Casa Ferrobo - The Real Algarve

Here at Casa Ferrobo we’re lucky to live in the real Algarve. It’s not a place that would be recognisable to the tourists who flock to the frantic, resort-haunted coastal strip with its renowned – and very beautiful – cliffs and rugged coastline of the west, the costa golf of the centre or the remarkable barrier islands of the Ria Formosa Natural Park stretching between Faro and the Spanish border to the east. Climb Arroeita hill right behind us and you can see this coastline glistening in the distance just 15 miles away; the sand islands at Faro, the creeks of Olhao, the touristy quays and harbours and the shapely, cliff-shrouded bays of Benagil and Cape St Vincent are easily reachable if you need to.

We’re located in an Algarve that has not succumbed to the huge changes tourism has wrought over the past few decades. There’s a different attitude; a slower pace of life here that harks back, not to another world but to a gentler, more sedate time. Yes; the corrugated countryside of the hills and valleys hereabouts has changed, but it has been a gradual evolution, not a revolution. Our Algarve is moulded round and from the old market town of Sao Bras de Alportel; an unpretentious, feel-good, relaxed, characterful and thriving town of the people, definitely not a town of the tourist.

Here; you don’t get traffic chaos and the hard-sell, there’s no sign of crowded locations, rowdy night-life, restaurant queues, concrete jungles or timeshare salespeople. Instead read tranquillity and space; beautiful countryside and characterful hill villages; lanes where a dozen cars a day is a traffic jam and where restaurants are relaxed, laid back and unhurried. A place where the natural world holds sway; where heritage is to be discovered unexpectedly rather than sold ready-packaged; where age-old donkey tracks and walled old lanes drown in wildflowers, birdsong bursts from cork-oak woods and olive and orange groves shelter ponds and brooks where bullfrogs, terrapins and damselflies thrive. It’s a place of strong community spirit and tradition; courteous and friendly (if impossible to understand!) locals – the nearest thing you’ll find to an untroubled, unhurried Utopia.

And our visitors certainly appreciate the difference. Many of our guests become firm friends through repeat visits; ever-eager to follow our walking routes into the countryside, re-visit favourite cafes, share new discoveries made by fellow explorers or simply to relax and chill-out beside our pool. After all; when you’ve got the real Algarve to indulge in, why would you want to share an overcrowded, overdeveloped coastal veneer with countless others?!

Stargazing - the sky at night

OUT OF THIS WORLD

At Casa Ferrobo we’re blessed with clear skies for most of the year. Taken together with the lack of street-lighting, this makes it great for stargazing. Sit out in the courtyard after dark – or on the lawn by the pool – and the night sky is astonishing. With virtually no light pollution, the constellations are crisp and bright, with the Milky Way usually visible very clearly. For a real treat take the short drive (maybe 5 miles) up the M1202 road from nearby Alportel village and follow it to and through Cova da Muda hamlet. A mile or so beyond is a parking area and sign for the Miradouro do Alto da Ameixeira – the viewpoint is just up the track to the right. This really seems the back of beyond, with absolutely no light pollution. Let your eyes adjust here and the sight can be astounding, with the Milky Way arcing above from horizon-to-horizon. You seem to be at the edge of forever, where you can reach up and touch the Universe. Let your eyes drift to land and there’s a mesmerising sweep across the Algarve’s deepest countryside, with just a few lights of distant hamlets and villas winking amidst the shadowy hills, vales and ridges. It’s a real winner – and another excellent reason to visit us in the real Algarve, well-away from the tourist hotspots!