The Southern Charms of Spain and Portugal
I was the official end of the world, standing among yellow wildflowers on the edge of a cliff, looking at the waters of Atlantic color: endless and exciting ceruleans cyan all imaginable shades.
The end of the world, that is, before he knew that the earth was round, Before Vasco da Gama came to India by sea and before Magellan will distribute the world, the southernmost point of what is now Portugal was Considered as the end of the known world. The Romans have called Cape St. Vincent Promontorium sacro (Holy promontory), water believed to suffocate the sun every night, while the fireball was placed in the ocean.
I arrived here through Seville, Spain, a great base to explore Andalusia and, on the other side of the border, in the south of Portugal. Only a few hours in the car can transport to the beautiful white buildings of Vejer de la Frontera or a sherry cellar, learning the subtleties of winemaking in the Sherry Triangle, with pristine beaches and breathtaking views in The cliffs nearby.
With the dollar still relatively strong, there is no better time to visit this nice part of the world and enjoy what it has to offer – with a little planning, your wallet will hardly be worse for wear.
My best hosts in the small Portuguese town Carrapateira were a Spanish couple, Ignacio Ybarra and Angela, my friends who keep a vacation home there. Ignacio explains why they loved holidays in southern Portugal is beautiful, cheap and relatively unknown. “It’s like the way it was in Spain,” he said.
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Carrapateira, less than three hours drive from Seville, is perfectly situated between two excellent beaches: Praia do Amado and Praia da Bordeira. The first is a conventional beach with surfers, food vendors and people watching from large crowds.
Bordeira, however, is where you want to be if you want to experience a relaxing and meditative beach. After the stunning scenes at Estrada da Praia, we crossed the Ribeira da Carrapateira to reach the beach (quite easy – it was just a drip). Ignacio and I have traveled along Bordeira, about two miles.
After the first mile or so, we did not meet anyone on the perfect white sand beach, except for a couple of campers in a tent near a cave. The only evidence that everyone was on the beach was the strange fishing buoy that let Ignacio go and put it in a plastic bag.
The rest of Carrapateira is modest but charming. Almost all houses are painted white or almost white, and offer decent accommodation options for tourists (I stopped quite Pensão das Dunas, with doubles from 25 to 55 euros – $ 28 to $ 62 per night, depending on the season) And at least a very good place to eat, Restaurante do Cabrita. The seafood is the specialty, of course, and at the same time it offers dishes such as grilled bass (€ 13.80) and fried sepia (€ 10.50) at reasonable prices, we were looking for something more out of the ordinary.