The Algarve. A lovely place for a sunny holiday, that’s the truth. Ger and I ventured to Vilamoura, Portugal in March with our fabulous friends Kevin and Siobhan for a lovely Easter weekend holiday (yes, this is yet another belated blog post, sorry folks)! This was my first trip to The Algarve (as this part of the country is referred too) and it did not disappoint. If it had been a bit warmer, I would have been jumping in the Atlantic. 🙂
Ger and I left late on a Friday after work and planned to meet Siob and Kev at our Airbnb in Vilamoura, but their flight got canceled so instead we met them early Saturday morning once they arrived. Our Airbnb was bright and clean and we couldn’t have asked for a better location; it within walking location of everything and a view of the marina was right outside our front door. Our first Portuguese meal was pastel de nata for breakfast; you can’t not have these when in Portugal. They are amazing little bites of food art. (Pictured: The living room of our apartment. So cute).(Pictured: View out the front of our apartment. We suspect the cobblestone fountain is filled with water in the high-season. It was still low-season while we were there).(Pictured: Patel de Nata i.e., food goodness. You must try this if ever in Portugal).
Once Kev and Siobhan got settled in, we headed out for a walk around the marina. It’s quite an impressive marina to be fair. We couldn’t stop looking at the boats and imagining what our lives would be like if we owned one ;). Pretty spectacular, I’m sure. Along our walk we found a restaurant on the beach, Buzios Beach Club, where we settled in for a relaxing lunch and some sangria and beer. It was a great life choice. (Pictured above and below: Buzio’s Beach Club and seaside views).(Pictured: Tropical Chicken Salad; perfect lunch for beach side dining).
After catching up on life stuff over lunch, we headed back to the apartment for a game of euchre accompanied by rosé and some stellar music on our back patio. The views weren’t so bad either. Loved the colors of the buildings and the blue sky. As much as we enjoy a good card game, we decided to head out in search of a pool table. What else do you do on vacation except relax, play cards, and play pool? 😉 Our hunt took us to a few different bars in town until we stumbled upon a winner. To be fair, searching for a bar with a pool table is a great way to get to know a place. A few games of pool kept us busy for the remainder of the afternoon and then we headed to dinner at Resaurante O Marisco, a Portuguese restaurant known for their seafood dishes. Ger, Kev, and Siob shared the Cataplana de Marisco, a traditional Portuguese seafood dish that originated in the Algarve. The cataplana is the cookware used to make the traditional dish, thus the name. I ordered fish as I am allergic to shellfish and couldn’t partake in the Cataplana de Marisco experience, though I really wish I could have. It looked and smelled amazing. (Pictured: Close-up of Cataplana de Marisco).
After dinner, we headed to a bar to play darts and enjoy some drinks. And that we did. I won darts; it was awesome. The dart game captured the winning shot below. The excitement is palpable. Haha.
The next day we woke to sunny skies and incredibly warm temperatures. Today’s agenda was rest and relaxation. So, it was off to Purobeach Club for Siobhan and I and the boys headed to Victoria Golf Course to play 18 holes. Victoria Golf Course is where the Portugal Masters are held. Needless to say, the boys loved it. Siobhan and I also loved our day of sunning, sipping on amazing cocktails, and eating good food. I’d highly recommend getting a sunbed at Purobeach Club for the day. It’s totally worth it. One of Siobhan’s friend from London, Sabina, met us there as well. Needless to say, I got a new friend out of the deal. We had a great time chatting the day away! (Pictured: Passion Fruit Guava Margarita. I’ll take another, please).(Pictured: The boys, Ger and Kev, at Victoria Golf Club in Vilamoura).(Pictured: Goat Cheese Salad. Amazingly tasty).(Pictured: Purobeach Club sunbed view for the day. Loved it).
After our day outings, we met back at the apartment to freshen up and then headed to dinner. Tonight, Thai was on the menu. The food at My Thai was fresh and tasty. I ordered Pad Thai because it’s safe for me with my allergy and it’s one of my favorite staples at Thai restaurants. I got a nice glass of local white wine as well. We ended up calling the night after dinner as we had an early morning boat tour scheduled the next day. (Pictured: Fresh and tasty Chicken Pad Thai. #thaifoodstaple).
We woke up to another perfect day in The Algarve. It was sunny and warm; couldn’t have asked for more in March. We headed down to the marina after getting tasty lemon crepes and coffees for breakfast. Now, for me, any excuse to be on a boat is a good one. But, the boat trip was a bit oversold in-so-much as that we didn’t stop off at any remote beaches, which was advertised as part of the excursion, nor did we stop for a dip in the sea, but it was probably too cold for that anyways. On the plus side, we did go into sea caves which was pretty cool and views along the coastline were stunning. To boot, there was free wine for Siobhan and I, so we were happy out. See below for some stunning views of the Algarve. (Pictured: Albuferia from a distance).(Pictured: Some of the Bengali Caves).(Pictured: Kev and Siob loving life on the boat).(Pictured: One of the many Bengali Caves. Beautiful, no?)(Pictured: Ger, Kev, and Siob on the boat inside another Bengali Cave. So 😎. )(Pictured: Siob and I loving our free wine).
After we returned from the boat tour, we tucked into The Royal on the marina for a leisurely late lunch and then went on a hunt for more pool. Along the way, we found some games and had a successful go at them…minus Siobhan. Just kidding! But, you know why…boxing. 😉 (Pictured: Another goat cheese salad for lunch, apparently I really like goat cheese salads).After our successful afternoon of game playing, we headed back to the apartment to freshen up, play euchre, drink more wine and then go to dinner. Dinner for the evening was a local Mexican place that came highly recommended – Rosa’s Cantina. And my gawd, I have never had such good Mexican food in Europe. I still think about how nice the nachos were. It was that good. It might be that I am starved for legit Mexican food in Ireland as well, so anything that slightly resembles Mexican is a winner in my book. But, regardless, good eats. I would recommend it for those folks missing good Mexican food that happen to be in Vilamoura or for anyone who simply enjoys Mexican. #foodrantover (Pictured: The best hats in the whole of The Algarve).
After our amazing dinner, we went to Canela Lounge Bar at Tivoli Marina Vilamoura (a very nice hotel located on the marina) for after dinner drinks. The views of the marina at night were fabulous. And, there is something about seeing palm trees while you drink that makes it so much better, don’t ya think?
We slept in on our last morning in Vilamoura, because when on vacation. Then, we went for a last brunch together at The Mayflower. We picked seats with a prime marina view (as you do) to soak up the last bits of our holiday before heading to the airport. We had a great time in Vilamoura. It’s one of those places that has something for everyone and has a bit of beachy, rustic charm to it as well. We can’t wait for our next trip with Kevin and Siobhan:) Marrakesh, here we come. Until next time, tchau!