As I write this I am looking out of my window in the UK watching the rain pour out of the heavy grey skies. I sit here craving sunshine and warmth on my face. Is it an age thing ? I wonder, if the older we get, the more we long for blue skies and ‘warm bones’ as my grandma used to say.
During October I always find myself searching the internet for sunshine holidays that take little planning and cost little money. Short winter breaks in the UK are wonderful for a break from work or our busy lives, but honestly, nothing rejuvenates the body and mind more than a week of wall to wall sunshine. My husband and I have even started talking about our retirement and how we would love to spend the UK winters abroad, somewhere warm of course. But for now we will have to be content with holidays that we can fit in and around our busy work schedule.
I was recently asked by the lovely folk at Holiday Gems http://www.holidaygems.co.uk to have a look at their website for ideas for winter sun destinations and to write about my own experiences of a winter sun holiday. Of course looking at all the lovely destinations is making me feel even more eager to get some sun during our winter here, especially today, when all I can see is rain and greyness outside my window.
Holiday Gems offer a fabulous selection of holidays all year round to some fantastic locations around Europe and beyond. The range of winter sun destinations is wide and varied, with holidays to suit every budget and every individuals needs. The destinations include Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, Canary Islands and even Cape Verde. There are many different resorts to choose from within each country and many different styles of resorts ranging from self catering to hotel accommodation. The holidays are suitable for couples or families alike and you can find great facilities for all your needs.
So where would I like to travel to this winter ? It is a difficult choice as there are so many lovely places but I think I would like to tell you all about my lovely winter sun holiday experiences in the Algarve, Portugal.
The first important thing to discuss is the weather ! I know, I am been very British discussing the weather but as I love the sun I always check out the potential weather of a destination before I travel. The weather from December to February in the Algarve is very mild with an average temperature of 16*C. The sea temperature is around 14-17*C which is cooler than the rest of the year but still considerably warmer than our own North Sea here on the Yorkshire coast. I visited the Algarve at the end of February and it was just perfect weather for me as I don’t like it too hot. And yes, I even swam in the sea.
We sat on the wonderful beaches across the Algarve every day and sunbathed and I can’t tell you lovely it was to feel the warm sun after leaving a very rainy and cold Yorkshire airport just a few hours previously. If you have never experienced the beaches of the Algarve then you MUST add it to your bucket list destination. Most of the beaches are soft warm white sand gently sloping into the Atlantic Sea, perfect for all ages. I have visited the Caribbean and I absolutely would rate the beaches of the Algarve alongside the beaches of Antigua or Barbados. The advantage is that the flight time from the UK to the Algarve is considerably shorter ! ( Great for those of us who are not too keen on flying )
So onto another important necessity of any holiday – FOOD ! Portuguese food with its Mediterranean influences is just amazing. Portugal is obviously famous for its seafood and fish dishes but let’s not forget that old favourite, Piri Piri chicken. A wide range of local wines can be drunk to compliment your meal, including the ever popular Vinho Verde. Whatever your tastes you can always find wonderful fresh produce for reasonable prices. One of my favourite meals in the Algarve was in a small mountainside bar while travelling to the spa town of Monchique. We ate fresh grilled sardines with lemon accompanied by homemade bread and salad which was absolutely delicious and cost only a few Euros each. We sat outside the unassuming bar staring at the spectacular view eating such a simple meal and yet, it was just perfect.
Do you love to be active on your holidays ? I know we do ! We love to play golf and tennis both in the UK and abroad and Portugal is just perfect for outdoor sports which can be enjoyed all year round due to the weather. The Algarve has some of the nicest golf courses I have ever played on and there are many fabulous tennis academies in the area where you can enjoy a social game of tennis or have some lessons to improve your game. We visited Val Do Lobo, a resort just 20 minutes from Faro Airport which has a great tennis academy for those wishing to improve their tennis. There are also great golf courses at Val Do Lobo for all levels with golf tournaments and competitions and not forgetting the fabulous clubhouse for all your refreshments at the end of your game.
Ooh…. writing about the Algarve has made me think about returning really soon. I like the fact that the flight time is only short from the UK ( just over 2 hours ) Just think, you can set off from home in the morning and be on a sunny beach in the afternoon. If you have never considered the Algarve as a winter destination then why not have a look at the holidays on offer at Holiday Gems. I have seen some fabulous deals over winter from £209 for self catering and from £330 for full board in a hotel. ( 7days ) And that’s including flights ! It’s cheaper than staying at home and you get the added extra of that lovely warm sun. And as I have been writing this, the rain outside my window has got even heavier and although it’s only 4pm it is very dark outside. I think it’s time to light some candles and put the fire on !
Please let me know your favourite winter sun destinations. Where do you go to escape the winter here in the UK ? Have you visited the Algarve in winter ? And what were your experiences of this European destination ?
I hope you have enjoyed this little snapshot of the Algarve as a winter sun destination and I hope it will inspire you to visit this wonderful part of the world very soon.
Please visit http://www.holidaygems.co.uk for more information and for a look at their great deals to the Algarve and other winter sun destinations.
Until next time dear friends
This post was a sponsored post but my views and accounts are my own and are true and honest.