Domestic goddess and backyard explorer with a passion for freelance writing!
Published December 1st 2014
For some rest and relaxation by the beach
Since my husband and I seem to have caught the travel bug these last few months, I thought to myself, what better gift to give him than another holiday.. And so, some Google searching later, I came across a few options for European getaways from London, being an excellent gateway to the continent. Being the start of winter (it is late November at the moment), I was thinking someplace warm would be nice, and definitely someplace relaxing since most of our other holidays are usually jam packed, trying to squeeze in as many tourist attractions as possible.
I came across a flight and accommodation package deal on Groupon, one of my favourite websites to buy random purchases and deals from. But one does have to be mindful of what's good value and what's not so I do recommend comparing a few different things to make sure you're getting value for your money. The destination I chose for the weekend getaway was the Algarve. I hear you thinking, why? Hmm.. Interesting choice. To be honest I had no idea what to expect, except that there were beaches, good weather, and some partying places like Albufeira..
Probably the most inconvenient thing about the Groupon purchase, other than having to be mindful of the available dates, was that we had to fly from London Gatwick airport, (not the closest for us from home) and because the flight was so early (so we could take advantage of the whole day), we stayed over at an airport hotel nearby the night before, at the Holiday Inn in fact.
Although the weather report had predicted rain and clouds, we were lucky to have gotten the sunshine most of the weekend. Landing at Faro airport and discovering the taxis didn't accept credit cards, we went back into the airport in search of alternate modes of transport, or perhaps a currency conversion desk. My husband then decided to hire a car, after all we'd driven with a left hand drive on the other side of the road in the U.S. before. There were many car hire companies available to choose from and it turned out that this was the cheapest and most convenient way to see the Algarve. Within fifteen minutes we'd chosen a small cheap Volkswagen with a GPS, and decided rather than directly check in at our hotel in Albufeira, we would explore Faro which was only 3 kilometres from the airport.
Faro was home to a small port, with many boats docked here. Nearby were some museums, and the Old Town, which was quite rustic and charming, with authentic family run restaurants, archways and cobblestone pathways (not always even or easy to walk on), an old church, and several fully blossoming orange trees, which surprisingly added exotic beauty to the surrounding structures. We had a quick lunch at the pizzeria, located on the central square, hard to miss and probably a tourist trap. The food was edible but not fantastic but generally dining was quite inexpensive in the Algarve.