The Algarve: Clear water, giant sandcastles and my personal tourist hell

 Relaxing on the beach and pool for a few days. After our trip with a few hundred kilometers from Porto to Ericeira and Lisbon – our dream scenario for the time at the Algarve. Whether this came true? Well, read for yourself…

Package holidays in the middle of mass tourism are generally rather less my thing. After the last few months, in which I was traveling quite a bit around Europe, I honestly been looking forward to times to put your feet up, enjoy half-board and work on my tan ;).

 

My travel nightmare at the Algarve

Our hotel was located in Carvoeiro, located between Lagos and Faro. The very first evening I was vividly thrown into my personal holiday hell. I was aware, that there was a chance of that, but you are allowed to dream, aren´t you? The hotel was full of retired Germans.

And as much as I respect (almost) everyone in general, I was driven into madness by the performance of all clichés out there.

I would love to say at this point, everyone is allowed to behave like he wants and I´m fine with that, but I simply could ignore it hardly. Much of the hotel staff spoke of course (of course!!) German and so the German guests had no problem to talk with everyone in their native language even with the ones who didn´t understand a word. Of course those service employees were simply stupid and the guest had no other options to treat them like that (I hope you get the tongue-in-cheek ;)). Not to mention the daily struggle at the buffet.

Bottom line: I´ve indeed been quite ashamed about that behavior and lack of manners, but somehow it’s also funny to see certain stereotypes and prejudices fully score a hit. Even if I know, that I probably really been to tourist hell and it´s not a normal situation nowadays (at least I hope so ;)).

Algarve

Algarve

Algarve

 

How the Algarve shows off

Now it´s time to focus on the good stuff: I met the King. Well, actually two of them, Elvis AND Michael Jackson…

…and Bono was there as well.

Is she gone completely crazy now? 😉

No, we have seen the largest sandcastle EVER. Annually with a different theme and for the 13th year now, the Fiesa in Pêra takes place. Artists create stunning sand figures which takes them about a month to complete. But pictures tell more than a thousand words. How cool is that?

Algarve

Algarve

Algarve

Algarve

Algarve


Lagos and the myth about the perfect beaches

We also visited the popular beaches in Lagos, such as Praia Dona Ana. Now I might get in trouble with some of you, but I don´t get the magic and the hustle and bustle. The fantastically beautiful beach and the clear water are not to deny. But the people piled up like sardines, which is so unappealing that I would rather go to a beach that is not presented in any travel guide. What do you think?

Lagos

Algarve

Nevertheless, even if it didn´t sound like that so far – we got enough of relax time at the Algarve, don´t worry 😉

Unfortunately, the weather back home welcomed us less beautiful, but who wants to complain? 😉

After the last few months were full of travel, I now have heaps of things to take care of ;). Nevertheless, the next trips are of course already in planning <3

Algarve

33 Comments

  • Michi Tuesday October 4th, 2016 at 04:37 PM

    Das sind ja tolle Bilder vom Fiesa! Da will ich auch unbedingt mal hin.
    Lagos hat mich übrigens bei meinem Aufenthalt an der Algarve auch nicht so begeistert, Tavira finde ich viel bezaubernder.
    LG
    Michi

    Reply
    • Ella Wednesday October 5th, 2016 at 09:19 PM

      Das Fiese ist sehr empfehlenswert, Michi! Tolle Stimmung garantiert! Da bin ich froh, dass es mir bei Lagos nicht als einzige so ging. Tavira haben wir leider nicht mehr geschafft, dort wäre auch der Ankerfriedhof, habe ich das richtig im Kopf? Liebe Grüße, Ella

      Reply
  • Ben Wednesday October 5th, 2016 at 09:17 PM

    HAhaha it always ok to hate on people from your own country- I do it. Did you pretend you weren’t from Germany? Plus I find it refreshing to read about the bad travel experiences. The sandcastle competition is rad.

    Reply
    • Ella Wednesday October 5th, 2016 at 09:27 PM

      Gladly we´ve got such a strong accent that we hoped the others don´t understand what we are saying. Otherwise we tried to rant about them in our room 😉 Like the real bitches do 😛 No, but seriously, isn´t it sometimes just embarrassing how some people behave on vacation? Thanks for your comment, Ben! All the best, Ella

      Reply
  • Amy Thursday October 6th, 2016 at 12:32 AM

    I am so in love with those sandcastles. And the beaches, sardines and all, I’m Canadian, so we take a beach day when we can get it. Not so much in love with the obnoxious travelers (but trust me, they come from everywhere!!!)

    Reply
    • Ella Thursday October 6th, 2016 at 07:51 PM

      Oh cool, where about in Canada are you from? I´m such a big Vancouver-Fan, and Alberta, and Toronto, and and and 😉 But I know what you mean, I´m also in for beach days ALWAYS 😉

      Reply
  • Gareth Thursday October 6th, 2016 at 09:58 AM

    The Algarve is such beautiful part of the world and those cliffs are nothing short of iconic. And having swam in that ocean numerous times, I can attest to how inviting the water really is while those sand statues are incredible. A very enjoyable post. Keep up the great work!

    Reply
    • Ella Thursday October 6th, 2016 at 07:49 PM

      Hi Gareth, thanks for your kind words! Yeah, the water is beautiful, but still freeezing cold 😉

      Reply
  • Luca Thursday October 6th, 2016 at 12:11 PM

    Ahah, I always pretend not to be Italian when I travel, I can’t stand my compatriots! 😀
    In Portugal, though, I’ve been to Faro only, I was backpacking alone, it’s a nice city all considered, but I didn’t explore more of the Algarve, sadly 🙁

    Reply
    • Ella Thursday October 6th, 2016 at 07:48 PM

      Hi Luca, haha, I feel really good now that I know it´s not only me complaining about my country people 😛 And: It´s never too late to visit the Algarve 😉

      Reply
  • Brian Friday October 7th, 2016 at 02:11 AM

    The sand statues look really cool. Especially the Bowie one. Portugal is one of those countries where I didn’t stray too far from the capital. This area looks worth visiting. I remember seeing Rick Steves show there.

    Reply
    • Ella Saturday October 8th, 2016 at 02:24 PM

      Yeah, the Bowie one was also one of my favorites 🙂 Portugal has so many beautiful spots, I´m especially a big fan of the smaller surfer towns like Ericeira! <3

      Reply
  • Sudipto De Friday October 7th, 2016 at 07:07 PM

    Really loved the part about the hotel being filled with Germans. But this beach looks way emptier than the ones in India. Finding a pristine empty beach is difficult indeed. I hope you’ll enjoy our visit to Tubingen http://saltandsandals.com/slow-down-life-university-town-tubingen-germany/

    Reply
    • Ella Saturday October 8th, 2016 at 02:23 PM

      Thanks for your comment! Omg, I can imagine that the beaches in India are way more crowded 😉

      Reply
  • Vyjay Saturday October 8th, 2016 at 04:24 PM

    I love the sand sculptures. How lovely they look. At the same time so vulnerable against the sea. In fact, this epitomizes life itself. Beautiful and ephemeral.

    Reply
    • Ella Saturday October 8th, 2016 at 04:35 PM

      You are so right!!! 🙂

      Reply
  • Indrani Saturday October 8th, 2016 at 05:56 PM

    I did Elvas, Evora and then Lisbon… your pictures say I missed out a lot. My biggest regret. Hopefully I can get a chance again. Those sand scultures are unique creations, love the art.

    Reply
    • Ella Saturday October 8th, 2016 at 06:24 PM

      There is always a second chance, Indrani! If you are short on time it´s always hard to decide which places to go, I know that! 🙂

      Reply
  • Nomadic Hippie 2.0 Saturday October 8th, 2016 at 07:28 PM

    Ahaha I totally understand what you mean about “horrible” tourists! But as everyone said in previous comments, they come from everywhere – unfortunately 😉 I’m glad you enjoyed your time there anyway, in spite of the Germans and the sardines on the beach! 🙂 x

    Reply
    • Ella Tuesday October 11th, 2016 at 04:26 PM

      Thank you so much! 🙂

      Reply
  • Joanna Saturday October 8th, 2016 at 09:30 PM

    Unfortunately, the downside of all these “holiday destinations” in peak season is that all the hotels will be full with… well… typical holiday makers. From my town in England there are flights only to these holiday destinations, and to be honest, I’ve been to a few but only out of season. You would be amazed of the difference! I would love to hike the cliffs of Algarve and the beaches do look beautiful. I just heard that the water is very, very cold.

    Reply
    • Ella Tuesday October 11th, 2016 at 04:27 PM

      Oh yeah, Joanna, the water is freezing! I really hope that tourism will change a bit in future and be more sustainable, not a big fan of mass tourism like that! Have a wonderful day!

      Reply
  • Rashmi and Chalukya Monday October 10th, 2016 at 12:18 PM

    How we wished we could have done a trip to Algarve when we visited Lisbon. Algarve is so beautiful with those beaches and cliffs. Glad you got to visit those amazing sandcastles, they are just wow!

    Reply
    • Ella Tuesday October 11th, 2016 at 04:29 PM

      You have to come back and visit the Algarve, too 😉

      Reply
  • Jamie Gaviola Monday October 10th, 2016 at 03:38 PM

    Wow, the place is beyond beautiful! I have to say that the water looks so clean, makes me want to take a dip. 🙂 I’ll definitely include Algarve in my bucket list!

    Reply
  • Jitaditya Monday October 10th, 2016 at 05:26 PM

    Good to see that you also found some good things in spite of the cliches. I have almost stopped visitng the places suggested by travel agents and gude books. It takes a bt of research but it is always great to find and explore those offbeat places with no other tourist.

    Reply
    • Ella Tuesday October 11th, 2016 at 04:31 PM

      Yeah, you´re right, Jitaditya, it´s almost always better to ingore the touristic places and go for the untouched landscapes 🙂

      Reply
  • Shane Monday October 10th, 2016 at 11:51 PM

    See we all stumble across those places we just aren’t fond of. For me that’s Singapore but so many people love it. It all just depends on your travel style and what you make of it 🙂

    Reply
    • Ella Tuesday October 11th, 2016 at 04:32 PM

      Oh yeah, I actually also had the feeling when I was visiting Miami! A friend of mine thought it is such a great place, but I´m not really a big fan of it! But as you said, it depends on so much facts 🙂

      Reply
  • Lee Rosales Tuesday October 11th, 2016 at 06:46 AM

    Omg those are sand arts? Amazing hands who ever did those! Its very touristy when you see sand arts at the beach. I miss the beach now but here in the Philippines its rainy season still

    Reply
    • Ella Tuesday October 11th, 2016 at 04:33 PM

      So much respect for the artists who created those sand sculptures! Oh, Philippines sounds so nice – even in rainy season <3

      Reply
  • Portwein in Porto | Ella Happylicious. Explore - Feel - Live Friday November 4th, 2016 at 08:26 PM

    […] unsere Reise in Portugal über Ericeira, Lissabon und der Algarve weiterging erzähle ich euch natürlich auch auf Ella […]

    Reply
  • Ericeira-Lissabon | Ella Happylicious. Explore - Feel - Live Friday November 4th, 2016 at 09:09 PM

    […] Zum Abschluss unserer Reise zog es uns noch für ein paar Tage an die Algarve. Warum ich dort auf meinen persönlichen Touristenhorror traf, aber auch Justin Bieber und Popeye zu Gesicht bekam, erfahrt ihr im nächsten Teil zu meinem Aufenthalt in Portugal. […]

    Reply

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