“Tranquillity is a beach state of mind….”
If the beach can lift your spirits in an instant like it does mine you don’t want to miss visiting Algarve in Portugal. 160kms of beach- need I say more?!
We drove from Seville in Spain to Algarve on a beautiful road that curves, dips and rises almost like it’s doing a waltz with you. The landscape, as you enter Portugal, instantly changes into undulating patches of shades of green with an odd yellow Portuguese house popping out at every few intervals and grazing sheep dotting the uneven pastures. This is one road on which you would not mind taking your time to reach the destination…
We reached Albufeira in Algarve just before sunset where we were booked into a lovely apartment close to the beach. AirBnB is a brilliant option if you are wondering where to stay in Portugal. If you don’t mind frying your own eggs and doing your own laundry, I highly suggest renting an apartment.
It was new years eve the day we reached Albufeira and I think we were in the perfect part of Algarve to bring in the new year because the party was on the beach with a concert and fire works from the ocean. Although I had to drag my two chivalrous men out into the crowd, I think they were happy I did… Or atleast they humoured me well! 😉
We also discovered that a good place to dance until the early hours with a one man band playing music from the 70s and 80s is Sir Harry’s pub. Nothing fancy nothing new …. Just some very happy people and some retro music!
The beach of Albufeira or Praia do Tunel is accessed through a tunnel cut out from a rock. Walking through old town amid little cafes and restaurants you can see the tunnel calling out to you with the sound of the ocean beckoning from beyond…. and you won’t be disappointed that you succumbed!
Portuguese food doesn’t need any introduction and if you like your tummy’s fill of sea-food you are at the right place. There are several Portuguese restaurants with a view of the sea that serve brilliant Portuguese seafood- Runia a Restaurant, Cabana Fresca are a couple of them. If you are looking for a good place to have the famous “peri peri” chicken you should do a take- away from Albufeira gourmet Churrasqueira. There are many “not-so-good” restaurants that have popped up too so make sure you check the reviews before you head out.
A walk through old town to the Marina is highly recommended where you can get some of the best views of the beach. Don’t forget to take fuel breaks for some Baileys coffee or some good old fashioned Gin and tonic!
The marina at Albufeira is a good place to spend the day with kids. Unfortunately when we were there much of it was closed being New years day. There are boat trips for whale and dolphin watching, fishing, scuba diving, exploring the famous cave beaches and Portugal coastline.
Dolphin driven, dream wave, and Algar experience come highly recommended. The marina also has Segway rides, Go karting for kids and other fun kiddie stuff … you can put your feet up and have a drink at the many cafes and bars while the tots tot around…
Many ways to explore Algarve…. One of them is to hire a bicycle and explore the coastline. It is very easy to get the child in you to surface in a place like this! Considering my backside hadn’t sat on a cycle for over 12 years I was a bit rickety at the wheel. Thankfully Kiron was extremely patient and not to mention a bit worried that I may go down the slope while trying to cycle up! There are many ups and downs along the coastline and if you are not in the best of physical health… well… do it anyway… but do it slow 😉
We cycled past Praia de Manuel Lorenco a small rocky cove beach stretch which is probably ideal for fishing and lazing in the sun. We spotted a few people standup paddle boarding. Seemed like fun… It’s worth a try I’d say!
Onward and upward… and downward… and upward… huff puff… we reached what was a destination well worth the effort- Praia da Gale. A serene beach with lots of rocky outcrops to explore and yet safe since the water is not too choppy. The beach is clearly a tourist favourite and more so the Praia da Gale restaurant. If you are a foodie and a lover of sea-food at that, I’d say make an extra effort to visit this place! Fresh of the basket sea food cooked Portuguese style, or any which way you want it, topped with some rose wine. Make sure you try their fried sardines and the Portuguese prawn dish- You will leave smiling!
Advantages of living in an apartment? After what seemed like a tedious day of cycling (although I only cycled 8kms!)- Kiron made us a scrumptious meal for dinner (this is a man who cooks up things on a whim and it looks fancy and tastes amazing consistently!) and topped it up with Maracuya (passion fruit) juice Jello laced with rosemary and mint. This day was blessed by the food God!
There are so many beaches to explore and each one is different from the other- some are perfect for surfing, while some are perfect for sun-bathing and swimming… others still are perfect for fishing and some for exploring caves in a kayak. All of them are picturesque and everyone of them you will want to visit again. I didn’t get to see all of them but I plan to go back and finish that list! On my list of beaches to explore next time- Praia Da Rocha, Falesia beach, Praia Dona Ana, Praia da Marinha, Praia Da Coelha and Praia Sao Rafael. Each one promises to be picturesque – my favourite kind of addiction!
No picture on google or reviews could prepare us for the mind blowing awesomeness of the beach we went to next. In our endeavour to find a boat to take us to see dolphins (which did not happen due to the weather!) we drove upto Praia de Benagil– a small fishing village with hardly any space to park – surrounded by steep climbs and dips. We parked the car and walked in through a lot of shrubs and bushes and came to a clearing that took our breath away!
On a sunny day, this coastline can be enjoyed on a kayak or a boat- allowing people to explore the many caves and cave beaches of Benagil. If you go on a rainy day like us, make sure you go to the top of the hill and take in the magnificence of this beach. The little tea shop below serves a mean cup of whiskey and coffee- perfect after you get drenched!
No matter which beach you pick I can promise you it will definitely bless you with the best sunset! I saw the perfect sunset of the entire road-trip the day before we left Portugal…. Again… On cue! At the Portimao beach the sky was like a carnival of colours- yellow, orange, red, purple….. It just kept getting more and more dramatic as the sun dipped into the icy waters!
At this point….. I fell completely and deeply in love with her beauty……