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine October 2017

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