All inclusive holidays in Algarve are amongst the greatest things in life. Fun, relaxing, engaging and budget friendly are a few of the characteristics that immediately jump into mind and this is no mean feat at all. The sunny southern coasts of Portugal offer a distinctly Mediterranean feel despite facing the Atlantic and this, along with the friendly vibe and great prices make up for some of the best short haul holiday destinations. In order to make thing simpler however, we have chosen to go with some of our favourites in order to give you an idea of where is what and what goes on in order to look before you book.
Praia da Rocha Maybe the most famous beach resort in the Algarve, or in the whole of the country, Praia da Rocha’s Blue Flag status, golden sands and excellent facilities (loungers, umbrellas and water sports) make it a top choice throughout the summer. It’s found close to the bustling and lively resort of Portimao and is one of the best beaches in the Algarve.
Image via @ CesarGP
Praia da Marinha regularly featured in Portugal’s tourism advertisements, Praia da Marinha offers absolutely stunning natural beauty, with huge rocks dotted throughout the crystal clear waters. Near Lagoa, it’s also a hot choice for snorkelling enthusiasts too.
Praia da Marinha via @ MiguelVieira
Read more: The best Beaches in Gran Canaria
Praia do Homem Nu If you feeling like baring all, head for this nudist beach a short ferry ride from Tavira. This is one of two official nudist beaches in the Algarve and has excellent facilities and gorgeous views.
Praia do Homem Nu via @ jrg261
Praia do Ancao Close to the excellent Vale do Lobo resort, Praia do Ancao is somewhat of a hidden gem. Tucked away behind a mass of dunes, the wide, sandy beach is sheltered from the elements and the crowds. This Blue Flag beach also has excellent facilities with loungers, umbrellas and restaurants and toilets.
Praia do Ancao via @ Wikicommons
Praia de Barreta on a practically deserted island, the untouched sands of Praia de Barreta make it a perfect choice for total relaxation. This Blue Flag beach is away from the crowds and is accessible by boat. There are basic facilities, with loungers, umbrellas and a couple of snack bars.
Ilha Deserta via @ Thilo Hilberer
Read more: Purple Hearts Lisbon
Praia do Carvoeiro Another Blue Flag favourite near Lagoa, this one has extensive facilities, such as loungers, umbrellas and lots of restaurants or snack bars. However, it still manages to retain a quiet atmosphere and the caves nearby are well worth a visit.
Praia do Carvoeiro via @ ReservadeCoches.com
Praia do Beliche Sagres’ best kept secret, this beach is a taste of the real beauty of the Algarve. Huge cliffs serve as a backdrop offering protection to the waters too. There are a lot of steps down to this secluded beach, so bear this in mind. It’s not really developed, so grab a picnic to take with you, or head for one of the restaurants on the neighbouring road.
Praia do Beliche via @ 07janeka
As we all know, summer vacations bring happiness, fun and some summer days with that hard to get ‘away from it all’ feeling. Picture yourself on a sunbed by the perfect beach, sunglasses on, cocktail in hand and gazing down the endless blue. Sounds perfect. However, the perfect vacation is not perfectly worry-free. Besides the usual worries of not knowing the place and the language or not knowing where to have drinks and dinner without getting ripped off, one worry remains mostly unseen. Suntan may come at a certain expense such as burns and irritation but the main concern is the conditions which may be worse. Unfortunately, melanoma is a real threat and bearing in mind its potentially dangerous and detrimental effect on health, we considered important to devote an article on how to tan safely, without returning from say a holiday to Spain with worse than just cheap souvenirs.
Travelling and spending are always relative. From an all inclusive holiday to Cancun to a backpacking adventure across Spain, variables tend to change quite a lot when you think about your perfect destination and the money you are about to spend. As with any general question however, the answers are also general but one thing always stays the same; despite spending, travelling is an investment. No matter where you choose to go or how, each destination is unique and provides ample opportunities to see a side of the world you never thought existed. Go on holidays to Santorini and witness the majestic volcanic landscape and its world famous sunsets or set sail for Ibiza and party until the morning. Travelling always comes with the best of experiences and memories and as such spending on travelling is always something guaranteed to return part of your investment.
Amongst various offerings worldwide, beach holidays are all the rage. The feeling of soft sand getting in between your toes, the sun warming you up and the relaxing sound of waves splashing a few feet away, are amongst the most soothing offerings of nature. Pair that to beach bars serving you fresh cocktails by the seaside and the choice of activities and opting for a beach holiday over any other type of vacation becomes apparent! However not all people can afford the exotic goodness of the Caribbean and as such they have to remain within the confines of Europe. Worry not because if you decide to have your beach holidays in Europe you still have a huge variety of amazing places to choose from!
‘Viva Portugal!’ The locals might say and we tend to highly agree! The sunny land of Portugal has long been a famous holiday destination as its friendly temperament, good weather and stunning beaches are amongst the main reasons why. You certainly know someone who has been or will soon be on holidays in Portugal and if you are considering it yourself, rest assured that it is amongst the best choices to make! From the essential seaside resorts of Algarve and Albufeira to the Island of Porto Santo, Portugal has some stunning coasts and it’s up to you to explore them!
Looking ahead for next year’s summer holiday? If you’re after something more authentic but still have a budget to stick to then Purple Travel have picked the best cheap holidays in emerging and undiscovered destinations that won’t hurt your bank balance.
With many tourists flocking to visit the souks of Marrakech or the budget-friendly holiday destination of Agadir towards the north, there lies a little secret a bit more south of this and it’s called Essaouira and really comes at no extra cost either. We can tell you that it is truly one of the most beautiful Atlantic coastal towns that is renowned for being more laid-back than its more popular neighbours. The best time to visit is in Spring and Autumn, before and after Ramadan. Film lovers will be especially pleased to hear that Essaouira has been the setting of Orson Welles’ Othello and Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven. While outdoor enthusiasts will love the choice of low cost activities and water sports available. Due to a renewed interest in Morocco, chic boutiques and quirky riads have been popping up all over the place, making Essaouira the new cheap and chic place to stay. It is also close to Marrakech for those who want to combine a beach holiday and a city break. Those interested in world music will be pleased to hear that Essaouira plays host to two music festivals. The Essaouira Alizes Festival in April which showcases classic and contemporary Moroccan music and the Gnaoua & World Music Festival in June where local and international artists come together for dancing, music and culture.
Image via @ Christopher Rose
Taking a cue from its North African neighbour, Tunisia has new offerings for tourists who want simple and charming experiences and friendly prices. Since Tunisia is more of a newcomer on the block than Morocco it is actually more affordable. Mahdia just south of the busy resort of Monastir, is a coastal city associated with the fishing silk weaving and olive industries. It is certainly one of Tunisia’s most picturesque cities and has many historic attractions such as the ruins of the ancient city of Punic, the Fatimid port, the first Fatimid mosque (dating back to the 10th century) and an Ottoman port (16th century). If you book a cheap holiday to Tunisia it means you have more cash to splash on activities such as diving and Mahdia surely is Tunisia’s top diving site and wreck diving in particular. Holidays in Mahdia are great for honeymooners and great for first-time visitors to Tunisia who will get a taste of this exotic country without being overwhelmed.
Image via @ Sue Kellerman
Yalikavak is a harbourside town with an ultra-modern marina yet has still managed to maintain a small and sleepy exterior – so far. I’ts located on the Bodrum peninsula not too far from the bigger resort of Bodrum itself. Visitors looking for cheap holidays to Turkey will be more than pleased by Yalikavak’s offerings. The small sandy beaches are perfect for spending days in the sun and so far many beaches remain uncrowded, perfect for families. For extra beauty, lay on the beach until sunset and see the sun drop behind the horizon. The market at Yalikavak draws people from all over the Bodrum peninsula, seeking out shopping bargains on retail items but also on fresh produce but to get a bargain be prepared to haggle.
Image via @Amira_a
Taking a spot all of its own is the country of Montenegro, this is perhaps definitely the most off the beaten track destination in our list. Budva, is the poster child of tourism here and there’s good reason why. Explore the atmospheric old town before parking yourself down on one of the 35 beaches. By night Budva transforms itself with numerous beachside bars so if you’re in for a night on the tiles then Budva is the place to be and really may not be suitable for families. Elsewhere along the Riviera and in other resorts Montenegro has remained quieter and more atmospheric. For example the Bay of Kotor is considered one of the most beautiful in Europe and Kotor itself is an ancient fortified town with UNESCO World Heritage status. Further down the coast from Budva is the Montenegrin south coast where you’ll find Ulcinj, a predominantly ethnically Albanian town with a splendid location, for exploring the south of the country.
The Undiscovered Algarve
Image via @Nicola Holtkamp
Tourists have been visiting the Algarve for years and years but away from the busy airport, golf resorts, and really cheap package deals lies something more authentic. Olhao, a small fishing village is a perfect example of the cultural mix that can be found in Southern Portugal thanks to the maritime hisotry and Moorish occupation. Olhao is known for its square-shaped whitewashed houses with Moorish features. In the late 18th century, the town was flourishing and so local people started to build new houses in a Moorish style. Another draw of Olhao is the chance to take a watertaxi to peaceful offshore beaches such as Armona, Farol and Culatra. Away from the coast lies Monchique, a forested market town known for its production of aguardiente, a potent brandy and the perfect base to explore the Algarve’s lesser known inland beauty.
With so many beaches in Portugal to choose from it’s hard to know where to start looking when you are searching for the perfect beach destination. Green coast? Silver coast? Fear not, Purple Travel is on hand to help you narrow down your choice for stunning Portugal holidays. Here are our top 5 beach choices in Portugal.
1. Praia da Falesia
The name “Falesia” means “cliff”, referring to the splendid orange-red cliffs that form a magnificent background to this long stretch of sand. At over 6km long, Praia da Falesia is one of the longest beaches in the Algarve, situated between the popular resorts of Vilamoura and Albufeira. For those adventurous enough, Praia da Falesia offers many opportunities to participate in watersports such as windsurfing and for those seeking a relaxing evening, the coastline has many bars and restaurants to soak up the local flavour.
2. Praia da Ancora
Praia da Ancora is located on Portugal’s “green coast” in the northern, Minho region, so called because of its wild beaches which are popular with surfers and windsurfers. The beaches along this coast are some of the most beautiful in Portugal, in particular that of Praia de Ancora, which offers calm water for those wanted to bathe and relax. It is particularly popular among swimmers due to the fact that it is protected from Atlantic winds by the surrounding hills to the north and south.
So January is here, and the whole world appears to be rising from their Christmas slumber and hitting the gym to beat the winter blues – and the consequential weight-gain from too many mince pies! (Apparently we gain on average 5 pounds over the Christmas period – whoops.)
This is the perfect time of year to grab a travel bargain, but also to look at not only your typical European sun holiday but to think outside the box a little. How about incorporating some of your New Year fitness regime into your holiday? Sporty getaways create the ultimate feel good factor, not only do you get some relaxing time off work but you spend time in the great outdoors exercising your mind and body. Doesn’t that sound better than that familiar feeling of needing a holiday to recover from the holiday after a week of excess?!
It’s difficult to discuss sporty getaways in Europe without talking about skiing. European skiing destinations, dominated by the mighty Alps, are some of the most prestigious and challenging in the world – and there are packages to suit all skill levels and budgets. Some of the more famous names are Interlaken and St Moritz in Switzerland and St Anton in Austria, however there are some interesting alternatives – for example Finnish Lapland for something truly unusual! Try Trip Advisor for great starter ideas to get your ski bunny imagination to run wild! After a hard day hitting the slopes you can always put your feet up with a nice hot chocolate.
Image via @ Stuart Madeley
If you would prefer to enjoy your active holiday in a warmer climate, how about trying the winning combination of surf and yoga, offered on the stunning Portuguese coastline by Surf Algarve. This retreat offers 5-7 day yoga and surf programmes, immersed in the clean ocean air to revitalise your body and soul. At Portugal’s first specialised surf and yoga retreat, there are rarely more than 10 guests at any one time, ensuring a personalised and intimate stay. All-inclusive packages vary in price between off-peak and on-peak times, so check the website to see what might be best for you.
Image via @ GO INTERACTIVE WELLNESS
Now for horse lovers among you – have you considered a horse riding holiday in Europe? The perfect way to get some fresh air, great exercise and see some stunning countryside (which you can’t necessarily see by car.) Try In The Saddle for some tips on specialised riding holidays to suit you.
Aspiring jockeys among you – you would like to stay closer to home! – may be interested in the thrill of the race at the renowned www.kempton.co.uk racecourse, located between Sunbury and Hampton Court on the A308, South-West London, Kempton is easily reached by either road or rail from London Waterloo. Racing spectacles are held year-round with a variety of packages to suit all tastes and budgets. This could be a fun day or night out to compliment a horse-lovers holiday, and vouchers for the park make a terrific gift.
So get those endorphins moving with a sporty getaway in Europe this new year – it doesn’t have to mean attending a footie match in Spain!