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Hidden Algarve: A Hands-On Exploration of Southern Portugal’s Culinary Backroads

May 24-26, 2017
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  • Fee includes:
  • accommodations, ground transport, everything consumed, culinary lessons and excursions
  • Group Size: 4-6
  • $1,100 / Person (based on double room occupancy; $150 supplement for single)

The stunning Atlantic coastline of the Algarve region is a world-renowned beach destination for very good reason, but few visitors step off the sand to head inland and see the “other” Algarve, one of Portugal’s hidden culinary heartlands.

On this three-day/two-night exploration of the lesser -known Eastern Algarve region, we’ll visit farmers markets and meet local food producers. We’ll get a behind-the-scenes look inside a functioning fish cannery, one of the staple industries of this area. We’ll roll up our sleeves for a hands-on cooking experience with a local baker. And, of course, we won’t miss out on the simple gastronomic pleasures native to the Algarve: fresh fish, seafood and fine wines accompanied by a refreshing sea breeze.

On one of our days together, we will dig deep into the ingredients and historical significance of the Algarve’s most iconic creation, cataplana.  A seafood stew cooked in a distinct clam-shaped copper vessel, cataplana is a dish celebrating the best of the season’s shellfish and produce and one that serves as a culinary link to the area’s Moorish past.

We’ll visit the vibrant market in the port of Olhão in the morning, collecting ingredients for our cataplana, followed by an excursion by boat into the rich fishing waters of Ria Formosa and nearby islands, where we will strap on waders and collect our own shellfish. With our produce from the market and freshly picked shellfish straight from the water, we’ll spend the late afternoon in an unforgettable setting preparing our cataplana together.

Our home for the trip will be the coastal town of Olhão, where we’ll stay in Convento, a quiet boutique hotel located inside a former convent.

Please contact us for more details.

Excursion Includes:

Cooking lessons to make cataplana

Hands-on experience with a local baker

Exclusive tour of a local fishing cannery

Market visit

Boat ride exploring the Ria Formosa and hands-on seafood collection

Transportation by air-conditioned comfortable vehicle

English speaking seasoned guide (Celia Pedroso)

Accommodation : 2 Nights

Daily breakfasts at the Hotel (continental)

2 lunches and 2 dinners with limited alcoholic beverages.

Service charges and VAT.


Excursion does not Include:

International & Domestic Airfares

Airport transfers

Personal expenses

Drinks at meals in excess of 2 glasses of wine

Drinks and extras at the hotel

Where does the activity start and finish?

This activity begins with a welcome drink at the hotel Convento in Olhão at 1:30PM on April 27th. We will finish the activity around Olhão from Faro on the 29th.

The hotel is located  in the village of Olhão in the Eastern Algarve.

How do I get to Olhão?

TAP, British Airways, KLM, Lufthansa, Norwegian, Easy Jet and many others offer flights to Faro International Airport from several European cities. Flights from Lisbon are frequent and last around 30 minutes.

Alternatively, from Lisbon, we suggest taking the train to Faro. It is quite comfortable and easy. The ride lasts 4 hours. The train leaves from Entrecampos station at 8:30am and arrives in Faro 11:30am is ideal.  Click here for more information on the train.

From Faro to Olhão we suggest taking a taxi which about 10 minutes.

Is this a good experience for vegetarians? People with food allergies?

This activity is not suitable for vegetarians or guests with allergies to shellfish.

How about a gluten-free diet?

Aside from a couple of items, this activity is suitable for a gluten-free diet.

How physically demanding will this tour be?

We don’t have much walking in the tour.  

What happens if the weather conditions change?

The program is subject to weather conditions and some alterations would be made in the event of adverse weather conditions, but most of the program would remain and April is a wonderful time to visit the Algarve.