It is no secret that summer is, without a doubt, my favourite season of the year. I love the beach, the sun and the long lazy lunches by the sea.
One place we visit every year – and part of my pre-nuptial agreement with Mr. O -, is the Algarve, in the south of Portugal. This is when that as an Englishman, he is glad he didn’t marry a Russian lady (I do not mean any offense by this, Portugal is closer to the UK and has more sun, that is all).
Every year, we set off for a special week, which pretty much goes like this: we fly to Lisbon (and say hello to my parents) on a Friday evening, have a delicious breakfast (I will spare you the photos), then head for 2 days in Alentejo, which is a region located between Lisbon and the very south of Portugal – the Algarve.
This year was no exception, as we enjoyed a fantastic stay at Convento do Espinheiro and indulged in an incredible wine tasting weekend. We then drove to the Algarve, and spent ‘not’ enough time at the brand new Fazenda Nova, where we hope to go back again, as we loved it so much.
One thing I hate is crowds, and while we can, we avoid school holidays at all costs. This week in the Algarve is about catching up on sun rays (with appropriate SPF protection), sleep and, guess what, endulge in the incredible local food.
When I think of my summer holidays with my family (or weekends, for that matter), I think of 2-hour lunches by the beach. I will help you picture these:
Mr. O isn’t fluent in Portuguese, even after almost 8 years, but ameijoas (Portuguese for clams) was one of his first 10 words. I am actually not being condescending – my husband will never go hungry in Portugal.
Portuguese food is extremely simple – it is all about the fresh ingredients. For me, grilled sardines, boiled potatoes and roasted pepper and onion salad, washed down with sparkling wine sangria is, indeed, summer on a plate. I do not need anything else to be happy.. or maybe I do?
Enough food! I am getting very hungry and is not helping my homesickness.
For the last couple of years (and a few more), we have been staying at the Sheraton Algarve – it has a good location between Vilamoura and Albufeira (we do have a thing about driving around and go to different beaches every day. Or almost – don’t ask!), fabulous rooms, views and one of the most beautiful beaches in the Algarve. This year we simply did not go to other beaches. And we missed breakfast everyday. This hotel was simply perfect for what we wanted and needed.
Mrs. O’s Algarve little address book:
For lunch, we love:
– Golfinho Azul – basically the next beach after the Sheraton (where all the photos above were taken).
– Restinga – at Alvor Beach (still one of my favourite beaches in the Algarve)
– Gigi Beach, at Quinta do Lago – www.quintadolago.com/en/resort/destination/dining/24…/63-gigis
A few of my favourite restaurants for dinner include:
– Akvavit in Vilamoura Marina – www.restaurante-akvavit.com
– Pequeno Mundo in Almancil – www.restaurantepequenomundo.com
– Pássaro Azul in Olhos d’Água
– Vila Lisa in Mexilhoeira Grande
So if Portugal, or the Algarve, to be more precise has never been part of your summer plans, I hope I have been able to show you this special part of the world.
No matter where we are fortunate to go, anywhere in the world, we never give up our week here. It is relaxed, understated and no matter what, kind of feels like home.
Until next July 🙂