This June and July, my partner and I are driving from Lisbon along the southern coast of Portugal up to Granada and Madrid, and then back over to Lisbon. I used to live in Spain and have been to Lisbon several times, so I have those days well planned. But! We are looking for a home base along the southern coast. Someplace small and relaxing but still with a decent restaurant offering. Any ideas for towns or cities? Any places to stay specifically? I’ve been really drawn to Olhão but that might be more for the pictures of fish markets than it is for anything else.
Albuefferia is a central location, about 3 hour drive to Seville. The timing of your trip though, puts you into the middle of the tourist season and the “strip” will be clogged with mostly Brits. There are literally almost a hundred different restaurants to choose from.
Ah! Thanks @Archie1954. I’ve thought about Albufeira, but I wonder if it’s almost too big. Have you been to any smaller, less touristy destinations along the coast? (I’m especially worried now as I didn’t know Brits or any other Europeans traveled significantly in July!)
Last year I ended up accompanying my family on a package holiday to a resort near Albufeira. It is very much not my usual ‘type’ of travel and I didn’t get my ideal kind of experience (I never do when I travel with others!) but I had a good time and interesting experiences are possible!
@Archie1954 is right about Albufeira town and Vilamoura, which are worth a visit just to look around but they will be crawling with British tourists. (And they are very much set up to cater for that.)
What I would recommend is going on a boat trip to check out the caves, rocks and beaches of the Algarve because they are absolutely stunning (even more moving if you spot dolphins along the way). I can imagine that it’s really rewarding to take your time and explore them independently.
We also joined a tour experience that took us up into the interior in 4x4s for orange picking, a look around the small hilltop villages, sunset from a mountain top and traditional dinner to top it off. (A quick Google search suggests there are numerous companies that do such tours.)
As for places to stay, I didn’t get to see enough of the area unfortunately but Faro seems like a good place. One thing I can definitely recommend, though, is the A Lagosteira restaurant in Olhos de Água if you have a car. Honestly, the best seafood I’ve ever tasted in my life…
Oh! @JamazingClayton. This is wonderfully helpful. Maybe we will contract a boat? But perhaps a less touristy (more private) one?
I’m sure you’ll be able to find one somewhere! (Maybe aided by some proficiency in Portuguese!) If you’ve got a car, though, you’ll definitely be able to do your own thing and explore the area freely. That’ll help you get to those secluded beaches and places aware from the tourist throngs…