With March finally upon us, the beach resorts of the Mediterranean are starting to dust of the cobwebs, pack away the heaters, and prepare for the imminent onslaught of holidaymakers, but with a short season and a weak Euro to contend with, the flights and hotel prices across southern Europe seem to be higher than ever before.
Having recently visited Mallorca during the winter months, I can definitely understand why thousands of tourists choose this pretty island for their family summer holiday each year, but when you consider that a two-week break for a family of five during school holidays costs much the same as a long-haul trip somewhere warm and exotic, I am sure many families are looking for an alternative.
Fortunately, there is an alternative, in the form of the very beautiful, warm, sunny and friendly coast of the Algarve in Portugal. Having recently booked several family trips to the pretty beach-side resorts of Vilamoura, Carvoeiro, and Albuferia, we have found that your hard-earned cash will go a whole lot further in Portugal than it will in, say, Italy, Greece or Spain, and with family friendly apartments, bungalows and villas popping up all along the coast, the choice for school holidays is better than ever.
Resorts such as Suites Alba, owned by Portuguese Football legend Luis Figo, offer surprisingly good rates right throughout the year, and as there are plenty of villas and 2-bedroom apartments to choose from, you don’t have to spend your entire holiday cramped in a single room with the kids.
Those looking for a self-catering option might want to consider the Vale Da Lapa complex, which offers three-bedroom villas complete with full kitchen and private pool combined with the full service menu of a five-star hotel. The prices are extremely competitive (£1000 – £1500 per week for a family of five!) and the quality is exceptional.
Having lived on the Algarve for over two years, we believe it to be one of the few ‘tourist areas’ in the Mediterranean where you actually feel like you are in a foreign land, and with a flight time of just 3 hours from the UK, it is a perfect holiday destination for those travelling with young children.