The Algarve Pinch Me, Is This real?

December 1, 2015
December 1, 2015 Hilary

The Algarve Pinch Me, Is This real?

#agarvebeachesBoasting some of Europe’s best beaches the Algarve Region of Portugal was on my list of must see places. After reading about the area’s amazing cave formations, crystal blue waters and year-round perfect weather this was the leg of our Portugal trip I was most excited for. The boys and I love to swim and Tim loves all things ocean, so a win for everyone.

Hitting It Out Of The park

#carvoeirothe Algar Seco rock formations were located just steps from the resort where we were staying. There is an elevated cliff walk and upon further exploration we discovered that there are also stairways and paths which have been carved directly into the rocks.

At first my internal mom voice was absolutely freaking out. Okay, who was I kidding, it wasn’t just internal, but I begrudgingly let Tim take Simon to check it out. Elliot and I waited close to the stairs and enjoyed the view. I must have told him to sit down about 1000 times!

After a while Tim came back and reported that it would be safe for Elliot and I to go a little further. By this time the incredible beauty of the place coupled with the knowledge that this was a once in a lifetime experience won out over my fears. It didn’t hurt that an older couple complete with poodle appeared in the doorway a moment later! If it was safe for them it was safe for us, right?


We had arrived just before sunset and the timing couldn’t have been better! I wish I could describe to you the way it felt standing there on those rocks at the edge of the Atlantic as the sun was setting. Breathtaking,  amazing, and spectacular are just a few of the words which came to mind.


Feeling Out Of This World…

#labonecaThe Restaurante Boneca Bar, nestled right into the side of the Algar Seco rock formation, has an almost otherworldly feel. The area’s beautiful weather lends itself to this being an all outdoor restaurant with 5 star views. We liked it so much we went back for lunch the next day.

At the edge of the restaurant’s terrace there are steps which lead down to a small passageway. At the end there is a tiny cave with “windows” which look out onto the ocean and there are benches carved into the walls making this a lovely little spot to watch the sun go down or steal a moment.


The Algar Seco Parque Resort

#algarsecoThe Algarve is a very popular tourist destination and finding somewhere to stay off the beaten path was difficult. We found some of what we were looking for in Carvoeiro, a smaller town located between Lagos and Faro.

We choose the Algar Seco Parque resort, which was located just across the street from those spectacular cliffs I mentioned above and within walking distance to many beaches and restaurants. The accommodations were great, very affordable and we would definitely stay there again.

The Beaches

Praia da Marinha

Algarve edits-7369

First on my list was a beach that the Michelin Guide listed as one of the ten most beautiful beaches in Europe and as one of the one hundred most beautiful beaches in the world. Not only that, it’s on just about every other beach list too.

It did not disappoint. The Praia da Marinha was stunning, and the entire time we were there I kept thinking how amazing it was and that this couldn’t be real. There were high winds and surf that day, so swimming wasn’t permitted, but we relaxed on the sand, dipped our toes in the surf and took many photos.

The tide was coming in, so after a light snack at the beach bar we went on a portion of The Seven Hanging Valleys Walk, a signposted trail high above the beaches. Again the views are so stunning it was a pinch me is this real moment.


#sunsetinportugalLocated 30 minutes down the road in Albufeira we arrived at Praia Dos Pescadores just in time for another jaw dropping sunset. The town of Albufeira is extremely touristy and after a quick look around we decided to head back to Carvoeiro for dinner.

Benagil Sea Cave

Unfortunately the same high winds that prevented swimming also foiled my plans to see the famous Benagil Sea Cave. I won’t lie, I was pretty disappointed, but part of traveling is understanding that things might not always work out exactly as planned. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

 The Super Moon Eclipse

Prior to the trip I purchased a long range lens and a tripod with the hopes of taking a few night photos. The Super Moon Eclipse was the perfect excuse! Although we had to set our alarm for a brutal 2:00 am, the clear star filled skies, remote location and the company of my son made for excellent viewing and a very worthwhile experience!

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Exploring the Algarve Portugal #portugal #thealgarve

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I love to travel & explore the world both near and far! I do my best to make the most out of life each and everyday! I have two boys and they are, at the ages of 13 and 18, world travelers and all around go along guys. There isnt anywhere I cant take them. It is my hope this blog will be a way to share the fun things Ive learned while on our many adventures together!

Comments (32)

    • Hilary

      Ha ha, it was beautiful, just stay away from the “bigger” cities like Faro and Albufeira. We hated the hordes of tourists in those places.

  1. My mom has been wanting to go here for ever and I often think we should meet there! After this, you’ve brought back to my attention! That’s awesome you bought a long range lens just in time for the eclipse! #FarawayFiles

    • Hilary

      It is a beautiful destination, but very very touristy. Still, I don’t regret it as we saw so much beautiful scenery.

  2. Such a beautiful place and post. I loved all your photos, My particular favourite ones are the sun set and the eclipse ones. Being a tourist myself, I feel a bit ashamed to say I would like somewhere less touristy or rather less crowded, I am glad you found a perfect spot for your family and avoided the crowds. Thanks for the lovely inspiration. #farawayfiles

    • Hilary

      Don’t feel ashamed! The reality is we were shocked and dismayed at how touristy, in a bad way, it was and probably won’t ever go back… however we made the best of it! Next time we go to Portugal we’re going North.

  3. We love Algarve as well, similarly fell for Praia da Marina and Pescadores 😊 some gorgeous pics in your article, reminds us we should head back soon for more! #farawayfiles

    • Hilary

      Yes, a very lovely place. I can’t believe it’s been three years since our visit.

  4. I guess now we know why the Algarve is so popular with tourists! And why everyone was going there from London when I lived there. It’s gorgeous… your photos are stunning and I want to visit now. #farawayfiles

  5. Erin Gustafson

    Swooony photos and write-up. I can’t believe I haven’t made it to Portugal yet living right here in Europe. Definitely on my to-do list. Saving for planning later. Thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles travel blog community. Cheers from here.

    • Hilary

      We really liked Portugal, but I if you do go I HIGHLY suggest going north from Lisbon, not south. I was given this advice and didn’t heed it, and I really regretted it. Not that it wasn’t beautiful, but there were other reasons…

  6. These are some impressive sunset shots. We’re just back from Lisbon but there’s so much left of Portugal we still need to discover. The street art in Lisbon had your name all over it – I assume you’ve been?

    • Hilary

      Thank you. Yes, ha ha! I think it was Lisbon that really opened my eyes to the wide world of street art.

  7. You captured some incredible sunsets, and the view from the Boneca Bar restaurant looks amazing, I can see why you went back the following day. #farawayfiles

    • Hilary

      Thank you! It’s hard to believe it’s been 3.5 years since we were there… time flies!

    • Hilary

      It was so beautiful, we couldn’t believe we were really there. Hope to see the north coast someday.

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