Our in-house photographer/intrepid explorer, Laeti, recently took a spring trip to visit some of our luxury villas in the Algarve. She’s definitely got a sweet tooth, so we are always treated to a full run-down of regional desserts and sweeties whenever she goes away! Always to be found with her camera in hand, we were excited to see her amazing photos and hear all about her first time in the Algarve!
Tell us where you’ve been…
I went to Quinta do Lago in the Algarve, Portugal, to see Lakeside Village, Pinheiros Altos and Monte da Quinta Resorts.
What was the highlight of the trip?
Visiting areas outside Quinta do Lago to discover a bit more of the region and Portugal was great. The beach at Praia da Falesia was surprising! I had never seen sand that colour before – it was red! I wish I had taken a little jar with me to bring some back to London. I swore to myself that day that wherever I travel in the future I’m going to take jars with me and bring back a bit of sand from all the beaches I visit to start a collection with little sticky labels. Anyway, I decided to go seashell hunting instead which was great fun, but the water was a bit chilly at this time of year.
Another highlight was Albufeira, with all its hills and pretty coloured rooftops. The beaches at Albufeira (Praia do Inatel and Praia do Peneco) were really something else, full of rocks and spaces to climb. I bought some fake designer sunglasses from a stall in town that made everything look like it had an Instagram filter. I also had amazing Pastel de Nata (custard tart) flavoured ice cream whilst wandering through the town and listening to Portuguese people sing their heads off at a karaoke bar.
What and where was your best foodie moment?
The first of my best foodie moments was the Pastel de Nata ice creams, no question! I couldn’t stop eating them they are so addictive and so yummy. The first bite will make you forget all about your beach body, you will just be wondering if you could maybe survive on only those for your entire holiday.
Another great foodie moment was dining at Monte da Quinta Resort’s restaurant. They kindly put me in a corner by myself so I could take photos of everything without disturbing anyone. I could stand on the chairs, walk around the table and shoot until the food was cold. A dream come true for a photographer! It started with a carpaccio of tuna, followed by a kind of shrimp… bigger than a shrimp and smaller than a lobster. Langoustine? It was delicious, whatever it was. The main was beef with fresh veggies and a sauce that made me want to lick the plate. Then dessert arrived, and I did not think I would be able to finish it – but, the French cannot leave food on the table, so I devoured this amazing wild berry cheesecake. Absolutely fantastic!
Favourite property that you saw and why?
I have two favourites:
The interiors were amazing, very different to anything I’ve seen in this area. There were candles everywhere (I love candles), so it smelt amazing. The design is splendid and completely corresponds to the owners’ personalities. Meeting this Irish couple made me love the property even more as they were so welcoming!
The architecture at this resort is fabulous! Symmetry is everywhere, it has all been really well thought through and nothing is out of place. Their staff are kind, helpful and always at your service; everything is on-site – spa, swimming pool, gym, massages, restaurant, bar etc. Their beds are also super-comfy, which is always a plus!
Any stand-out traditions or cultural observations made in the area you stayed in?
Everyone speaks English, which is so helpful when you don’t speak much Portuguese. Most if not all people I met spoke more than three languages!
For anyone travelling to the Algarve, what can’t they miss?
Albufeira and all the beaches around there are a must. Also be sure to visit the towns of Faro, Lagos (only 1h drive away), and Sagres… and ask the locals! They will guide you to the best restaurants and areas that aren’t as touristy!
If you’re feeling inspired by Laeti’s trip to start planning your own holiday at a luxury villa in the Algarve, give our concierge team call to get advice on the best place for you. We’ve also got a handy Algarve travel guide, a low-down of the best family-friendly beaches.