Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Beach Weekend in Portugal

Since we crossed the pond, our holidays have been completely different from the first year of our marriage.
(By the way, Brits use the term "holiday" instead of "vacation", and that's a term I've picked up.
I hope my American friends will forgive me for my assimilation.) 

Our holidays living in Texas involved a quick hop down to the Caribbean and
time spent relaxing on a beach in the blazing sun with a cerveza in hand.

Our trips here have involved exploring, a lot of walking, schedules,
museum visits and a lot of getting from here to there.
Don't get me wrong, they've been fantastic!

But, we were in desperate need of a relaxed, quiet beach weekend and some sunshine.
(Have I mentioned?  Coldest UK Spring in fifty years.)

Beach Sand Shell

 Matt scheduled a Friday off and after work on a Thursday in May,
we boarded an EasyJet flight from Gatwick for a 3 hour flight to Portugal.
EasyJet plus Portugal equals Stag Parties, so expect to be annoyed entertained by loud, drunk and "cheeky" young Brits.  (And by cheeky, I mean obnoxious.)

Luckily, we booked a hotel that was on a very quiet beach away from the partying Brits.
 We used Yellow Fish Transfers for round-trip transfer from the airport to the hotel which was much cheaper than a taxi.  They were fantastic and I highly recommend them. Our driver welcomed us to Portugal with a smile, a clean, air-conditioned van and a complimentary bottle of red wine.
Hotel Vila GalĂ© Praia is located about 10 minutes from the popular spot of Albufeira  in the Algarve region of Portugal.  It's a 40 room hotel in a quiet residential neighborhood with a 2 minute walk to the beach.  It was perfect, very clean and comfortable.  We were greeted with a cold wet cloth and a glass of tea to revive us from our journey.  There is a pool, gym, spa, restaurant and bar, everything you need for a relaxing weekend.

Hotel Vila Gale Praia

Hotel Vila Gale Praia

As soon as we were settled in to the hotel, we headed straight for the beach.  By this time it was already dark and deserted, but we had a wonderful seafood dinner and listened to the waves.  Praia da Gale Restaurant is one of several places to eat on the beach by the hotel. It's casual with indoor and outdoor seating.  We had the first of several delicious seafood dinners.  It was the perfect way to settle into our relaxing weekend.

Early the next morning it was straight to the beach.
We were both desperate for the feel of the sun on our skin to replenish our Vitamin D stores.
We paid €13 for a space with two loungers and an umbrella all day

It was perfect.  The beach was pristine and there were lifeguards on duty.
The sand was soft and white.  The water was freezing, but there were many people who were braving the cold.
I just sat there soaking it up and watching all of the little beach babies playing in the sand.

Praia Gale

Praia Gale

Ship Portugal

Lifeguard Portugal

 There were several sections with interesting rock formations to explore and climb on.
The rock pools were full of shells and creatures to fascinate.

Rock Formations Praia Gale Portugal

Praia Gale Portugal
Rock formations at Praia Gale Portugal

  There were a few ladies discreetly going topless at both the beach and the pool, but no big deal. We had lunch at one of the other beach restaurants, O Galeao Snack Bar.  They had a great salad.
Praia Gale is perfect for a couple or family looking for a nice, quiet beach.

Super Bock Beer in Portugal

After lunch we spent some time in the hotel pool. 
With our skin all warm and tingly from the sun,
we then cleaned up for a trip into Albufeira via the hotel shuttle. 
But, not before a glass of wine on the patio outside of our room.

More on Albufeira in my next post.

Thank you so much for reading and commenting.
I'm sorry if I don't say it enough.

I hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

Happy Fathers Day!!!


We booked and paid for everything on our own.  There was no compensation of any type for any of the businesses linked in this post.  As always, all pictures and opinions are my own.


  1. What a gorgeous place! Just as I was really getting into the post it was "To be continued"... Noooooo!! I need to see the town :)

  2. Great pictures! I could use some of that sunshine right now!

  3. Lovely to have discovered your blog fellow BM finalist! We are going to Portugal a week today so this beautiful post has gotten me even more excited!

  4. Beautiful pictures!!! So you would recommend Spain over Portugal for a beach vacation, because this looks pretty nice! ;o) Except for maybe the partying kids on the plane... Where in Spain did you stay?

  5. Sarah,

    We didn't get to the beach in Spain, but I hear so many good things about Costa Brava. We went to Malaga and Ronda. I just love the feel of Spain and can't wait to get back. The Algarve in Portugal was perfect for a quick beach getaway. Are you just going for a few days or do you have a little more time? I'd say if you have a bit more time, go with Spain or Greece. You really can't go wrong. There is sooo much to choose from. Such a tough problem, huh?

  6. Hi Vicki,
    Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. Congrats on being a finalist. Very exciting, isn't it? Will you be at BritMums Live this weekend?
    You are going to love Portugal!!! I'm so wishing I was back there right now. Can't wait to see your posts. xoxo

  7. Thanks, Tanya. So in need of some sunshine!!!! xoxo Selena

  8. Thanks, Tammy :) Part II is up!!

  9. I will check it out! Spain is one country I've wanted to visit since I was a little girl. I hope to get to go many times while we're here! This trip is going to be a four-night one, might be able to extend it to five nights if we get a reasonably priced place to stay. You're so right - what an awful problem to have. However will I decide which country to visit first? ;o)

  10. The photos are very nice. I wonder, are the rock formations bearable to climb on and not dangerous?

  11. Thanks! Matt climbed up on a few. Not me :D


Thanks for commenting. I love to hear from you!