For many years, Andrew and I dreamed of going to Portugal. It’s history as a seafaring power, the beautiful cliffs on the coast, the vibrant city of Lisbon, the ocean, the warm climate, the wine – it seemed like such a great vacation destination.
We had had it in mind for our honeymoon before moving abroad. Once we moved here, it was a no brainer – just one hour’s time difference and 3 hours by plane. Yes.
Portugal is also a quick flight from Marrakech, the first stop on our honeymoon. We flew into Lisbon, landing around 9 pm and stayed that night near Estação do Oriente. The next morning, we caught the train from there to Tunes, where the resort we booked would pick us up and take us the rest of the way to paradise.
Unlike Marrakech, the Algarve does not have many five-star rated hotels on TripAdvisor. The lack of highly-rated hotels helped us narrow down where to stay pretty quickly. As it was our honeymoon and we would only be there for a few days, we decided to splurge on the absolutely stunning Vila Vita Parc. It was such a treat.
It was a very relaxing and wonderful few days in the Algarve.
The resort was located in Porches, right at the start of the cliffs after Lagos. A staircase from the resort went down through the cliffs, leading to a small private beach.
It was surreal and so, so beautiful. There really wasn’t any reason for us to leave. We loved exploring the trails along the top. The cliffs were somewhat scary for someone with a fear of heights (me), but worth the fear for the views!
Since the resort provided us pretty much everything, we spent most of our time in the Algarve at the resort enjoying the beach, pool or gym during the day and one of the lovely restaurants there come nighttime.
Except for the Algarve cave tour. That we definitely wanted to do.
The resort offered tours from the beach if enough people signed up. Luckily, the day we wanted to go, enough people signed up last minute so that we could go. Since the resort had its own yacht for rent, we were envisioning riding on one of the sleek, modern boats we watched by with CAVE TOUR emblazoned on the side.
Our tour, however, was a little more humble. We piled aboard a small, brightly coloured fishing boat with our “Capitan” (as his cap said) at the helm. He didn’t speak much English, but it seemed as though he had lived his life out on these waters.
Many of the boats were much larger than ours, but that just meant our boat was more nimble. Despite rapidly rising tides, we jetted alongside the cliffs and then into many of the caves along the way. It was beautiful!
The views were incredible. The caves were amazing, but definitely more terrifying than I anticipated.
Some of them were heart-rate intensifying (please note the missing piece of the boat above), while others were truly magical.
The grand finale was a large cave with openings on either side. Nature is truly incredible.
We thought we were headed back to the resort after that, but our Capitan has some other ideas in mind. That aforementioned missing piece of boat? Yeah, we went back into that cave to retrieve it. It was pretty epic.
Whether on a tiny fishing boat or one of the sleeker, modern boats, it is well worth it to explore the beautiful cliffs of the Algarve. If you get close enough, you can spot fossils in the cliffs another surprise in the incredible coastline.
What I miss most from our time spent at the very special Vila Vita Parc is breakfast. Waking up without an alarm and wandering in the sunshine to this view. Take me back!