I spent the New Year in Portugal, here is my blog.
I started off in Vilamoura. One day we walked to the resort of Quarteira (took us around 15 mins) Once a fishing village this resort is now a tourist destination but fishing is still a big part of daily life with fishing boats, fish markets and plenty of fish on restaurant menus. The promenade along the seafront stretches for miles and makes a lovely walk, you can also hire cycles. We made a coffee stop and enjoyed the famous egg custard tarts. There are plenty of shops, cafes and bars and it has lots of local charm.
The marina area of Vilamoura has a good selection of shops, bars and restaurants. An interesting shop was a cork shop selling everything made from locally sourced cork including shoes and bags!
A 20 minute or so walk away from the marina takes you to the golf courses and the Old Village area. Here are some lovely looking villas and apartments with a few restaurants although they are closed this time of year. We ended the day with a little flutter in the casino.
Then we moved around 20 minutes along the coast to Albufeira. We stayed in the old town which is lovely, a 10 minute walk takes us to the marina in one direction or the square in the other. New Year’s Eve was spent on the beach with a bottle of bubbly and thousands of people, all very good natured, and a spectacular firework display. There are lots of places to eat and drink and this resort is busier and more touristy. I did explore the newer part of the resort with the famous ‘strip’ this was quiet this time of year but is obviously buzzing in the summer with a huge range of bars,nightclubs,etc. The beach is fantastic, some areas are accessible by lift whilst other parts are via steps so be careful if accessibility is an issue.
I sampled lots of local food, the fish is excellent. Local wines, brandies and ports are also available. I would say that prices are about the same as in the UK (obviously it depends where you go and what you have) A full English breakfast was around 6 Euro, main courses in restaurants 10-20 Euro, many establishments offer happy hour deals if you eat/drink earlier.