Looking for a quiet break with great restaurants and a stunning beach? Alvor in the Algarve ticks every box.
My husband and I went there when I was pregnant on my second child and it was perfect. I stayed in the Pestana Dom Joao villas which were right on the beach. You may see them available cheaply on some accommodation websites but be careful, some villas which have been renovated and are four star, but there are also some that are in need of modernisation. Although the villas are more like apartments, you can’t beat the beachfront location. The sand is literally at the end of the garden, a luxury that is hard to find on a typical package holiday.
The garden also comes in handy. You can sunbathe on the loungers if you have a child asleep or the kids can play while you are getting the dinner ready. It’s ideal for young kids who don’t need kids clubs or entertainment and are just happy to be at the beach or kicking ball. There are really dramatic rock formations all along the Alvor coastline. These are not only stunning to look at, but have the added advantage of creating rock pools, a great way to pass the time with young kids too, searching for crabs, small fish or other ‘pirates treasure’!
Alvor itself is a small fishing village, yet despite the influx of tourists it still retains much of its old world charm. The village has narrow cobbled streets with some fantastic restaurants and some lively bars at excellent prices. Adega Alvor is a great family choice with an extensive menu to suit all tastes. The ‘Alvor’ wine is particularly good too! There are also some stunning restaurants built into the cliffs along the beach. Canico is a particularly good choice, you can access this from the beach itself or through the Prainha Village complex. Canico is more expensive than the local village restaurants and although the food does not necessarily justify higher prices, the setting certainly does. Watching the sun set on the ocean in a dramatic cliff setting is quite special.
I would recommend car hire if you want to see a little more of the Algarve. The coach transfer from the airport can be two hours depending on the amount of stops but to drive it yourself is just over an hour. I would also recommend a trip to nearby Portimao, the Algarve’s capital to visit the modern marina and local shops. Zoo Marine which is close to the airport is an excellent theme park with dolphin, seal and bird shows. It also has a man made beach with slides and a splash park. The shows are well worth seeing and to be honest were as good as what you would see in Seaworld.
The Algarve in general is a great holiday destination with a huge number of resorts to choose from. Alvor is my personal favourite though, it still feels like the ‘real’ Algarve and I hope it stays that way.