Forty or fifty years ago Carvoeiro was the quintessential Algarve fishing village. However, being halfway between the resorts of Albufeira and Portimao it was only a matter of time before the tourist industry caught up with it.
Carvoeiro is still a lovely spot though. It can get a tad busy mid-summer but there are quite a few little coves nearby to explore.
The beach at Arrifana, near Aljezur, is on the Atlantic coast of the Algarve. Also known as the Costa Vicentina, this area is a protected Natural Park and a very different place to the holiday resorts along the south coast. This is fairly wild terrain, with steep cliffs rising out of the pounding Atlantic ocean.
Arrifana is one of the best regarded surf spots in southern Portugal. There are several breaks along its length, but it is "Kangaroo Point" at the northern end where the real action takes place. It only breaks on a big swell and there are rocks everywhere, so be warned!
There have been castles in Loulé since the time of the Romans. Since that time the site has been occupied by the Moors and the Spanish. The current Loulé Castle was built mainly in the 13th century and comprises of three towers. It is home to the town's archaeological museum.
The short, sandy beach of Tamariz in Estoril is one of the most popular on this stretch of coast between Lisbon and Cascais. It is particularly favoured with those holidaying in the area and can get rather busy during the summer months.
There is a train station just behind the beach and there are a number of bars, cafes and even a nightclub right on the beachfront.
The faux castle overlooking the beach is apparently owned by the Monaco royal family
Praia de Odeceixe (beach) is located at the mouth of the Rio de Seixe (River Seixe) which forms the border between the Algarve and Alentejo regions of Portugal. This is the northern end of the beach which has a wilder appearance than the main beach. The southern end (Praia de Adegas) is a naturalist beach.
Praia de Odeceixe has been awarded the Blue Flag award on a number of occasions for its cleanliness and facilities.
The Basilica in Fátima forms the centre piece of the Fátima Sanctuary complex. The shrine is set in what was initially a small village no one had really heard of. The one day three shepherd children claimed to have had visions of "Our Lady" and things took off from there. Declared a miracle the site became a major pilgrimage centre in the catholic world, with the most dedicated making the journey here on their knees - including the stone steps of the basilica.
The site here is huge; the basilica tower reaches up 65 metres and the square in front is bigger than St Peter's in the Vatican.
Sadly, two of children died a couple of years later in the Spanish flu pandemic which swept the world in 1919.
The Church of São Lourenço (Igreja de São Lourenço) in Almancil dates back to the late 1600s. It is a fine example of a whitewashed Algarvian church built in the Baroque style. It features an large azulejo tile over the main door depicting Saint Lawrence of Rome which as added in 1730.
The exquisitely ornate Baroque Joanina Library is part of the University of Coimbra - the oldest and most reputable in Portugal. It contains some 250 thousand volumes some of which are first editions of Portugal's literary masterpieces.
Mafra is a small, sleepy town around 50km north of Lisbon. I remember on my first visit here thinking that it was quite an unremarkable, but not unpleasant, little town. Then, bang! Suddenly I was looking at the most enormous, ornate building I'd seen anywhere in Portugal.
Built as a convent in the early 18th century this was one of the biggest buildings in Europe at the time. At the time it served as both a Franciscan monastery and a royal palace. The real reason it was built in the seemingly obscure town of Mafra is it is close to very good hunting grounds in the nearby forests.
The impressive Sameiro Sanctuary (or Sanctuary of Our Lady of Sameiro to give it its full name) is located on the outskirts of the city of Braga. It is relatively recent, having been built in 1863. The domed structure is dedicated to Mary, making this the largest Marian shrine in Portugal