Sunday, 5 November 2017

Algarve, Portugal

Portugal is a country that I've not been before and at the beginning of this year I put it up on my travel list, with an option of visiting either Lisbon or Porto. I have heard so many good things about Lisbon from friends who have been, as such, it was no surprise that when I was planning for a short getaway recently, it was very high up on my agenda.

But for some reasons, the world sort of conspired against me, as flights on the days when I wanted to travel were either limited or more expensive than what I was willing to pay. Not to mention finding a hotel to stay in, in the location that I wanted, within a reasonable price range, was fairly limited if not non-existent. 

In the end, I had no choice but to kick off Plan B. It was a good thing that by this time, I realised how exhausted I was and that I actually could do with a do-nothing kinda holiday. 

That's when the Algarve came into the picture. As I went during off season, flight options were aplenty and were reasonably priced. I also scored an independently run boutique hotel which caters for adult guests only, located a stone throw away from the Old Town. Perfect!

Algarve is situated on the coast of the southernmost part of Portugal. It is a popular destination for golfers, and sun worshipers due to its Mediterranean beaches and mild weather. I went during the second half of October and the temperature ranges from 23-25 degrees Celcius. Apparently, for the locals it was cold because the temperature was 30 degrees the week before - it just shows that it's all relative!

There are many resort towns that you could choose to base yourself at or visit during your stay. Some of the popular ones are Albufeira, Lagos, Tavira and Vilamoura. I chose to base myself at Albufeira which is the most popular resort town also known as the main strip. It takes about 35 minutes to get to from Faro Airport (by taxi) and the place is jam-packed with restaurants and bars. It has everything that I needed. 

I must admit I did very little while I was there. The highlight for me was definitely the food. I tasted the simplest but most delicious grilled fish, mussels, prawns and squids. Not to mention a scoop or two of gelatos every day after lunch because is it even a holiday if you don't have gelatos?

Not only was the food tasty, but also very affordable if you compare to what you pay and get in London. You can get a glass of wine during happy hour for EUR2 and I don't recall paying more than EUR30 for any of my meals and that includes service charge, pre-meal bread and olives, drinks and post-meal coffee.

So if you're after a fairly relaxing and chilled out holiday, I'd recommend the Algarve. I returned to London feeling refreshed and was greeted by the wet and grey weather on landing at Gatwick. Some things don't change and familiarity is good, no?


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