Portugal is a country renowned for its beautiful beaches: the long sandy expanses and sheltered coves of the Algarve, the rugged Atlantic rollers of Cape St Vincente or the Portugal of yesterday in the north. If you are looking for a magical destination this summer, consider Portugal, a land of distinctive Moorish architecture, fabulous weather and carnival atmosphere. Holidays are for fun and relaxation, keep them that way by booking an all inclusive deal with easyJet holidays.
If ‘summer holiday’ equates to ‘beach’ for you and your family, then an all inclusive holiday in the Algarve is for you. With calm turquoise seas and soft white sand, this region is home to some of the most sublime beaches in Europe. The protected area of the Ria Formosa Islands is beautiful and visitors are likely to be outnumbered by local fishermen! Elsewhere, there are beaches to suit sports lovers –with great sailing and windsurfing from Alvor and surfers can venture round the coast to Cape St Vincente for some serious Atlantic rollers.
Praia da Rocha is an excellent base for a holiday. It is located, quite literally, on the beach: the main avenue of shops and cafés run along its top. This means there is no need to hire a car, everything is within easy reach. Visit the Fortress Santa Catarina de Ribamar, a defence against Barbary pirates, laze on the sand or try out the water sports on offer: banana boats and ‘donuts’ (being towed by a speed boat whilst seated in a giant rubber ring) are always the cause of much hilarity! In the evening, take a short stroll from your hotel to the seafront bars and then dance until dawn. Likewise, the town of Vilamoura has a lovely situation on the coast. With its 1000 berth marina, this is the most prestigious resort in Portugal. (Luis Figo’s ‘Bar Sete’ is located on the waterfront) It goes without saying that facilities are world class: the golf course is of international standing, sunbathing is done ‘San Tropez’ style (sun beds, cocktails and ambient music) and the variety and quality of the cuisine is excellent. This is also a great place for families, the town boasts two lovely beaches, Praia de Marina and Praia da Falesia and for older kids there are fantastic opportunities for water sports. (I had my first parasailing experience here!)
For a town a little removed from the rush and bustle of the coast, head to Silves. This is the Moorish capital of the Algarve, situated on the River Arcade amongst citrus groves, (children will love the boat trip between here and Portimão.) The Castelo rising from its centre is impressive and makes a perfect back drop to the pageantry of the Medieval Festival staged here in August. Silves is the best of both worlds: a gateway to the Algarve hinterland, travel into the Serra de Monchique hills for a relaxing spa, yet the coast remains within easy reach. Those with children (or who are big kids themselves!) will be pleased to know that Slide and Splash and Lagos Zoo are only a short drive away. For something a little different, consider a trip to Lisbon to absorb the culture of the ‘city on seven hills.’ Breathe in the Age of Discoveries at the Torre de Belém and the Jeronimos Monastery, which houses Vasco de Gama’s tomb, then head to the Antiga Confeitaria de Belém for a pasteis de nata, a traditional custard tart, sold in the 1000’s everyday.
If you holiday to party then Albufeira is the hot spot of the Algarve. It is a place of two sides, the old town with traditional cobbled streets and fisherman bringing in the daily catch. Here days can be spent on the sand at Praia dos Pescadores or in the cafes of the marina with its distinctive pastel houses. Why not try a segway ride along the promenade? At night Albufeira’s party side comes alive in São João and Montechoro. There are bars and clubs to cater for all comers and the atmosphere is carnivalesque. There is nothing better than being able to join the hubbub spilling out onto the still warm streets and catch sunrise down on the beach!
Magical Portugal will truly allow you to escape the toil of work or the unpredictable English summer! Ensure that nothing intrudes on your relaxation time by booking an all inclusive holiday with easyJet holidays. It’s so simple: everything paid before you go, no budgeting, no searching for places to eat: just sunshine and the making of happy memories!