Sean, myself and the kids were so lucky to have had the opportunity to go on a cheeky little October half term getaway with my sister, brother in law and nephew, who flew out on a separate flight from Leeds and Bradford airport to meet us in Portugal.
As Sean works away from home we really value spending time together as a family, so the opportunity to spend time overseas is so precious.
To stay within budget and save a few pounds we booked our flights direct with Easyjet and our hotel directly rather than via a package deal.
We flew from London Luton to Faro on an easy boarding ticket which meant we had priority boarding. It was a big help as our flight out to Faro was really early for the kids, departing at 06.50 am. We woke the kids up at around 2.30 am, dressed them while they were half asleep and drove to the airport carpark. We booked the parking in advance again to save some money. The shuttle bus came after a brief wait and it took a couple of minutes to arrive at departures.
It was a self check in procedure with easyJet, so we had already checked in online via the easyJet app. The kids had fun contributing in the process of weighing in our own cases and printing the sticky luggage labels. We then handed our cases over to the check in desk. The easy booking ticket also fast tracked us through security too which meant it was a lot less noisy and chaotic for the kids.
After boarding the plane we had a slight delay of twenty minutes however, due to the windy weather conditions we were fortunate to still land on the original arrival time of 9am.
It was our first time flying with Easylet. The plane was clean and comfortable and the cabin crew were really polite and accommodating, which is what you need when traveling with young children and several bags of hand luggage.
After landing in Faro airport it was quite a long walk to the passport control and baggage collection which was quite testing with extremely tired and excitable children, so I was glad to get in the taxi to the resort of Albufureira in the south of Portugal.
Albufureira is the largest of all the resort towns that line the south of Portugal in the Algarve.
The journey from Faro airport to the Algafar Village is just under 40 kilometres and takes about 35 to 40 minutes.
We stayed at the Alfagar Village Resort located in a unique coastal area near Albufeira and Olhos de Agua. It is exceptionally located on a stunning cliff top perch overlooking the sea. The village is designed in a picturesque Algarvean Moorish style, located in a beautiful eleven hectare of gardens.
There’s a good choice of different large swimming pools, a splash zone, water slides and large paddling pools. The amenities are ample for a fun filled stay such as, children’s playgrounds, indoor heated pools, a gym, sauna, sports facilities, bike hire, a kids club, baby sitting services, games rooms, pool tables, evening entertainment, restaurants and bars, a mini market, a laundry room and laundry room service. The lovely gardens have direct access to the Praia da Balaia Leste beach via two different options of steps. It is ideal for families with children and those looking for a holiday in a quiet setting with lots of choice to keep a family of all ages busy, while having easy access to the shops and lively night entertainment and excellent dining out.
We stayed in a two bedroom, two bathroom air conditioned and heated apartment which was clean, light, spacious and seriously comfortable. The kitchen area was fitted with new white units fully equipped with good quality table ware and cooking utensils and a lovely black and grey granite worktop, a four ring ceramic hob, low level fan oven, microwave, toaster, kettle, larder fridge freezer and coffee maker.
We always enjoy shopping for local produce to sample so a good quality kitchen and cooking equipment is really important for us.
The lovely light and airy open plan kitchen and living room area has a flat screen tv and a comfortable sofa bed with views of the town, the gardens and the stunning sunset perfect for a chill.
A large six place dining table to enjoy eating together.
The bedrooms were tastefully designed with a nautical theme with ample wardrobe space and bedside cabinets.
Both bedrooms had Juliet balconies with gorgeous views of the pretty hotel gardens.
We slept really well in the comfortable beds.
The master bedroom has an en-suite, both bathrooms are designed in the same bright contemporary style.
Stunning views overlooking the town from the large balcony.
Beautiful sights of the sunsetting from the balcony and living room.
The distance to the beach from the hotel grounds is approximately 250 metres.
The walk down to the beach is stunning.
The beach is a spacious and protected area of natural beauty, a perfect environment for the kids to play and explore. A treat for their creative, physical, sensory and spiritual development.
The stunning walk back to the hotel.
The kids splash zone
The undercover heated pool
The main large pool on the village complex
The infinity pool with amazing sea views
The swimming pool close to our apartment
The cafe bar and restaurant within the village close to our apartment is open day and night with both indoor and outdoor seating. We had fun here enjoying live music, wining and dining getting to know other holiday makers and their families. It became a very familiar part of our stay.
The hotel buffet restaurant
The restaurant hosted different theme nights for variation. We ate here on the Chinese night, the food was fresh, tasty and of a high standard. The salad bar was really good too with lots of choice. The restaurant was spotlessly clean and the service was warm, friendly and hospitable.
Modern dining space
Authentic Portuguese dining
We also enjoyed dining in an authentic Portuguese restaurant ‘Agapito’ in the new town, which was recommended by a lovely cab driver who worked for the Algafar hotel, and the restaurant fulfilled the recommendations. The food was rustic and simply delicious. We returned for a second visit as we were eager to sample more dishes on the menu, which included amazing king prawns, peri peri chicken which was completely different to the well known Portuguese restaurant chain Nandos in the best way possible, grilled lamb and locally caught fish and salads.
Thank you to the Algafar hotel and Albufeira, we had an amazing break with lots of lovely memories to treasure forever.
1. If possible book easy boarding or fast track check in with your flights if traveling with young children, especially for super early and late flights, especially if the priority booking provides separate security lanes for families with children.
2. Book direct with the hotel rather than using an online booking agent. We always phone the hotel reservations, it gives you the opportunity to discuss all your personal holiday requirements and in some cases the opportunity to haggle on the price, if you don’t ask you will never know. Also booking with the hotel reservations usually guarantees you a discount on your next visit.
3. The Algafar grounds are vast and each location has different things to offer, ie. apartments with a pool or sea views or if you may have any mobility requirements, so Specify your preferences with the hotel reservations prior to your stay.
4. Check the annual calendar for the kids club before booking. During our visit the club closed two days into our stay.
5. The Praia da Balaia is a natural protected beach, therefore has no amenities so be prepared. We took snacks, refreshments, beach mats and lots beach towels.
6. Don’t use the hotel ATM machine, it charges a transaction fee and offers considerably low exchange rates.
7. Do use the hotel taxi service, they are trustworthy and professional. You can book a car at the hotel reception for both your outward and return journey. It is a prepay service and you can request any appropriate car seats you may require. We booked a mini bus to the Zoomarine leisure park. I will soon publish a post on our fun day out.
8. If you fancy an evening out with the family, take a taxi down to the old town. There you will find lots of child friendly bars and restaurants, it’s lively and atmospheric.
9. Do ask the hotel reception to recommend a local authentic Portuguese restaurant. They will advise you on dining where the local people of Albufeira regularly eat.
10. Explore as much of the local area as you can. We regret not researching and pre planning places to visit. There is so much to see and do in Albufeira so make the most of your stay.
The holiday was a perfect getaway to spend some precious family time.
Goodbye for now beautiful Portugal.
*This post is not sponsored or gifted. We paid for everything ourselves. We had an amazing trip and we wanted to share our wonderful experience and inspire others looking for holiday inspiration.