Things to Do in Cacela Portugal

things to do in Cacela Portugal

Take a stroll along the cobbled streets and admire the colourful houses with chamines algarvias (Algarve chimneys). You can also catch a glimpse of the church, which is based on a medieval building.

The village is located at a high elevation and offers an amazing view of the sea beach and the coastline. It’s also a great place for photographers.

1. Visit the Church of Cacela Velha

A small coastal village with a church, fort and restaurants. Sounds like a typical Algarve village at first, but Cacela Velha is more than that.

The first attraction in Cacela Velha is the Igreja Matriz de Cacela Velha or church of Nossa Senhora da Assuncao. Built during the 16th century it replaced an earlier medieval church. The church has a beautiful Renaissance arcade with busts of Saint Peter and Saint Paul.

Cacela Velha is positioned on a ridge along the Ria Formosa Natural Park and it offers magnificent beach views. From the church you can see the massive tongue of sand that stretches from Garrao beach in Faro to Manta Rota beach.

The sand and the water are constantly changing due to winds and tides, making every visit to Cacela Velha unique. The village is a hidden gem that’s not overrun by tourists. Its economy is based on commercial fishing and it provides restaurants with delicious fresh seafood like oysters, clams and prawns.

2. Visit the Fortress of Cacela Velha

Cacela Velha is a supertiny whitewashed village along the Ria Formosa lagoon. The streets are lined with houses that display colorful accents (blue, yellow, etc). The village is a quaint little place to stay if you like to relax and enjoy the beautiful view from the church behind the old town.

From here, you have an amazing view of Castro Marim and Vila Real de Santo Antonio Marsh Natural Reserve. Make sure to walk around the 1st of May square to see a historic cistern and hand operated water pump.

Right next to the church you’ll find the Fort of Cacela Velha (locally known as ‘Fortaleza de Cacela Velha’). The fort was built in the 16th / 17th century and is currently used by some kind of government police unit.

It was built to protect the entrance of Ria Formosa from pirates. The fort isn’t open to visitors but it’s a good spot to take some great photos of the village and the beach.

3. Visit the Cistern of Cacela Velha

Cacela Velha is located in the center of the island and its attractions include a church, a fortress, and a cistern. It also offers spectacular views of the Ria Formosa estuary. It was once a fishing village and now it is both a tourist destination and a place where the local people live.

The Igreja Matriz de Cacela Velha was built in the 16th century on the ruins of a medieval temple. It has a Renaissance arcade. The interior of the church has an image of Nossa Senhora da Assuncao.

Outside of the church is a historic cistern that was used to store water. It was once used to supply the church and its inhabitants, and also to serve as a water source for animals.

From the cistern, there is a wonderful view of the estuary and the sea beach of Manta Rota. This area is a habitat for different types of birds, such as waders and seagulls.

4. Visit the Matriz de Cacela Velha

Cacela Velha might only be a tiny hamlet with a few restaurants, a church and streets of traditional tumbledown houses, but it’s an outstanding place. This little clifftop village is home to one of the most stunning beach and seascape views in all the Algarve.

This small hamlet lies on the edge of a huge natural pool over the ocean. It was a vital point of departure for Greek, Phoenician and Roman ships. The Moors also didn’t just visit, they stayed for centuries.

In the square in front of the church you’ll find a historic cistern with a hand-operated water pump. The Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Assuncao dates from the 16th century and has beautiful Renaissance arcades. The lateral chapels are decorated with Rococo retables.

From the church you can enjoy great views over Praia de Cacela Velha, a wild beach that’s often full of natural pools and lagoons at low tide. The sandy beach is backed by a pine forest that offers shade during the hotter months.

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