It had not been all too long since my last trip to the Algarve, only a bit over a year, but when the invite to visit Vila Monte, a new design hotel in Moncarapacho, 15 minutes from Faro, came around, I had to jump at the opportunity. Sun, sea and a beautiful new hotel is too much of a lure for me to just wave it off. Plus, Atlas and I got to bring our friends which made the trip all the more fun.

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One thing I love about the Algarve, other than the fact that no other area in Europe has more sun days (an average of 300 of them!), is that Easyjet flies direct from Berlin to Faro in just under 3,5 hours, making it a great place to escape to for just a weekend. This is especially true when you travel with little ones.

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We had preordered a shuttle from Faro airport transfers algarve which I can not recommend enough. They cost only a fraction of the prices charged by hotels for the same transfer and are extremely customer friendly and quick to respond to any email. Even cancellations are quickly made and come at no additional cost.

While the shuttle service is certainly the ideal alternative to a rental car, I do have to say that a rental car is invaluable in this area. From Vila Monte it’s a good 2 kilometers to the nearest village and even more to Olhao or Fuzeta, two very charming nearby towns one should definitely pay a visit. The hotel does offer bikes to use free of charge, so this might also be an option to some.

We arrived at Vila Monte via a long entrance way to the beautiful property. Right away it struck me how green this place was. So lush and relaxing! Simply breathing in that clean air instantly put us in holiday mode.

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We checked into an all white junior suite with an endless list of amazing details that made this a perfect place to stay. Fresh flowers from the garden, a couple of stylish straw hats for the sun, even a candle waiting to add some romance to the already super romantic setting.

interior vila monte vila monte room

The first night we treated ourselves to a lovely 3-course meal at A Terra, the hotel’s restaurant. It has some great dishes, like the fig and goat cheese salad or the super tasty bacalhao, Portugal’s traditional dish. They also have some fantastic pizzas here, fresh from the stone oven.

food

The place was designed to unwind and fill your days with the sweetest nothings like lounging delicately by the pool, drinking wine on a big juicy lawn, taking a bike ride around the green neighborhood and spending the better part of the day contemplating which desert to try for dinner.

Every evening guests can enjoy a screening of a timeless blockbuster, where in summer these are shown at a wonderful little outdoor cinema with inviting deckchairs serving as seating. Bring your own wine or order a cocktail at the restaurant to make for a perfect finish to the day.

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Staying here all day is a perfectly reasonable choice but it is definitely worth heading out as well. Every day Vila Monte offers small trips every day, such as visiting the weekly market with the restaurant chef, followed by watching him cook you a delightful meal or going to the beach on a desert island, simply tell reception what your heart desires and you’ll be hooked up. A full list of options can be found here.

market

While we did really love visiting the small towns surrounding Vila Monte, the best time was spending the afternoon with our boys. We got a car to Fuzeta beach, an unassuming but totally charming little beach which didn’t attract huge crowds, making it all the better for us. At the end of each afternoon it’s only a 5 minute walk to get to a great range of restaurants serving fresh grilled seafood and other typically Portuguese dishes.

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I often get asked about great destinations in Europe for a beach holiday and with the temperates as they are, the lovely people, great food, decent prices and sun galore, the Algarve is definitely one of my top tips for a European beach holiday. If you’re considering it, Vila Monte just might be the right place for you.