One the west coast of the Algarve, the attractive village of ODECEIXE tumbles down a hillside opposite the broad valley of the Odeceixe River, below the winding, tree-lined main coast road. Sleepy out of season, its character changes in summer when it attracts a steady stream of backpackers, surfers, campervanners and families, lured by a superb beach and a very laid-back atmosphere. The beach, the Praia de Odeceixe, is 4km west of the village, reached down a verdant river valley, the fields either side neatly cultivated with corn. A road-train trundles back and forth during July and August, but it’s a lovely walk as well, following the river to a broad, sandy bay framed by low cliffs. It is one of the most sheltered beaches on this stretch of coast, offering superb surfing and relatively safe swimming, especially when the tide is out.