A trip to Algarve

My holidays in Spain are almost over so I will be regularly updating the blog again. These last few days will be spent in my hometown of Cáceres where I will meet some family and friends, visit my doctor and buy some Spanish delicacies to bring back to Suzhou. But today I want to write about a trip to Algarve, where I went the first week of September.

Algarve is Portugal’s southernmost region and it is a popular holiday destination for Europeans for its beautiful beaches and party towns like Albufeira and Portimão. I went there with my parents and my friend Claire. We stayed in a cute hotel in the sleepy town of Loulé, which is 10 kilometers away from the beach. If you are driving your own car it is a great base camp, as you are close to the beaches and parties but will enjoy peace and quiet when you want to sleep. Loulé is also very close to the provincial capital Faro and its international airport, with lots of flights to and from many European cities.

Faro airport is right next to the city center.

Faro airport is right next to the city center.


In the morning we would go to the beach and have lunch in a restaurant, then go back to take a nap (well, this was my dad basically, I stayed in the hotel’s swimming pool) and in the evening we would walk around some town and have dinner. We visited the towns of Loulé, Faro, Albufeira, Quarteira, Vilamoura and Lagos. Some advice if you are planning to visit Portugal: look at the size of the dishes other people are being served before ordering your food in a restaurant! Normally portions are really huge and if you order fish or a steak it will come with a huge salad or boiled vegetables, enough to feed two people. I was surprised to see that there are actually not so many fat people in Portugal, compared to the south of Spain, considering the amount of food that you get. Also, don’t worry if you can’t speak Portuguese, all the waiters I met could speak at least decent English and Spanish, and the menus were in 5 or 6 languages. The best part of our trip was going to Ponta da Piedade, close to Lagos:


After exploring the cliffs you can climb down the stairs and rent a small boat. I would have loved to do this but my mom gets seriously seasick so we passed.


Close to Ponta da Piedade there are some beautiful coves with small beaches. We went to Praia Camilo:

IMG_4757   IMG_4766

Another day we went to Praia da Falésia, which is between Vilamoura and Albufeira. This is a long beach with white and red sandstone cliffs in the back:


The main difference between the beach in Spain and the beach in Portugal is that the water is freezing in Portugal!


But there’s more than sea and sand in Algarve! The towns are well worth a visit. I especially liked Faro, Loulé and Lagos. If you are looking for parties, pubs and noisy streets you should definitely head to Albufeira.


Lagos also has a lively nightlife.