Visiting Portugal – My Algarve Experience

Are you thinking about where to go for vacation this Summer? Or are you planning to visit Portugal but you do not know where exactly to go yet? In today’s post I am sharing my Algarve experience with you – and guess what? I can absolutely recommend the region! At least from where I have been, the Faro region is among my favorite travel destinations! Why? Read below…

We went to the small fishertown Olhao which is 10km from Faro airport. The nice thing about Olhao is that (so far) it is not a very touristic place, so you will get an authentic Portugal experience there, without feeling overwhelmed by tourists all over the place. Olhao is super cozy and beautiful and you can easily explore the town in, lets say, one hour. It’s really a small town. The narrow streets are super photogenic (you will see some impressions in my next outfit posts…), there is a pretty huge harbor, and loads of small restaurants and cafés all over the place. For those of you having children; there are two playground at the harbor (which is where we spent our evenings).

The downside to some may be the fact that Olhao does not have a beach itself. However, there are the most beautiful beaches around Olhao.

From Olhao harbor there are ferries taking you to the small dune islands Armona and Culatra and both of them are beach paradises! Not many words needed, check out the pictures; we have been here in mid May and we basically had the beaches all for ourselves! Especially when you want to have a quiet time on vacation, when you want to enjoy solo time with your partner or with your family; these beaches are perfect!

We packed our picnic every morning, brought enough water for the day, and took the ferry over to Armona twice and to Culatra once. Both islands are beautfiul but somehow we liked Armona slighty more. I cannot come up with any logical reason for that, it was more of a feeling probably.

For our beach days we packed simple picnics, and I have been sharing a few tips on how I eat vegan and whole foods while travelling my last blog post, so feel free to check it out HERE if you are interested in that.

Most important, of course, is to bring enough water. I personally do not like to drink water from plastic bottles. It’s actually pretty ridiculous (economically and environmentally) to constantly buy bottled water only to throw the bottle away each time. And even if you end up reusing those bottles, they could still potentially be harmful due to the leaching of chemicals into the water. Since the tap water in Portugal is clean and safe to drink, we just filled our stainless steel and glass bottles in the morning and took them with us.

I can highly recommend bringing a thermo bottle with you for beach days! The water will stay fresh and cool all day long, even when left in the sunshine all day. In Portugal we used our two thermos from Qwetch every single day and we love them. Our Qwetch bottles can take up to 750ml of water so we brought two of them and one reusable glass bottle (I love my Carry Bottle – maybe you have see it in my insta stories yet!? Most beautiful glass bottles ever!) and we were fine for the day. We also got a huge freshly squeezed orange juice every day in one of the really nice beach bars around Armona (huge recommendation! So delicious and the beach bars are really nice. Make sure to order without straw though 😉 )

Those of you who would like a thermo bottle – you can get 15% off your order at Qwetch with the Code CONSCIOUS15 !

A little side note for those who plan travelling with children to the region: in Fuzeta there is a beach with shallow water and basically no waves (because the island Armona is only a few hundred meters away). You can take a train from Faro or Olhao to Fuzeta (ten minutes from Olhao) and walk the ten minutes to the beach. Also a great idea for everyone who prefers swimming in calm waters.

On Armona and Culatra you play in the waves which is a lot of fun too, obviously 🙂

Even when it is not for the shallow water; Fuzeta is worth a visit! They do have a vegan restaurant (which is the reason why we went there, more about it HERE) and beautiful narrow streets to explore. It is only ten minutes by train from Olhao and the train ticket is not even 2€.

But back to the beach! I want to take the opportunity to share a little bit of information on ethical beach wear here! Because let’s be honest: most women buy a new bikini before going on a beach vacation, don’t they? Now imagine the amount of plastic/polyester that is used to make all these bikinis that then end up in land fills all over the world. H&M is currently advertising bikini tops for 5€ – I mean seriously? Who can guess how these pieces are made? It makes me cry thinking about the poor women and children working in clouds of toxic polyester steams to make a bikini top that a women on the other side of the world is wearing for a one week vacation… and then never again, because it will be out of fashion next season.

No way!

But the good news is that there are more and more fair fashion labels popping up that make really cool beach wear from recycled materials. One label that I personally like a lot is Frija Omina. It is a Berlin based label that is making fashion on-demand or on a small scale. So when I told them which bikini I would like, they made it for me and shipped it! No overproduction, no waste, handmade in Germany under fair conditins, recycled materials – and beautiful styles! Since I do NOT want to buy a new bikini every year, I try to choose styles that will work more or less forever. This bikini has been my first new-in or the past five years and I think I will be able to wear it for years. I do also have a Frija Omina swimsuit since two years now; and I still love and wear it when going to the lake here in Leipzig 🙂

Frija Omina is also making beautiful underwear and other pieces… just saying 😉

Oh looking at these pictures makes me miss Armona already!

We really had such a beautful time at the Algarve. I went there with my husband and our little girl and it really was the best place for a family vacation. We spent hours at the beach, more or less all alone, we played in the dunes, in the waves, with the sand, and it simply was magic!

In know that the area around Lagos – which is also in the Algarve region in Portugal – is very famous among tourists too. I have not been there yet but from what I heard it is much more crowded. So I think for those who are actually looking for a little bit of loniless, a feeling of “the entire Atlantic ocean belongs to be alone”, a quiet place to calm down and relax, for those Olhao with it’s dunes islands is the perfect choice.

My disclaimer of course: I was there in May and I have no idea what it will be like in July or August! But since the beaches are HUGE I do not think that it is possible that it is getting overcrowded.

Have you been to Portugal? To Olhao even? I would love to know! And how do you feel about fair fashion bikinis and buying new bikinis every season? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!

This blog post contains names of/pictures of/weblinks to brands and hence, is perceived advertisement. I was not paid for the post and all opinion is my own.

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