In my third year of university I decided to spend reading week in Carvoeiro near Faro in Portugal. My friend’s dad has an apartment there and we decided to treat ourselves to some well earned rest and as far as any parents are concerned, studying. We definitely didn’t spend the week drinking, doing karaoke, sunbathing and watching the whole first series of The L Word.

Carvoeiro is great for a relaxing holiday and I’d happily go back. Here are my top 4 reasons you should visit if you’re looking to take some time out from your busy schedule…

1. It’s only 3 hours 30 mins away

Monarch fly to Faro Airport in just 2 hours 44 minutes from London, and Carvoeiro is only a 50-minute drive from there along a simple road. That’s 3 hours 30 minutes of travelling time, although obviously you have the wait around time in the airport, but we can look over that.

2. Guaranteed sunshine, and beaches

Carvoeiro for a relaxing holiday Carvoeiro is in a beautiful area of Portugal, one of the sunniest parts with more than nine hours of sunshine per day. As you can see from the handy chart here (thanks in the summer months they barely have any rain. Sorted.

The Carvoeiro beaches are sandy and kept well – there’ll be plenty of space to lay your towel. If you need more though, nearby Albufeira will have plenty of options. It’s only  36 minutes away and is where most of the big resorts are, so there’s plenty to do there too. The Algarve in Portugal is filled with opportunities for wine tasting, extreme sports and water fun, if that’s what you’re after.

3. Just enough nightlife to relax

The Carvoeiro nightlife is in no way cosmopolitan, which made it even better. If we’d have wanted clubs we would’ve gone to Ibiza. There were definitely enough restaurants and bars to keep us busy for a week. We spent a lot of time eating and singing in the half full karaoke bars. Karaoke is a huge thing in Carvoeiro and even if you’re too shy on the first night you’ll be egged on by your new found friends and loving it by the last.

Me in Carvoeiro, Portugal

If the nightlife is a bit too ‘local’ for you, again, you always have the option of Albufeira just up the road. It’s where people who fly into Faro to party go, but in Carvoeiro you can have the best of both worlds. A relaxed and friendly atmosphere up for a good time.

4. Food and drink

Stay in Carvoeiro and you’re out of the main Portuguese cities of Lisbon, Porto and Faro so you can save a lot of money on food and drink. Which in my eyes means you can eat and drink all the more. Wine is served in carafes – the best way – and the food is served in abundance.

Local specialities include the typical cuisine of the Algarve: fish and seafood. Caught in the nearby sea and bought straight to your plate the fishy fare offered in Carvoeiro is cooked in the traditional cataplana with fresh herbs, garlic, chouriço, tomatoes, peppers and a splash of wine. It;s then served with fresh bread – delicious!

Sardines are another popular choice and are best served freshly grilled on the barbecue and served with boiled potatoes.

The wine is produced nearby in Lagoa so it’s as tasty and fresh as you’ll ever find. Desserts usually consist of a mixture of almonds, figs, eggs, marzipan and sponge.

All this is on offer in the compact centre of Carvoeiro – I can assure you, you won’t go hungry or thirsty here!

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