The ultimate guide to a villa holiday in the Algarve*
Staying in a villa when you’re on holiday is the most chilled out way to travel – you can do things on your own time, wear whatever you want and you don’t have to fight for sunbeds around the pool. I started staying in villas with my parents a few years ago and they have passed their love of the Algarve on to me. I’ve visited so many times now that it feels just like a second home to me.
It’s the perfect destination for a villa holiday, so read on for the ultimate guide to a villa holiday in the Algarve…
Faro is the airport which serves the Algarve region. Most UK airports will have budget flights to Faro, as the Algarve is such a popular tourist destination and flights are short and sweet, usually about two and a half hours. Prices may vary, but try to book early to get the best prices. We flew with Ryanair from East Midlands which was cheap and cheerful.
Be prepared to wait a little while to get through passport control at Faro airport, as it’s usually pretty busy, especially if you have an early morning or a Saturday flight.
Where to stay in the Algarve
There is no accommodation option better than villas in the Algarve. On this visit, we stayed in the beautiful Villa Amarelo which is located in Marim, in between Olhao and Tavira in the east of the Algarve. Its location made it the perfect base for exploring both nearby towns and also the beautiful, unspoilt islands of Armona, Culatra and Farol. There was also a small beach nearby which was a nice little walk, if you prefer to take it easy.
The villa had three bedrooms, two bathrooms, sleeps up to eight people and was clean, spacious and comfortable inside. There was an open-plan dining room and living room and a well-equipped kitchen with plenty of space for preparing meals and drinks.
The outside space was what really made it, there was a lovely pool which was shallow at one end with steps to get into it and plenty of space for sunbeds around the pool. There was also a BBQ (which we made plenty of use of!), table and chairs outside and a large lawn area.
The outside space for me is definitely the most important thing when it comes to choosing a villa in the Algarve as you spend most of your time outside due to the great weather.
There was plenty to keep us busy during our holiday both inside and outside the villa – outside there was a pool and table tennis table while inside there was excellent wi-fi (even good enough for streaming!), a large selection of DVDs and Sky TV with sports channels – we watched the England match while we were there.
All in all, it was an amazing villa, and started to feel like home really quickly, I was so sad to leave!
Hiring a car
Most villas aren’t situated in the centre of a resort and so it’s usually a good idea to hire a car to get around. I drove for the first time in Portugal on this trip and found it quite simple. They drive on the right-hand side and you must keep your passport with you in the car, in case you get pulled over.
Hiring a car will set you back around £50 for the week – check out Money Supermarket to find the cheapest deals and ensure that you get a fully insured deal, you don’t want to be hit with a huge bill, should you have an accident. It usually works out cheaper to hire a car for the entire week than to book transfers from the airport.
The Algarve also has Uber! We made use of it when we visited Olhao and it was around six euros each way from our villa.
Food and drink
Another great reason to rent a villa is that you can save a lot of money by cooking and eating in the villa – plus it’s so nice to eat around the table outside. The price of food and drink in Portugal is a lot cheaper than the UK, especially for wine and beer. My favourite drink in the Algarve is a €2 per litre sangria called Don Simon.
Don’t forget to buy charcoal, matches and firelighters for your BBQ – we usually have at least two during a week’s holiday.
There were a couple of restaurants within walking distance of our villa and these were quite typically Portuguese rather than touristy, which I love. A meal with drinks for four of us set us back around €60 and had couvert (olives, bread and sardine paste) and clams for starters.
The most beautiful island
I usually stay on the other side of Faro, around Albufeira and Olhos de Agua so I was really excited to explore this area which is newish to me.
One day we took a water taxi from Olhao to the car-free island of Armona and arrived on a lovely beach with restaurants and bars. That beach was nice enough, however, if you walk through the island you’ll pass lots of pretty painted houses and chalets and arrive at the most beautiful beach ever. It’s all white sand and blue-green sea and it was pretty much deserted when we visited. There’s also a lovely beach bar serving drinks and pizzas. This is up there with the best beaches I’ve ever visited and we spent hours relaxing here.
Book your own villa holiday
If you love the look of my Portugal villa holiday, why not book your own? Head over to the Clickstay website and use my discount code CocoTravels to get £50 off your first booking between 11th June 2019 – 11th June 2021 for arrivals between 11th June 2019 – 11th June 2021.
[we were provided with accommodation free of charge by Clickstay in exchange for this post]