Portugal - Carvoeiro, Praia da Marinha and Praia do Paraiso

So, as mentioned in this post, we just got back from Portugal. And it was awesome. Totally, unexpectedly wonderful.  

 This was a different type of holiday for us for a few reasons. The first and biggest being that we stayed in a hotel. We have so far avoided staying in hotels on any family holiday we take because for me, a holiday is only a holiday if you don't have to share a room with a snoring three year old. Evenings in general are always something I've worried about when staying in one room altogether - how do you chill out? I need my space. I also have a bit of an aversion to big, hotel complexes. They are usually a bit ugly and can be impersonal and remote, which isn't ideal when you want to get a feel for the country you're in. 

So having said all of this, it was with a little reservation that we booked a last minute package deal. To be honest, I think it was the vitamin D deficient part of our souls that took over and handed over our bank account details without too much thought. We looked up the hotel on trip advisor, we researched the area, we looked at the weather forecast. They were all excellent, and it was in our budget. DONE DEAL. 

 As soon as we got to the hotel {Vale D'Oliveiras}, we knew we'd done the right thing. The complex was stylish, unobtrusive and whitewashed, surrounded by beautifully tended gardens. When shown to our room and we may have pulled out our happy dances. Part of the reason we booked was because the deal included a free upgrade to a one bedroom apartment. With an outside patio and garden! And a kitchen! It was actually bigger than the first flat husband and I shared in London., which isn't difficult, but still, this place was goooood. 

The rest of the hotel was lovely for kids and adults alike - a lovely small playground for kids, tennis courts, spa, a playroom stocked with toys and games and two outdoor
pools (one big, one small). And best of all, it was all safe and enclosed. The outside pools, playroom and playground were next to each which meant whilst we relaxed on loungers with sangria and books, Sachin was safe to roam where could see him. The staff were brilliant and super helpful, and recommended the loveliest of places to visit. One final thing to mention about the hotel, is that in our room we had an electric juicer. Now I know this sounds so trivial, but wherever we went we kept seeing people selling boxes and boxes of fresh oranges by the roadside, freshly picked from the rows of trees behind them. Being able to juice those babies ourselves and pour over ice was the best thing ever. In fact, a slight addiction may have be born. 

Anyway, back to Portugal. What really made this holiday was the beauty of the surrounding area. Southern Portugal is stunning. The coastal area along the Algarve is made for exploring. Some of the beaches are so idyllic they reminded me of some of the best beaches in Thailand or Barbados, but with the added bonus of only being 2hrs15 away. We decided against car hire as I'm the only one who drives and, to put it bluntly, I couldn't be bothered ferrying us all around this time. But it was fine, we managed to get to four wonderful beaches without one. Although if you *were* to drive, then I highly doubt you would regret it. In fact if we went back, I would. Mainly as I'm that annoying type of person who likes to stop on the side of the road in remote places and take pictures. 

We knew very little about the place we were going to beforehand and Portugal in generally really. Because we chose this holiday on a whim, our usual level of holiday research went out of the window. I looked up a few places before we left but mostly we went ready to discover...

(You can see more of the area here >

 These photos were taken in Carvoeiro, at the hotel, in Praia da Marinha and on Paradise Beach

At one point we reasoned that we would never regret spending the money on travel. Adventure. A chance to explore and relax and be somewhere new, together. We are lucky that we have the choice to spend our money like this in the first place. So lucky. 
And we were right.

{In the next post I'll share Ferragudo, local caves and other beaches we visited (too many photos). And the best restaurant around!}


  1. Beyond beautiful. Loved this on Instagram, love it here too.

  2. Wow! It looks so beautiful. We've never stayed in a proper hotel either, I'm kind of tempted now. Who did you book it through?

  3. I love these so much. Seriously. Making me want to go to Portugal, which has never happened before.