Algarve is one of my favourite beach destinations. It has a magnetic coastline with miles and miles of welcoming golden sand stretched as far as eyes can see. When you add the dramatic cliffs to the picture, it looks like an artist’s hand is at work. Further add to this the cloudless blue sky, October’s perfect temperature and you get bliss!!
Incidentally, the Algarve trip has been the least planned holiday for me, getting to know about the destination at the airport! It was a surprise long weekend trip booked by dear husband. Planning to him meant booking a hotel decent enough that I won’t make him change it (He did great, more on that later in the post). I decided not to do any last minute research and see how the trip turns out.
So, we based ourselves in Central Algarve at Hilton Conrad (Well done husband). It’s a gorgeous property and we made full use of it spending a day at their infinity pool and spa. Next day we rented a car to explore the beautiful coastline. I would highly recommend doing that and not tying yourself to the hotel beach.
October being a shoulder season, roads were not crowded making for easy driving. Even with right hand driving, we managed fine. Though we did have a small incident where in one of the villages we took the round about the wrong way. Ended up sharing a nervous laugh with the driver of a car coming from the opposite direction.
Our first stop was Quinta del Lago beach, you need to cross a charming long wooden bridge over the lagoon to get to the beach. It was so serene with very few visitors around, we literally had the beach to ourselves. The water was very calm and clear with just the right temperature, inviting us in. The invitation was too good to resist and after enjoying a dip, we went for a long walk. Later we sat down under a sun roof sipping the local wine, listening to the wonderful sound of waves, admiring the view and wishing the day would not end.
Final day of the trip, we stopped at a couple of beaches eventually parking ourselves at Praia de Marinha, the postcard image of Algarve tourism. It’s cited as the most beautiful beach of Portugal, surrounded by steep cliffs. Here you take a long flight of stairs from the parking to reach the beach. As you descend, do stop for a second and breathe in the views. The beach was even more beautiful than the pictures we had seen before coming. Boats depart from here to explore the caves near the coastline. There’s a walking trail up the cliffs from the parking lot as well. As for the amenities, it’s not the biggest of the beaches but does have a small shop serving drinks and snacks.
I’ll wrap up this post here with some handy tips and recommendations:
BambinoTips: The steps to Praia de Marinha are long and would be difficult for young children to walk down themselves or for you to take a buggy. Only way is to carry the kids.
ShakahariKhana: We were not very experimental with the food in this trip and mainly had our meals at the hotel restaurant. We did try an Indian restaurant ‘Coriander Indian Kitchen’ which was just across the road from the hotel. I would recommend it if you are in the area – though the restaurant is simple in appearance, the food is tasty with right balance of flavour and spices.
What’s more to see: If you are a Golf enthusiast, there are more golf courses than you can count on your fingers. Inland, there are pretty fishing villages to be explored, which we left for another trip.