The Algarve region is known to be one of Portugal’s top summer destinations. But with all the development in resort towns like Albufeira and Portimão, it can be hard to find solace while visiting during high season. So you can imagine my surprise when I found myself completely alone in the Eastern part of the Algarve in the midst of the summer season. Noting a relatively undiscovered nature of this well-known vacation spot, I was pleasantly satisfied. I was due to stay at Fazenda Nova Country House, just 25 minutes from the bustling city of Faro, yet all the feels of being a million miles away from any single person. A retreat nuzzled inside the countryside, the rural charm of this 19th-century farmhouse radiates throughout the property. After the place transformed into a chic boutique hotel, Fazenda Nova offers a vacation within a vacation.
The name “Fazenda” comes from the original meaning of the Portuguese word, meaning a place which was once a former country house. With fazendas formerly known to be traditional family homes and farms, the property has been thoughtful in its renovation. By keeping a bit of its rustic glamour into the place that it is now, you can feel the Portuguese history all around you.
Voted as one of Portugal’s Top 20 Hippest Hotels, you’ll find all the high-end amenities and 5-star services at Fazenda Nova. The property comes with their own farm-to-table restaurant, a fully stocked bar, and a swimming pool meant for daytime lounging in the countryside. They also have an upstairs library filled with an impressive vintage vinyl collection, each individually collected by the owner. With every detailed piece personally picked and placed around the fazenda, the aesthetics beautifully complement the house and its leisurely ambiance.
By combining a bit of the countryside with coastal beach vibes, the atmosphere here is quite unique. Fazenda Nova comes with an exclusive fifteen luxurious suites with designs that embody eucalyptus wood, rare flea-market goodies, and Balinese-styled beds. The property prides itself in minimalist designs with a twist of modern Portuguese flare. The idea is simple: create a warming and peaceful atmosphere for people to enjoy; while being close enough to some of the most beautiful beaches that Portugal has to offer.
Being ideally located in the Eastern part of the Algarve, you’ll find plenty of time to explore the charming culture, cuisine and natural beauty of this UNESCO-protected area. As you quickly come to find, this part of Portugal is all about the simple pleasures. Far removed from the tourist traps down, the Eastern Algarve fills itself with a fun, authentic, and desolate atmosphere. And without the crowds, it makes it easy to discover the undiscovered.
A highlight of visiting this special part of Portugal is the Saturday mornings you’ll spend at the Olhão market. The place is buzzing with excitement as vendors set up shop at one of the coolest markets I’ve ever been to. The market is situated into two huge red-brick halls — one for fruit, vegetables, and meat; the other for fish. Although the place is open on other days of the week, it’s the Saturday market where you can truly witness the real lives that the Portuguese people live.
Walking through the market you’ll see stalls spilling out from under the main tented areas and onto the streets. The locals cluster together bringing oysters that they scavenged for earlier that week, cockerels in supermarket trolleys, jars of homemade fruity olive oils, bunches of dried oregano, and ghastly large pumpkins and squashes. I happily leave the day with a huge pound of dried figs and one of the most delicious donuts I’ve ever had, known as farturas.
As Portugal becomes increasingly popular, more and more parts of the country are becoming discovered by tourists. But with the Eastern part of the Algarve region still surprisingly unspoiled, see it while you still can.