So we are back with a bang from our stay in sunny Albufeira Portugal.
We have had such an adventure and packed as much in as we could in our 7-night stay.
As a family, we had a taste of the real Portugal with zebra safari tours, got to experience the beauty and grace of the magical dolphins in Zoo Marine and viewed some spectacular sites of the unspoilt secret beaches and caves with Dreamwave Algarve.
We love this little corner of the world and discovered some hidden gems on our family vacation, I couldn’t wait to tell you all about it and give you a heads up on what I would recommend if any of you guys are thinking of a family stay in Albufeira.
We stayed in the area of Praia dos alemães Albufeira, The beach is totally unspoilt and spotless. It’s about a twenty-minute walk from the old town, along the beach the there are some really nice snack and cocktail bars, we found that it wasn’t too over crowed but the sea can get a little rough at times so watch out for the waves if swimming.
Where we stayed:
We stayed in a friends apartment on this occasion which is local to the Praia dos alemães beach. But on 2 other occasions, we have stayed at the Monica Isabel beach club which is located just on the Praia dos alemães beach also. The hotel is ideal if you like to spend your holiday on the beach, with a short walk 25 minute to the old town and within close walking distance to all amenities and a 30-minute walk to the main strip in Albufeira.
as always there are pros and cons, I’ve listed mine below
- Right beside the beach
- Rooms with a balcony and sea views
- Kids club
- 2 pools and a baby pool ( they have a 2nd hidden pool that is a lot quieter than the main one its situated right beside the kids club
The food is just ok, so I wouldn’t recommend going all-inclusive, as there are so many amazing restaurants and beach snack bars around to explore within walking distance with an excellent choice and value for money.
Best places to eat:
Panacee: We had a couple of meals here during our stay, the staff are really friendly and the menu has a good selection. It includes traditional dishes like Piri Piri chicken and local fish.
The Menu caters well for Irish and British tourists. Its kept simple but done well, With a full English breakfast, a good selection of omelettes, a mix of salads, burgers and chicken kababs. The restaurant has been open since 1982 and George the owner is there most days and will always make you feel welcome.
We absolutely loved our visit to No solo Agua – so much so that we went back twice in a week, Well that was especially for the Chocolate profiteroles, lils tried them early on in the week and had been talking about them every day ever since. So they were a treat after a really long walk in the sun. This a lovely spot by the sea with chill-out music and sunbeds and parasols for hire. Its the perfect spot for a glass of wine while watching the sunset.
This is such a lovely local restaurant of which we used as a stop-off on our full-day jeep safari tour.
Staff were so friendly and very helpful. Food was delish, the menu was varied, with so much choice.
We tried out the seafood taster, (if you,re a seafood fan you will in fact be in heaven here)
The Desserts were to die for. I had a selection of local desserts that were made up of all the local produce. The highlight for me was a delicious cake made from the local tree bearing fruits of carob, fig and almond. We topped off our evening with a shot of firewater each, that left us with a warm happy fuzzy feeling leaving. We will definitely return.
The zebra safari was by far my favourite activity, of the week,
If you fancy getting to see the real Algarve this tour is just perfect.
We went off the beaten track and discovered the regions fantastic landscape, where the hospitality and historical heritage makes the difference, with plenty and unique natural charm.
My highlight was an illegal distillery which was run by an 82-year-old couple. We learned how firewater was made and had a wee sample of each shot , (I joked that ill be singing in the jeep on the way back) Lils had a taste of the local rosemary honey and loved it so much we bought some. We could have spent the day roaming around the couple’s farm and although they didn’t speak a word of English gave us the warmest welcome. Our tour guide was Gill and he was a pure gentleman, enthusiastic and so knowledgable about the region.
*** This was a gifted tour but we would happily go back a pay! A total highlight for me. If you do one sightseeing tour during your stay, do this one!
We have been to the zoo marine before when in the Algarve and have always loved it. Think of it as a mix between Dublin zoo and Tayto park with a few water parks thrown in there for good measure.
we hung out for most of the day in the kiddy water playground, Lil,s still hasn’t mastered the little water slides just yet and give it a good attempt while holding my hand but was happy enough splashing around in the water.
The Dolphin show is a must-see and actually moved me to tears. If you plan a trip bring towels and swimming togs, it’s so big we would saw half on our visit so I would recommend going early to try and fit in as much as you can.
*** This was a gifted experience, but we paid in on our previous visit and thoroughly enjoyed it.***
This one was Damiens highlights, he was absolutely blown away by the caves and secret unspoiled beaches on the tour.
Now I,lll be honest lils not so much, she was a bit frightened by the rocking of the speed boat. To put it into context shes, not a fan of rollercoasters ( we have no adrenalin junkie on our hands) a very cautious kid, so actually covered her head with a raincoat giving to us by our tour guide (who was so lovely) and fell asleep.
I think this would be a total hit for older kids aged from about 7 years of age and up. (or even if you have a little daredevil ) I was blown away by the sights and it was such an amazing way to explore the seas of the Algarve, (but maybe not if you have a nervous disposition.)
**** This was a gifted experience and I would happily pay to do it again with Damien, but maybe leave lils out for this one until she’s a little older.
On our trip, We were also invited as a guest to taste the award-winning seafood cataplana in the Balaia golf village
The restaurant had beautiful views of them with stunning landscaped golf courses (The whole complex is a golfers dream).
The Balaia Golf Village has 4-star accommodation a has on-site tennis courts, swimming pools, wellness centre, bowling green, children’s club, golf club with academy, restaurants and shopping area. if you’re looking for a little bit of luxury relaxation, you should definitely check it out.
And there you have it, a week filled with adventure, as a family I actually wished I had of booked an extra week, we had a blast, packed so much in, I wasn’t ready to leave!
But saying that, if I had of booked that extra week I still wouldn’t be ready to leave!
Until next time
Jolene x x