Traditional houses - Portal de Turismo do Algarve

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Traditional houses

Traditional houses

Heritage of buildings revealing traditions

With distinctive features that set it apart from the rest of the country, traditional Algarvian architecture, strongly influenced by its Moorish heritage over many centuries, reflects the combination of history, popular taste and practical necessity in this warm and sunny region.

Apart from being beautiful and picturesque, these houses display architectural features such as ornate chimneys, colourful mouldings, cool roof terraces, and whitewashed walls, which all hark back to the practical needs of daily life in former times. 

While whitewashed square houses are common throughout the region, there are some exceptions, also adapted to the area’s climatic conditions, which add to the wealth of the region’s architectural heritage. 

These include four-sided or hipped roofs, common in Tavira and Faro, windmills and tide mills, and water irrigation devices which together form part of Algarve’s historical legacy.


Algarvian Chimneys Cylindrical or prismatic, square or rectangular, simple or elaborate, Algarvian chimneys are a typical feature...
Water irrigation devices Used for thousands of years to take up water and channel it to the fields, water scoops or norias, “cegonhas” and sluices...
Tide Mills and Windmills

Machines of the past such as tide and water mills, and windmills, fuelled by the forces of nature...

The Roofs of Tavira and Faro Emblematic of Tavira, an ancient aristocratic city, the four-sided or hipped roof demonstrates a strong Oriental influence in its architecture...
Cubist Olhão

Olhão, a fishing town in the heart of the Algarve, is known as the city of cubes, owing to cube-shaped buildings...

The Traditional House As mentioned earlier, traditional Algarvian architecture reflects the history of the region...

Updated on: 14-03-2018

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