Wintering in the Algarve with school-age children

Before Vincent and I had children, we were more often abroad for longer periods of time. A few months a year we lived as digital nomads abroad. I was mainly working for my own website Stylish Travel Tips and Vincent was already working on his international projects by then. It was a beautiful and free life in which we could decide where to go and for how long. Even when I was pregnant with our oldest we were in Asia for long periods of time and secretly dreamed of traveling around with a little baby.

How ironic our life looked when Sofie was born (crying baby) and we were suddenly confronted with the phenomenon of “rest, cleanliness and regularity”. Our house became our permanent home and after 2 years Sofie got a little sister and with that our family was complete 🙂

Fortunately, some more space opened up after Emma’s babyhood and we were able to go on distant trips again. Since late 2020 we have been living and working abroad for a few months every winter and our children go to school there temporarily. After 2 winters in Curaçao we stayed last winter for 3 months in Portugal and to be more precise in the Algarve.

In this blog I will take you through exactly where we stayed for a longer period of time, which school our daughters went to and what your life looks like when you go abroad with school-age children for a longer period of time. Every time it’s a great adventure for us where we not only have great memories as a family, but where we also see how the kids develop in a positive way and move easily and freely internationally.

Carvoeiro, Algarve

Where did we stay in the Algarve?

We rented a cliff top apartment at Casa Stars for almost 2 months with direct views of the Atlantic Ocean and Carvoeiro beach. This was a nice base because our children went to school in Silves (20 minute) drive and we preferred to live by the sea and close to the beach. We found it a very nice apartment to be able to spend the winter for a longer period of time, also because the internet was good, which is handy when you have to work remotely 😉

I got in touch with Casa Stars through Instagram (@CasaStarsCarvoeiro) and was immediately sold when I saw the photos of the apartment. The owners are Dutch and also live near Carvoeiro, which made contact easy. Every week the apartment was cleaned from top to toe and it was truly a treat to live here. See for yourself below the photos of the interior and furnishings.

Casa Stars Carvoeiro

Wow, this view!

Livingroom Casa Stars

Diningroom Casa Stars

Kitchen Casa Stars

Stairs to 1st floor


Master Bedroom with Ensuite Bathroom

View Master bedroom

2nd bedroom with ensuite bathroom

Terrace 2nd bedroom

Terrace overlooking Praia do Carvoeiro

Warm welcome @CasaStarsCarvoeiro

Carvoeiro, Portuguese fishing village in the Algarve

Carvoeiro is a picturesque traditional fishing village and a real hotspot in summer. We loved being there in the winter because it is not too crowded and you are among the locals. For example, a couple of times a week we went for coffee at the local bakery “Fábrica Velha” for delicious coffee (Galao) and the most delicious Portuguese natas, because you must have tasted them!

Rockformations Carvoeiro

The beach “Praia do Carvoeiro” is beautifully sheltered in the bay surrounded by rock formations and you can see the sun go down every night which again provides beautiful pictures. Less than 50 meters from our apartment you will find the famous wooden boardwalk of Carvoeiro. Every evening we walked around to see the sun go down and enjoy the starry sky while the waves crash against the rocks below.

Casa Stars high up on the cliff

Praia do Carvoeiro

Playing on the beach every day

Sunset Casa Stars (winter)

Most beautiful beaches in the Algarve

1. Praia de Marinha

If you Google on most beautiful beaches in the Algarve you quickly come up with “Praia de Marinha” and should that be just a 12-minute drive from our house. It is indeed true, the view is breathtakingly beautiful and the beach wide and vast.

Not for nothing was it our kids’ favorite beach from day 1 where we experienced so many beautiful beach days and that in the middle of winter! See also my video stories on my IG account @diaryofkasia under the heading Algarve.

View Praia de Marinha

Praia da Marinha

2. Praiha do Carvalho

Even closer to home you will find this great little beach Praiha do Carvalho that you can only reach via a long staircase down. Then walk down the back of the rock through a tunnel that leads right to the beach. We especially liked the variety between the different beaches and that even in the middle of winter in Portugal you can experience this kind of ultimate warm beach days. Isn’t that great and that in southern Europe!

Looking for the entrance

Beach of Praia do Carvalho

Start of spring Praia do Carvalho

This is how you end up at Praiha do Carvalho

3. Praia do Vale de Centeanes

Even closer to home, east of Carvoeiro is this nice beach with fine beach bar restaurant “O Stop”. Nice to know, when we were there the beach had been completely swept away by the current and the beach was only accessible via the rocks instead of the original footpath.

As it turns out, the beaches change all the time as the sea takes a lot of sand back into the sea or, on the contrary, provides new supplies, which in turn leads to different height differences and causing complete boulders to suddenly appear.

Praia do Vale de Centeanes

Caves tour Carvoeiro

I knew that the Algarve had beautiful beaches with an amazing rocky coastline, but I must admit that it really surprised us how beautiful nature is here by the sea and how much there is to experience. It was our wish to be able to be outside a lot this winter and we succeeded, as the sun shone almost daily this winter in Portugal.

What is especially fun to do with small children is to visit the many caves formed in the rocks. Just walking distance from our house there was plenty to do and for the kids it was always a great adventure. Just be careful with small children and hold them well, because not everywhere you have protective gates.

Grutas do Algar Seco

Beautiful sunset at Algar Seco

Pic made by @moraremportugaldicas Boat trip tour by Santa Bernarda

School-age children going to school abroad

A lot of people do not know that if you have a school-age child you can still go abroad for a longer period of time, only when your child goes to school there and is also officially registered. This is allowed by law and the school will always have to give permission.

We informed Sofie’s school in advance about our work plans abroad and that we had found a suitable school for her. Our school reacted very enthusiastically and could only applaud this, so don’t be discouraged if you want to do this too, because for the child’s development it is only very good.

The biggest fear parents I hear is that they think it’s not allowed. It is, provided your child goes to school abroad and is registered there. The second argument I often hear is that they are afraid the children will miss their friends very much if they go abroad.

Sofie and her friend Ellis

We know from our own experience, after having done this 3 times for longer periods of time, that children live in the NOW, are very flexible and experience this as a great adventure! Each time we too find it exciting how they will experience it, but as soon as we leave after 3 months it is often hard to say goodbye, because we see that the children have always had a great time and have built a bond with new friends and of course the teachers at school.

We always get a little emotional about it ourselves haha, but as soon as they are back home they adjust just as easily to normal life and then it seems like they haven’t been away at all. It’s always so special and fun to see.

So you certainly don’t have to worry about this. As long as you are up for it and don’t see too many bears in the road, I would definitely go for this experience, because children learn an awful lot from it and as a family you are just saving very beautiful memories to never forget.

Castle town Silves

Dutch Education Algarve Portugal, NOAP at Silves

Friends of ours whom we met in Curaçao and who also happen to be here in the Algarve for a longer period of time drew our attention to a small Dutch-speaking school in Silves called NOAP. They follow the Dutch curriculum and also take the official Cito tests. At the moment there are no more than 10 children in the classes, but because of that the children get a lot of attention.

Every week the smallest children receive Portuguese lessons while playing, which is very good for their language development. I found the school very cozy and friendly and the kids loved the teachers and Dutch interns. Also nice are the different creative theme weeks they organize. For example, when we were there, the whole school went on an excursion to the castle museum, which was part of the theme of antiquity.

Interns Naomi and Lotte

From September NOAP will move to a new and larger location outside the city and from then on it is only possible to register for a semester or a whole school year. If, like us, you want the children to go to school temporarily for 3 months then the International school “Nobel” in Lagoa is also a nice alternative.

The castle of Silves

To conclude

Would you also like to stay at Casa Stars for a longer time or just for a week or two during the summer vacations? Click here on the link of Elite Rentals for availability, but you can also contact the owners directly through their IG or FB account. If, like us, you want to spend the winter for a longer period of time, be sure to let me know because I highly recommend this place 🙂

Casa Stars, behind me at the top of the cliff

After almost 8 weeks, our time here is over. We can hardly comprehend that time has passed so quickly. Portugal how beautiful you are and how nice it was to be outside surrounded by so much natural beauty.

As spring has definitely made its appearance and temperatures are rising, Vincent takes his last beer here from the terrace. Just a realization moment of how beautiful it has been here and oh so grateful that we did this as a family.

Cheers to the good life!

For the last time I walk our regular walking tour on the boardwalk and for the very last time I cast my gaze on the Atlantic Ocean that seems infinite. How beautiful you were Carvoeiro, thanks for all the great memories I think, and until next time!

Boardwalk Carvoeiro

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