Missing summer, missing the Algarve

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).

Not a bad view, is it?

Not a bad view, is it?


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:

Clams with white wine sauce, coriander and garlic - Heaven as I call it

Clams with white wine sauce, coriander and garlic – Heaven as I call it


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.


Grilled Sardines - or summer on a plate

Grilled Sardines – or summer on a plate


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?


Shrimps with rock salt - kill me now

Shrimps with rock salt – kill me now

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.

Yay, another day at the beach!

Yay, another day at the beach!


The 2012 beach bag, given to be by the lovely Leah

The 2012 beach bag, given to be by the lovely Leah


Caught by Mr. O tweeting, or checking Facebook. I *did* have wifi at the beach ;)

Caught by Mr. O tweeting, or checking Facebook. I *did* have wifi at the beach 😉


An almost empty beach before sunset - time for a gin & tonic

An almost empty beach before sunset – time for a gin & tonic


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 –…/63-gigis


A few of my favourite restaurants for dinner include:

– Akvavit in Vilamoura Marina –

– Pequeno Mundo in Almancil –

– Pássaro Azul in Olhos d’Água

– Vila Lisa in Mexilhoeira Grande

Pássaro Azul, in Olhos d'Agua - perfect for dinner

Pássaro Azul, in Olhos d’Agua – perfect for dinner



The wooden bridge that leads to Quinta do Lago beach - without a doubt, one of my favourite places in the Algarve

The wooden bridge that leads to Quinta do Lago beach – without a doubt, one of my favourite places in the Algarve

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 🙂


Mrs. O


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View Comments (39)


  1. baccarat_guy

    August 2, 2018 at 8:59 am

    Excellent suggestions. Your recommendation for lunch at GIGI’S Quinta do Lago, was spot on. For sure, “summer on a plate.” Can’t wait to return to the Algarve.

  2. Patricia

    February 11, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    A wonderful place, beautiful beaches and excellent food. I also suggest conquilhas: amazing taste. Almost back to have some sun.

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      February 11, 2014 at 6:50 pm

      Oh yes, those are lovely. Has been a while since I had them!

  3. Marian Krueger

    March 28, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Portugal is on my list of places to visit and this looks amazing. Beach, food, and drinks — you’ve summed up my perfect vacation!
    Marian Krueger recently posted..Cruise Line Dedication | Sticking to One BrandMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      March 29, 2013 at 12:52 pm

      You should really really go! Its fab!

  4. Pingback: Love Portugal? Win a luxury 10-night holiday with Starwood Hotels & Resorts | Mrs. O Around Portugal

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  6. Clare (@holidayaddict23)

    December 4, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    I really hope 2013 is the year I actually make it to Portugal after promising myself for so long that I’ll go. The Greek islands always call, and I’m sure they will call again next summer, but I think a city break to Lisbon, or a week in the Algarve will be perfect for May. Fingers crossed…
    Clare (@holidayaddict23) recently posted..Mulled Wine and Magic in Manchester’s Christmas MarketsMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      December 5, 2012 at 8:12 am

      Clare, Portugal is definitely worth a visit, promise!

  7. about portugal

    November 26, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    Hi Mrs O,
    The Algarve is always surprising, as the all Portugal as a matter of fact. Even for me, who am Portuguese! So I understand why you came back every year. The Algarve has hidden gems. Have you already been to Cabanas de Tavira? It is one of my top places. If not, don’t miss it next year.
    about portugal recently posted..Algarve, Portugal’s most famous regionMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      November 27, 2012 at 9:14 am

      Absolutely – but need to go back next year as it has been a few! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment 🙂

  8. Leah Travels

    November 12, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Is this were you’re taking me this summer? If it’s not, we need to add it to the itinerary. 🙂
    Leah Travels recently posted..Using Travel as a Stress RelieverMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      November 12, 2012 at 12:43 pm

      Yes it is 🙂

  9. Traveling Ted

    November 12, 2012 at 12:26 am

    I have always been intrigued with Portugal, and this has enhanced that feeling. Great post and the food looks delicious.
    Traveling Ted recently posted..The other side of TenerifeMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      November 12, 2012 at 8:16 am

      Thank you, Ted! I would seriously recommend it!

  10. John

    November 12, 2012 at 12:11 am

    Looks like a spectacular spot. I’m trying to decide whether or not to pull the trigger on a Portugal trip here in the next couple months – might be a little cold for the beach but hopefully there would still be some sunshine to be had!
    John recently posted..Under the Sea of CortezMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      November 12, 2012 at 8:16 am

      If you can go slightly later in the year, say March, April it would be more likely! Something tells me you’ll love it!

  11. Sand In My Suitcase

    November 11, 2012 at 7:38 am

    Sounds like you had a lovely summer week! It’s been far too long since we visited Portugal, but we have very fond memories of our time there (we loved staying at the historic pousadas) and we hope to return soon…
    Sand In My Suitcase recently posted..South Beach Style at Cabo’s hip Bahia HotelMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      November 12, 2012 at 8:18 am

      The pousadas are lovely! Do go back 🙂

  12. Raul (@ilivetotravel)

    November 10, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Your beautiful country, Mrs O., is one I have NOT visited – can you believe such a gap in my long list of countries visited?? Maybe I should make it there when you are making one of your trips back?? 🙂
    Raul (@ilivetotravel) recently posted..Curacao Photo Essay: Art, Architecture and Some Very Dark SkiesMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      November 12, 2012 at 8:22 am

      Yes, you should!!

  13. Venicia Gaul

    November 9, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    Ok Algarve is now on my voyage lust list!! Loving the summer on plate image! Feeling warmer from just looking 🙂
    Venicia Gaul recently posted..Voyage Lusting News – November 2012My Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      November 12, 2012 at 8:22 am

      That was the idea! Thanks, Venicia!

  14. Julika

    November 9, 2012 at 9:50 am

    Oh please take me back right now! I would do anything to exchange this gloomy November day for a few moments on the paradisiacal beaches of the Algarve! Lovely pictures!
    Julika recently posted..Rediscovering ParisMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      November 9, 2012 at 10:14 am

      Oh thank you, Julika! I was feeling the same, very cold!!

  15. restlessjo

    November 6, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    Passaro Azul looks very inviting, Ana. It’s a good shot. I was only in Olhos d’Agua once- the tide was in and the beach was heaving, so I hadn’t planned to go back. I might have to reconsider.
    restlessjo recently posted..Sunday Post : WonderfulMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      November 7, 2012 at 11:15 pm

      Never been to the beach during the day, but can imagine it being quite packed! It’s lovely for dinner, promise!

  16. Liz Litzow

    November 6, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Looks fab Ana – hopefully soooooon

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      November 7, 2012 at 11:16 pm

      I think you’d love it 🙂

  17. Simon O'Reilly

    November 6, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    As I am sitting in a frosty cold morning in UK at 0 degrees this post reminds of what is to come in a few months! I can’t wait, the pictures of the food brings back fond memories of fresh fish,ameijoas(!)of course and sangria! Ohhhh!

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      November 7, 2012 at 11:16 pm

      A bit more than 6 months to go, mr o!

  18. Ricardo

    November 6, 2012 at 11:50 am

    Now we have a lot of chestnuts, almonds and sweet potato!
    Algarve, never stops and also can be very interesting during winter time!

    And great wines!

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      November 7, 2012 at 11:16 pm

      Maybe I could consider a winter getaway 🙂

  19. Lúcia

    November 6, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Ana… Restinga is my beach for years and years!!!! I love the restaurant, they have a great Sangria and the fried shrimps… oh God!
    I think the restaurant in Mexilhoeira Grande you ment “Vila Lisa”… i know it, it´s so good!
    Give me “Sardinhas com salada de pimentos assados, ameijoas à bulhão pato ou umas gambas da costa com sal por cima” and i am, for sure, a happy girl:)))
    Next year if you are going to Alentejo before the Algarve, if you want to try a something different from Convento do Espinheiro, try L´and and Vineyards or Herdade da Malhadinha Nova! They are both great!

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      November 7, 2012 at 11:18 pm

      Ha ha! We could have met in real life! Will correct typo!

      We went to malhadinha nova last summer and loved it!

  20. Mira

    November 6, 2012 at 11:04 am

    A lovely report of a lovely country, with photos of irresistable cuisine, staying in a lovely and sweet hotel – Mrs. O. manages to turn us on to tavel to her favorite place – her own country. Bravo! And as usual – she succeeds!! I wish I could drop everything and just take off!! Job well done, as always, Ana!

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      November 7, 2012 at 11:18 pm

      So when shall we meet?? 😉

  21. Fiona

    November 6, 2012 at 10:36 am

    Gorgeous post Ana, just back from Lisbon, the food pictures are making me miss it already! 🙁
    Fiona recently posted..Five Great Whiskey Bars in DublinMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      November 7, 2012 at 11:20 pm

      Ohhhh! I’m off to Lisbon next weekend! Where did you go??

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