April 20, 2011

Will Algarve be your Summer travel destination?

When I have some money to spent I always go to Central Algarve, in the south, for a short Summer holiday cos I love a good warm beach. It’s the most geared up Portugal’s region for the tourist individual. If you visit you’ll find the largest concentration of hotels and apartments in the country and also a vast selection of sporting and leisure activities like golf. But it's the warm weather of the south that makes all the difference. Central Algarve in the west, it goes from Faro to Portimão, along 45 miles. District’s capital is Faro and that’s where foreigners land at Faro’s airport. For years I’ve been spending summer holidays at Armação de Pêra. Pêra is the name of a small village and Armação is what we call to industry of making boats. It’s 40 minute car drive from the airport. A few years ago I took a boat trip along the coastline to watch more closely the amazing sandstone caves, rock formations and many grottos along the way. I was a bit scared on the rocking boat but it was cool. You get pretty hotels on the cliffs, a large strand of 3 km of sand, fishermen community still doing traditional fishing and nearby attractions for kids like Aqualand, a family water fun park. You’ll find also plenty of seafood and fish restaurants and traditional and international style restaurants. It’s a beach for families and kids, friendly and safe. Last year I went to Praia da Rocha for the first time and loved it. It’s the second resort of Algarve. I’m not into big just because it’s big. In fact I do not like the coast line full of high-rising buildings. I was lucky and had marvelous weather last August, very warm waters, and loved to walk along the wet sand in the morning and dining out at night.There’s plenty of nightlife with bars and a casino too!  It is particularly popular with British and Irish holidaymakers; I was staying very close to an Irish bar. I also loved to promenade along the beach avenue flanked with store and hotels on one side, on the other you'll get the blue ocean spreading till the horizon and down below the sand flocked with people. As the beach is enormous I never felt packed even if I was there in August. To my surprise it was very clean all the time. Dramatic rocky outcrops and red and yellow sandstone rock stacks gave the name to the beach- Praia da Rocha, meaning Beach of the rocks. You have to go through a lot of steps to reach the sand but once you reach it you’ll like it. Not very good to carry children up and down those stairs but the sea is very warm and calm, ideal for kids. I was thinking of going back this Eastern holiday with my sister but she cancelled the trip as she got sick. Fortunately weather isn’t good so I’m not very disappointed. I live in a beach too in central Portugal. Weather conditions are very different here – cold water, windy afternoons and not a quite sea most of the days! Even the light is different! But I enjoyed it also. So, if you’re considering a Summer beach travel destination, Portugal offers cheap accommodation, good food, nice people and excellent weather on the south. And you can buy a tote bag and a matching  Mermaid t-shirt for your kids to wear on the beach at my Zazzle store!

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