Exploring the Algarve | Portugal (Pt. 1)

As you have probably already seen on Instagram or read in my previous blog posts, I’ve been in Portugal at the beautiful Algarve coast for two weeks with my family and today I want to share the first part of my travel guide including tips, recommendations and our favorite towns and food places with you.

Part two talks about our favorite beaches and some must-sees and pretty photo spots you shouldn’t miss. And there will be a third part about our two-day trip to Lisbon soon!

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General

Before we start with the more interesting part I want to share some general information that you might not know.

Portugals national language is Portuguese, but they all speak very good English. There is a one hour time difference to Berlin and you pay with the Euro.

Even tho it gets really hot in Portugal you always need a light jacket for the mornings and evenings because of the pretty cold ocean wind and sadly there are no warm summer nights like in other European countries. But this also means that it’s not hot at night and you can sleep better.

Portugals Coast is located at the Atlantic Ocean and this means that the water temperature is much lower than in the Meditteranean Sea and it wasn’t possible (for us) to swim for more than 10-15 Minutes.

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Transportation

We flew from Berlin Schönefeld to Faro, one of the bigger cities at the Algarve with an airport. The flight takes around three hours and one hour time difference (so it’s one hour later in Germany).

For our two week stay, we rented a car which I highly recommend because there are so many small beautiful beaches and cute towns and you don’t want to be staying at the same place your whole trip – there is so much to explore!

Only in Lisbon, we used the public transportation because the road system is super confusing and it’s quicker as well.

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Where to stay

I already got some messages on Instagram asking for our lovely home away from home that you saw in my pictures.

We really were so blessed to find such a cute little house with a huge pool and a pretty garden for such a good price. It is located in Espiche, a small town near Lagos (one of the more famous and bigger cities), so it’s super peaceful and lonely there.

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You can rent the bungalow we stayed in or a smaller apartment on the same property here. The two apartments and the bungalow share the same garden and pool, but we were lucky and had it all to ourselves because nobody stayed in the apartments at the time we were there.

Espiche itself hasn’t much to offer, but it’s very close to Luz a super cute town that has two supermarkets and a beach. We also saw many cute apartments and houses to rent there and I would definitely recommend this more than staying in Lagos.

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Cities and Towns at the Algarve

Like I sad Espiche and Luz are very peaceful and lovely to stay at, but not made for an evening stroll through streets and alleys looking for little boutiques or restaurants (even tho they have some that still looked good).

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Lagos

However, Lagos is perfect for that. It has a very cute old town, many alleys with restaurants, bars, cafés and boutiques. We even found places selling vegan food, but typical fish restaurants, as well as Italian restaurants, are more popular obviously.

Lagos has one main beach that it super long and not crowded at all (probably because there is so much space) and is near the well known Ponta de Piedade and some very beautiful beaches with amazing cliffs and rocks (I’ll talk about them later).

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We went to an amazing restaurant called Gorilla that offers many healthy, Asia-styled food like sprouts-salad with tofu (or meat), veggie filled dumplings and weird flatbread filled with jackfruit meat and veggies which was all super delicious!

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Also, this café was my personal dream! They had vegan chocolate, banana cake and vegan carrot, walnut, date cake, amazing looking salads and also homemade vegan ice cream. Sadly I haven’t had the chance to try it all because it wasn’t a place to eat dinner with the family, so I only ate their chocolate ice cream, but I am sure it all tastes delicious cause it looked so so yum!


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Albufeira

On our first day, we went to Albufeira which is another pretty city. We walked a bit through its streets and along the beach and had sunset drinks and dinner at a lovely bar at the ocean. They offered so much good food, including vegan and vegetarian options, sushi, fish, burgers, sandwiches and more. Their smoothies tasted amazing as well and also the location and the atmosphere was very nice because it was outside the city center at the beach and not as crowded as the old town.

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I ate veggie Quesadillas without cheese willed with mushrooms, zucchini and eggplant, served with guacamole (had to eat two portions because it wasn’t very filling but sooo delicious! :D)


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Another small town surrounded by many popular beaches. We had dinner there after a long beach day and like I always do when there is no good veggie option I ordered pizza with vegetables without cheese :D

More blog posts about Portugal:
- Part two of my travel guide about Breathtaking Beaches & Awesome View Points 
  you should not miss on your trip

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Food in Portugal

I didn’t really eat a lot of typical Portuguesian food because it’s mostly fish-based, but my dad did and he sad that the huge touristic restaurants don’t make a lot of effort and are still expensive, but smaller more local restaurants do and you can easily see and taste the difference.

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A typical pastry that we fell in love with was Pasteis de Nata. Small puff pastry cakes filled with vanilla pudding – very sweet, but so delicious, cheap and can be found nearly everywhere.

I can also highly recommend the supermarket chain Intermarché because it is huge and sells nearly everything you need and their fresh produce had an amazing quality. They even sell red bananas, that I have never ever seen somewhere else before and coconut yogurt for a pretty good price (cheaper than in Germany!).

As I already mentioned for every city: there can be found vegan and vegetarian options and even restaurants or cafés. Especially in the bigger cities like Lisbon and Lagos. Sadly I couldn’t test a lot more, because I traveled with my family and we needed to find places to eat where everybody likes something.

But as well as eating out we also love to shop for fresh food and prepare it ourselves. We had a very big breakfast every morning, some watermelon and bread as a snack on the beach and then cooked something, ate bread or went to a restaurant for dinner.


So that’s it for the first part of my little travel guide for the Algarve. In part two I will tell you more about our two days in Lisbon and all the beaches and some sights I can recommend to you.

Have you been to the Algarve or Portugal in general? Do you want to? What places or cities can you recommend?
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