Am I the only one dreaming with Summer holidays? Being originally from Portugal, I was lucky enough to grow up by the seaside. In those happy sunny days, Summer only meant a single thing: the beach. This is exactly what I miss the most in London. I am a spoiled Summer child, what can I say?
Portugal has many beautiful beaches. The south of the country, known as Algarve, is internationally known. As a Portuguese, going south in Summer is literally the same as going abroad: everyone speaks English to you, and everything is overpriced when in comparison with the rest of the country. You’ll find beautiful beaches in there though, the best for swimming, with a calm, warmer, waveless sea. Nightlife is obviously great as well, if party is what you’re looking for. In Algarve, I’d recommend you to visit Lagos, Sagres, Albufeira and Portimão.
Algarve is awesome, of course. But during Summer months it can be really crowded and even too hot. Finding a space in the sand to lie down without having someone else’s feet in your nose might be difficult.
So, why not exploring other beaches along the Portuguese coast? Our geography is amazing, we have a huge coast line, that provide us with beaches from north to the south of the country. The sea might be colder and more dangerous, with big waves, but this is the REAL thing. I can speak for myself – I just love sitting on the sand listening to the waves and observing the power of Nature In action. along the coast you’ll find amazing views, and if you fancy surf or bodyboarding, this is where you should go. Some examples are Peniche or Nazaré.
Photos on this post are from two beaches close to me – Paredes da Vitória beach (in Alcobaça) and Praia Velha (Old Beach, Marinha Grande). They are really good beaches, with huge sand area.
I’d say the best beach holiday would be by renting a beach house or apartment near the beach, usually available on weekly payment basis. You can buy your food from local markets and cook it at home, with a view to the Atlantic ocean. You can easily find beach rentals everywhere from Portugal to Florida on Tripping.com and really live like a local on your next trip to the beach.
Also you’ll be able to explore the area and drive to the nearest towns, such as Leiria, Alcobaça or Batalha, very rich in culture, with beautiful monasteries and castles you can visit as break from the beach.
The seafood is also amazing, and you can get it in proper restaurants without spending your monthly salary on it.
Just writing about this is making me nostalgic… I am so excited to go back home this Summer, having the sun in my skin and the sea breeze caressing my skin… but what are your beach essentials? What can’t you possibly leave at home when going to the beach? Here’s my list:
- Sunscreen & Lip Balm: I know, it’s sticky, not practical… but if you are as pale as I am with a huge tendency of getting even more freckles on your face, you do need to bring sunscreen. I usually apply it at home, before being at the beach. We all know that sand loves cream. Don’t take unnecessary risks. Sunburns are incredibly painful, they leave ugly marks on you, and might spoil the rest of your vacations. Besides, that awful thing called cancer is not a children’s tale, my friends. Take care.
- Water: again, I can’t stop highlighting how it gets hot in summer. Stay hydrated! specially if you’re on touristic beaches, a bottle of water in the beach bar can be really expensive… and I bet you’d rather spend those euros in a decent cocktail after dinner 🙂 (P.S. Alcoholic drinks in Portugal can be really cheap in comparison with other european countries…)
- My my Iphone + headphones: of course, I am a millennial and there’s no need of denying that I suffer from nomophobia (fear of being without your mobile phone). I don’t want miss a picture of a beautiful sunset and all my music is on my Iphone… and sometimes, specially when the beach is crowded, I want to turn off those children noises.
- Reading material: is really fun to relax on the sun, but I am not the kind of person who can stay hours without doing anything. Of course, if you are in the south you have the swimming option because the sea is like a lake. But up north, the green flag is not always up. Besides, reading is one of my favourite things to do in the world, and it is quite relaxing to emerge myself in a different world feeling the sunlight in my skin.
If you’re staying for at least week, take several swimsuits and beach towels with you. most times they don’t dry up enough overnight, so you’ll want to avoid to wear a wet swimsuit the next morning. Also, I highly recommend having a parasol with you. If you want to stay in beach the whole day, you’ll want to protect yourself from the UV’s during lunchtime (11am -2pm), when it becomes almost unbearable to be in the sun. This is also the big advantage of staying in a flat near the beach. You can go back to the flat for lunchtime, and go back to sand after 3pm.
Really can’t wait for my beach holidays! Still, gotta wait until July though… but hopefully time’s gonna fly until then!
What are your favourite beach destinations and essentials? Any tips and ideas?