Family Travels Part 2: Algarve

After a great stay in Budapest, we spent a day each moving through Bratislava and Vienna. We originally had a 10 am flight scheduled to fly from Vienna to Faro Airport, Portugal. However, that flight was canceled and we were put on a 4 am flight. That’s right- 4 a-m!

So, after literally 1 hour of sleep in Vienna, we headed to the airport and checked-in for our flight. We pretty much slept right through our approximately 4 hour flight and reached Faro airport relatively refreshed. What followed was another 1 hour car ride to our hotel in the town of Lagos (in the southern Algarve region of Portugal). No sooner had we arrived than we went off sight-seeing. We walked around the hotel on foot and visited a couple of beautiful sight-seeing points and beaches including Ponta Da Piedade. Here’s the first view we got:

Our first view of the ocean

Over the next couple of days, we took a number of boat rides. You see, the area is famous for sea grottos-limestone caves that are formed naturally along the sea front by wind and water erosion. The most famous one is the Benagil Sea Cave. I’m confident you’ve seen some of these caves before-either in the movies, or on your computer’s screensaver. The boats take you to visit these grottos that litter the entire coastline. Tide and weather permitting, sometimes they are even able to enter the caves and give you an inside glimpse into the awesome power and sheer beauty of the works of Mother Nature.

Some of the grottos and rock formations we saw from our boat

Apart from the grottos, we spent some time walking around the quaint streets of this small town and enjoying the many waterfront restaurants & bars.

We saw a number of grottos. On the left is the famous Benagil cave.

We had originally planned on visiting the gorgeous beaches here, but the relatively windy conditions didn’t allow it. So, instead we visited ZooMarine- an aquatic theme park. The park has several attractions including bird, seal, sea-lion and dolphin shows. It also has bird sanctuaries (think Jurassic Park) wherein you enter a giant domed area and walk around amidst the birds in their “natural” environment. If you dare, you can even feed the birds out of your very hand. The park also has a bunch of other entertainment activities like aquariums, acrobatic performances, theme park based rides, water activities, etc.

ZooMarine had shows with dolphins, seals, sharks and birds

Before we knew it our 3 days here were up. We packed up and headed off for the final leg of our trip, which concluded in Seville, Spain. As tight as the schedule was, we really had a great time.  And as is the case with all good things, this too came to an end. With that, we had our final family dinner of the vacation, relaxing by the pool in the garden of our hotel, rehashing our whirlwind of a trip and already making plans for the next one.

Happy Summer Vacations, y’all!