Algarve Portugal and a mini break to see in 2017

I like to wake up somewhere new on New Year’s day. In 2016 it was the Maldives, but with the low value of the pound and high flight prices, that kind of trip wasn’t possible this year. I wanted to visit somewhere I hadn’t been and the weather forecast for the Algarve Portugal was looking cold but sunny, when I made a last minute booking on the 28th December.

Flying with EasyJet into Faro, I would be staying at the Pine Cliffs Hotel part of the Pine Cliffs resort near Albufeira one of the Luxury Collection from Starwood Hotel Group.

I was extremely lucky to fly from Gatwick early on 30th December,  later that day many flights were cancelled due to heavy fog. I arrived in the Algarve mid-morning, to perfect the sunshine and about 16c, no need for my coat then.

My room was lush

I had an Atlantic view room with a large balcony. The beautiful, large and mega comfortable bed had a headboard made entirely of gorgeous Portuguese ceramic tiles. There was a desk for two, a sitting area, seating on the balcony and the usual drink facilities including a well stocked mini bar.

The bathroom included a rainfall shower, a full bath and was stocked with Elemis goodies.

Algarve Portugal

Algarve Portugal

View from the balcony

Exploring the Algarve Portugal

I hired a car from Europcar for about £10 a day, cheaper than a taxi from the airport and I could do a little exploring. The day I arrived was spent exploring the local beach, then on new years eve I drove up into the mountains to explore further. After visiting Caldas de Monchique (pretty square but otherwise unimpressive), I followed hundreds of cyclists on the climb to the top of the Algarve at Mount Foia, it was very cold so my afternoon was spent at a lovely beach called Praia Sao Rafael on the other side of Albufeira.

The panoramic lift to the beach at Pine Cliffs

Enjoying a selfie on the windswept beach. The sea temp was 17c, which is about as warm as it gets in the UK in summer! There were many people surfing and bodyboarding, but I didn’t go in.

Caldas de Monchique

Older parts of Caldas de Monchique

The view from the top of Mount Foia in winter

Off to the beach to warm up in 17c sunshine. Compared with the 1c at home in the UK, it was t-shirt weather!

Praia Sao Rafael, lovely beach but the restaurant was shut

Again windswept, this time at Praia Sao Rafael

Another view of Praia Sao Rafael

I ate at the nearby Praia Grande, which was sheltered and had a nice view of the Atlantic from the terrace.

Pine Cliffs Resort

A haven for golfers, Pine Cliffs has a number of different residences as well as the hotel. There are several good restaurants, including Piri Piri and Corda Cafe.

I spent a day in the spa enjoying the thermal area and also had a treatment called “On the Banks of the Dead Sea”, which combined a scrub, mud mask and massage, all on a water filled massage table that cocooned me as the mud warmed up, it was incredible!

Beef Carpaccio at Corda Cafe

Algarve Portugal

Pine Cliffs

My room overlooking the pool, top floor, right of the tree 🙂

more residences

The Spa

Hot and cold….walk, walk, walk…Great for the circulation

Himalayan Salt Sauna, great for the respiratory system, followed by ice!

The Hydro pool was lovely

I enjoyed a New Year Gala dinner at the hotel, which included some amazing food, followed by fireworks across the cliffs.  Even if you’re not a golfer you’ll enjoy a break at Pine Cliffs, I certainly did.

Have you been to the Algarve? Where would you recommend? Please comment below.