Armacao de Pera10Last weekend Michael and I were out & about in Armação de Pêra, a fishing town on the beautiful Algarve coast. Often referred to as a concrete jungle, Armação de Pêra is actually pretty special – if you’ll only give it a little time to visit.
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Armacao de Pera 22When I first moved to Portugal in 1986, my family and I used to spend many a fun evening hanging out with friends there. There was a great pub called The Bulldog, run by a fellow Yorkshireman, where we’d take part in all the fun games like pub quizzes, the knobbly knees and the lovely legs competitions (I once won the lovely legs one! Mind you, I was only about 11). Sadly, the pub closed some years ago but I’ll always have fond memories of spending time there, along with a few other English-run pubs like Waves and The Cracker Jack. Nearby was an annual summer fair with bumper cars and very loud music. It was a fun place for both kids and adults. Whenever I hear the song Im Nin ‘Alu by Ofra Haza, I’m always taken back. Those were the days 🙂
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Armacao de Pera21Now though, although those pubs have all closed down, they’ve been replaced by a whole host of new businesses and the seafront has been given a new lease of life – making it such a pretty place to visit – especially when the sun is shining. I couldn’t take my eyes off the sea and the sand. It’s so beautiful there – it’s easily one of the top beaches in the Algarve.
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Armacao de Pera1Not only that, but there are some lovely old buildings among the modern high rises, as well as some of the most striking street art. You’ll also notice some trees and benches decorated with pretty crocheted doilies which seems to be becoming a bit of a tradition in the town. There’s a typical little church in the centre as well as a pretty tiny chapel on the waterfront too.
Holiday Inn 29For me, the most picturesque spot is looking out at the beach from The Holiday Inn Algarve (pictured above, formerly the Hotel Garbe) where you can see miles of sandy beach. It’s such a beautiful spot but I’ll write more on The Holiday Inn later in the week.
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Armacao de Pera25Armação de Pêra also has a fabulous Saturday market – recommended to me by numerous people over the years but we only visited it for the first time last week and I’m glad we did.  Although small, it is pretty special and well worth a look-see.
I’ve been told there are several fabulous restaurants within the town, some especially known for seafood. It is a fisherman’s town, after all! I have only been fortunate enough to try out the culinary delights of the Raj Indian Restaurant so far though – more on that later in the week!
There’s also some other small local businesses like Filine Fashion and Sapataria Internacional which I’ll be taking a peek at over the next week or so, so do keep your eyes peeled!
In the meantime, if you enjoyed this little look at a small piece of Portugal, check out my visits to Lagos and Cascais.

  • Kate Hughes

    Hi Suzy, I have enjoyed many holidays in Armacao starting also in the 80’s as a child. Loved reading your article, and I recall the Bulldog but it’s bugging me as I can’t recall where it was. We used to stay at the Garbe. I remember the Robin Hood bar, I think you went down some steps to it,and it was off Avenida Beira Mar
    heading to the Rosamar and Restaurant O Fernando was there back then too. In the Late 80’s I remember a smart cocktail bar opening called Amazonas, down by O Gatsby I think in the old part of town. Early 90’s when my friend and I were allowed out on our own we loved the Beachcomber. I used to subscribe to a newspaper thAt got delivered fortnightly in the uk with the local gossip, I think the beachcomber had a champion cocktAil maker!!!!

    Armacao certainly feels a part of my history, I too can see beyond the concrete, love walking to senhora da rocha. Didn’t have the confidence to move abroad when I was single, and now have 2 young daughters, I celebrated my 30th and 40th there. Not been back since my 40th, 45 next year so hoping to visit as its been too long.

    The shoe shop you mentioned always had a resident cat inside asleep!!!! Wonder if still there???

    Thank you for my ADP fix

    Regards Kate

    • Hi Kate, so lovely of you to read and leave a comment! I wonder if we ever met… it’s probably quite likely! The Bulldog was away from the main ‘strip’, down the middle part of town. It’s really difficult to explain exactly where. But it’s all completely different now though. I do remember the Robin Hood – we were friends with the owner for a while (well, my dad knew him via another of our friends, Alan Oliver who owned Waves Bar with a guy called Phil. I vaguely remember the Beachcomber too. Such lovely memories.
      I didn’t see the cat when I visited Dolores last week but next time I see her, I will ask! If you do come back, do let me know!
      Thanks again for visiting.
      Best wishes
      Suzy

  • rich spraggs

    Visited the bulldog many times during holiday in 1990,was run by a guy called Malcolm I think,all done up in Sheffield utd stuff! Very friendly place,got roped in to play a football match for them in albafura!

    • Yes you’re right, Malcolm did own the Bulldog. We had such great times – he was a good laugh. We might’ve even met, Rich! 😉

  • rich spraggs

    Also remember the great atmosphere there for the world cup semi-final,and going to a club one night,malcolm took his donkey with him!

    • LOL I can imagine that although I wasn’t there then. 😀