Enjoying the Algarve at Easter

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When blogging about our new life in Portugal, I am always keen to be completely honest and to share the lows as well and the highs. Regular readers will know that I often highlight the fact that life in the sun is far from being one long holiday.

It’s important to mention this to deliver a reality check to those who may have been on holiday in the Algarve, returned home and impulsively typed “moving to Portugal” into Google. Nowhere is a complete paradise and real life follows you everywhere.

Sometimes, however, all the stars come into alignment and everything feels perfect – and last weekend was one of those times.

Sunset over Santa Luzia Algarve Easter 2012
Sunset over Santa Luzia Algarve Easter 2012

It started with a visit from some guests, consisting of one of my wife’s colleagues and her partner. As I have now told them this in person, I can be honest and say I had a mild sense of foreboding about their arrival, as they weren’t people I really knew.

Anyone who has lived in a desirable location for any length of time will know that “guest politics” can be fraught with difficulty. When you live abroad, seeing friends and family usually means spending multiple days and nights under the same roof – doing everything together.

This is not the normal course of events. When you live in your home country, people may stay the night here and there, but they rarely stay multiple days or weeks. These long periods of closeness can either cement true friendship or signal its destruction. While plenty of enjoyable “cementing” has gone on since we arrived in Portugal, there has also been one “destruction” incident, about which I shall say no more at this point! Suffice to say though, that guests who we haven’t lived in close quarters with before now cause me concern!

Algarve Easter - Praia do Barril
Algarve Easter - Praia do Barril

I needn’t have worried. Our guests were a true pleasure to have around and we bonded against a backdrop of good seafood, soul music and Grey Goose vodka. A good time was had by all I think, and despite a grim weather forecast, the sun appeared at least a couple of times each day, allowing for some unexpected beach time and a couple of fun drives on our electric mopeds.

We finished off the Easter weekend with a day of fishing, walking and biking near the coast of Tavira. Our day was complemented perfectly by my mother in law’s homemade pasta salad, plenty of pink wine and a fresh crab that we bought at the supermarket and cracked into on a rock by the shore. If there’s a better way to enjoy shellfish I have yet to find it! Before returning home we stopped for an espresso, caught the last few minutes of the hot sun and felt more relaxed than we had done in some time.

Fishing spot near Tavira Portugal
Fishing spot near Tavira Portugal

All in all, it was a perfect, low-cost, feeling thankful kind of day. The kind I moved here for. Sometimes being here DOES feel like a holiday.

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7 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. Sounds brilliant Ben, especially the crab on the rocks. Isnt it great when everything just falls into place. Glad that the weather was not too bad. We have friends staying in our house at the moment and were a bit worried that they might have been housebound due to torrential rain! My husband and I (blimey – turned into the queen again!) really dont mind if it rains when we are over there, we just go and have a long boozy lunch, have a kip in the afternoon and then go and have a long boozy dinner, but it is always preferable to have sun at some stage on holidays. Also loving the sound of your electric mopeds – were they v expensive, if you dont mind me asking? saz

  2. Hi Ben

    We recently returned from a holiday in the western algarve and I was very impressed with the area, very picturesque and the way they cook fish out there is to die for. We stayed in Lagos and visited Luz, Bergau, Sagres and Silves. Is the eastern algarve like the west or different? we are already thinking of returning to portugal to do some extended wandering and are thinking of the the tavira/cabanas area? Does money go further in the east compared to the west? Less touristy maybe?

    Also how hot does it get in the summer, does it ever get up to 40 c?


  3. Hi Saz,

    The mopeds are made by this company http://www.gingabike.pt/ – you will find prices on the site. They have some in Continente as well as the moment – less money but less range and not as sturdy. They’re not especially fast but tremendous fun 🙂

    Best wishes,


  4. Hi Dreamer,

    The East Algarve is a contrast to the West in some ways. The coastal scenery is completely different – sand spit islands (often only reached by boat) instead of tall cliffs and coves.

    Tourist wise it depends on the town, but Tavira is far more low key than Lagos. Cabanas is a strange one as it is a resort style party town in July and August but a lovely peaceful place off season (and practically a ghost town in Winter!)

    Price wise, it’s not so much a case of East vs West but more a case of tourist area vs non-tourist area. There are places West of Faro that we wouldn’t go near during the summer and although we love places like Lagos, we do rather like retreating to what we feel is the more unspoiled side of the region. After all, nothing is that far away to drive – a day out in Lagos is perfectly do-able. And off-season, hotels are so cheap we can just go to Lagos for the weekend 🙂

    Best wishes,


  5. Yep, we have those days/times too.
    They are the days, amongst all the day-to-day humdrum and red tape, that remind us exactly why we chose to move to such a fabulous place.
    Thanks for sharing yours 🙂

  6. My wife and I moved to our new house on the beach in Eastern Canada last Spring. And I related immediately to your comments about guests. We hosted several guests from late May to the end of October. While I work outside the home my spouse works from home. As a result, we found setting the ground rules before the visit was essential to a pleasant time with friends and family. First, plan to arrive late on Friday or early Saturday thus giving us time to spend with our company while giving them the lay of the land. Come Monday, I’m off to work and my wife to her home office. “Car keys are in the entry, have fun and if you get lost hit ‘Home’ on the GPS and we’ll see you for supper.” This strategy has worked fabulously so far and we intend to keep it up as long as we’re hosting.

    Oh, second rule…We aren’t an all inclusive group vacation destination. Come as a single, couple, or couple with children. But, don’t arrive as two or more couples, or an extended family.group. Stay as long as you like, we’ll dine out from time to time. Contribute by buying some gorceries for barbequing, etc.. Otherwise, there are some nice cottages for rent down the beach. We would love to see you while you’re in the area.

    ‘nuf said

    Thanks for your blogs, my wife and I have travelled to Portugal a few times and have long thought we would like to move there ourselves. However, our desire for the security of home (Canada) is strong so, for now, we’ll do the long-stay thing once we’ve hit the retirement mark in a few years instead.


  7. Hi Grant,

    Thank you for your comment and apologies for my slow moderation and response – I have been on holiday.

    Hosting guests when you live in a desirable country is a topic that one day will form the subject of a whole post – first I need to give it some serious thought to make sure nobody gets offended!

    Best wishes,


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