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Gracie Goes to Alvor!

In some respects, I've been putting off writing this blog post. Maybe it's because I have the holiday blues. Maybe it's because I arrived back in England last Wednesday evening and have been busy ever since. In any case, I was away in Alvor for a week long break and now I'm back and there is no denying that it was absolutely wonderful and I would give anything to be back there! This post is a scrapbook of what I got up to.

I realise that a lot of you may not know where Alvor is. I didn't until I booked it! It is a small fishing town in Portugal located on the Algarve, south of Faro and just east of Lagos. When I was searching for holiday destinations it appealed to me as the quaint town seemed less busy and touristy then a lot of the surrounding areas and the beach was meant to be one of the loveliest in Europe. I was looking for somewhere that was more tranquil and less of a resort, I also wanted to be somewhere authentic with local people and local produce to eat. I'd also never been to Portugal before which was a bonus as I'm a great advocate of trying new places and exploring as many countries as possible. Why stick to the same resort when there is so much world to explore?

I'd planned to not plan anything for the whole holiday. I hadn't been on a beach holiday for a good few summers and after a busy start to the year I felt like I needed time to calm my mind and relax. As I was away for a week, Alvor was the perfect size to explore and get to know over a short time. Although the weather was hot but often a little overcast, I spent most of the week wandering through the cobbled streets of the town, sipping local beer in open - fronted bars and trailing my feet through the sand and sea.

It's safe to say the beach did not disappoint. If you're looking for somewhere with beautiful golden sand, orange rock formations, sand dunes and vast, steady water then I would definitely recommend the Algarve. Even though it is facing the Atlantic the water is refreshing and calm, I didn't find it too cold to swim in even in June. I spent a lot of time exploring the different parts of the beach and one side had a nature reserve and sand dunes with the other being overlooked by beautiful rock formations and caves. It was amazingly beautiful and I could happily have stayed on the beach forever.

I was staying in a lovely Airbnb towards the mountains overlooking the town. I love Airbnb and always try to stay in one if I can. Most of the time it's cheaper than a hotel plus you get the hospitality and guidance of the host and to stay in a more unusual place. I was staying in a wooden cabin in the wilderness surrounded by vineyards with goats, horses and dogs on the land with a communal BBQ area too. It was exactly what I wanted, to feel displaced from everything, as far away from the rush of London as possible.

The holiday was everything I wanted it to be. The food was incredible; If you ever go yourself I'd recommend eating in the old town which was more traditional and had lots of authentic Portuguese food. As it's a fishing town, the seafood is amazing, fresh and super cheap. I had a whole sea bass one evening for 13 euros. Drinks and beer are also very cheap, particularly when it's happy hour which is for most of the day, so I spent most evenings in local bars watching the world cup with everyone which was an experience in itself. White sangria is a speciality so be ready to drink and enjoy it! The town is relatively small but if you don't mind going back to favourite haunts you've found on the first few days then it's perfect and you do start getting to know the locals too.

I would definitely love to go back and stay again. Whenever I'm in need of a cheap but relaxing and beautiful get-a-way then I'll be sure to think of Alvor. If you're looking for a place to party then this isn't the place for you. I'd recommend it for people of a more mature disposition, looking for a quieter place or families who are looking for an easy holiday. There are many more activities to do in and around the area from water-parks, to skydiving and dolphin swimming so there really is something for everyone.

Be sure to check out my last blog post on what to pack for a summer holiday to find out more about what I was wearing! For everyone who is preparing to go on holiday, I'm very envious of you.

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