Albufeira, Portugal Part 3: A bus tour and the most colourful marina

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It was day four of my trip and my last full day here in Albufeira, but if you read parts one and two of my posts, you may have noticed I’ve not really posted anything yet about Albufeira itself. My last post was about my safari trip, which was in the Algarve countryside just outside of Albufeira.

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Hop on hop off bus

On this morning, I decided to do the hop-on, hop-off bus. It’s not really something I’d usually do, but I hadn’t seen any of Albufeira, so I thought this was the most convenient way to see it with such a short time left.

I paid €22 for a ticket that was valid for 48 hours since they often only last 24 hours. I’m not sure why it might have been due to the season, but it was nonetheless encouraging to hear because it meant I could use it the following morning before leaving for home.

On board, I was handed a free map and tour itinerary, along with some earphones.

You could plug your earphones in on the bus and choose from twelve different languages to listen to the commentary, although I did have to fiddle around with it for a bit and adjust it again whenever there was a bump in the road, which I found quite amusing. The commentary had lots of information, but sometimes it didn’t tell the bus what stops we were at. So most of the time, I didn’t know where I was.

I wasn’t really planning anything, but I knew I wanted to visit Marina de Albufeira.

I decided to stay on the bus and enjoy the scenery up until this point because the Marina was the farthest away.

Marina de Albufeira

I can’t really tell you much about Marina de Albufeira apart from the fact that it was developed in 2003, is said to be the safest and most protected marina in Portugal, and is the most colourful marina I’ve ever seen.

It is a tourist attraction and development complex with several hotels, apartments, villas, restaurants, and leisure centers, although with only 5000 hash-tagged posts on Instagram, it appears to be a not-so-known little gem.

If you do get a chance to visit Albufeira, add a bit of colour to your day and visit this lovely marina. 

Nosolo Italia restaurant

It was around lunchtime upon my arrival, so I had thought it would be a nice place to stop for lunch with the intention of sampling some Portuguese food, but since this area is primarily a tourist area, there was no option for that, so I settled for an Italian restaurant called Nosolo Italia which is a lovely, affordable place with friendly staff and is perfectly located on the Marina.

My choice was the cheese omelette with salad, a side dish of chips, and a large glass of red wine, which all went down a treat.

Afterwards, it was a lovely walk around the Marina before catching the tour bus back.

Pau da Bandeira

Pau da Bandeira was the next stop I hopped off the bus at, and funny enough, unbeknownst to me until I took this bus, it was just a short 10- to 15-minute walk from my hotel.

Pau da Bandeira is known for its stunning panoramic viewpoint of the old town and Praia de Pescadores beach and is the most popular area of Albufeira and a must visit. If you didn’t see this on a visit, then you didn’t go to Albufeira.

I spent the rest of the day catching rays at the beach and then watched the beautiful sunset, which was the perfect ending to a perfect day.

I hope you enjoyed my post today.

Thank you for visiting.

Stay blessed 🙏🏾 

Natalie ❤️

Albufeira,Portugal: Part 2, Safari trip to the countryside

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Hello everyone and welcome back to my brief Portugal series.

I spent four nights in Portugal in November, as you may have read in my last blog, that the initial portion of my trip didn’t quite go as planned. However, I made up for it during the remaining two and a half days, and I’m very happy to share the places I managed to visit during this short time.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning, I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Please read my Disclosure page for more info

I went on a safari trip to the Algarve countryside

It was the third morning in Portugal on the day of my safari trip, and I was super excited because the day before I had managed to leave my lazy relaxing for a half hour and go downstairs to the reception to book something exciting to do for this day. It had been recommended to me by one of the lovely ladies after I told her what I was hoping to see.

I’m really glad I made the decision to go on this trip since it taught me a lot and showed me things I never would have seen otherwise. I had such a unique and genuine experience travelling around the Algarve countryside. Seeing old villages and learning about rural traditions and agricultural life as well as the making of cork.

Let the adventures begin!

I was greeted at 9 a.m. outside my hotel by my tour guide for the day. I shamefully forget his name now, but he was a bundle of joy. You know when you meet those people who are so energetic and happy, and you just gravitate towards them? Well, he was that kind of person.

There were already another six tourists in the jeep, and I was the last person to be picked up, which was a little awkward as they all stared at me as I approached the jeep. Luckily enough, they were all super friendly and gave me a hi and a wave as I stepped into the jeep.

We arrived in the countryside in as little as 20 minutes, and the scenery had changed so drastically, in fact, I remember thinking how much it had changed within 10 minutes of the journey. We were surrounded by nature and lots of greenery, which was apparently unusual for this time of the year, and everything was so calming and relaxing, well, apart from being tossed around on the bumpy ride.

What I really loved about this trip was that as we learned about all the things Portugal produced, which was pretty much everything, we drove through all the trees producing the products and could often smell everything, and our guide would often stop and take things from the trees for us to smell, such as rosemary, tea, lavender, etc.

The first stop

Our first stop was the millhouse. I can’t really tell you much about the house; all I know is that it is owned by a German man. None the less, it was nice to see it and explore the nearby land.

The views were stunning up here.

Castelo de Paderne

Our next stop was Paderne’s Castle, one of the seven castles on the Portuguese flag.

There isn’t much left of the ruins, but it’s amazing how there’s anything left at all considering it was built from earth and sandstone and sits up high in the hills overlooking the Quarteira River.

The Romans first occupied this location in the second century, but the Berbers built the current building in the 12th century.

The castle had been battled for by Christian reconquistadors against the Muslim creators, which had been an ongoing battle until 1248, when the castle was captured by Portuguese forces, who brutally massacred all the inhabitants. It was abandoned in 1858.

Wine tasting, or perhaps whisky, or whatever it was

Our next stop was wine tasting, or at least that’s what we were told and was on the leaflet, but to be honest, I’m not really sure what we were tasting that day, and I’m still no wiser now, but I know the strongest one was firewater, known as Aguardente de Medronhos, which is a strong spirit made with a traditional fruit called medronho.

Medronho fruit

On our way to the distillery, we had the opportunity to eat this fruit because our tour guide had plucked some from a nearby tree. It tasted similar to a strawberry but was more subtle in flavor. It was lovely.

We arrived at the distillery, which has been in the same family for over 100 years. As we arrived, the owner looked surprised. It turned out he wasn’t expecting us, but he kindly set up the tables for us.

It was a really nice experience tasting all the jam, honey, and spirits. The firewater was so strong that my entire insides felt like they were on fire!

I don’t usually like honey, but this honey was so pure and tasted so good that I just had to purchase some. I also got some bee pollen.

The village of Alté

We got to go through a couple of villages, including one where we stopped for a small cafe break, but the village that stuck out the most to me was a little village called Alte in the northwestern part of Loulé tucked away in the mountains.

Unfortunately, as much as I would have loved to have walked around here, we were running out of time, so we’re only really able to see what we see in the moving jeep, and the rough ride through the streets made it difficult to capture pictures and videos. But I managed to snap a few photos, although not the best.

Because of where it is located, the village has kept its authentic and traditional Algarvean style. The streets are so narrow, and the houses are simplistic and white washed with a touch of colour and decorative elements owed to its past Arabic motifs. And there are lots of impressive chimneys here, and I couldn’t help but notice how tiny the doors on some of the houses were.

We briefly got to visit and have a quick stop at Fonte Grande and Fonte Pequena

It was a place in the past where women would come to get clean water for laundry, but now it’s used as a place where people come to swim.

The iconic flag

We also got to see the iconic Portuguese flag painted on a hillside. It was painted here to support the Portuguese football team during the Euro 2016 games, which they went on to win.

This pretty much was the end of the tour. I hope you enjoyed the blog this week.

Thanks for visiting 

Stay blessed 🙏🏾 

Natalie ❤️

Albufeira,Portugal: Part 1

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I visited here in the second week of November 2022. It had been quite a strange lead up to this short getaway, as just two weeks earlier I caught COVID and I wasn’t quite sure if I was going to postpone it. I knew for sure just five days before the trip, and with only five days to prepare for the trip, I had little time to plan an itinerary. However, I didn’t even bother because, to be honest, I was so worn out from COVID and had so much else to do.

My hotel

I arrived at my hotel at around 9.30 p.m. I was staying at the Ourabay Apartments hotel, which was quite a luxury to me as I usually only stay in 2 or 3-star hotels. I’m not the fussy type when it comes to hotels; as long as it’s a safe, clean place that suits me just fine, I’m rarely ever in them anyway.

I arrived and was welcomed and greeted by a very friendly lady at reception, and I must mention here that every member of staff I came into contact with here was so friendly and accommodating. It was an absolute pleasure to have stayed here.

I did nothing for the first part of my trip

As I arrived so late, I didn’t do anything on the first night; however, surprisingly even to myself, I didn’t do anything the next day either, apart from walk down to a nearby cafe to grab breakfast and find a supermarket to get some supplies.

While I was out shopping, I found myself daydreaming about returning to the apartment and doing nothing but nap, binge-watch Netflix, sip wine, and drink herbal tea. This was quite out of character for me because I’m usually itching to get out and explore. I can only assume it was a result of the fact that I was still a little exhausted from being ill and travelling. Exploring didn’t at all feel appealing; in fact, it felt quite the opposite. But the idea of remaining in a tranquil location felt pleasant, so that’s exactly what I did.

Despite the fact that the vacation was just four nights long, I didn’t feel at all as though this day was wasted but rather an opportunity for relaxation, a chance to recharge, and a chance to feel better. I really enjoyed it.

You might be thinking I couldn’t have done much in my last two days; you couldn’t be more wrong. Stay tuned for my next blog, where I will share what I managed to do.

Thanks for visiting

Stay blessed 🙏🏾

Natalie ❤️