If you follow me on Instagram you’ll have seen that at the end of September I escaped the dreary UK in search of the last bit of summer. Adam and I headed to Vilamoura in Portugal with his parents for a bit of sun, sea and in Adam’s case, golf (mine was cocktails!) The last time I went to Portugal I was very small, still in armbands and had naturally blonde hair (20 years later and I’m still mourning the loss of this by the way!). I don’t even really remember where we went in Portugal so I was excited to get there and see a bit more of the local area. The travel blogger in me did lots of research before we went and had lots of excursions planned and activities to do. I’ve never been much of a sit and sunbathe kinda gal – I get bored and hot and I burn quite easily. So yeah, lots of activities planned…
And then three days before we flew, I got ill… like ill to the point where all I wanted to do was sleep all day so in fact the holiday turned out to be much slower paced than what I expected. But I needed it – like really needed it. As most of you regular readers will know I work a full time job and maintain my blog and YouTube channel (which is basically like a part time job now) and I think I’d hit the point of burn out. My body was telling me that what I really needed was rest and to switch off for a bit… And do you know what, I’m so glad I took that approach.
We took the short two hour flight from Liverpool to Faro with EasyJet and it was pretty uneventful as far as flights go. I didn’t pick up anything in duty free as I’m saving myself for Dubai in November. After getting a private transfer from the airport we arrived at the Hilton Vilamoura Gold Resort and Spa ready to start our holiday (or in my case, find the nearest sun lounger and lie down!) The hotel was lovely, spacious and quiet even though we were teetering on the end of high season. I’m going to do a full hotel review for the travel section of my blog but my, oh my I was in love with our room. We had a huge kingsize bed, pool view with a private balcony and the bathroom was amazing… Could of lived in there! All glass walls with a curtain to pull round for privacy; a huge bath big enough for about three people and a separate shower and toilet room also. There was so much space.
For the first couple of days Adam and I stayed around the hotel as I was too poorly to do anything. We spent it chilling by the pool and on the second day ended up in the indoor spa area relaxing in the jacuzzis, steam rooms and lying on hot stones. It felt amazing to do nothing but sleep, eat and read my days away. We ate at the hotel restaurant the first night as we were too tired to do anything else but the food was lovely.
For the rest of our holiday we spent our days at the beach (in Hilton’s private area) where umbrellas, towels and sun beds were provided for us; at the water park or exploring the wonderful coastline of Vilamoura and it’s marina. We ate in a few restaurants around the marina and in the back streets, my favourite was Stratca where I had the most amazing prawns (even if I did have to shell them myself… I always forget to ask for them unshelled) and their lobster linguine was flavoursome and impressively cooked. We also ate at a lovely Chinese which overlooked the marina just as sun was setting which turned into a really lovely evening – and me eating too much as I never know my limit with chicken chow mein and kung po prawns! I also found that if I combine my favourite seafood (shrimp/prawns) and pizza that it’s a heavenly combo and the prawn and garlic pizza I had at a restaurant I’m gutted I cannot remember the name of to recommend.
On the day before we were due home, we booked onto a boat tour to check out Vilamoura’s famous caves and hit the dolphin trail to see if we could find any of the amazing creatures in the wild. I’d been really excited to do this as I love exploring the natural area whenever I go somewhere new. There were plenty of trips on offer but in the end we went with ‘Algarve Seafaris‘ on their ‘Sea Fun Combi’ which gave us the opportunity to cruise along the coast, ride in a glass bottom boat to explore the sea bed & marine life and to visit the caves. We didn’t see any dolphins by I was impressed with the beauty of the Algarve coastline.
Sometimes I think it’s important to remember that we all need downtime and a quite trip to Vilamoura was just what I needed. Quiet and peaceful holidays needn’t be boring and I can now ticket another place off my list of ‘places visited’. The Portuguese were are really lovely and accommodating and all in all we had a lovely holiday.
Have you ever been to Vilamoura or the Algarve? Tell me your stories.