Awwww….Portugal I love it. I went there as a child and it was amazing to go back. I just love that Portugal is so close. The flight is only 2hrs 30mins with Aer Lingus and sure you wouldn’t get to Cork driving in that time. We rented a car with Aer Lingus cars which was so handy and we got a great rate. You do have to pay some other costs like insurance and toll fees but you can get these back. They are quite strict when you rent a car so be careful and make sure you have all documents matching the drivers passport. They are just short of asking what colour your underwear is.
The drive to our resort was only 20minutes which was so handy. We stayed in the gorgeous Quinta Do Lago. Quinta is absolutely stunning and the minute you arrive there you fall in love. It’s simple things like the trees are groomed to perfection, the people are beautiful, the cars are amazing and don’t even get me started on the houses & villas. Our hotel was Monte Da Quinta and I actually couldn’t recommend it enough. I use Booking.com all the time and it’s amazing. I use it probably a bit too much really. Monte Da Quinta was voted Best Family Resort in Quinta for 2017. There was families there but mostly couples really so don’t be put off by that. I would say in June, July and August it’s crazy though. The hotel room was huge and it had a full kitchen with everything you could possibly need. They had us a little welcome cake and a bottle of prosecco on arrival which I thought was so lovely. We only stayed for two nights, three days but we definitely could have stayed longer. It was a flying visit but so relaxing. We went to the spa at Monte on our second day and it was heavenly. They had amazing offers on so we decided to treat ourselves.
When we got to the hotel around 11am they let us check in which was great as we wanted to change and head to Vilamoura for lunch. Andrew had never been to Portugal so I was excited to show him around some places I had been. The marina in Vilamoura is a must and is so lovely sitting having lunch. We walked around the marina before sitting down for a delicious lunch at an Italian called Capriccio. It done the most amazing risotto and I’ve been dreaming of it ever since. After lunch we drove the scenic route back to Quinta and we spent the rest of the day lounging by the pool relaxing. Later that night we headed out for dinner to Marufo’s. Marufo’s is a chicken shack that does the most delicious chicken on the BBQ ever for just under seven euro. I had spoken about it to Andrew for years so I told him to dress up super fancy that he was going to a fabulous restaurant but little did he know it was a chicken shack. It was quite funny. It was somewhere I went as a kid so it was lovely to sit and reminisce about that.
Day two had come and this was wedding venue day. We had planned to visit two venues that day and a church so I woke up super excited for this. Breakfast in the hotel is actually so good and the selection was brilliant. If you had a fussy eater in the family, even they would be sorted. Our first venue was Dunas Douradas Beach Club in Vale Do Lobo. Upon arriving it was kind of hard to find so that initially put me off as if it was hard for me then imagine the guests. I walked in but I wasn’t wowed. The hotel was gorgeous but I just didn’t feel it. We met the planner, she went through everything, showed us the areas and we left. It all was done and dusted in 30mins and I think she knew I wasn’t massively impressed with it. We came out and I sat there really disappointed cause in my mind that was the location. We headed for the church which I had seen photos of and WOW they were breathtaking. I couldn’t wait to see the inside and it didn’t disappoint. The church is in Almancil which is 15minute drive and is called Church of São Lourenço. Just look at it below. BREATHTAKING isn’t even the word.
After this we headed for Quinta Shopping as I wanted to have a look around and we were grabbing lunch before looking at the second venue. We had a gorgeous lunch in DLounge which was lovely. We sat in the sun and of course I had a cocktail 😉 Had to be done in the sun plus I needed it after my first venue being a disaster. The second venue was actually just across the road from Quinta Shopping, The Conrad. Ohhh The Conrad was WOW!!!! The entrance alone would blow you away. If you watched my Instagram stories you will have already saw it. The wedding coordinator met us and took us around. We both got the feeling and felt it was just fabulous. We loved it and already wanted to stay there. Everything about this venue was perfect and we nearly didn’t even want to go to the third venue. That evening we went to the spa and then just had dinner & drinks in the hotel.
On our last day I wanted to go jet skiing which Andrew was only thrilled about. I love the water and especially water sports. Jet skiing, boating, water skiing, wakeboarding, paddle boarding…I AM THERE! We went to our last venue before we headed for the marina. The last venue was a restaurant called Casa Do Lago and it was so nice. It was like stepping into a boat and everything was blue & white. We ordered drinks and sat there looking at the venue. We took a look around however we didn’t even speak to someone regarding it, as I knew in my mind I loved the Conrad. It was a gorgeous location with a lovely view of Quinta but very breezy. The afternoon was spent jet skiing in Vilamoura and shopping around the marina. I got the coolest little pink car. I am such a sucker for quirky gadgets but I loved it. We also got the best doughnuts EVER from a place called Krunchy Kream. Definitely try them if you can
We loved our few days away which we knew would be all wedding business. I had dreamt of an abroad wedding where as Andrew wanted it at home so I took him trying to convince him 😉 Did it work? Well all will be revealed…….
Portugal is a fabulous location and somewhere I cannot recommend enough. I have only ever stayed in Vilamoura and Quinta Do Lago so I cannot comment on anywhere else but anyone that goes always loves it. There is so much more I want to see so I will definitely be back to Portugal soon 😀
Next up Los Angeles…..Three weeks and counting 😉
Love Aoibhe xxx
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