A panel of travel experts at Clickstay.com has voted the Algarve as the best destination for British tourists this summer.
52% of the in-house travel pros voted in favour of the Algarve, the South of Portugal, citing successful control of Coronavirus as one of the key factors.
“Local government has done fantastic work in limiting the spread of the virus and put in sensible measures to ensure people can enjoy their holiday safely”, said Tom Hughes, founder and MD at Clickstay.
“Their use of technology, such as the Info Praia app where tourists can real-time information about the level of occupancy of the beach, is a great example of how the government is being innovative in its approach”, he added.
The article about this study mentions that Portugal recorded a considerably lower number of Covid-19 cases than the UK, so is considered low risk by the UK government. On the other hand, the Portuguese government considers that the UK has got the virus ‘under control’ and is calling for a so-called ‘air bridge’ between the two countries, which would allow British tourists to go on holiday to the Algarve, and the rest of Portugal, without having to quarantine on arrival.
According to these travel experts, there’s a wide range of activities which you can enjoy safely, making the Algarve is the best holiday destination this summer, above other destinations in Europe.
“I usually go on a beach holiday during the summer but was a little anxious having seen some photos of very crowded beaches in the UK,” said one of Clickstay’s holidaymakers, “If social distancing is properly enforced on the beaches in the Algarve, I will definitely consider making the trip”.
Outdoor activities like swimming, kayak tours, SUP tours, and surfing are permitted and most boat tours are already running, all with hygiene andsafety protocols in place. In fact, these tours and activities are all recognized by the Portuguese „Safe & Clean“ seal. This is surely another big boost for the region’s tourism prospects. According to Tom Hughes, “Many of our customers love to go surfing in their summer holidays, so being able to do that in a safe environment would be a massive attraction’.
For those looking for a more cultural experience, restaurants, hotels, museums and galleries are also already open, with social distancing protocols in place. So yes, you can enjoy some of the local fresh seafood and terraces in under the blue sky are abundant for a safe food-experience.
The research shows that the geography of the Algarve has also been a factor. In the Algarve, there are many relatively quiet places to rent a villa compared with the busier coastlines of France and Spain, which make it a good destination for those wishing to keep their distance and enjoy a relaxed holiday.
What do you think? Would you consider the Algarve for your holidays this summer?
On average, there are over 2 million weddings in the U.S. each year. That means there are a lot of weddings to plan! While some people opt for a simple courthouse ceremony or a backyard event with family and friends, others go all-out. Things like barn weddings, country club weddings, and even traditional church weddings are all still popular in their own right.
But many people opt to have a beachside wedding due to its natural beauty, relaxed atmosphere, and uniqueness. It’s easy to think about a walk along the beach at sunset for a romantic date or getaway (no matter where you are in the world!), but when it comes to planning your wedding around the beach, there are some pros and cons to consider.
Your big day shouldn’t be stressful because of the location you choose. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the benefits and potential drawbacks of a beachside wedding before you decide whether it’s right for you.
Pro: A Naturally-Beautiful Backdrop for Any Season
One of the biggest draws to having a beachside wedding is the natural beauty. It takes very little decorating or “preparing” the space to make it look great. With that, you can save money, since you’ll have to worry less about creating a big budget for decorations. You can also use the beach as both your ceremony and reception area by utilizing a large tent; no need to have your guests travel to another venue for food, drinks, and dancing!
Plus, if you get married in a more tropical location or in a Mediterranean climate such as Greece or Portugal, you can have your wedding any time of the year. There are plenty of ideas regarding the best month to get married, but if you don’t want to wait, you can enjoy warm, beachside temperatures even during the winter when you choose a warm destination.
Con: The Risks of Being Outside
Unfortunately, you can’t control the weather. Weddings take an average of 13-18 months to plan, and the one thing you can’t plan for is harsh sun, rain, wind, or even a higher tide than you expected. On bright, sunny days, you might be putting yourself and your guests at risk for UV exposure.
It’s a good idea to have both a backup plan for inclement weather and a way to keep your guests safe. A tent or enclosed location is a great solution for rain or wind. Having sunscreen and sunglasses available for both UV protection of the skin and protection for the eyes would be a good idea, and they can also serve as cute party favors for guests to take home.
Pro: Many Theme Options to Choose From
You don’t have to limit yourself to standing on the shoreline when you’re considering a beachside wedding. There are plenty of location options you can choose from:
A long dock/pier
Further away from the shore
A rental property facing the beach
Don’t limit yourself to your idea(s) of what a beachside wedding has to be. When you choose the location that fits your needs, you can also choose the “theme” and style that works for you. Beachside weddings are often more casual and less formal, so guests can enjoy everything from feeling the warmth of their feet in the sand to appreciating a romantic beachside sunset as the backdrop to your reception. Get creative with your seaside locations!
Con: Not All Beaches are Private
Beach weddings can be very intimate, private things if you choose the right spot for your ceremony, but keep in mind that not all beaches are private. If you choose to get married on a public beach, you run the risk of a lot of noise, other people nearby, and even “beach rules” in place that everyone needs to follow.
Obviously, the best way to avoid this is to rent out a block of time on a private beach. If that isn’t an option for you, be prepared to share your wedding day with other beachgoers who might be curious enough to look-in on your ceremony. That even includes animals, wildlife, and bugs that create their natural habitats on the beach and may crash the party when you least expect it!
Pro: An Instant Honeymoon Spot
Because the beach itself is so naturally romantic, you can transform it into your honeymoon location after the reception is over. Rent a small beach house for a few days and do nothing but relax. If you do decide to have a destination wedding in Greece or Portugal, you’ve already set the stage for the honeymoon of a lifetime!
Beachside weddings are beautiful, romantic, and almost always popular with guests. With a little planning and preparation, you can have the wedding of your dreams with your feet in the sand.
The many golf resorts across Portugal provide numerous opportunities for families to enjoy themselves not only on the golf course but with a host of activities for the entire family. Along with the first-class golf courses, there are waterparks, beaches, and kid-specific activities can be found at several resorts across the region.
Below are a few of the more popular resorts along with information about their family-friendly features and activities.
Amendoeira Golf Resort
A favorite among many family travelers, the Amendoeira Golf Resort in the Algarve features apartments and villas available alongside 36 holes of Championship golf, with the Christy O’Connor and Nick Faldo courses. There is also a very popular 9-hole course that is perfect for beginners, while still an enjoyable play for low handicappers. A full 27 holes that will put that new GPS watch to its test.
In July and August, the resort’s “Kiz Club” is active. Designed to entertain the younger crowd, it’s a place where children can engage in age-appropriate activities and make new friends. There are also nearby activities for the entire family, like boat tours and fun watersports in Armação de Pêra.
As hosts to the World Kids Golf Championship, the Amendoeira Resort attracts juniors from across the world to compete in a supportive environment, stimulating growth and development as golfers. In an effort to create a true family experience, it is encouraged that parents serve as caddies for their players. After the tournament concludes, a Parent-Child Par-3 contest is held.
The Amendoeira Resort is a prime example of what makes the Algarve region such a great destination, with nearby proximity to the beautiful beaches of southern Portugal. Views of the magnificent Monchique Mountains are at every turn through the two championship courses, and the resort is home to the region’s only floodlit par-3 course.
Recently awarded the honor of being the Best Course in Portugal by the World Golf Awards in 2016, the Faldo course is consistently ranked as a top 100 course in Continental Europe.
Penina Hotel & Golf Resort
The original home of golf in the Algarve Region, the Penina Hotel & Golf Resort is set within 360 acres of perfect grasslands and natural beauty. Three golf courses, including the Algarve’s first 18 hole championship course, accompany the five-star hotel and leads the way in high-class service.
For the kids, the Penina’s Kangaroo Club is a securely enclosed and fully supervised area that provides quality entertainment for children. Daily programs balance entertainment with education, to ensure that every child gets the most out of their holiday experience. A swimming pool, climbing area, football pitch, bicycle track, and a sandpit are all at the kids’ disposal, and . during the summer season a supervised bouncy castle is also set up. There is a Kangaroo Club Restaurant, a state-of-the-art crèche with baby changing facilities, a designated toddler area, and a fully stocked game room.
The Penina Resort welcomes dogs up to a weight of 7 kilos, at an extra charge so don’t forget to pack the doggy toys and their favorite food. No other pets are accepted, with the exception of guide dogs.
Penha Longa Resort
With two golf courses set across the beautiful slopes of the natural landscape near Lisbon, the Penha Longa Resort is a spectacular place to play golf. The stunning forests and rocky mountains rise around the grounds, giving an isolated experience and perfect place for a high-class golf escape.
Two golf courses, the Atlantic Course and the Monastery Course are located at Penha Longa. The Atlantic Course is the resort’s main attraction, designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. and is ranked as one of the top 30 golf courses in Continental Europe. The 6,786-yard tract features many dramatic holes cut through the resort’s sloping landscape. The course features two distinct sections, with six holes running through a valley, and the remainder straddling the hillside. The Atlantic Course has twice served as host for the Portuguese Open in the mid-1990s, as well as the Estoril Open in 1999.
While the Atlantic Course remains the star attraction at Penha Longa, the 9-hole Monastery Course also deserves a look. A less challenging course, with fewer undulations throughout the tract, the views of the nearby Sintra Mountains are spectacular and make for a nice, relaxing round for players of all skill levels.
There is fun for the entire family, as children can enjoy the Penha Longa Kid’s Club where they can enjoy a host of toys and games to play and learn. With Pirates, Treasures and camping, painting and cinema, cooking classes, and pyjama parties, a continuous choice of activities will fill their days while enjoying their stay at Penha Longa, with even more activities during the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays.
There is no need to find a dog-sitter for your holiday. Pets are welcomed at the hotel with a reservation of a Junior Suite, but additional charges apply.
Vale do Lobo Resort
The renowned Vale do Lobo Resort sits on the magnificent coast of southern Portugal and is one of Europe’s best all-encompassing golf resorts. Two golf courses, the Royal and the Ocean, provide an epic layout and rank among the best golf courses in Portugal. Vale do Lobo is an ideal combination of two contrasting courses to make it a truly unique venue among its peers.
Thanks to a huge choice of activities, Vale do Lobo is an ideal location to spend quality time with family and friends. Throughout the year there are a host of activities in the various different areas of the resort, from enjoying the restaurants and live music in the Praca to relaxing on the beach or by the pool or just spending time on the courts or the golf courses.
The Tennis Valley section of the resort features a children’s playground area. The newly refurbished par tee mini-golf course includes fantastic new elements, holes, and challenges, including plenty of water features, tricky holes, and oversized entertainment.
After several months at home and possibly some cancelled trips, you must be as eager as us to travel again! The majority of the team of SeaBookings lives in Portugal and this is also where the company was founded. There are many reasons to visit Portugal bus now, given the current circumstances, we’d like to share some special reasons to visit Portugal this summer.
In fact, Portugal is ready and prepared to receive you for summer holidays. Check out our 7 reasons to visit Portugal this summer:
1. Beaches in Portugal are already open for the practice of sports
Since May 4th, we can enjoy the beaches again, not to sunbatheyet, laying on a towel, but to walk, run or practice any other watersports like surfing. We can already enjoy the beach! Let’s cross our fingers that very soon, we can freely enjoy the beach again.
According to the Algarve Travel Board, beaches will open in June, with health regulations and procedures in place. A maximum number of people per beach is one of the possible measures. Let’s see.
And if you like waterparks, the Algarve Travel Board points to June and July to reopen these, again with special health measures. The park’s capacity will, therefore, be reduced and have compulsory use of masks in closed areas like restaurants and stores.
2. Golf courses, marinas and some hotels are already open in Portugal
Portugal was rather quick to adopt preventive measures at an early stage of the pandemic. As such, Portugal has fewer cases than other European countries; with only 11 reported deaths per 100 000 population (May 14th, according to the ECDC). And looking within Portugal, the Algarve, our favorite destination, is one of the least affected regions in Portugal.
Some golf courses, marinas and car hire businesses are already open with strict health protocols in place, of course. Regarding hotels, over a third of hotels in the Algarve are open and the local tourism board expects this to rise to 75% in June and most to be open in July.
3. Delicious Portuguese Restaurants
During these times, you might want to book a hotel or apartment with a kitchen so you can cook some meals at home and use your time outdoors to enjoy nature. Take-away and delivery services have been open during the whole period of lockdown in Portugal and work very well.
The good news is also that as of May 18th, restaurants can reopen with 50 per cent capacity restrictions.
4. Sea experiences will resume very soon in Portugal
Thanks to the large effort by the national authorities and also local agents, Portugal defined a set of best practices in terms of safety and security, to restart its tourism sector. The “Clean & Safe” seal is one of these measures.
Turismo de Portugal, the Portuguese Tourism Board, recognizes companies in the Tourism sector that comply with the recommendations of the local health authority to avoid the contamination of COVID-19.
All tourism companies that wish to obtain the “Clean & Safe” seal must comply with a set of provisions. Of course, most of our local tour providers in Portugal have already obtained this seal and are ready to have you once the local authorities give us the “OK” to resume our sea experiences (it should be in the coming days). In fact, in Madeira, nautical experiences will restart already on May 20th! So if you visit Portugal this summer, you’ll be able to experience the sea to its fullest!
In addition to local tour providers, other sector agents are also strongly committed to reopening in a gradual, responsible and safe manner and commit to the seal. According to João Fernandes, President of Algarve Tourism, the Algarve already has 271 hotels, 176 tourist entertainment companies and 177 travel agencies, duly certified by this initiative of Turismo de Portugal, that pioneered this worldwide.
5. Safety measures upon arrival in Portugal
The reopening of borders and air traffic is the main factor that still remains undefined, preventing the return of tourism in full. For now, travel from and to outside the EU will at least be banned until June 15th in Portugal.
Portugal seems to be the right bet as several international airlines and tour operators are showing great interest in resuming their flights to Portugal. Some airlines already even taking reservations.
Regarding the local airports, some measures are being implemented upon arrival to ensure the protection of passengers and staff. The possible measures at airports in Portugal include:
Temperature measurement at arrivals;
Hand sanitizers at all points of the terminals;
Mandatory use of a mask at the terminal;
Warnings for the need for extra hygiene care and the need for physical distance;
Installation of personal protections in service counters (acrylic and glass);
Reinforcement of cleaning of spaces and equipment with hospital-level disinfectants and use of UV equipment, among other measures.
6. Local culture in Museums, Monuments and Cinema in Portugal
According to the Portuguese reopening plan (Plano de Desconfinamento), as from May 18th, museums, monuments and palaces, art galleries and the like will reopen with reduced capacity and physical distance. The use of masks might also be mandatory in some places.
And from June 1st, cinemas, theatres, auditoriums and concert halls should be open again. Be aware that these will have marked seats, reduced capacity and physical distance.
7. Face masks and hand sanitizer are widely available in Portugal
A few days after the use of masks in schools, public transport, shops and other closed spaces with a lot of people became mandatory in Portugal, the VAT rate was reduced from 23% to 6% on this kind of protective equipment, as well as disinfectant gel. Masks and hand sanitizer are available at pharmacies but also at big supermarkets like Continente, Pingo Doce, El Corte Inglés and Mercadona. The supermarkets Intermarché and Bricomarché stand out as they sell disposable masks and other personal protective equipment at cost prices “without any profit”.
According to ECO newspaper, the disposable masks are available for 0.40 cents a unit and a pack of 50 masks costs 20.15 euros. A 50 ml bottle of hand sanitizer is 4.90 euros and prices are monitored weekly in order to have the best price on the market.
We know that traveling in these “new normal” times can be a bit scary, but we truly believe Portugal is a good bet. If you’ve got any doubts or tips about traveling to Portugal this summer, feel free to contact us at any time.
As the COVID-19 pandemic takes its course around the globe, we find ourselves staying at home as part of a lockdown designed to keep the disease at bay. While we are glad that we can limit the spread, we are also limited on fun things to do. But like all uncertain times, this too shall pass. When it does, it will be time to celebrate.
Why not let loose with a fun seaside getaway? While most of us are stuck at home, we are presented with the perfect chance to plan our next big vacation. Don’t let the opportunity go to waste. Use this time to choose the ideal destination, save your money, and plan your itinerary, so you and your family can enjoy the perfect post-coronavirus adventure.
Research Your Dream Location
Whether you are planning to visit the gorgeous landscapes of Madeira or take in the sites of Algarve, Portugal, this is the perfect time to research your destination and get your plans in order. Take the time to search online for popular seaside hotspots and choose which you would like to visit. In addition to picking the fun places to see, you also want to flesh out the logistics of your trip, like how you are going to get around once you are there, whether it be public transportation or your own vehicle.
There are other considerations to make, as well. If you are planning on going hiking or boating, will you need to rent specific equipment? If you are going to a different country, are you able to speak the language? If not, take this time to bone up on some popular phrases. Is there cell phone service where you are going? If not, then you may have to make alternate communication choices or stay at a hotel close to the attractions you want to see.
Dogs love to go on seaside adventures, too, because they can feel their ears flap in the wind as you cruise along in a rented speedboat. Use this time to think about the details of bringing a pet. If you are flying, make sure that the airline allows pets. Make a list of all the pet supplies you will need, including treats, a good leash, and a collapsible water bowl. You will also want to research your destination to see if your pet needs any special vaccinations and bring this paperwork on the trip.
Take the Time to Save Money
Whether you are planning to visit your local beach or the coast of another country, you will want to save money so you can have a fun and comfortable trip. One benefit of having social distance and stay at home orders is that you are now presented with a good time to save the funds that you need. Of course, the first step is to make an itinerary of the places you will want to visit and check out the cost of each, in addition to the price of your lodgings.
Once you have a number in mind, start saving. If you are the type of person who struggles with saving cash, then consider turning it into a game with a no-spend challenge. Essentially, this involves hiding your credit and debit cards, creating a budget for only the necessities (food, utilities, gas), and obtaining the support of your family as you attempt to go at least a month without spending unnecessary money. Put all of your extra cash in a “vacation fund” that cannot be touched until your trip.
Since just about everyone is currently banned from going to parks, movie theaters, and restaurants, this is the perfect time to be a cheapskate. Set a savings goal and take this time to research high-interest savings accounts, where you can gain even more extra cash off of interest. If you are currently working from home, you can also try a side hustle like online tutoring or taking surveys to save even more.
Prepare Your Vehicle
Even after the social distancing measures come to an end, it will still be prudent to stay away from large groups, and a road trip along the seaside will give you that independence while you enjoy the gorgeous sites. If you are taking your own car, this is the perfect time to get your vehicle checked out and road-ready. Luckily, mechanics are considered an essential business, so they are open and willing to help.
When it comes to getting your car road trip-ready, be sure to check your tires and get an oil change. Wherever you are going, create a vehicle emergency kit filled with essentials such as first aid supplies, granola bars, and necessary maps. Speaking of maps, this is also a great time to figure out your routes so you know when you have to leave and how long you’ll be traveling each day.
It is always smart to practice defensive driving, meaning that you must drive without distractions while anticipating issues on the road. So, if you are going to a new seaside destination that you haven’t visited before, check out images of the streets you will be driving on. If you are driving along the coast, you may encounter many winding roads, so use this time to take a drive on a similar road near your area so you can get some practice. If your destination is famous for rain, then read up on how to drive in these conditions.
As the coronavirus takes its toll, we are living in some not so fun times, but these dark days will one day be a thing of the past. Use the time to plan the dream seaside getaway and be ready to go when the time is right.
It’s important to take precautions and measurements in times of the coronavirus, also when the lockdown comes to an end. According to the World Health Organization, there are some tips to take into consideration, both during and after lockdown. In this article, we’ll focus on the tips that apply to travel after the Coronavirus lockdown.
Here are some tips to take into account when traveling after the Coronavirus lockdown:
The first thing to consider is your destination. It’s recommended to only consider countries where the coronavirus contaminations are controlled. It’s also important to inform yourself about the quarantine requirements, both upon arriving at your destination and also when coming back home. Imagine a 14-day quarantine is required at your destination, then you might consider another place.
2. Airline vs. car
Make sure to pick an airline that assures to have the best health and safety practices in place. Some airplanes are planning to test all their passengers before boarding, for example. And have you already considered traveling by car? Maybe now the time is there!
3. Protect yourself and others
You should wear a mask to avoid being contaminated and also to diminish the risk of contaminating others. There is a big debate on which type of mask we should wear. The uncomplicated answer is the surgical mask which is single-use and is rather affordable. However, there are reusable masks available too and we think it’s a very personal decision.
You can also protect yourself by using surgical gloves to protect your hands from being infected with viruses or germs during your travels.
4. Stay hydrated
Bring a thermos type bottle or other reusable bottles to stay hydrated while traveling. Several studies show that drinking (warm) water can help to flush out the virus down to the stomach.
5. Bring sanitizer
Using sanitizer is also trending worldwide. The sanitizer has alcohol that kills germs and reduces the number of bacteria or microorganisms on our skin. While traveling, we can’t always wash our hands, so then sanitizer is the best thing that you can carry in your handbag or pocket. Other than that, when possible, don’t forget to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
6. Keep social distancing
Wherever you go, try your best to avoid the crowd. Pick beaches with fewer people, avoid going to the markets at the busiest hours, etc. You can also pick your destination based on this tip. You might prefer an area with nice empty beaches or forests rather than a crowded city.
Avoiding crowds also means being careful with public transport. If you have the chance, we recommend renting a car or using Uber or similar services. And in case you rent a car, or travel in your own car, be sure to wash or sanitize and keep the car clean.
In sum, for the coming months, even after the lockdowns, we need to take care of our health because we don’t know if the virus is still around.
For now, let’s keep on reading and dreaming about travels. And plan for when we’re free again.
Till then, stay safe.
About the author: Laraib is a professional content writer, travel blogger, with a creative bent of mind. I have authored and published a number of articles in the niche of travel, health & fitness, entertainment and technology domains. Here is my blog.
Hereby, a brief heads up about what we’re up to at SeaBookings in these challenging times. First of all, we hope you’re all safe and sound. And second, let’s talk about travel. We know travel might not be on the top of your mind at the moment, but let’s stay positive and believe that soon we can travel the world again!
We trust that, together, we can overcome this. Firstly, in terms of health but also in terms of business. Better times will come!
At SeaBookings, we’re fortunate to be an online service and we’re working hard to prepare a delayed high season this year. We, therefore, encourage you to continue to contact as you always do, as a final customer or a potential new local tour provider.
While all sea experiences are currently on hold, we’re not in “the shade of a banana tree” (Portuguese saying for not doing anything). We’re getting ready for a boom, once the pandemic has calmed down. As such, we’d be happy to receive some feedback on how you feel about the future of travel. You can do so by simply filling in this anonymous 3-minute inquiry. That would be much appreciated!
As a child, some of my best memories are from the summer holidays I spent with my family. Whether we traveled or stayed at home, my parents made sure that we had fun and spent time together. Children value the time spent with their parents above all else; if they also get to travel, then even better.
If you are looking to offer a memorable summer vacation to your kids, there are a few things you might consider trying. When summer will come to an end, make sure that they are suntanned and happy, eager to tell all of their friends about the adventures they had.
#1 Travel to somewhere new
Take your children to a new destination each summer, as each travel will open both their hearts and their minds. Expose them to new places, new people and new cultures, as these are the kind of experiences contributing to them becoming well-adjusted adults. Talk to them about the chosen destination, and always involve them in the decision process (depending on age, of course).
#2 A family photoshoot to remember your holiday
A family travel photoshootis a great idea, as you can be sure the professional photographer will capture you and your family from the best possible angles. Moreover, it is simple to book a photographer online, who will then arrive at the established location. The photos are then processed to look even more amazing, and you will always have them to remember your vacation by.
#3 Water is always fun
Children prefer destinations that involve water, as the fun is guaranteed. Even if you do not have time to get away, you might consider going to the local pool and spending some quality moments with your kids. A trip to a nearby lake is also an excellent idea, especially since there are many fun activities to do there, such as kayaking or swimming.
#4 More time outside
During the school year, children spend a lot of time cooped up inside a classroom and then at home. While on vacation, you might want to come up with more opportunities for them to spend time in the fresh air. Seek out opportunities to explore the open outdoors – you might consider going to a family camp, visiting local state parks or finding one of those playgrounds where physical activities are encouraged. Your kids will enjoy the whole experience, especially if you also plan a picnic for them.
#5 Introduce your kids to great books
Use the summer season, including any travels you might undertake, together as a family, as an opportunity to introduce your kids to great books. Choose titles and genres suitable for their age, and talk about the story and how the hero solved the herculean tasks the author presented him/her with. Instill the passion for reading early on, and your kid will never feel like reading is a chore.
These are only a couple of tips on how to spend an amazing summer vacation with your kids. Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that children need our presence, first and foremost. Be there for them and have fun together, creating precious memories!
Recently, I went for a trip down a small section of the stunning Murray River, in Australia. This was my first unaccompanied journey, taking around four hours. Getting to experience this portion of the river has helped instil in me a love of canoeing and the excitement it can bring.
Preparing For The Trip
My preparation for the trip began a few months before the journey. I needed to make sure that I was confident about handling the canoe, and could keep the boat balanced. To practice this, we went to a quiet part of the river. There was no tide, so I could fall in safely. At first, I did struggle to keep the boat steady for long enough to get in. However, the more I practiced, the easier this became. In addition, I found that it became easier to steer the boat and control its trajectory. Once I was confident in this area, I was able to start planning for the trip.
The first thing that I needed to do was study the maps. Thankfully, this part of the section was wide, gently sloping its way through the landscape. The tides wouldn’t be too strong, allowing me to have a leisurely paddle. Also, I identified a picnic location, around 6.2 miles (10 kilometers) away. This would be the perfect time to have lunch before turning around and returning home. Having planned the journey, and purchased all the necessary equipment, I went to bed nervous but excited.
Making The Journey
The next day, I rose early, excited about making my first canoe trip. The canoe was already strapped to the top of the car, so all I had to do was travel to the river. By the time I got there, it was nine o’clock. I got the canoe off the car, double-checked the water-proof bags had been closed properly and put the canoe into the water. Holding the sides of the boat steady, I got into the craft smoothly. Then, I was on my way, paddling down the Murray River.
Instantly, I was overwhelmed by the peace and serenity. The only sounds were the wind rustling through the trees, the birds chirping overhead, and my paddle pushing through the water. The longer I paddled, the calmer I felt. Along the way, I also got to experience some of the beautiful sights that the river could offer. The riverbanks were lined with green grasses, gently swaying in the breeze. On the surface of the water, a family of birds was gently gliding along.
By around eleven-thirty, I was getting hungry and was ready to stop for lunch and have a rest. I put my paddle back in the boat, letting it float gracefully across the river. Getting the map out the bag I studied the route carefully, afraid I’d missed the picnic spot. But just when I was putting the map back, it came into view around a curve in the river. I paddled down and pulled the canoe onto the shore, making sure that it was wedged securely. Then, I went up sitting at a table to eat my lunch. It provided all the nourishment and energy I needed for the return journey home.
It was just as relaxing as the journey to the picnic spot. Despite traveling against the tide, I didn’t have to expend that much energy to make progress. By the time I got back to the car, it was a little after three o’clock. I had a quick snack, then pulled the canoe from the water, tying it securely to the top of the car. Though all the equipment was stowed, I stayed back for a few hours, watching the sun set over the river. This gave me some time to reflect on my day, and consider what my next canoeing adventure would be.
I hope that you enjoyed this account of my first canoe trip. To help you create your own canoeing memories, I wanted to share this excellent guide which contains everything you need to know about choosing your own canoe. If you have any additional questions, you can register and ask them in this professional forum. So, make sure to get out on the water today and experience the joy that canoeing can provide.
While most of the tourism in the Algarve is centred around the hotspots like Albufeira, Portimão and Lagos, the Algarve also has an entirely different side to it! Did you know that if you drive a bit further West, north of Sagres, there is a whole other landscape and climate of the Algarve to be discovered?
The Westcoast of the Algarve has become more and more popular especially among surfers and travellers looking for a bit less tourism and more nature! The wild and dramatic cliffs, good wave conditions and hidden beaches are worth visiting! Let us share with you our top 6 beaches at the Westcoast of the Algarve!
Praia do Castelejo
If you come by car from the Southcoast of the Algarve, you will just have to pass through the cute town of Vila do Bispo to get to Praia do Castelejo! This beach is especially popular among surf schools, as it usually is blessed with great conditions for beginners!
The beach is located in the middle of Costa Vicentina Natural Park, being surrounded only by nature! There is only one restaurant at the beach where you can enjoy some snacks and drinks, looking down at the ocean! At the restaurant, you also have toilets, which is definitely a plus!
One of the best things about this beach is that at low tide you can walk all the way beneath the impressive cliffs to Praia da Cordoama! The walk is beautiful: the sea by your left side, the raw landscapes of the Algarve to your right! At Praia da Cordoama you can also enjoy a drink or go for a dive in the sea before walking back!
The broad sandy beach also means that you can usually always find a quiet place, even during high season when the beach can get pretty crowded. Just walk a little further and enjoy the view while relaxing in the sun!
Ponta Ruiva is one of the beaches that are still very untouched, but it is becoming more and more crowded due to the good waves you can find here! However, be aware: Only try to get to Ponta Ruiva if you have a stable car that can also drive off-road, as the road there is… well, not a real road 😉
Also, you should maybe ask someone before going there what the best way is, as some navigation systems get lost in the countryside and you can easily get lost, also because there are not many signs leading you to Ponta Ruiva. It is close to Castelejo, so you also access it from Vila do Bispo.
Once you get there, it is worth it though – It is a really wild beach with no restaurants or any construction at all! You have to walk down a rather steep road to get to the sandy beach, where you have quite a lot of rocks, depending on the tides! Surfers really like this beach because if the swell is big enough, you have a really nice point break here!
But also surf schools are starting to come here more and more often to play in the white water with beginners! Just make sure you bring enough water and snacks when you come to Ponta Ruiva because the next supermarket is a long drive away 😉
Praia da Amoreira
Praia da Amoreira is a little bit further up the coast than the last two beaches! What makes this beach so special is the river mouth, that ends up in the sea. This means that you can not only lay at the beach but also far behind it along the river where you can enjoy swimming in the much calmer water – perfect for families with kids!
You can access the beach either from “behind”, by walking along the river and the sandy dunes up to the beach or you park at the main car park by the restaurant and don’t have to walk far! At the restaurant, they serve drinks and food and they also have toilets there.
At Praia da Amoreira you can also catch some fun waves, depending on the conditions! This beach has a pretty good road leading up to it, which is why it usually gets a lot more crowded than the other two beaches during high season! However, if you go along the river you will always find a quiet space!
Did you know that you can also do a SUP Tour along the river? This Amoreira SUP Tour is a great way to explore this region and paddle through the vast landscape! It is very easy, so no previous experience is needed!
Praia do Amado
Praia do Amado is probably one of the most famous beaches along the Westcoast of the Algarve! Reason for this would be the great waves and the famous surf schools that have been here for decades! But of course, the beauty of the sandy beach in front of the steep cliffs also does its part!
You can park at the top of the beach and walk down the road to the beach, or you can also access the beach from behind from the Natural Park nex to it. This is also a nice walk and you come out at the left end of the beach.
At low tide the beach has a lot of space, so you can walk quite far to both sides and enjoy the beauty of nature! There are bathrooms at the car park as well as some snack bars where you can get food and drinks to restore your energy levels after surfing or just a day at the beach.
You can book surf lessons at Amado Beach and learn the sport together with one of the oldest surf schools of the Algarve right at the beach! Sounds good right? We think so too, that’s why it is one of our top 6 beaches at the Westcoast of the Algarve.
Praia da Arrifana
Another of the top 6 beaches at the Westcoast of the Algarve has to be Praia da Arrifana! This little beach has become one of the hippest beaches of the region, and there is always something fun going on around the village and the beach!
The beach is the heart of the village with the same name, so you have quite a lot of cafés, restaurants and bars around the beach. However, you should have good fitness if you wanna go down to the beach because you will have to go back up again 😉 The road to the beach is long and veeeery steep! But there are also “shuttles”, so if you don’t feel like walking up you can just drive back up to the car park!
Down at the beach, you have a pretty cool restaurant with delicious food, where there are a lot of concerts and parties during summertime. And if you come here around the end of July, you can enjoy a weekend full of fun at the harbour of Arrifana – first the traditional Sardine fest on a Saturday where you pay entrance and can eat as many Sardines as you can get. And the day after there is usually the Arrifana Sunset Fest – a night full of fun and amazing music underneath the stars!
Praia da Arrifana is definitely one of the hot spots for all people looking for a fun time and to meet new like-minded people from all over the world! There are also plenty of surf camps and hostels around the area. And you can also do some fun SUP Tours at Arrifana, during the day and at sunset!
Praia do Vale dos Homens
The last one of our top 6 beaches at the Westcoast of the Algarve would be a secret spot – Praia do Vale dos Homens! This beach is located just before Odeceixe, and you should be fit to get there: To walk down the beach, you have to descend A LOT of stairs!
Once you get down, you can enjoy a wild beach with not many people. There is no restaurant or any other construction around this beach, so be sure to bring enough water and food! But it is worth it if you’re looking for some peace and quiet at the beach.
At low tide, you can even sit in some natural pools that form between the big rocks at the shore. And here you can also walk a little bit to the right side and explore the steep cliffs that give the beach a mystical touch! As there are no lifeguards, you should be able to swim and read the sea if you would like to go for a swim, as there are quite a lot of big rocks!
There are many many more beaches along the coast, but these ones were our top 6 beaches at the Westcoast of the Algarve! If you would like some more tips about any of the beaches or the Algarve in general, just send us an e-mail!