Virtually every Algarve town and village of any size invites you to explore its back streets and alleyways. Who could resist coming upon an old archway like this and not feeling the need to walk just a little bit further to see what is around the next bend?
This particular scenic back street will be found in the historic district of Loulé, but I have dozens of pictures of other quaint, inviting street scenes that are similar. I tend to travel solo, so safety is important to me. And I love the fact that I can wander at will around the Algarve without a care in the world for my safety. Now, I don’t tend to be a late night rambler so I might think a bit differently about this place at midnight, but during the day I find it surprising how few people you’re likely to encounter if you wander the maze of back streets on offer, let alone spending any time worrying if you’ll be safe as you meander.
Stout shoes are a must since almost all of the streets are cobbled. Soles that grip are also useful because many of these cobblestones have become polished with use. If there is a bit of dampness around it is easy to slip and slide on the undulating surfaces of cobbles. But other than that, I encourage you to get out and explore. Don’t go where everyone else goes. Take a side street, explore a back street, rattle down an alley for no more reason than to see where it goes and what cool windows, doors, flowerboxes or vistas show up. Even the big touristy places in the Algarve such as Albufeira, Lagos and Portimao all have lots of mysterious back streets for you to explore. And if you get brave enough to head off to towns like Silves, Loulé, Olhão, or Tavira you’ll be positively amazed by the variety of such places for you to explore. Make certain that your camera battery is well charged and there’s lots of room on your camera’s data storage card. You’ll be sure to use it a lot.