Viva Vilamoura

Q: Where are you going on holiday?

A: The Algarve.

A pretty familiar conversation at the moment, not least given the rise of Portugal as a destination of choice in the last couple of years in particular, but it’s a response that brings far more questions than answers!

From the rugged surfing heartlands to the east to the traditional fishing villages in the centre and the lively resorts of the east, to cover the Algarve with one broad brush is doing a massive disservice to one of our favourite European spots.

We’re officially converted, having been back three times in as many years after first visiting (pre-kids) in the late 1990s. It’s fair to say we’ve covered the miles during those trips and taken in all corners of the Algarve – so it’s a part of the world we’ll be posting about in bite size chunks in the months ahead.

Where to start? Not an easy choice as there are plenty of highlights but we’ll begin with the more obvious choices and leave the hidden gems for later.

Any area with the self-confidence to hand itself the tag of the Golden Triangle isn’t shy and that shines through when you visit what’s certainly the most polished corner of the coast.

At one tip of that triangle is Vilamoura, a resort that was just a twinkle in the eye of its creator more than half a century ago but one that is far from tired today.

The official figures say Vilamoura covers 2,000 hectares but it feels like a close-knit resort, in the best possible way. With its lush golf courses, luxury hotels, neat apartment complexes and plentiful list of activities for all ages there’s a lot going for it as a resort – but the jewel in the crown is the marina, the real hub through day and night.

With a great blend of bars, restaurants, shops and much more in between it’s the perfect spot for watching the world go by. Not to mention a bit of yacht spotting along the way.

More than 1,000 boats can berth at the marina at any one time – but the yachts may well be outnumbered by joggers, with the meticulously maintained paths threading their way through the perfectly manicured gardens of the resort thronging with locals and visitors alike. It helps add to what’s a very civilised, grown-up air. It isn’t all refined elegance, the bright lights are never too far away, but it’s a completely different vibe to the likes of nearby Albufeira (far more karaoke club than yacht club).

To be fair it doesn’t all sound like the perfect recipe for a holiday with little travellers in tow and for a fortnight probably wouldn’t be, but for a day trip or two we love it. Stay for the sunset and memories are guaranteed.

In peak season it pays to be prepared, restaurant bookings (where possible, not all will reserve a table at the height of summer) make sense to avoid the long waits that invariable accompany the best eateries and particularly if you fancy a quayside table. The Mayflower, a long-established favourite in Vilamoura, is top of our list whenever we’re in town.

vilamoura10

Picture courtesy of Vilamoura Transfers.

But remember to skip pudding – save yourself for Nougat Tea’N. Part of a small but perfectly formed chain of patisseries, the Villamoura version is a real joy for the senses. Incredible creations that put the Great British Bake Off to shame are stacked neatly in cabinets that wouldn’t be out of place in a jeweller’s shop. Thankfully the price tags are much more accessible and as a sweet treat it’s difficult to beat.

Vilamoura5

Good food, good company and plenty to see and do makes for a pretty agreeable Vilamoura recipe.

Mini Travellers

http://www.flyingwithababy.com/family-travel-tips-2/

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12 Comments Add yours

  1. mumjd says:

    Looks lovely. We went to Lisbon once many years ago but have never visited the Algarve

    Liked by 1 person

    1. WTMluggage says:

      There are so many lovely bits-think we might do a few separate posts! We are hoping to add on a couple of days in Lisbon on our next visit.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. travelingchristie says:

    I have been for quite a few years but every time we visit we love it such a wonderful place to visit, thanks so much for linking up x

    Like

  3. Like you, I have visited the Algarve a few times – once on a geography field trip while I was at University, again with friends in my twenties and a few years ago we spent a fortnight near Sagres as a family. I’ve often seen Vilamoura in the guide books and travel brochures – great to know you would recommend it. Your sunset photos are wonderful.
    #mondayescapes

    Like

  4. daisythebus says:

    Looks swish – a far cry from the rugged, slightly downtrodden (but still wonderful) central region of Portugal where we often visit our family. As you say, to cover the Algarve (or even the whole of Portugal) with one broad brush is a big mistake – this is a wonderfully rich and varied country, definitely one of our favourite travel destinations. #FamilyTravelTips

    Like

    1. WTMluggage says:

      We love visiting Burgau and Salema and the quieter places too. Just love the beaches in Portugal. Haven’t visited Tavira yet really want to explore there !

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sounds beautiful.

    #familytraveltips

    Like

  6. Wow, Vilamoura looks stunning, gorgeous photos too, I love the colours. Great advice on pudding too! I’d like to go to the Algarve and it’s useful to know that different parts of it offer so much variety. I remember my dad going there back in the early 90’s and it rained all week and they spent the week inside watching our local common on the news in glorious sunshine as there was such a big rave there it made international news! Oddly enough they were quite negative about their experience of the place back then and it put me off going a bit, but now that I’ve heard a lot more about the good side of it, it’s somewhere I’d like to check out for myself. Thanks so much for linking up to #familytraveltips.
    Nat.x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. WTMluggage says:

      We visited the Algarve years ago when we were much younger 😉 and I wasn’t really taken with the Algarve …roll on a few years and now we have explored some of the lovely pretty fishing village and gorgeous beaches we love it. Heading back this summer and want to explore some new parts! #familytraveltips

      Like

  7. Your photos are so pretty. We visited the Algarve when our eldest was a toddler..well just turned 2. We loved it and the scenery is amazing…as was the weather. There was so much still to explore as well. I can see why people continue to return year after year! #familytraveltips

    Liked by 1 person

    1. WTMluggage says:

      We don’t normally like to go back to the same place again and again but we do really enjoy our holidays there,everyone wanted to return and visit again and explore some more of Portugal again in the summer.

      Like

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