Last year I was off to Portugal again, only this time it was 2 girls and 3 beaches, having ourselves a little fiesta for my friend’s birthday.
What was supposed to be a full blown 10-day trip across Portugal was unfortunately cut short by business, which meant I passed the sticks to my friend for the last leg to Lisbon.
Still, we did manage to also spend a few days in Porto , Guiamares & Braga, before we hopped on the red-eye flight to the Algarve.
A quick Faro stopover
The one day we spent in Faro was enough, and the place didn’t leave any particular impression on me.
Maybe because it was sunny but very windy, so the chill from the wind combined with the burn from the sun really took a hit on our sleep-deprived bodies..
Still, you you’re there, you can always go for a nice walk by the beach and check out the Faro Ria Formosa Natural Park.
Honestly we didn’t, however I wish we knew a bit before, because I hear it was recently elected as one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Portugal! So there’s definitely something about it.. The girls skipped nature and stuck to the bottle of wine overlooking the Faro harbor.
We were happy to move on to Albufeira.
A Goldilocks Albufeira Weather
First of all, full disclosure: yes this is a beach-side touristy town, so yes you are going to have a lot of tourists.
At some point, it almost felt like I was in a twilight zone version of a Portugal colonized by the English.
However, Albufeira gives you:
- Bars & pubs galore
- Great food, for more than decent prices
- Karaoke & live bands
- Great & cheap food
- and of course the Beach!
And really, going there in early May was the perfect mix : there were enough people around – but not too many, the bars were all open – but not too crowded.
You could feel the town was alive, but it wasn’t pissing you off.
And the weather was spot-on Goldilocks zone.
Save for the quick visit to Lagos ( because.. Dona Ana beach, anyone? ) we ended up spending some deliciously lazy days of mainly beach time, brunches and gin tonics, mixed with the occasional late night live music bars.
After-party, playing groupies with the local band, who’re just a bunch of great guys!
Probably The Best Beach in the World..
We then headed to what’s probably the best beach in the world.. Oh, wait: in fact, in 2013 it was!
Chosen by Condé Nast’s as Best beach in the World, Dona Ana beach topped even the South Male Atoll beach, in the Maldives!
Praia Dona Ana (or Dona Ana Beach) in Lagos is an easy bus ride from Albufeira, so there are really no excuses to skip it.
The combination of turquoise waters and amazing rock formations makes it quite a stunning view!
The way the colors play off each other is amazing.. my favorite thing about the Algarve.
There are several ways to enjoy a picture-perfect view of Dona Ana Beach:
The first it to go all the way up to the old lighthouse and take it all in: the sea, the sky the beautiful reddish rock formations.
Of course, late afternoon / sunset is your best pick – your skin will not hate you, and your photographer eyes will thank you.
There’s also the boat trip option, which gives you a quick tour around its grottos. If sea permits, of course.
And well, you really do have to step foot on the beach and do some sunbathing, since you’re there!
Ah, the sun, the beach and some much needed girlie times.. Just what I needed!
I urge you all to head off to the Algarve as soon as you can!
When you come back , tell us about it; I bet you’ll have something to say!