It is underestimated, and it’s possible you haven’t heard of it, despite its location pretty much in the centre of the Algarve region - but this is a part of the real Portugal as far as I am concerned - with locals going about their business, chatting outside the pharmacy, and ladies with bags and baskets trying to avoid stepping into the traffic.
Algoz isn't on the ‘sea side’ of the Algarve, but even so, tourism is still important since the town is well-connected to the rest of the Algarve, reputedly one of the most travelled destinations in Europe. The growing town of Algoz sits within the District of Silves, and is a short 7km away from the nearby coastal town of Armação de Pêra - a typical beach resort with its long golden beach - one of longest in central Algarve - packed with restaurants, apartments and places to stay.
The town’s probable claim to fame is the outdoor market, held on the second Monday of each month - a huge open-air affair where a huge array of local produce is on offer, together with homeware and clothing in a fluttering kaleidoscope of colours from traders around the area. The market draws in huge numbers of shoppers, whose cars line the streets for a good few hours once a month. There is an additional car-boot sale, again once a month, where sellers can set up a stall themselves for free, and where buyers can hunt down a bargain.
Plenty of Services
Algoz has schools for all grades, and has offices for the local authorities of the freguesia, the civil parish, which is the third-level administrative subdivision of Portugal.
A fresh produce market for local small-time farmers is open daily, and the town offers the services of a bank, and a diversity of local shops – including small supermarkets, pastelarias, a pharmacy, a number of restaurants, and a profusion of nail bars, hairdressers and barbers. Included is a branch of the Centro de Saúde, together with a post office, a dentist, a physiotherapy clinic and the somewhat unusual services of a clockmaker, a blacksmith, and a boot and shoe repair shop - all having thriving businesses there too.
There is also a church, built in the 18th century, called Igreja Matriz de Algoz. This is a simple Catholic church with a single nave but contains two side altarpieces in the Baroque style, plus two ‘imagens em roca’ (statues on wooden frames) of both Nossa Senhora das Dotres and St John the Evangelist, together with one of Our Lord on the cross.
Faro airport is a mere 45 minutes away, and two major roads pass close by, going east to west. It is a hub for the historic city of Silves, 14k southeast, with Monchique and its spectacular views further on. To the north is the town of Bartolomeu de Messines, with winding little roads linking many small hamlets going further into the interior. The large city of Albufeira is a stone's throw away, with its old and new charms, bars and restaurants. Because of being a hub, a lot of traffic passes through on roads that were originally dirt roads and footpaths, so it is very narrow in places.
Algoz has easy access to Tunes railway station, with halts in both Algoz itself and the outskirts of Alcantarilha nearby. Further afield to the west is Portimão, and to the east is Loulé and Vilamoura, and eventually the border with Spain. And of course, Guia is just a short 8-minute drive south, where the major retail stores of the Algarve Shopping Centre can be found.
The town itself mainly relies on agricultural business from the area, ranging from oranges, lemons, and avocadoes to olives and winery-related produce, plus logistics including package delivery, waste management and wholesalers.
Formerly a village, Algoz was upgraded to town status on July 12, 2001. In 2013, the civil parish of Algoz merged into the new civil parish of Algoz e Tunes and the town of Algoz became the seat of the new civil parish.
There have been many archaeological findings revealing much about Algoz’s past. According to some theories, the name of the town itself has its origins in the Arabic word Al-Gûzz or Al-Gozz. Towns and villages that start with AL in the name date from the Moors period. Past history of Algoz is macabre – it was known for executions but no such evidence exists today, and the word algoz in Portuguese still means ‘executioner’.
Algoz village has grown. Walking around the town, you will find older houses boasting elaborate stone carvings on parapet walls and windows, showing the town had wealthy trading merchants who lived in the village. Now these are joined by modern apartments and townhouses to make it a bustling provincial town.
Old oil presses and stone troughs sit In the village centre, and in a small park and picnic area sit four old grinding stones that were once used in the olive oil pressing industry. Further along, stands the remains of the public open-air laundry, built in 1933 but closed in the 1990’s.
Marilyn writes regularly for The Portugal News, and has lived in the Algarve for some years. A dog-lover, she has lived in Ireland, UK, Bermuda and the Isle of Man.