A week ago I found myself lying under the Portuguese sun. We had an amazing chance to stay with my boyfriend’s grandparents and their lovely friends at their villa in the Algarve, near Faro. Most of our time was spent by the pool, but we also had the chance to do a little bit of exploring around the area. Hopefully, we will get to come back sometime soon, and explore a little more. If you have any tips I should try out next time, please let me know in the comment section!
Our extended weekend turned into almost a week of vacation – thanks to a cancelled flight, which is why we had to leave a day early. It seems like this is becoming a new tradition as our flights were also cancelled on our trip to Italy. The time in Portugal flew by, and here’s what we got up to.
Golf and Beach life at Quarteira
We were staying at the Vila Sol Golf resort. I have never played golf in my life, but here it is an essential part of the lifestyle, and the Algarve offers some of the best golfing opportunities in Europe. This explains the popularity amongst millionaires and celebrities. Our villa was located literally on the golf course, and observing the golfers became daily entertainment for me. If you have a car you can jump into, do a little cruise to the nearby Quinta do Lago, which is the even wealthier area, to see the ridiculously prestige villas, and a lot of these villas can also be rented out. If you don’t have a car or don’t fancy to rent one, just drive around your area with one of the golf buggies!
Where to eat and drink at Vila Sol
If you end up staying somewhere near Vila Sol, I recommend you have dinner at The Moon. It is not the cheapest option in the world, but it’s not a stretch for those used to London prices. The food here was absolutely delicious, and I was amazed particularly by the parmesan soup. They also offer a convenient shuttle service, so no need to worry about stumbling across the golf course (like we ended up doing, woops) or finding taxis.
After having dinner we went to the Wine Bistro, a restaurant and bar, to have another glass of local wine. The place was hilarious. Most of the customers were in their 60s and 70s, and they were split into groups of men and women. As it got later, the karaoke was turned on and the groups started to mingle. Karaoke is apparently not usually offered at Wine Bistro, but it was great entertainment!
By the way, make sure you eat as many Pastel de Natas (Portuguese tarts) when you are in Portugal! They are an absolute delight and I regret not having more.
Vilamoura – A little Monaco in Portugal
Vilamoura is an area near Quarteira, Algarve, and is most famous for its marina. Here you can spot celebrities, football players in particular, who reside in the nearby areas. In addition to admiring the yachts, make sure you pop into the little shops and get some dinner. I would recommend the Mayflower, which is where we had dinner. They offer stunning food at reasonable prices, and their staff is very professional but incredibly fun and friendly. They have both indoor and outdoor seating and the restaurant was welcoming to both families and couples, of all ages. Portions are also large so you will not leave hungry!
Quarteria village itself is nothing special, but there is a huge, beautiful and smooth sanded beach. We came here a couple of times, and I recommend taking a walk along the beachfront. The ocean was still freezing, so there weren’t any swimmers despite quite a few sunbathers.
Sagres – The End Of The World
The End of The World, or so the Europeans thought before the 15th century, is a stunning cliff area near a little town called Sagres. It’s extremely popular among hikers and cyclists, but a more comfortable way to access Sagres is by car. It is a little over an hour drive from Vila Sol, so if you are somewhere near Faro, I recommend that you pay The End of The World a quick visit. Normally there are also little market stalls, but unfortunately, we were here on a Sunday, so most places were closed.
The Lighthouse of Cabo de São Vicente is one of the first lighthouses with rotating light and was originally built in 1520*. Unfortunately, you can’t climb up the lighthouse, but you can access the rest of the building and the courtyard. In the courtyard, there was a cafe that was open despite it being Sunday. There is also a museum, but for me, the main interest was to admire the impressive cliffs.
It is very windy at The End of The World, so please be careful when moving around. Many people have accidentally fallen off the cliffs, and I am not surprised. We didn’t manage to get many good photos from here; in almost each of them, I look like I’m struggling to stand up and my hair is being blown everywhere.