It’s official; I am now back from holiday and back from my mini hiatus which I took while I was in the Algarve last week.
Last year my friend and I went to Cancun for the week – and it was all sun, sand and swimming – and it ended up being one of the best holidays I went on because it actually felt like a break. Normally when we go away we’re on our feet all hours of the day, wandering around whatever city we’ve found ourselves in, which is nice don’t get me wrong. However sometimes you just want to spend a week by the pool or on the beach in no rush to go anywhere, just sunbathing with a drink in one hand and a book in the other.
That’s what Algarve was; we still did some excursions but for the most part it was a holiday where we slept in in the mornings, lay by the pool in the afternoons, and went out in the evenings.
Algarve is a gorgeous place but there is so much of it to see. We ended up staying just outside of Albufeira; where we could visit both the Old Town and the Strip, where there were plenty of bars and shops to pass away an afternoon or evening, and where there were amazing beaches. After all, the beaches are why we went to Algarve in the first place.
If you search for Algarve on the Internet you’ll find pictures of the many rock formations that make up the beaches, and seeing them in person is so much more than that. Standing on the beach there are plenty on the sand and in the shallows of the sea you can walk around, but if you want to get the full experience there are plenty of tours you can go in which take you into some of the caves that before you’ve probably only read about. My friend and I did a kayaking tour and a boat tour, both of which took us through caves we would have never got to see if we’d stayed on the beaches. We also got to see some wild dolphins while on the boat.
Advice (a.k.a. learn from my mistakes)
- Look up the public transportation before you go…It’s pretty much just buses but god it’s terrible. There’s no set times and you can end up having to wait anywhere between half an hour to well over an hour for the next bus if you miss one. Most hotels do some kind of shuttle transportation so it’s well worth looking into, if not either walk or get a taxi.
- Watch out for the rocks…As amazing and beautiful as the massive ones are, which you can see a mile away, there are some smaller ones on the beach half buried under the sand. I learnt this the hard way and I’ll let you imagine how painful that was when I stubbed my toe on one while not wearing any shoes.
- Drink water…It gets really hot in Algarve, especially if you are an English native used to highs of mid to late twenties once a blue moon.
- Use sun cream…Again this is an obvious one, and one that for the most part I was quite good at, until the last day that is.
- Visit the city…This may seem like an obvious one but a lot of the hotels in the Algarve are all-inclusive, and it can be really tempting to either spend all your time by the hotel pool or all your time on the local beach. Instead take a day or an afternoon to visit the nearest city or visit the next city along. There’s always plenty to do in terms of food, bars, entertainment and shops; and you never know what you may find.
For both me and my friend Algarve was a relaxing holiday. We did the kayaking and boat tours, did a quad biking tour in the Albufeira countryside, but for the most part the trip was all about relaxing. We spend afternoons by the pool and mornings on the beach because we had a gorgeous hotel and all the beaches nearby were just stunning.