Last week I had an amazing opportunity to spend time and vacation in the Algarve (the southern-most region of Portugal).
I had no expectations of Portugal but I left craving much more of this beautiful country.
A group of friends decided to rent a home 25 minutes inland between the cities of Faro and Tavira, based on the recommendation of one who happened to grow up in this region. We were led onto a narrow dirt road for about 3km uphill with, at times, cliff-like views. With some thinking this was a cruel joke as it felt as if we were being taken off the beaten path to end up as human kebab in some restaurant, we arrived at a lovely home with no surrounding neighbors, properly manicured land, a huge in-ground pool with the most breathtaking views. I was blown away and had to pinch myself that I was lucky enough to experience this for a week.
We arrived on a Saturday, rounded up a few groceries and had ourselves a bbq that evening. That evening I learned about the Portuguese sparkling rosé called Mateus. At a little under 3€ a bottle, we seemed to have found our deliciously, affordable cordial for the week.
With the weather between 74-90F/23-32C, we were able to have some R&R under the sun for the majority of the week. A few days were spent lounging by the pool, a few days of running on the trail paths behind the house, and a couple more out and exploring the cities that surrounded us.
The first adventure was to Faro, where my Portuguese friend attended university. It’s a lively city with a mix of high rises, old town heritage, bars, and shopping, all next to a beautiful coastline.
The next adventure was to Tavira. A charming city, Tavira provided us with souvenir shops, lunch with my first time trying octopus, a boat ride to the Ilha of Tavira where Costa Beach resides along with campers in the natural terrain and small outdoor restaurants. I thought, “I could live here forever”.
I can’t forget my roots, as we were there during the 4th of July, and my understanding international friends allowed me to have an American day with patriot music, USA themed attire and burgers for dinner.
We were also in town for the semi-final match of the EuroCup 2016 between Portugal vs Wales. Faro hosts a large tv for large groups to gather to watch the game with street food vendors and beer tents. It was such a cool atmosphere especially since Portugal went on to win. However, my alliance remains with Les Bleus. (But who am I kidding, it’s not like American Football or my passion for the New England Patriots).
In conclusion, this economically friendly, beautiful, country with a Mediterranean climate and so much to see and do, should be on anyone’s bucket list.