Happy New Year! We saw in the New Year on the Eastern Algarve again this year and highly recommend it. Here are a few tips and things to see and do to have a great New Year's celebration.
There are a few reasons why we come to the Algarve for our year end break. The main reason of course is that you can get very lucky with the weather. During our last trip we had daytime temperatures of 18-19 Celsius and sunshine, with evening temperatures closer to 12 degrees. We managed during the days with jeans and T-shirts but you will need a fleece or coat during the cooler evenings. The weather at this time of year can be a lottery; they had two days of rain on the weekend after we left.
The second reason we like the Algarve at New Year is the fantastic celebrations, fireworks and live music. The fireworks take place at various towns on the coast. We have been to Monte Gordo for the last couple of years, but Tavira also has an excellent display. We vacate Drumlin Villa on New Year's Eve and booked into the Yellow hotel in Monte Gordo (www.yellowhotels.pt/yellow-hotels). Family rooms can be had for between 60-80 Euro bed and breakfast (depending on the age of your kids). We justify this on the basis that there's no panic to get a taxi or find parking and we can stagger back to the hotel when we like. This year we managed to get a room upgrade (no idea how it happened) which gave us a birds-eye view of Monte Gordo beach and the fireworks.
Definitely make a reservation in your chosen restaurant on New Year's Eve and again on New Year's Day. They can get very busy. We'd highly recommend the Maharaja Tandoori in Monte Gordo if you like Indian (Nepalese) food (www.tripadvisor.ie/Restaurant_Review-g230086-d1953948-Reviews-Maharaja_Patiala_Tandoori_Restaurant-Monte_Gordo_Faro_District_Algarve.html).
Finally, if you're in Vila Real de Santo António over the festive season, make sure you go and see the Nativity scene in the António Aleixo Cultural Centre. The scenes of landscapes and miniature figures is fantastic and well worth the 50 cent entrance fee.
Nuala & Matthew
We fell in love with the Eastern Algarve a few years back. We'll try and impart our knowledge of the area and other travel tips via these blog posts.