In this Alcoutim guide, find out things to do in Alcoutim and much more in this for most forgotten beauty of the Guadiana River and Algarve.
The village, which was saved from tourism, but on the other end of the stick – abandoned by its people.
Please click on the blue text to know more.
Same as Vila Real de Santo Antonio, Alcoutim locates on the Guadiana River and sees Spanish village Sanlúcar on the other side. Alcoutim locates 40 km from Vila Real de S.A.. Nature here is different from on the Algarvian coast. You will be amazed by hills and big artificial and natural ponds from the car window.
Alcoutim is special by its remoteness, landscape, and atmosphere.
Sit in the center in a cafe with a view of the river. Take your time to enjoy it.
Walk by old streets which only locals walk. They are special and different from others in Algarve.
Take a ferry to the neighboring Spanish village. Visit there the local castle – Castillo de San Marcos. It also has zipline through the river – back to the Alcoutim. Zipline through the countries border.
Visit Castle of Alcoutim. It has an amazing view of the surrounding area. There is a possibility to make a barbecue inside, as a castle equipped very well. Also, very nice for a private party with a view of Spain.
Take a boat ride along Guadiana river. Check marvelous hills, unique nature around. You also can rent kayaks, if you prefer active water sport.
Tough you will not feel the influence of Tourism that much in the village, it influenced the life of the town and all Algarve. The population of the inland Algarve has been decreasing over time and now, for example, the town of Alcoutim has only around 900 people. It is the least densely populated municipality in Portugal. This loss of population is directly correlated with the development asymmetries between the coast and the mountains.
The tourism product that has persisted in recent decades has been based on the sun/beach category, leading to the progressive abandonment of inland regions. Generally speaking, young people are looking for better jobs in big touristic centers, which grew on the coast.
River beach Pego Fundo
PRAIA FLUVIAL DO PEGO FUNDO (in Portuguese)
Local Beach on the small river, which goes through Alcoutim afterwords. Equipped with a lifeguard, snack bar, toilets with showers, trees shade and tables for a picnic. Nature greens surround the beach, which makes it a very pleasant place. In August can be too full, as space is quite limited. There is big parking.
amazing artificial lake type reservoirs
On the way to Alcoutim to Vila Real de S.A. you’ll get the view which amaze the eyes
We advise to prepare for a picnic on the way from the Vila Real de S.A. to Alcoutim. Especially there special tables and benches prepared for you to enjoy amazing views.
There 2 dams (barragem in Portuguese): Barragem de Odeleite (1996 year constructed) and Barragem De Beliche (1986 year). These water reservoirs have a tendency to dry up last year. Here you can check a video about it. And here is a video about both lakes. People do kayaking and other water leisure there. Odeleite dam has a village near it with the same name Odeleite, there are cafes, old houses and church.
Festivals in alcoutim
Full list of main events in Alcoutim you can check here.
When two villages on the river Guadiana became connected? Yes, on the loudest local party yearly event – Festival of contraband (smuggling). “Festival do Contrabando” in Portuguese. It happens yearly in March. While the last of this fest it made kind of bridge laying on the water between villages Alcoutim and its Spanish neighbor Sanlúcar de Guadiana. The program of the event has several activities open to the public, which highlights the presence of international street art groups and the main attraction – a floating platform on the river Guadiana between the villages.
There is also an Alcoutim festival each September, which gathers a lot of people from around. It lasts 3 days with a lot of music, disco and traditional activities.
Walking festival in march, which will open you the world of trails, hidden from the destructive eye of modern society.
Interesting Festival Jornadas do Mundo Rural (Rural World Days) in the end of February. The event will take place in the area of river Guadiana, in Alcoutim, and will focus on the first day “Desertification and the Future of the Forest” and the second day “Endogenous Products and Short Circuits”.
Great Guadiana route (GR15)
There are few walking routes around Alcoutim. Guadiana route is one of them, goes from north to south coast through one of the least known areas of the region. One walk 65 km through hills, barrocal and coastal areas, along the Guadiana River. You can cycle it in one day or walk for two days.
Check more information here.
Via Algarviana (GR13)
Popular walking route Via Algarviana starts or finishing from/in Alcoutim. The route goes through the interior of the Algarve, which is preserved uniqueness and tradition. It is intended to join the Trans-European routes, linking to the E4 and E9. More here.
There are a lot of small routes around Alcoutim, for example – Almond tree route, which you can check on this website.
more around alcoutim
Amazing zipline between Portugal and Spain under Guadiana river. Spanish end of Zipline is on the top of the hill near the castle, Portuguese end is in the greens of Alcoutim. One needs to book experience in advance.
More inland nature and culture heritage
We also advise you to visit the ancient village Mertola and natural park around it – Guadiana Valley Nature Park. In Portuguese – Vale do Guadiana Nature Park.