...& day-to-day stories

Stop 2 – Algarve and Alentejo (AKA family hols), Portugal

What happens to time??? Like for real, where the F does it go?

I mean, a person (me) plans to write once a week, do this, do that, and suddenly it’s four months later (FOUR MONTHS!!) and I’m like “Time, what the actual F?”

Anyway no point on dwelling, I’ll just pick up where I left off. So, where were we? That’s right, stop and flat number one.

After our lovely first month in Cascais we kind of just moved around a lot (a LOT), so much so that I was struggling to say exactly what stop number two was (number two *giggles*). But I’ve got it now: stop number two was family hols.

We didn’t bother looking for a flat after we left the Airbnb in Cascais, as we knew we were going to spend a few days in the Algarve (with his family) and a few days in Alentejo (with my family).

Say what, where?

The Algarve is kind of a famous resort location in the south of Portugal. It’s literally as far down as you can go in Portugal. Drive down south until you can’t drive anymore (’cause there’s the ocean and all) and then you’ve reached it.

It’s known for it’s white sandy beaches – honestly it’s beautiful – and I guess the food as well. (If it’s not known for the food it damn well should be! Last year I ate the whole of the Algarve. That’s how good it is!). It could be paradise if it wasn’t for one thing: the crowds in the summer. It gets really crowded, particularly in August. So if you’re planning on going, try to avoid August.

We rented a villa through Airbnb, not far from Praia do Ancão, which is an absolutely stunning beach. In the mornings you can have the beach (almost) to yourself. There aren’t a lot of parking spaces though, so in the afternoon it can get tricky to get to.

Praia do Ancão
Praia do Ancão in the morning

Instead, in the afternoon we would drive to Praia da Falesia, 30min away. It’s the spot everyone, everyone, goes to, as it is in Vilamoura, where all the afternoon summer sessions, sunset parties, etc etc are. I don’t really like it. It’s absolutely heaving. But if you fancy crowds, loud music and/or beach bars, and eventually spotting football players, go there. Obvs, the enjoyment of said beach depends massively on who you’re with and not just the environment itself. If you’re in good and fun company (which we were), you kind of let the rest go. (Except when you want to go for a swim and there’s literally no way to get to the sea from your spot without stepping on quite a few sunscreen-greasy corpses). #FirstWorldProblems, I know.

Alentejo, also in the south of Portugal, is one of my faves. I might be biased though, ‘cause my mum is from there and it’s where I spent many childhood summers. Slightly biased.

This time around, before heading to my grandparents’ small town, we booked an apartment at a farm (literally a farm) for a few days. It was heaven. There was nothing around the farm but golden landscape (oh and sometimes you could spot the castle of Terena on the hill). There was a swimming pool. There were cows, and horses (one of the horses kind of thought he was a dog), cats… and puppies!!! YES, PUPPIES! Told you: heaven.

Close by, we visited the towns of Redondo and Alandroal and the very small towns of Rosario and Terena. You probably never heard of it, but trust me, it’s a wonderful road trip to do one day. You can do a ‘medieval castles’ road trip to try and see as many medieval castles in Alentejo as possible. Tell you, you won’t regret it. Beautiful landscapes and you’ll always, always, find somewhere good to eat. If you do go there make sure to visit Évora and to sleepover at Reguengos de Monsaraz. It’s sooo beautiful there.

Here, here’s a map of the whole area you should defo visit one day:

Just a small tip: don’t go in the summer. Don’t. Reason being: it’s boiling. Literally. Try Spring. Spring in Alentejo is lovely.

Here are a few snaps from our days there:

 

And here’s one of the two puppies (who were twins and whose names were, brace yourselves, drum roll, please…
Parsley and Coriander! CAN’T. COPE. TOO. CUTE!)

Coriander

So, what comes after?

After the family hols we were back in Lisbon, it was August, and we realised there was really no point in even trying to find a place to rent (mental prices, telling ya). Also, from the end of August to beginning of September I had people visiting every weekend (stop number three, wait for it), so… we (mostly I) kind of shifted between his parents’ place and mine’s.


Should you visit Algarve and Alentejo?

Yup, 100%.

Just be mindful that the Algarve is packed (super packed) in August and Alentejo is basically boiling from June to August.

Want tips on where to go or stay? Feel free to contact me (just drop a comment below), I’ll be more than happy to help you out!

 

 

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