Alcoutim

The municipality of Alcoutim, in Algarve, occupies the portuguese bank of the Guadiana river and there we can find a unique architecture, traditional flavors, amazing landscapes and handmade knowledge.

A little more than 30 kilometers from the coast, you get to know a different and genuine Algarve, with people who insist on receiving visitors with remarkable courtesy, and sharing with them the legends of the enchanted Moors, but also the flavours of the river and the countryside.

Without a stain, with its own and divergent time of the hasty clock, which allows to appreciate the most valuable pleasures of life, Alcoutim saw greeks, phoenicians, celtiberos, romans, byzantines, álanos, visigodes, arabs, castilians sailing in the Guadiana river.

Also generations of portuguese from Alcouitm, and andaluces from San Lucar del Guadiana,  men and women, people “of riba cima”, who knows that Rio is always close by and will always be friends.

The discovery of Alcoutim offers unique landscapes that contrast with the unique Algarve coastline for its beaches. By the marginal that lines the Guadiana River the road is winding between curves and curves and the village emerges as a nativity scene, houses with white walls and a charming quiet. On the Spanish bank (Andalusia region) of the Guadiana River lies San Lucar del Guadiana, with similar characteristics.

There is a very close connection between the two Guadiana river banks,  by family ties created over the centuries and at a professional level. River fishing, agriculture, pastoralist and now a days, nature tourism and  walking routes, are part of the daily life of the two villages.

Alcoutim is a village with history, which is tasted by its castle and its numerous archaeological remains. The village of the Northeast Algarve proves that the region also offers equally stunning landscapes in the interior.

One can even take a dip in the river beach of Pego Fundo, situated in the watercourse of Cadavais, near 500 meters from the center of the village of Alcoutim, which is a golden sand beach quite well equipped with a wide range of infrastructure and services.

Alcoutim is 37 km from Vila Real de Santo António, at the mouth of the Guadiana River and 38 km from Mértola, also near the Guadiana River a beautiful village of Arab layout, in Alentejo.

Alcoutim’s archaeological heritage awakens memories and interacts with contemporary time in stories that have crossed centuries.  From the position of the menires and tapirs against the Sun and the Moon, proof of the cosmological vision of their builders, to the remains of Roman villas, or to the elegance of Islamic art, the testimonies of human occupation in Alcoutim speak of many civilizations. They are spaces that transmit values, an inheritance to discover.

Alcoutim’s roots appear in the megalithic around 4000 AD. From about 2500 AD to the time of the Roman Empire, copper and iron deposits attracted people to explore the mines. The ore was melted and then transported by the Guadiana River. Testimonies of this presence are the megalithic monuments scattered throughout the parishes of the municipality – tapirs, menires, tholos or megalithic cists deserve your visit. In the Park of Cova dos Mouros, one can see a replica of the primitive furnaces in the Bronze Age.

From the Roman Period the archaeological remains indicate communities organized in villages or family villas, especially in the coastal area, where the best agricultural land is concentrated. Here, the great southern river – the Guadiana – was a major attraction as a net road of trade routes, which connected this land to the entire Mediterranean.

The five hundred years of Islamic rule in Alcoutim, in addition to the abundant toponymy, have left us close to a hundred identified spots, which demonstrate their strong presence in this municipally.

Due to his strategic position in front of the neighboring kingdom of Castile, King Dinis granted him a Charter and the Military Order of Santiago. The castle overlooking the river was built in the 14th century, to defend the border against the Kingdom of Castile (Spain) and to defend the trade that circulated on the river. The castle had to be modified in the 17th century, to allow the use of artillery.

First the decline of the mining industry, after the decrease in the role of the Guadiana as a transport route, led the village to fall asleep, keeping the traditional architecture untouched. Today visitors to Alcoutim can enjoy calm walks through the streets of this charming village, along the river or in the nearby villages.