Magnificent Praia de Odeceixe

We started our morning with a quick visit to the small and sleepy village of Odeceixe, a place that out of season seems to be in a permanent state of slumber. Things can get quite lively in the summer, apparently, but I imagine its a relative sort of ‘lively’. The streets are narrow, the houses whitewashed, roofs are red tile and, up on a hilltop with panoramic views over the valley below, sits a blue and white windmill.

Odeceixe village, Algarve, Portugal

Odeceixe village, Algarve, Portugal

Odeceixe village, Algarve, Portugal

Odeceixe village, Algarve, Portugal

Odeceixe village, Algarve, Portugal

Odeceixe village, Algarve, Portugal

It is a charming place that barely has a pulse on a mid-week day out of the main holiday season. Still, a few cafes and restaurants were open and a handful of the older residents were sat around chatting, much as everywhere else in this region.

Odeceixe village, Algarve, Portugal

Odeceixe village, Algarve, Portugal

Odeceixe village, Algarve, Portugal

Odeceixe village, Algarve, Portugal

We drove down the broad valley keeping parallel to the Rio Seixe, the road climbs up out of the valley floor through a wooded hillside offering glimpses of the river below. Finally you’re presented with wonderful vistas over the valley and river below before reaching a dramatic viewing point over the arch of golden sand below, the beach hemmed in by tall cliffs on either side.

This has to be one of the most dramatically located beaches along this coast.

Rio de Seixe at Praia de Odeceixe, Algarve, Portugal

Rio de Seixe at Praia de Odeceixe, Algarve, Portugal

Rio de Seixe at Praia de Odeceixe, Algarve, Portugal

Rio de Seixe at Praia de Odeceixe, Algarve, Portugal

Rio de Seixe at Praia de Odeceixe, Algarve, Portugal

Rio de Seixe at Praia de Odeceixe, Algarve, Portugal

Praia de Odeceixe, Algarve, Portugal

Praia de Odeceixe, Algarve, Portugal

Praia de Odeceixe, Algarve, Portugal

Praia de Odeceixe, Algarve, Portugal

Praia de Odeceixe, Algarve, Portugal

Praia de Odeceixe, Algarve, Portugal

Praia de Odeceixe, Algarve, Portugal

Praia de Odeceixe, Algarve, Portugal

The wild coastal beauty of Praia de Odeceixe

In a country renowned for its beautiful and dramatic scenery, the wild Atlantic Coast along Portugal’s western edge is perhaps the most superlative landscape of all. We would see a lot of this coast over several days filled with beach combing and punctuated by delicious seafood lunches; but the stretch of coast that will linger longest in the memory is around the village of Odeceixe, and its eponymous beach four kilometres west of the village’s whitewashed houses.

Monte West Coast, Praia de Odeceixe, Algarve, Portugal

Monte West Coast, Praia de Odeceixe, Algarve, Portugal

Monte West Coast, Praia de Odeceixe, Algarve, Portugal

Monte West Coast, Praia de Odeceixe, Algarve, Portugal

The scenery of this area isn’t the only thing I’ll remember. We managed to find ourselves staying in a truly wonderful rural retreat of small houses scattered around a peaceful estate dotted with cacti and oak trees. The Monte West Coast is one of the most delightful places I’ve ever had the pleasure of staying. Tucked away down a dirt track a few kilometres from the main road, it exudes a relaxed and easy charm.

Monte West Coast, Praia de Odeceixe, Algarve, Portugal

Monte West Coast, Praia de Odeceixe, Algarve, Portugal

Monte West Coast, Praia de Odeceixe, Algarve, Portugal

Monte West Coast, Praia de Odeceixe, Algarve, Portugal

There is hardly any noise beyond the chirruping of birds; butterflies waft past and the hilltop pool has views down the valley. At night a canopy of stars unfurls across the sky. If we’d stopped here at the start of our trip I doubt we’d have seen anything of the rest of Portugal. The owner, Catarina, is an expert on the best beaches and restaurants to visit along the coast. Thanks to her advice we had some of the tastiest food anywhere in this region. Truly wonderful.

Praia de Odeceixe, Algarve, Portugal

Praia de Odeceixe, Algarve, Portugal

Praia de Odeceixe, Algarve, Portugal

Praia de Odeceixe, Algarve, Portugal

Praia de Odeceixe, Algarve, Portugal

Praia de Odeceixe, Algarve, Portugal

Praia de Odeceixe, Algarve, Portugal

Praia de Odeceixe, Algarve, Portugal

Driving from the Monte West Coast you find yourself alongside the Rio de Seixe, which marks the boundary between the Portuguese regions of Algarve and Alentejo. Follow the river west and you find yourself overlooking the magnificent Praia de Odeceixe. This broad sweep of golden sand is situated dramatically between two craggy headlands and overlooked by vertiginous cliffs.

Praia de Odeceixe, Algarve, Portugal

Praia de Odeceixe, Algarve, Portugal

Praia de Odeceixe, Algarve, Portugal

Praia de Odeceixe, Algarve, Portugal

The large Atlantic waves that crash into the rocks also make this a prime surfing beach, and it has a bit of a reputation as surfer/hippy hangout. When we were there there were mainly families and a scattering of surfers, all very low key but I’m told that in summer things can get pretty crowded.

Praia de Odeceixe, Algarve, Portugal

Praia de Odeceixe, Algarve, Portugal

Praia de Odeceixe, Algarve, Portugal

Praia de Odeceixe, Algarve, Portugal

We’d driven up from Cabo de Sao Vicente making a few stops along the way, and by the time we had unpacked at Monte West Coast and found our way to the beach the sun had started its long descent into the ocean on the horizon. Standing on the cliff tops watching the reds, oranges and pinks of the light play over the water, cliffs and beach was mesmerising. We’d be back in the morning to explore further…