Photo Diary: Picture Perfect Portugal

I’ve just returned from a much needed trip to The Algarve. It was a week filled with long, languid days beneath the hot summer sun, and nights full of warm breezes and wonderful food.

Before I went out there I thought that all I wanted was to let my hair down – meet new people, go out and get drunk every night and sleep off my hangover every day on the beach. Really forget about real life for a while. But once I got there I realised that I didn’t want that at all.

What I found when I arrived was a perfect place for total relaxation and an escape from reality. I was drawn to the fresh, tasty food and spent the week eating as healthily as I could. I was intrigued by the history and sights many visitors seem to ignore. I was excited to explore and be active whilst giving myself the rest I really needed.

In Faro I explored the old town, took myself on a boat to a deserted island, had dinner with new friends and talked away the balmy evening on a rooftop overlooking the whitewash town. Half way through the week I did one of my favourite things to do on a solo trip – I went to the bus station and got on the next bus to an unknown destination. The destination, this time, turned out to be Lagos.

Read more: Where to stay in Faro – Well’come to Algarve review

Whilst in Lagos I skipped the party scene entirely, favouring exploring the food festival and journaling by the beach until the sun went down. I love being by the ocean at night, when the water is partially hidden under the cloak of dusk and the sound of the waves gently lapping at the shore fills the still, summer air. I watched as groups of people brought bottles of wine to sit on the sand and watch the sunset together. I watched the other solo people and wondered what their stories were. I listened to the din of the music from a nearby beach bar and occasionally longed to be there with my own group of people, but quickly pushed this thought out of my head and went back to being blissfully content. My favourite night was sharing a moment of gratitude with a Portugese woman who offered me a smoke. This is what solo travel is about – the people you meet along the way.

I spent a whole day on the beach one day. Only moving to go and sit on some grass nearby, under the shade of a palmtree, reading by the sea. I wandered around the market stopping occasionally for ice-cream. I walked along a coastal walk all the way to Ponte De Piede and stopped at the gorgeous beaches along the way.

I wasn’t sad to come home, but this just means the trip did just what I needed it to. If you’re looking for total relaxation with a bit of adventure thrown in, The Algarve is the place for you – it was just what I needed at the time.

You might also like: The 3 best places in Madeira

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