It has been a while since I wrote a blog post and honestly, I would love to write more but sometimes life just gets in the way. Plus throw a baby into the mix and I barely have time to sit down.
We are just back from a fantastic family holiday. We went to Albufeira in Portugal and it was exactly what we needed. We booked it in January when I was pregnant and that was mainly the reason why we chose Portugal as our destination. We knew we would have a baby and that it will be our first time going away as a family of four so we didn't want to travel anywhere too far. With the flight being only 2 and a half hours long from Ireland, this was our top choice.
We have never been to Portugal so after a few recommendations of friends & family, we chose our location and our hotel.
We traveled with Ryanair from Shannon.
We booked Vila Gale Cerro Alagoa in Albufeira.
It is a big hotel chain all across Portugal & Brazil so we were sure with that many sister hotels that it would be a good choice.
We booked a Junior Suite to accommodate the four of us. It meant that myself, my partner & baby Andi were sleeping together and our 3 year old had a separate room next to us in our suite. We made our booking directly through the hotel website as it was the best price we could get & we were cutting out the middle man. Check it out if interested www.vilagale.com
The hotel itself was nice & big with very helpful staff. Rooms were clean and spacious with big wardrobes. Breakfast buffet from 7 to 10.30 am and absolutely amazing, it had a wide variety of everything.
Pool area was big with plenty of sun loungers and umbrellas along with a small kids pool, playground and a kids room for activities. Every morning they had a bouncing castle too. Snacks & drinks were available from the Pool Bar with a seating area at the poolside.
There was a clean towel service for those that wanted them for sunbathing, etc.
Two restaurants on the premises that we did not get a chance to try but they looked lovely. Also fully equipped gym, spa and an indoor pool.
What we did.
Our main reason for a holiday was to just chill & enjoy our quality time together as a family so there wasn't many activities.
We did visit Zoomarine which we highly recommend. There was a gorgeous pool area with sun loungers to rent for the day that cost €15 for two with an umbrella or free on the green area. Plenty of places to eat. An amazing aquarium, dolphin, sea lion & seal shows a couple of times a day. Birds of prey & pirate shows. Turtles & aligator to see for the kids. It has a lazy river and water slides along with a big wheel and kids train on the premises with other activities on offer. It is definitely worth visiting and a great day out. For the four of us, it cost €52 ( kids under a meter high go free).
We also went on a boat trip, it was from Albufeira marina and took us all along the coastline that showed some amazing caves & beaches. It took between 2 and a half to three hours and cost €50. Highly recommend it and if interested check out www.dolphins.pt
The Algarve Shopping Centre was about 15 mins away in a car from where we were staying. It's big with plenty of the usual shops as Zara, H&M, Stradivarious, etc.
The Beach is about 5 minute walk from our hotel and it was lovely and clean and not too busy. Sun loungers & umbrellas can be rented for the day for €15.
We rented a car for the 10 days with Goldcar and it cost us €180. It was well worth it as it made it hassle free getting to places, check out www.goldcar.com
Where to eat.
There is Old town with lots to offer and only about 5 mins away from our hotel or New town that is about 15 mins away. We went to new town only once in the ten days and to be completely honest, it wasn't for us. It's busy and wild and probably more of a party spot. There is definitely some nice restaurants there and well worth the visit but we like a more chilled out scene, as with two very young kids, we did not want to be surrounded by hen or stag parties.
Old town is by no means quite, it is too very lively but we personally liked it a lot better. Few nice restaurants just on the Fishermans Beach with fab views of the ocean. While there I had asked for some recommendations on where to eat on my Instagram and these were our top 5 choices.
1: Urban Pizza
2: Mi Sombrero
4: Il Brigante
5: El Rancho
also other recommended restaurants were
6: A Ruina
7: Tres Coroas
10: Wild & Co ( New Town)
All in all, it was a lovely holiday and a beautiful spot. Our only issue was that it is not very buggy friendly wit a lot of hills and tiny footpaths. Other than that well worth the visit.
Hope you enjoyed this post and found it helpful if heading to Albufeira soon.
Love E x