We recently returned from a holiday to the Algarve in Portugal. The Algarve is Portugal’s southernmost region. It is known for its endless supply of fishing villages, white washed beaches, sandy coves and fascinating geology. Usually I return home from holidays feeling like I need another one, but this time it was different. I came home feeling relaxed, peaceful and rejuvenated, which was somewhat of a novelty, and really quite wonderful.
We took a while deciding where to go as our criteria was vague – guaranteed sun (of course), and close to beaches. After having a good look around, I became set on Tenerife, or Lanzarote, and Jared was keen on the Algarve. Once Jared persuaded me that there would definitely be sun every single day, it was a deal – he chose location, and I got to choose our accommodation.
In the past we have loved using Air bnb to find accommodation, but this time we wanted somewhere we could get breakfast, so I turned to i-escape. i-escape describes itself as ‘Boutique Hotels and Hip Hideaways’, which kind of makes me cringe, but it really does have the most incredible range of places to stay – places where you feel you have slipped into a country, unnoticed – ready to embrace and enjoy the new. I also prefer to stay in places that are lo-tech, quiet, where fellow Brits are scarce, and a place that remains true to culture. For me, that is the joy of being somewhere new. I managed to find three suitable places to stay, and only one of them had space – Muxima, so Muxima it was.
Muxima is an eco-retreat within half an hour of countless stunning beaches, set in 28 hectares of eucalyptus and cork trees. It turned out to be just perfect. We weren’t sure exactly what to expect, but it was rustic and rural, everything was so laid back, and there was just so much space. The swimming pool was a natural one – complete with frogs, lily pads and a turtle. Our ‘casa’ had one bedroom, a bathroom, then a large social kitchen area, with day beds for the boys to sleep in.
The beaches weren’t busy, and the pool wasn’t either, so it was really nice to let the kids run around and still be able to spot them very easily. Jared and I are quite anti-social on holiday (!) so being around very few people suits us well – even the roads were virtually empty. We were determined not to cram, cram, cram every day like we usually do, and spent a large chunk of most days lazing by the pool, or at the beach. Something I could definitely get used to.
How did we do on our first holiday doing very little at all? Very well, I think.