The Algarve is really popular among Irish tourists and with fewer British travellers due to Brexit, the Irish are even more welcome this year.The town of Armacao de Pera, where the Holiday Inn is located is a former fishing village now a resort, not far from Albufeira and just one hour from Faro Airport or three hours form Lisbon, where fares can be cheaper.
In fact outside the hotel is a bus stop that will take you to the central Lisbon bus station, with a subway link to Lisbon Airport so no need to drive on arrival.
We would highly recommend the Holiday Inn for staying, it’ s a 4-star hotel right on the beach and most rooms have a sea view. You can do bed and breakfast for close to 100 euro or half board for extra.
Extensive breakfast menu and great dinner buffet for 19 euro each including wine, they had a special Mediterranean buffet and had a wonderful choices of dishes, from Italian to Greek to Tunisian. Try a rental hire car for two days to see nearby towns and play some golf, but you need not drive every day.Three are local bus service to Albufeira and onto Portimao.
We changed at Albufeira bus depot to get the 20-euro Lisbon bus, when leaving, also 40 euro collection charge if you arrive at Faro Airport for two people. Transfer time from Faro Airport is 45 minutes. The town has a great market on Saturday for food and crafts and there is a fabulous beach walk too, including a board walk towards Salgados, where you can also play golf and where there is a bird sanctuary also. The sea was a little rough due to winds during our visit so you can avail of the nice outdoor pool also with bar and restaurant.
Some evening entertainment also at some of the restaurants and bars with one Irish bar open in summer nearby, some live music on occasions.
For food and dining try the excellent Lobo do Mar sea food restaurant close to the beach, where you can eat well. They do fantastic fish dishes from bream to cod, squid or tuna, popular with locals, place was packed with large local family having a birthday celebration, nice cakes for dessert or ice cream. Nearby is the Hera restaurant, where two can dine for 27 euro, 3 courses with fish or meat and wine included, which is brilliant value.
The 4 star hotel Holiday Inn has an Indian restaurant, plus the amazing sea front Palm Beach Restaurant and across the road down a parallel street the Oasis Italian pizzeria, great value and good quality. Tasca near end of the promenade was recommended by staff at the Pedro’s day time cafe, a major meeting point for holiday makers at the end of the prom.
In nearby bars you can buy pints of beer for 2-3 euro only for the Super Bock.
The local atmosphere is friendly and relaxed but high summer months should be avoided as many Portuguese, living away have second homes here and fill the sidewalks in July and August, said one bar owner. The Algarve has a wind often which can be cooling in the autumn and spring.The marketing people in the Holiday Inn note that they have a guest relations manager, who can assist guests during their stay with ideas of places to go.
Try the Zoo marine, aquarium trip, also boat trips possible too, sea and weather permitting.
We drove to the nearby village of Carvoeiro , where there is a fabulous cliff walk along a board walks and continues for a few kilometres along a very jagged coastline not too different to our own copper coast. The 7 Hanging valleys walk here has now won the vote European Best Destinations as the best walking destination in Europe for Walking.
You can learn about the fauna, the geology and a nice picturesque Algarve village that has now become a lively resort with lots of activities and shops. too.
Go inland to Silves or Loule, where you will find walled towns, ancient Roman ruins, old mosques from the Moorish times and towers to impressive cathedrals. great pottery workshops too, nice head gear also to purchase and nice home foods from cheeses to local meats, honey etc. we came across a palm crafts shop too ,unique products like bags, hats, home decor and lots more.
We found a massive market in Loule,that had just closed but a cocktail making competition was in progress. close by also was a nice public garden and a 18th century house was being excavated for archaeology and gave us a sneak view.Walking trails too on the beach and nearby. Near Armacao you will find golf options too at Salgados and Vale de Milho, walking at Carvoeiro and along coast and lagoons. You can fly to Faro with Aer Lingus from Cork or Dubln, or else use Lisbon service, and bus from Lisbon to hotel, bus stop outside on Holiday Inn Armacao on arrival
Cork have direct flights to Lisbon with Aer Lingus. Cork Airport also fly to Faro with 3 direct flights from the last weekend of March and early April. Ryanair also have three flights from April.
For your chance to Win a Stay in Holiday Inn Algarve pick up a copy of this week’s Munster Express