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I'm considering renting an apartment in Alvor for 2 weeks when I first land in Portugal, using it as a base for exploring the surrounding area, hopefully finding a suitable rental for a few months.
How is Alvor like? I know there are some high rises, but enough to give it a typical resort feel? Or is it more Portuguese in character? Amenities we need are pretty basic--groceries, butchers, markets, public transportation, banks, traditional fair restaurants.

Alternatively, or after this initial 2 week period, I'm considering getting a rural rental property for being close to nature and so my kids don't have to be pent up in an apartment. I'm looking at one that is within a few minutes drive from Silves. Apparently it's also within biking distance (15 min ride). How is this area? T
The rent is 500 euros with all utilities included for a 1 bedroom cottage on land. Is this pretty reasonable? My budget has been 400 plus utilities.

There is also a rural rental in the Sao Bartolomeu de Messines area, about 10 min from the village.

I'm looking for something as close to authentically Portuguese as possible but in an area where there are at least some other expats around. Having traiditional food available--artisan products, very good from scratch restaurants, good butchers and frequent outdoor markets is important.

I'm a bit torn between wanting to be close to all, in a medium sized or small town, and being in nature. Can it be isolating as a newcomer out in the country?

Thanks.
 
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