THEME: I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain, and to be helped on my journey there by you, once I have enjoyed your company for a while. Romans 15:24
MOVIE: Night Train to Lisbon (2013)
KINDLE: The High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martel (also Life of PI) 2016
WINE: Pombal do Vesuvio – Douro, Portugal
All of England was on holidays in Albufeira, Portugal. Kids, playing on the grass estates and manicured hotel grounds, reminded me of picnics as a child. The bands were playing, croquet mallets abounded and the pools splashed with play. We stayed at 6 hotels for our 40th anniversary week of celebrations ranked in the order of our preference!
- Falesia Hotel (Adults Only) A night’s stay is $54-$120 – Our best choice!
- Pine Cliffs- A Luxury Collection Resort (Great For Kids & Golf)
- Myriad Sana (Lisbon)
- Hotel Riu Guaran (All Inclusive)
- Dona Filipa (Golf)
- 3HB Falesia Garden
My affection for Claire hath an unknown bottom, like the Bay of Portugal. Adapted from William Shakespeare.
Our Favorite Place to Stay
The Felesia Hotel – an adult only hotel – was a great choice for our vacation. A bottle of sparkling wine was unexpectedly waiting in our room as we arrived. The hotel room with sunken living room was much like the Venetian in Las Vegas. The rain-shower fixtures in the bathroom were a delight. In Europe breakfasts are a big deal. The Myriad Sana in Lisbon won the prize for the best breakfast that we have experienced in Portugal, the Falesia had a lower level dining room set up for a fantastic experience, too. Try the Pastel de Nada, you won’t be disappointed. The meats are cured far differently than Germany and Italy but are worth exploring as was this lamb sausage at the Myriad Sana.
You cannot get to the beach from the Falesia hotel grounds itself BUT the hotel has an agreement with the Pine Cliffs Hotel next door to use their elevator lift to take you to the boardwalk that leads to the beach. No card keys required. Expect a 15 minute walk to get to the beach. If you have the time take a stroll through the hotel, take a look at the traditional Portuguese tiles. The artisans made the unique tiles depicting customs, habits and professions of the locals. The company who fired the tiles closed its doors shortly after 1992 but their craft can be dated back to 1836. The headboards in every suite are made of a tile mosaic crafted from the same artisans. They are beautiful!
We decided almost immediately that we wanted to return to Albufeira. Here are some things to do beside the beach experience:
- Restaurante La Cigale is a must for an ocean view dining experience. Try their famous Sea Bass for two!
- Piri-Piri at the Pine Cliffs is worth the experience of tasting the famous Piri-Piri Chicken. The restaurant and its waiters are proud of growing the peppers beside the outdoor seating. We bought the Piri-Piri sauce while in Portugal but if you run out, here is our supplier for Piri-Piri.
- El Pescador at the Pine Cliffs is a place to bask as the sun reclines.
Take a Winery Tour or Discover Chimney Delights
- There are six or seven wineries within a short distance of the Falesia. The concierge will be happy to hook you up with a local tour. We took to our car and killed two birds with one stone. Algarve Portugal is famous for its chimneys seemingly introduced by the Moors centuries earlier. Spires, cones, cylinders, mini minarets known as the chaminé Algarvia.
- If you love flowers, you can spend a day making a catalog of the flowers but especially the birds. (Bring a small set of binoculars along.)
- The old city Albufeira is worth a half day of visits. The cork made products are interesting and the streets are somewhat romantic.
Go To The Local Grocery Store
- There are both an Aldi and a Lidl within a 5 minute drive to supplement your cravings. At the price of the local wines you could create your own wine tasting flights by selecting local wines here.
- After traveling through Italy we came upon a rental company with great cars, inexpensive rates but most importantly insurance included (except for glass and tires) – They are known as Billiger-mietwagen.de
- Order your coffee in the Portuguese language and you can save a lot of money.
Running in Albufeira & The Best Pools
- As a runner I am always looking for the best places to run our miles while on our travels. For most of our days we ran on the beach but to our surprise the surf was up on our second day. Cobble Stone streets are not the best but we were able to find quiet streets near the Falesia Hotel.
- Jamie is a pool guy and loves a poolside drink. Arman the Barman (it ryhmes) from Armenia was one of those guys who made our stay at the Falasia special. His Caipirinhas were well made and cost about 7 EU. As for pools, they are generally too cool for Jamie – even the Filipa Donna which boasts warmer temperatures were too cool for him. I suppose that in mid summer the pools would be refreshing enough. However, I kept saying to myself the pools reminded me of learning to swim in Canadian waters. The warmest pools were the more protected Pine Cliff Hotel’s pools.
- The Hotel 3HB Falesia Garden needs special mention. Compared to the Rui with drinks and food included, the 3HB charged extra for every towel and for the safe. The Spartan room reminded me of Greece with its tiles and artwork. They also left a complimentary sparkling wine and it has its own boardwalk to the beach.
- Golf at the Pine Cliffs and Filipa Donna
- Charter a boat to visit the coast
- Shoreline Fishing
Jamie’s Wine & Cocktail Selections
Our best wine recommendation comes from our Sea Bass dinner for two at Restaurante La Cigale (near to Praia de Marinha) – the wine was a Pombal Do Vesuvio from Douro, Portugal.
Similarly, the best mixed drink was the Caiparinha from the Falesia Hotel pool bar by Arman, the Barman, from Armenia. He used a top shelf Cachaça to make this wonderful cocktail!
If you want a similar romantic experience see our travel to the Almalfi Coast.
RESOURCES FOR THOSE A STONES THROW AWAY FROM PORTUGAL!
- A Morning Thought For You! – You Tube Inspiration Jamie’s University
- The Night Train to Lisbon – The DVD + Digital Movie. You’ll see some typical scenery/activities in Lisbon plus the coast/beaches. It’s a thought-provoking movie with Jeremy Irons and when we watched it, we were completely oblivious to the revolution that occurred in Portugal in 1974-1975.
- The Night Train to Lisbon – The Novel
- The High Mountains of Portugal – Novel or Kindle
- Save Your Wine – Jamie’s Invention
- Claire’s Music For Portugal – Dan Newton’s Accordion Orchestra to Download or Pandora
- Franklin Croquet Sets with Mallets
- Try a 30 Day Audible Trial
Find a place to stay!