Can anyone tell me about the Algarve in Portugal??

(17 Posts)
LittenTree Mon 17-Dec-12 22:24:07

We're thinking about getting a villa in the Algarve this coming summer.

Could anyone please tell me about the various regions there?

Are there Magaluf-like areas to avoid? Areas where the coast is 'nicer' than others?

Your thoughts please!

dreamingofsun Tue 18-Dec-12 09:02:09

albafeura is probably best avoided then. then it depends on how quiet you like it? i would suggest getting a book from the library or looking on owners direct or holiday lettings - you will get a feel for popular places as they will keep coming up as 'x miles to y'. carvoera, lagos, ferriagedo, tavira/cabanas were places i have been or sound nice when i've read about them. (no doubt i've spelt them wrong). central algarve has most organised things to do, eg waterparks. we booked several months ago and struggled to book somewhere for next summer (though we had long list of things we needed). east algarve is long sandy beaches and much quieter, west algarve is mix of long sandy beaches and smaller ones with big cliffs.

happy to answer more questions - though i'm not an expert, but have read quite a lot in order to choose our hols - been several times

we like it because the weather is cooler than some countries, and its reasonably cheap, and there seem to be fewer really nasty resorts than say spain.

LittenTree Tue 18-Dec-12 09:32:30

THanks for that info- I will do some more research and yes, will definitely have more questions!

We went to a villa near Pollensa, Mallorca, last summer, and it was great! It was quiet (we do not do 'holiday entertainment' other than meals out and 'local markets'-at all!). It was a 5 minute drive from Pollensa and the supermarket, a 15 min drive to Port de Pollensa but having its own pool we barely went into the sea at all! At night you could hear a distant dog and the occasional voice and clatter of cutlery from another villa a field away. 3 cars a day drove past our entrance!

I am not necessarily seeking Splendid Isolation but we want to avoid 'Nearest nightclub: 50m' grin

dreamingofsun Tue 18-Dec-12 11:08:44

i don't go anywhere with nightclubs either. maybe lagos has a couple, but it makes up for it in other ways! i've always liked the sound of pollensa on mumsnet, but villa's are so so expensive. much better value in portugal and i can't see that majorca is any nicer (we went to majorca about 19 years ago though, maybe its improved since then)

LittenTree Tue 18-Dec-12 12:26:31

last summer's villa in Mallorca

We booked a bit 'last minute' so got a reduction (albeit 6 weeks out!) so it cost £1600 in July/Aug, inc car hire. Flights were £650 (4 of us, Bournemouth/Palma Ryanair).

The area was very nice. Dry as chips but we had wall to wall sunshine; it was oh-so-quiet, some interesting drives around- would happily repeat at last summer's prices, actually!

Not a hen or stag party in sight, no disco beat audible anywhere. Luffly.

WildThongonthesparklytree Tue 18-Dec-12 12:35:41

You could take a look at Monte Gordo which is in the Eastern Algarve. We had a brilliant October break there, beautiful beaches and lovely restaurants to suit all tastes and budgets.

dreamingofsun Tue 18-Dec-12 13:32:35

litten - see that would be too much for us. i was working to a budget of £1500/wk for a 3 bed place in school hols. doable in algarve without too much difficulty, but i couldn't find anywhere suitable in pollensa.

Myneaux Tue 18-Dec-12 13:59:15

Would definitely recommend Tavira....lovely old town, castle, river, lovely restaurant. Plenty to do but felt Portugese rather than tourist resort and nightlife was centered around restaurants and bars (not sure there even is a nightclub). Its a small town so easy to walk around.

Its only about 30 mins drive from Faro airport and if you hire a car you can still explore most of the Algarve.

If you want a beach holiday it may not be ideal as the beach is on an island seperate to the mainland. It is an amazing beach and you can easily get there by boat (couple of euros, 5 min crossing every 30mins). We werent too bothered about the beach but found DS (then 2) loved going on the boat so we ended up going across nearly every day just for the boat ride ;-)

We stayed in Tavira Gardens...quite a few villas on owners direct

LittenTree Tue 18-Dec-12 14:54:38

Yes, I'm not looking for fantastic local beaches, as such, as we'd get a villa with a pool. Do you think that bumps the price up? I am surprised (but pleased!) there are villa hols for £1500 a week to be had in the Algarve, tbh!

Thanks all for area recommendations. Otherwise, I know nothing!

dreamingofsun Tue 18-Dec-12 14:59:10

be careful with tavira gardens. some reviews online look good, but its next to the really busy dual carriage way that runs along the south of the algarve. its also quite a walk into town.

owners direct or holiday lettings are the ones i use to book via. but i get a move on as i was finding a lot already booked when i did ours a couple of months ago

Myneaux Tue 18-Dec-12 15:28:52

We booked independently rather than getting a villa holiday....flights to Faro are usually quite competitive and the villa was about £500 for the week (this was in October though). The pool was shared rather than private which also keeps the cost down....I find its better with young DC as you arent worried that they are going to wander off and fall in (and you can always hope they make a friend).

We found Tavira Gardens a nice complex, pool, restaurant and bbq areas....the road is quite busy (but not really busy...ie nothing like an english A road) but most of the apartments are far enough away for any noise not to be a problem. I didnt notice it at all.

If you do want to walk into town it is doable but definitely not ideal (we did it twice with the pushchair and basically waited for a gap in traffic and ran). You only have to walk along the side of the busy road for less than 5 mins but there is no pavement as such (just a bit of hard shoulder) and at night it isnt well lit. Once you have done this you are into the outskirts of town and it is a pleasant and safe walk in. (does take about 30mins but we enjoyed it....let face it when you have young DC there isnt much else to do).

Of course if you have a car you can drive in to Tavira in about 5 mins and parking was cheap and plentiful....taxis also very cheap.

dreamingofsun Tue 18-Dec-12 16:29:47

litten - have sent you a private email - think thats the term?

ApplesinmyPocket Tue 18-Dec-12 16:43:29

I love Albufeira myself, though we usually go in Spring or early October (still lovely and warm) and I hear it can be crowded and popular with stag and hen dos in high season, so probably best avoided then. But slightly out of season the Old Town is nice, pleasantly lively without being frenetic, and the beach is excellent.

DD2 and I rented a lovely little townhouse with a private rooftop pool and terrace overlooking the new marina on the Cerro Grande for a very reasonable price the first week of October this year and had a really fabulous time.

We have also stayed in Lagos (further West) and slightly more inland near Guia and enjoyed them all, beautiful beaches everywhere you go though Albufeira remains our favourite.

I wasn't keen on what I've seen of Vilamoura.

LittenTree Tue 18-Dec-12 18:13:42

*dreaming- it hasn't arrived yet!

dreamingofsun Tue 18-Dec-12 18:22:52

think i've done it correctly - outbox says its sent - if you haven't got anything soon email me and i'll respond as i know i can do that

LittenTree Wed 19-Dec-12 10:12:27

Got it, ta!

LittenTree Wed 19-Dec-12 10:13:23

We are sadly restricted to school holidays (as yet!). And I know 'the character' of places can change dramatically in and out of season.

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