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You wouldn't be here if you weren't curious.*

Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?

*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

Algarve in winter: Travel tips for visiting Loulé, Tavira & Sagres (with baby).


Gourmet Travel, Travel With Locals, Travel Videos, Europe, Family Travel, Portugal, Travel Blog , 0

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The Algarve in Portugal. What comes to your mind? Summer, sun, beaches, golf and likely, mass tourism? Luckily, I can assure you that the Algarve is far better than its beach tourism reputation, and that you may also find some quiet corners and precious gems of nature (and culture) here. First of all, it’s definitely easier if, like us, you choose to visit during the off-season, for instance in winter. Because “winter”, in southern Portugal, translates into gentle highs of 15-20 degrees Celsius (more in the sunshine), which we’ve enjoyed a lot.

Familienfoto am Strand: Herrlich, die Ruhe und Schönheit der dem Städtchen Tavira vorgelagerten Insel (dazu gleich mehr).

Family picture at the beach: We’ve loved finding this peaceful idyll of an island, Tavira Island, just off the coast of the Algarve.

 

The Algarve in five days during January: Three destinations that are worth the trip.

Let’s start with the capital city for creative tourism in the Algarve: Loulé. It is my third time here, having been here once in 2014 to document the early beginnings of creative tourism development, “Loulé Criativo” (check out my blog post about it here: Creative Travel in Portugal: Loulé as a Capital of Crafts in the Algarve), and once more to speak at the INATEL #ISTOForum2015: European Tourism For All Conference in the Algarve, Portugal. Back then, I’ve already published a blog post called Algarve Dreaming. Five Travel Tips inspiring you to stay, which I would like to add to now. After all, 2020 sees the year where we start travelling more with our baby son, too, resulting in new and different kinds of travel tips.

In any case, the city of Loulé has hardly changed in my eyes. Perhaps it has become even more beautiful and attractive for visitors. This is due in no small part to the successful promotion of regional crafts, supported by many local craftspeople and open to visitors in the form of numerous shops or studios for creative courses. Mafalda Franco, of Loulé Coreto Guest House & Hostel, is one such local partner, and we can fully recommend her place to stay (the baby equipment for Liam is great here, too). At her place, everything is made with love and sourced from local ingredients, from the furnishings to the really delicious breakfast buffet. In addition, Mafalda has also recently become a mummy: Lovely thus to share a leisurely walk in Loulé’s city park with our two babies and strollers!

Wahrzeichen der Stadt Loulé: Der historische Markt im maurischen Stil mitten im Herzen der Altstadt von Loulé.

If in Loulé, do not miss a visit to the old town market, open on Saturdays and inspired by the Moorish heritage of the Algarve.

 

Drinnen könnt Ihr nach Herzenslust "Food-Shopping" betreiben und Souvenirs aus der Algarve erstehen ...

Go there for your food shopping and also local, hand-made souvenirs …

 

... draußen finden wir diese interessante Gegenüberstellung vor ...

… outside, there’s this rather interesting juxtaposition of, well, life …

 

... weiter geht's in die überaus charmante historische Altstadt von Loulé ...

… we continue our visit of old-town Loulé …

 

... im Café Q Mittag gegessen, können wir empfehlen ...

… and can recommend you to have lunch at Café Q (lovely to be able to sit outside with short sleeves in January) …

 

... Blick in einen der kreativen Läden, hier die "Casa da Empreita", Flechthandwerk aus der Algarve ...

… check out one of the creative workshops of the city of Loulé, like “Casa da Empreita”, a weaving workshop …

 

... Loulé ist einfach zauberhaft!

… Loulé, we find, is magical at this time of the year!

 

Unser Nächtigungstipp lautet auf das Loulé Coreto Guesthouse, in dem es sowohl Junior als auch uns sehr gut gefallen hat ...

Check out Loulé Coreto Guesthouse for staying in Loulé, a place also Liam liked a lot …

 

... vom frischen Frühstücksbuffet schwärmt Georg noch heute!

… and daddy Georg is still dreaming about the delicious breakfast buffet there today!

 

Danke, Mafalda, für die schöne Zeit bei Euch!

Thank you, Mafalda, for this great time visiting you and your family here in Loulé!

 

It is only a half hour drive from Loulé to Tavira. Don’t miss!

Especially if you can get on a boat and reach a small, car-free island right off the coastline of Tavira. We love the peace and quiet on this sunny winter’s day, and head over to the island’s only open restaurant. After filling our bellies, we’ve taken to a little photo session by the beach, “a Praia da Ilha de Tavira“, as it was Liam’s very first time seeing, touching and feeling sand! What a miracle to watch him delight in playing in the sand for the first time in his seven months of life.

Altstadtpromenade am Ufer des Flusses Gilão: Von hier aus gibt es mehrere Boote, die regelmäßig die umliegenden Lagunen und Inseln rund um Tavira ansteuern.

Old town promenade of Tavira next to Gilão river: There are several boats that take you to adjoining Tavira Island. Also in winter.

 

Nach einer kurzen, knapp 20-minütigen Bootsfahrt ...

After some twenty minutes on the boat and out into the river delta …

 

... (Mama, mach' nicht immer so viele Fotos bitte!) ...

… (mummy, don’t you keep taking so many pictures of me!) …

 

... kommen wir als einige der wenigen Gäste an diesem Nachmittag auf der Insel, "Ilha de Tavira" an ...

… we arrive at “Ilha de Tavira” for a stop at their “one and only” fish restaurant …

 

... erst mal Meeresfrüchte Paella, wie sie im Bilderbuche steht finde ich ...

… it just had to be a seafood paella, wouldn’t you agree …

 

... und dann Liam buchstäblich in den Sand gesetzt. Es geht nichts über ein Baby, das zum ersten Mal in seinem Leben Sand sieht und fühlt ... ein wunderschönes Erlebnis für uns als junge Familie!

… and right here, there’s Liam’s first time playing in the sand! Nothing beats watching a baby play in the sand for the first time in his life, we find, as naturally subjective parents.

 

Last but not least, we had to get ourselves some roaring ocean cliffs. “Sagres is like that”, a friend tells me.

Sagres, not to be confused with a Portuguese beer of the same name, is a quiet little coastal town in the southwestern corner of the Algarve, of Portugal, and likely, of Europe! Using your imagination, you will love conjuring up the following images: Hundreds, if not thousands of ships sailing past here with the world’s most famous adventurers on board … mighty cliffs and the sheer force of breaking waves … a roaring sea down below the rocks, stretching out endlessly towards the horizon. Needless to say that we love it here. Visiting the fortress and lighthouse of Sagres, we just carry Liam in our baby slings and go for quite the coastal walk. At the end of the afternoon, he just falls asleep looking out ahead over the ocean. His way of saying, I am really taken with the beauty of this spot, perhaps. Check this out.

Von der Festung Sagres aus, die wir zu einem geringen Entgelt betreten, haben wir die besten Blicke auf die umliegende Küstenlandschaft ...

From Sagres fortress …

 

... haben wir die besten Blicke auf die umliegende Küstenlandschaft ...

… we get to enjoy the spectacular views over the horizon …

 

... hier im äußersten Südwesten von Portugal.

… views like these out here in the Southwestern most corner of Portugal.

 

 

If you want to know where all of the above mentioned places are, I’ve made up this map for you:

 

Check out our InstaStories about our entire trip through Portugal (Lisbon, Evora & the Algarve). The following gallery has all of our pictures from travelling through Évora and the Algarve:

 

Last but not least, I have also made the following short video for you in order to keep you in the loop about how it is to travel with baby, and to share the beauty of Portugal with you:

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Written by Elena

Elena writes about creative destinations, shares her personal travel stories and brings inspiring photography & interesting news updates home to you. Her mission is: "Continue to be amazed at this world, one creative travel experience at a time."

Ready for learning even more about creative travel?

Elena has recently published "The Creative Traveler's Handbook". Chock full of inspiratinal stories, travel tips and advice, it offers everything you need for planning and managing your next creative escape, addressing beginners and experienced travelers alike. Here's how to get your hands on it now!
Travel Tip Portugal: Why Évora is worth the visit from Lisbon.
Seville during winter. With food tour & baby. Wonderful!

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