Winter sun holiday in Portugal

Where is the best place to go during winter holidays in Europe? In my search for the best climate with the best chance of sunshine hours, I quickly ended up in the Algarve. We are here for an extended period and during the Christmas holidays friends also came over for a winter sun holiday, and how lucky we were with the beautiful weather!

It feels a bit like spring here almost every day. The air is fresh but with the sun, it is soon 18 degrees and that almost every day if you’re lucky. If you ask me, the ideal destination within Europe and less than a three-hour flight away.

In this blog, I will give you all my tips on where we stayed and what trips you can do. Believe me you will run out of time, because there is still so much to discover in the Algarve. One advantage in winter, it is not so crowded and too warm. So no crowds of tourists in the popular villages and you often have the beach almost all to yourself.

Emma at Alvor Beach, Praia dos Tres Irmaos

Casa da Artista, BOAZ Rentals

Through BOAZ Rentals I came across a very nice townhouse in a small white Portuguese village called Estombar, 45 minutes’ drive west of Faro. Those who follow me on Instagram have already seen the home tour and when I saw the photos of the interior, I knew immediately that I was going to feel at home during this winter holiday here in Portugal.

Casa da Artista, Estombar

Bedroom 1

Bathroom 1




Bedroom 2

Besides the warm décor and cosy interior which appealed to me immediately, the biggest surprise of the house was the garden.

The children were absolutely delighted with the small pool and I happily surprised with the lemon tree. The garden of Casa da Artista is truly a gift. You can sit there and enjoy the sun in the middle of winter. Highly recommended!

Plunge Pool Casa da Artista

New Year’s plunge

Roofed terrace

Flex-working in the open air

Own Lemon Tree

Estombar, white Portuguese village

We will feel at home here for the next three weeks, I immediately thought, and time did indeed fly by. When you first arrive here, you first have to get used to the narrow and steep streets, but at the top of the street is a little square where you can usually park your car or at the bottom, but Vincent always parked it in front of the door.

Nice to know if you have small children is that the village all the way down (5-minute walk) has a very nice playground with a so-called Portuguese cafeteria “Jardim“, where you can get coffee for €1 and fresh soup for €2, among other things. Often Vincent and I would sit in the sunshine on the terrace while the children were having fun, as this place is a popular spot for many families with a very nice playground.

White church of Estombar

Hidden gem in Estombar

In Estombar itself, near the church, you will find a very nice local restaurant called “O Charneco” with very special local products. It is a hidden gem in a small street, a 2 minutes walk from Casa da Artista.

With more than 4,000 likes on their Facebook page and a maximum score, they are hugely popular among locals, so it’s definitely a must-see. Opening hours during the winter period are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 18:30.

Restaurant “O Charneco”

One of the house specialities

Tips and sightseeings in the surrounding area

Here below I share with you the best tips I did during our stay, and be sure to check out my Stories under the “Portugal” heading for the fun accompanying videos on my Instagram Account @diaryofkasia.

1. Bike ride in the Alvor dunes

At Tik Tak Bike Tour in Alvor, we rented (electric) bikes with our friends. The oldest kids on the back in a seat and the youngest kids in a cart. It was great fun (see Insta Stories) and also so beautiful! We didn’t really cycle much that day, as we stopped every time to enjoy the beautiful views or to discover deserted beaches.

Lighthouse Alvor

Lake Alvor

The boardwalk at Alvor is also very nice to cycle along and finally we did a lunch stop at the beach below “Praia dos Tres Irmaos“. Also called the beach of the “Three Brothers” due to the 3 standing rocks in the sea.

Praia dos Tres Irmaos

2. Shopping and dining in Lagos

Located in the western Algarve, Lagos is an authentic seaside town with a rich history. You can enjoy delicious food at the various restaurants or stroll through the small streets.

Lagos Centre

3. By train to Lagos or Faro

From Estombar, you can take the little train towards Faro (to the west) or all the way to the east of the Algarve beyond Faro all the way along the coast. Note that the train does not always stop in the centre of the place you want to go.

In Ferragudo where we wanted to go, you had to walk quite a distance to the cosy terraces, but east of Faro it does stop in the towns themselves. So good to know and always ask in advance.

Estombar train station

4. Fish restaurant “Casa Do Rio”

A 5-minute drive from our townhouse in Estombar, we found this hidden treasure, Restaurant Casa do Rio on the Arade River. They have an excellent menu at an affordable price.

You can pick your own freshly caught fish where sea bass is caught directly from the area. Check their opening hours in winter and go especially in the late afternoon when the sun is shining on the terrace.

Restaurant Casa do Rio

5. Chilling at Club Nau, Ferragudo beach

We came here by chance because Dutch friends of ours live in Ferragudo. A huge hit for the kids, as there is a playground right on the beach, and for us ideal with our feet in the sand enjoying the lay-back atmosphere and the delicious and varied menu card.

6. West coast, Praia da Bordera

If you visit the Algarve, a visit to the west coast should not be missed. The drive west is incredibly beautiful, alternating between different landscapes. One moment you drive through a green hilly landscape with countless yellow flowers and the next moment you feel like driving through South Africa because of the variation in vegetation and altitude.

Arriving at the Atlantic Ocean, we stopped first at “Praia do Bordeira“. In the distance, we could already hear the waves of the Atlantic pounding violently on the rocks. It was a short climb up the wooden baordwalk, but once we arrived, the view was breathtakingly beautiful.

Sand dunes of Praia do Bordeira

Boardwalk “Praia do Bordeira”

Atlantic ocean at Praia do Bordeira

Saying goodbye to Casa da Artista

The first 3 weeks of our stay here in Portugal have flown by. Fortunately, we are staying in the Algarve for longer and could not have wished for a better start than here at Casa da Artista.

We got a taste of Portuguese life under the sun in the heart of winter, in an environment full of fruit trees and where, to your senses, time stands still for a moment. Where the bell tower of the village church beats the rhythm of the day every hour. It was a wonderful stay that we will often look back on and where we made beautiful memories as a family.

Fresh lemons from own garden

Casa da Artista, Estombar

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