I’d decided on moving east of the traditional Algarve, more towards Tavira. Being so last minute we couldn’t secure a suitable villa right by the sea, but instead an ancient property, inland about 15 minutes from Tavira, tucked down a dusty track off a main road! It was magical. The villa must have been over 100 years old, beautifully converted with its own pool and much needed air-con. It was hitting 44C midday and we had a baby with us! And it was August, so it was hot, hot, hot!
The villa had grounds around it and no visible neighbours, so we felt like we had a genuine peace of rustic Portugal just to ourselves. The only neighbour lived down the other end of the dusty track, an old couple that would occasionally pass by on their donkey drawn cart. Simply wonderful we all thought as we merrily waved and they waved back with lovely smiles.
Now we knew we weren’t in Faro. This was Portugal at its best. Very real, rustic and fun!
From here we had a great base to venture out to see the local towns and numerous beaches on the Islands just off the coast. Each one required a boat trip over but that didn’t matter, as the kids loved it. I can’t recall which beach was a favourite, but I do remember regularly heading back to enjoy a lovely meal in a local seafood restaurant right next to the fish market. The fish had just been caught and you picked what you liked and it was simply grilled over a charcoal pit in front of you – it was ridiculously cheap as well.
Apart from adventurous motorhomers, and a few others this side of the Algarve is more utilised by local Portuguese as holiday destinations. This didn’t phase us as people were friendly and helpful as we always attempted to speak Portuguese.
On the way to the local supermarket, wed stop for a beer at a ‘peasant farmers’ bar which was cheap, welcoming and …. Well, it had cold beer and tractors parked outside! So we loved it!
So the lesson? Try something new when you next visit Portugal, you might be surprised at what you find! Maybe, a different Portugal holiday ….