This July we jetted off on our family holiday to the beautiful Algarve on the south coast of Portugal. It was a well-needed couple of weeks to relax, soak up the sunshine and eat to our heart’s content.
We stayed a little inland from Vilamoura and Quarteira on a golf complex called Vila Sol. Being a little out of town meant it was nice and quiet. This was ideal as we were only half hour away from Faro airport but easily could access the main coastal roads meaning we could easily explore all the beautiful beaches that this region had to offer.
Vila Sol has several smaller communities within it, we stayed in Palmyra, which itself has four amazing infinity pools. Within Vila Sol there are a few restaurants, several coffee shops, a market and even a golf academy.
Obviously, I spent a lot of time sunbathing, swimming, reading and eating; I mean that’s what a holiday is for right? However, my family love to explore and managed to get out of the complex and local town as much as possible.
Carvoeiro – There is a long boardwalk along the cliff edge of this small coastal town which has the most amazing views and hundreds of photo opportunities. At the end of this boardwalk is a small beach which seemed very popular with locals.
Gypsy Markets – full of rubbish and random souvenirs but very entertaining. There is a market of some kind in most towns. If you’re looking for a big market then head to Albufeira market on a Tuesday. If you’re looking for a good place to explore for the day then head to Loule on a Saturday. In Loule, we went to the market and then wandered around the historic areas of the town.
Lagos – This city is such a nice contrast to the small coastal villages throughout The Algarve. In Lagos, we went on a small boat tour around the many caves – if you’re planning to do this then head out of the marina area and walk along the port front as there are local fishermen that frequently offer small boat trips.
Whenever I go abroad I aim to try something new or authentic to the area, so it only seemed right to try sardines whilst staying in Portugal. Along with this, I gave cataplana a shot. Cataplana is a type of slow-cooked stew which is usually fish based, this is accompanied by rice and potatoes. It seemed as though this is only usually available in sharing portions so my sister and I shared monkfish cataplana which I would definitely recommend if you’re feeling hungry.
- Go for a drive around Vale De Lobo and Dunas Douradas just near Almancil – the apartments and villas are amazing and the beaches are fantastic here! We went to the beach at Vale De Lobo twice as it is nice and quiet but has massive waves to play in
- Pop into a pottery shop along the side of the main roads and look at all the amazing patterns on the plates!
- Dress up for a night of strutting around Vilamoura marina
- Head into Old Town Albufeira for a bit of shopping – everything from pottery to leather goods
All in all…
This was a well-needed break from reality and escape from home and I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in Portugal!
Check out my holiday vlog over on YouTube: Algarve – Portugal | 2016