Aljezur, a municipality with a population of 5,400 people, lies in the Natural Park of South-West Alentejo and the Costa Vicentina. A succession of grey schist and white and golden limestone cliffs, eroded by the winds and the tides, stretch out along the Atlantic coast. The rolling hinterland is planted with agaves and forested with eucalyptus and pine trees.
The town is divided in two by the Aljezur River. On one side, the old town has a wealth of heritage sites. It is dominated by the ruins of a 10th century castle which was redesigned in the 13th and 14th centuries. On the opposite bank, the new town grew, after the terrible earthquake of 1755, following the construction of the new church. The ruins of the Arrifana Fortress, a 12th century Arab construction, overhangs a very attractive beach which is greatly appreciated by lovers of surfing and body boarding.
Fishing, hunting and farming, mainly wine-growing and pig farming, are the staples of the local economy. Each year, in the autumn, rock barnacles and sweet potatoes are honoured during a three-day festival: Aljezur is the largest area of sweet potato production in Portugal.
A superb summer destination, Aljezur bases its tourism policy on diversification and all-year round activities.
Sweet potatoes, Sargo, crafts, the Manueline period and archaeology are all subjects for the thematic routes which are currently being studied.
The castle (10th century), the Arrifana Fortress, the site of the fishermen's village of Carrapateira (12th and 13th century), the "Ribat" of Atalaia Point (12th century) are all archaeological sites which bear witness to the importance of the Muslim occupation in Algarve from the 10th century onwards. These sites are the object of huge excavation projects and the results should be presented in a museum which is currently being prepared.