Pedralva is a tiny village in the district of Vila do Bispo, in the south of Portugal, sitting about 5 km away from the village of the same name. It is accessible by making a turn in the coastal national road, but the plaque reading its name can be easily missed. After another kilometer across the hills with a great view of the natural landscape, you will reach a small marvel of the inland Algarve, a cosy place of little traditional houses and laid-back atmosphere that charms its visitors. Surrounded by nature, this can be a great central spot for exploring and enjoying the region!
The road leads you around the village, composed of just a few dozen houses. Most are for rent, so people living here form a diverse and renovated community with each season. They gently climb the hillside of a wide valley, with the view of a landscape with the usual tones of this part of Algarve: the warm green of undergrowth shrubs and the trees covering the hills, and closer to the base of the valley, the land is regularly divided in farms, sections of tilled soil and crops, under the sun. In the farther hills, air towers line up over the land. In the summer, under a clear blue sky, everything reflects the warmth of the weather.
On the southern side, a trail connects the road to the housing, passing by a cluster of mailing boxes and a parking lot. A welcome house will give you all the information about Pedralva. They will tell you of how the village had become almost abandoned in the beginning of the 2000s, how the old houses were recovered, one at a time, and how the people started coming back and making it the gem it is today. The central restaurant Sítio da Pedralva, connected to it, is a real treat that cannot be missed. With traditional construction and decor, and a fantastic menu of delicacies, it is one of those places that make you want to stay for hours, having a prolongued lunch and enjoying the passing of time around a table with friends and family.
The streets of the village are short, going up and down with the slope of the land. You walk paths of cobblestone, passing by each small house painted in bright white with touches of colour in the doors and windows, often open to the outside. Some of the facades are ornamented with plants, flower pots, and other objects with more or less utility, or they have chairs in front of them, in spots where you can enjoy the sight of the landscape. Each house for rent reads the name of one of the beaches that can be found around the coast. Children run about, playing in the sun, while the older people gather around the few stores, restaurants and esplanades. There is a communitary pool, a renting spot for bicycles, equipment for mountain biking and hiking, snorkeling and other activities related to sports, nature, and the coast.
The town of Pedralva is a hidden marvel, perfect for experiencing a different side of Algarve. In its quietness, and its contemplative nature, it can still be very lively and welcoming. To walk about its streets, trying its gastronomy and experiencing its rural atmosphere, is to get immersed in the simple beauty of a traditional inland town of south Portugal, brought to a new life. Give it a try when visiting the Costa Vicentina beaches and the rest of the Algarve region!
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