Horse riding in amongst the almond trees, jumping waves on the golden sand of the beach, watching unique and colourful festivals and cycling with the breeze in our hair, sun on our cheeks and smiles on our faces. These were moments within our spring week in the Algarve at Easter, these and so many more, giving us a wonderful, happy family trip that we will never forget.
A spring week in the Algarve at Easter – a perfect family break
We had driven into the Algarve, arriving as part of our road trip through Spain and Portugal. It was wonderful to come in from Spain, stopping off in Seville for some food before heading along the coast to Quinta do Lago and this beautiful part of the Algarve.
We stayed at Four Seasons Fairways, a picturesque resort made up of whitewashed villas in a typical Portuguese style with splashes of yellow and blues throughout. The resort was gorgeous, surrounded by the greens of golf courses and dotted with palm trees and colourful flowers.
We stayed in one of their apartments, our own private pool glimmering in the sunshine outside and we arrived, just as the sun was setting and immediately felt relaxed.
Spring in the Algarve is such a wonderful time to be there, sunshine beamed through every day and the colourful pop of spring flowers made us feel happy and well. Our days were spent with a mixture of time relaxing by the apartment, the warmth of the sun on our faces, to trips out exploring.
One of our happiest visits was to the Festa das Torchas a wonderful festival which happens annually over Easter in the picturesque little town of Sao Brás de Alportel.
This Easter parade used to take place in towns across the Algarve but today only happens in Sao Brás de Alportel and so the local community goes all out for it. The men parade with flowers, chanting and the streets are decorated with thousands of petals, their sweet, pungent smell carried on the breeze wherever you walk. It’s a sight to behold, a real spectacle and one we won’t ever forget.
We also visited Pinetrees Riding centre, a lovely horse riding establishment that has been going for decades. The owner, Bev, is both friendly and informative and the children loved their lesson in the paddock before having an opportunity to ride off in to the forest amongst the prickly cacti and bobbing purple flowers.
Four Seasons Fairways was the perfect base for us, with all the self catering facilities we needed in our apartment as well as a wonderful on site restaurant (with plenty of veggie options for me) so we loved our time picking between family dinners by the pool and meals out in the resort.
Since Four Seasons Fairways is surrounded by golf courses, so ubiquitous in the Algarve, we felt it only fitting to get the children having a go at golf. The nearby Pinheiros Altos golf club was ideal for getting the older two into a lesson with their resident golf pro Kenny Fairbairn, practicing their swing and learning the techniques, definitely something we’d like to foster more of at home now, or on future trips to the Algarve. I loved how so many families were out playing, children seem to be so welcome on the courses there which is lovely to see.
We also spent time by the beach. The beautiful golden sand of the Algarve always beckons us and the children love playing chase with the sea – usually ending with one of them (or me) getting soaked by a sly wave sneaking up upon them. Four Seasons Fairways is situated in Quinta do Lago, a lovely resort set in the beautiful Ria Formosa nature reserve and we took a trip to the beach here, the children running barefoot along the boardwalk, across the salt lakes to the beach beyond.
We stayed a while here, playing in the sand, picking up beautifully patterned shells and running in and out of the waves that crashed and foamed spectacularly.
We stopped for lunch at the simply amazing 2Passos (2 steps) restaurant, out on the sandbanks just down from the Ancão Beach, still within the Ria Formosa nature reserve. We sat beside the large glass windows, looking out across gently rolling sand dunes, the sun making the sea glisten like diamonds. Here we ate so well, a huge sea bass carved at the table which everyone tucked in to, and some really imaginative vegetarian food for me. It was one of those moments, with family surrounding you that you feel so happy and fortunate and grateful. People were greeted in 2Passos as only regulars who have become friends are. Over and over again with arms wrapped around shoulders, smiles beamed, greetings shared, this is definitely a restaurant we’ll return to.
Perhaps our favourite days were lazy days at the resort though. The pretty grounds of Four Seasons Fairways formed the perfect backdrop for fun run-arounds and happy playing. Their new kids club and swimming pool complex is about to open so when it does it will make it even more tempting to just relax in.
We joined in with one of the kids club activities, an Easter Egg hunt around the grounds using baskets the children made with the staff earlier. It’s clear that everyone who works at Four Seasons Fairways, some who have been here for many years, see it as a passion rather than a job and this certainly shines through in the kids club staff.
We also hired bicycles one day, cycling from the resort down to a beautiful lake surrounded by huge villas.
We stopped for lunch at Casa do Lago which was another stand out meal, beautifully cooked spicy vodka pasta for me and incredibly tasty and imaginative fish dishes for the rest of the family. Another restaurant that felt like a lovely, friendly, local that you wished could be around the corner from home.
When our time in the Algarve came to an end none of us wanted to leave. The six year old announced, “Today is a sad day. We have to leave” and I nodded over towards him. “Don’t worry though”, I gestured cheerily, “we’ll be back”. And I have no doubt we will. We just love it there, it really is the perfect feel-good family holiday and we can’t wait to return.
Check out our film of our time here (and find out more about Four Seasons Fairways here):
We were guests of Four Seasons Fairways but all opinions are our own.