Portimao with Peggy June 2005
I have mentioned before in this blog that one of my Mam Peggy’s favourite songs was Faraway Places. The song tells of longing to see places "with strange sounding names faraway over the seas". It was a bit of a joke between Peggy and me that I would one day bring her to Faro-way Portugal!! We had briefly visited Lisbon, Portugal’s capital city, on our very first cruise in 1999. We loved it so much that we said we’d definitely come back.
So, in 2005, I booked a week’s holiday for the two of us with Stein Travel for Portimão, Portugal in June of that year. And we did indeed fly into Faro! We were blessed with amazing sunny weather for the whole week. We had such a lazy week strolling around the Portimão Marina, basking in the sun, popping in for morning coffee and cake and dipping our toes in the water at the Praia da Rocha beach. Mostly I remember the great chats we had as we sat with a glass of wine at the hotel’s riverside restaurant eating delicious meals looking at the boats sailing back up the Arade river each evening.
So this week’s blog post tells about that break away and how we got on. Enjoy!
We stayed at the Tivoli Arade Hotel now renamed The Tivoli Marina Portimão. It’s a 4* resort hotel with a stunning location next to the Portimão Marina and Praia da Rocha, in the Algarve, Portugal. The hotel is made up of spacious studios and apartments spread over three buildings, the Marina Sun, Marina Deck and Marina Beach, which are within walking distance of all the hotel's services, from the 3 swimming pools (one of which is for children) to the restaurants and bars.
We were allocated a gorgeous room in the Marina Sun which lived up to its name. It had a lovely kitchenette and was spotlessly clean. We lost no time in getting out into the sun admiring all of the amazing boats in the marina.
Although there was the Tivoli Buggy available to transport us in a fun way to any place in the resort or to Praia da Rocha, because the weather was roasting we thought early on that we would prefer to be nearer the main part of the hotel. That’s where the restaurants and bars etc were so we asked for a transfer as soon as another room became available and the hotel kindly facilitated us. The new room was also lovely with a view of the main swimming pool. And we got to indulge in our favourite sport of people-watching.
I remember the smashing meals we had all these years later. There was a buffet breakfast served in the riverside restaurant had a wide variety of fresh fruit juices, pastries, cold cuts and cheeses. Local specialties were on the menu, along with eggs freshly prepared at the live cooking station. This restaurant was also a popular lunch and dinner spot for us too, offering regional cuisine made from fresh local produce.
If we got peckish, the main bar served snacks and pizzas, and we also had the pool bar open as we were there in summer.
As well as the tasty food we could gaze out across the waterfront as we dined in the laidback Deck Restaurant. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, it had a live cooking station where you could see your meals being freshly prepared. What I remember most were the great fish dishes. A local fisherman brings the catch of the day by boat.
Just across the road there were steps that brought you straight up to Praia da Rocha. So we walked there every day and enjoyed the sea air. Praia da Rocha (English: "Rock Beach") the resort is quite a built up area on the Atlantic Ocean in the southern section of Portimão, Algarve, southern Portugal. It can be quite noisy so we were glad to be staying at the quieter east side of the beach. On the eastern edge of the beach stands the Fort of Santa Catarina (Portimão). A 17th century fortress built to defend the mouth of the Arade River. Now a popular tourist attraction accessible directly from the beach or the road above.
Algarve Tourism lists a number of attractions in the region (including marine and waterparks), as well as the area's restaurants and bars, nightlife and marina complex. But Peggy and I were there to chill!
Half Day Tour to Lagos and Sagres
On the Tuesday of our stay, we took a half day bus tour that took us on a tour of the Western Algarve. Stopping first at Lagos, we had the opportunity to visit the Golden Chapel of St. Anthony’s, the site of the slave market and the statue of Prince Henry the Navigator. Next, we took in the view of the spectacular rock formation at Ponte de Piedade. Then we went on to Sagres with its fortress and a stop at Cape St. Vincent – the southwestern most point of Europe. We really enjoyed the tour and it was lovely to see the West.
All too soon our week was over and we headed home fully rested. We enjoyed it so much that we returned to the Algarve again the following year! Again, seeing Faro-way places!
Bucket List Items Ticked Off in the above Blog 99
Number 57 - Travel - 7 Continents
Other Blog Posts
Blog 11 - Sydney, Australia
Blog 12 - Hong Kong, China
Blog 17 - Beijing, Xi'an & Shanghai, China
Blog 19 - California, USA
Blog 27 - Scotland
Blog 28 - Barbados
Blog 29 - Canada
Blog 30 - Alaska
Blog 31 - Everglades, Florida
Have you ever been to Portugal? Tell me about your experience in the comments section below.
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My name is Mary and this is my bucket list blog ...having survived a near-death experience. I hope it encourages you to "live your best life". See how I'm completing my own bucket list items. And let me know how you're getting on with yours!