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4 Days Of Activities In The Algarve For Under 100 euros

We love the Algarve, but often when we head down it’s for work or seeing friends and family. This February we had the chance to head down for some real family time and were surprised at how much we managed to cram in without spending a fortune! We didn’t set out with a 100€ budget but, being only a few weeks since Christmas, and as self employed Tipi makers, winter is usually an especially dry time financially and we knew we needed to track our spend somewhat while still being able to explore, learn and play. So, armed with a hire car, a self catering kitchen where we were staying, and two enthusiastic boys (8 and 3 years old) the challenge was set!

Day 1 After a monster 7 hour journey the day before we woke to a wonderful sunny day and headed off to the nearby town of Quarteira where we grabbed some lunch things and headed off to Praia de Vale do Lobo. With its kilometre of almost white sand and a backdrop of dramatic ochre cliff faces it is hailed as one of the most beautiful in the Algarve.  The beach itself was totally deserted when we arrived, our only company some distant sailing boats. We whiled away hours running around on the sand, playing in the waves and scoffing gorgeous local cheese, fresh bread and apples. Our boys can happily spend all day on the beach so this is always a nice easy way to spend time for nothing, and it was the perfect way to recuperate and get into the holiday spirit!

Day 2 We decided it was time to get out and explore a bit further. With cloud cover expected for most of the day and a spattering of rain we headed to the science museum in Faro (Centro Ciencia Viva do Algarve) which was a bargain at only 8 euros for a family ticket! Arriving at 10am sharp ready for opening, and it being a Friday outside of school holidays, we knew it would be quiet but we actually had the whole place to ourselves! We were welcomed warmly and given an explanation of what we could find inside. First up we explored space, stars, the solar system and then moved on to learn about volcanos and even experienced a Richter scale 5 earthquake… Onwards we went and got our hands busy with some great interactive exhibits which taught us about surface pressure by blowing giant bubbles, and we got to make whirlwinds, waves and whirlpools. In one of the final parts of the museum we found the oceans exhibit and the museum guide kindly came and told us they were about feed the fish so that we could go and watch, and while we were there she took time to explain that Portugal has one of the largest seahorse colonies in the world, how sea cucumbers purify water, how starfish hunt for food and spent a long while answering the boys questions and pointing out and naming the various inhabitants of the tanks, we could easily have spent more hours there moving back and forth between the exhibits, but with tummies rumbling we decided to head off to Tavira which we haven’t been to since our honeymoon. We headed straight over the iron bridge and along a familiar cobbled street and were thrilled to find our favourite little café Scoopit was still to be found. A classic warm Portuguese welcome settled us in and huge crepes and roasted sweet potato wedges all made with fresh, local ingredients were scoffed down in no time, and all for less than 15 euros. Tavira is perfect for window shopping or people watching even out of summer when it’s less busy, and there are many lovely shops to just wander around and look at while surrounded by winding streets and beautiful old buildings which straddle the Gilão River.


Roman Bridge – Tavira

Day 3 The sun shone again, so we decided to head out on an adventure to find dinosaur footprints at Salema beach, just a few minutes off the N125 road that runs along the Algarve. This was our longest drive during the trip and cost about 10 euros in fuel (note that the N125 coast road runs parallel to the main A22 toll road, so following it saves a few extra euros). After pulling up into an almost empty – and most importantly free of charge – carpark we were a little unsure of the direction to head, some reports online said East, some said West, we stopped a local man who was walking his dog who helpfully told us that when the tide was very low it was better, but the tide was only an hour on the turn, however, we could see the nicest footprints by heading west onto the sand. The beach was quiet, clean and breathtakingly beautiful, a couple of people sat on rocks watching the waves roll away, a family played in the sand and another lady practiced yoga. We walked along following stunning jagged rock formations in an amazing array of colours and soon enough found the rock with the much awaited dinosaur prints. I was shocked at how clear the outlines of them were, we could clearly see a line of prints on top of the flat rock surface! The prints were first discovered in 1995, and later more prints were found at Porto de Mós and Santa beaches. With excited children we spent a long while measuring things against the prints to get a feel for how big they were, and totally inspired, our three year old spent a long while announcing different dinosaur names to go with each crack or dip he found. A few more hours were spent enjoying the peace, soaking in the beauty and playing on the sand. The sea was clean and, though not warm, not too cold and it certainly didn’t stop our kids from getting thoroughly soaked! Being early February there wasn’t much open in the little village itself, everything other than a very smart seafood restaurant looked closed, so lovely as it looked we gave it a miss after spotting the immaculate white pressed tablecloths and delicate wine glasses which make parents of toddlers wince. Instead we headed for a safer and all around cheaper supermarket to grab some wraps, cheese, fruit, and of course obligatory Pastel de Nata, all of this costing under 10€ and which we ate at one of the many nearby park bench tables before taking a slow meander back to our accommodation.

Dino Prints!


Day 4  Our last day in the Algarve! We decided to do something closer to where we were staying due to the next day offering up a monster drive from Faro to Porto. The sun shone again and it was shaping up to be one of the warmest so far. We hadn’t spent much at all on our few days so far, so we decided to head to Family Golf in Quarteira, home to two 18 hole mini golf courses, one easy and one harder and a convenient few km from where we were staying. At 14€ per adult and 9€ per child it’s not overly cheap but under 5’s go free so it cost us 37€ in total and in our our opinion was well worth the spend! We’ve been to crazy golf courses before, many were a bit drab, a sad echo forgotten glory days, but we were pleasantly surprised and had a few fun and relaxing hours trying to avoid water pits, sending balls over bridges and down holes that led off to other greens lower down. For those totally unenthusiastic about golf and more interested in botany the landscaping used as features and the plants and trees all around the golf course are beautiful and immaculately kept too! For a couple of euros more you can play both courses over two weeks, well worth consideration if you’re there for longer than we were, our boys would gladly have spent all day there! Again to save money we decided to bring lunch with us, which we ate at a nice nearby picnic area before buying our tickets to play, we did buy ice creams from the little café at the end of the golf course, which came to a total of 8€ for all four of us.


And so our little stay was over! Total spend was just under 98€ with the cost for fuel taken into account. Granted, this doesn’t cover accommodation and other meals, we ate at our accommodation most nights to save money, much as if went were at home…but as far as days out go, we felt we got a perfect combination of beach, relaxation, entertainment, education plus exploring the natural beauty of the area without breaking the bank. There is so much more to do in the Algarve, I for one could happily spend months just beach hopping but, as a young family with lots of different interests and needs to please this ticked all the boxes and then some.

If you fancy a trip to the Algarve yourself you can find accommodation through our rental website here.  We highly reccomend these guys below Burboleta and Monte Arneirinha


Monte Arneirinha – Querença, Loulé


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