This year has been a funny one for holidays. As my sister got married in June, it meant that all the family came over in the summer which never happens. It’s always a Christmas thing so all the year kinda fell out of normal order. So, when it got to August and I realised I had a chunk of annual leave to take and no actual holidays booked, I was a bit shocked – when does that ever happen?!
I wanted to do a Europe trip as I didn’t fancy travelling too far, I wanted sunshine and pleasant weather and I wanted it to be pretty cheap. So what answers all of those questions? The answer came to me quickly – Portugal!
I’ve been to Portugal a few times before, once when I was young but more recently I’ve headed over to Lisbon and Porto. And I looooved both trips. Porto is one of my fave places in Europe. But all those trips I hadn’t been with Paul and I was keen for him to see a bit of the country I love! We decided to explore an area I hadn’t been before and head to the Algarve.
Flights were cheap and easy – we headed to Gatwick and started the trip off with a bang by visiting one of the No1 Lounges*. We had the whole week off work but I decided to make the holiday more relaxing than most, so booked to fly out at 4pm (so no 4am start for us!). This worked out perfectly as it meant we could have a relaxed morning before jumping on the train.
We visited the Club Rooms lounge which is the more premium of the two No1 lounges at Gatwick. It’s all adults only, table service and was very swish. I very much enjoyed the free flowing champagne which made me feel much better for the flight.
You also have the opportunity to order from the menu – I had a yummy salmon salad before following with pasta and meatballs. It was nice to have a meal before the flight and avoid having to pay the extortionate prices for onboard food! I really enjoyed visiting and heading to the lounge, a habit I want to continue for our flights in future!
The flight was pretty speedy after being delayed by someone checking 8 bags onto the plane and then not turning up… and we landed in Faro just in time to pick up our little Fiat for the week.
I’ve used Air Bnb sporadically in the past but not for a trip like this, however, I think it is the best option for the area as I didn’t fancy staying at any of the resorts or chain hotels. We picked the gorgeous Casa Jardim which had 2 villas and an amazing shared pool and gardens. We quickly settled in and I would really recommend staying somewhere like this if you go to the Algarve.
I had decided to take the week off social media and I stuck to it! This meant we had a week full of relaxing, reading, drinking wine and playing uno. My favourite bit of the trip was the evenings spent sitting outside on our little balcony, snacking on meat and cheese, playing some music, drinking wine and playing cards. You just can’t beat simple evenings like that.
During the days we did some exploring and managed to cover a fair area! We headed to Lagos which is near the western tip and went for a walk along all the beautiful cliffs. We went in the opposite direction to Seville and explored a beautiful Spanish city (more on that in another post).
One of our highlights was definitely the food and wine tour we did in Olhao. We got picked up in a little tuk tuk and taken to a little suburban street, went through a tiny door and into an amazing tasting room. The table was covered in all types of tapas, from flaming chorizo, sardines, manchego cheese, squid to cod cakes, fresh meats and all the crusty bread.
To go along with it, we tried a lot of Portuguese wine. Like a lot. We had 5 different wines, including a green wine which was loooovely. And then ended the tasting with 2 types of port and dessert wine on top. We had to go for a good long walk afterwards but it was so nice to learn more about the region.
The rest of our days were spent by the pool, doing some proper relaxing. I think we both needed a bit of time out and the trip did our stress levels wonders. I managed to read like 5 books in 6 days which I think is the mark of a good holiday (and shows you how much time you have when you have no electronics to use!).
Overall, if you need a trip which meets all the requirements of: hot weather, beautiful locations, cheap prices, short flight and utterly relaxing then you most definitely need to get yourself over to the Algarve ASAP.
Have you been to the Algarve? What was your fave bit?
*I was a guest of No1 lounges but all champagne loving opinions are my own.
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