Sun, sea and swimming with dolphins were just some of the many experiences on an unforgettable trip to one of Portugal’s beauty spots.

My colleague Hannah and I got the chance to explore the beauty of Portugal’s sun-kissed southern coast ahead of Jet2's new flight path from Bournemouth to several exotic countries next year.

Stepping off the Jet2 plane at Faro Airport, we were hit by the warm humid air of the Algarve, a part of Portugal known for its all-round sunny weather.

For the first few nights, we stayed at the Real Marina Hotel in Olhao to soak in the surrounding waters and get a taste of the islands around the famed city.

The Real Marina hotel was a great place to stay purely because of the convenience of location and five-star service from the attentive and helpful staff.

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After enjoying a three-hour boat tour along three islands on the second day, we headed back to the hotel for a relaxing evening in the hotel pool before preparing for an active day out in Faro.

A particularly refreshing aspect of the boat journey was being able to visit Culatra Island, an island with a small population.

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The trade of the fishermen on the island drives the local economy of the restaurants where fresh seafood is paramount to the region.

When the tide is low you can see beautiful oyster farms which is a lovely sight to see.

On the third day, we were introduced to Joao, a friendly tour guide from Mega Sport Travel, who showed us the beauty of the Ria Formosa and Faro Island through a bike ride along the coastline.

We cycled along the famous Faro airport and got to see how the salt is created from the sea in the riverbanks.

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On this day, we also got the chance to explore the city of Faro and have dinner at Tertulia Algarvia where Joao gave us a taste of the local cuisine, including fresh fish and carob.

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On the fourth day, before venturing to our second hotel, we visited Zoomarine, a family-friendly zoo and water park built into one. We explored the beauty of the butterfly garden, watched seals playfully swim along their enclosures, and got the chance of swimming with dolphins which was a once-in-a-lifetime experience we won’t forget in a hurry!

An activity we would recommend would have to be the dolphin and seal entertainment shows, they’re not just for kids and incredibly fun to watch!

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Onto our next accommodation, The Patio Suite Hotel in Albufeira, we were given a warm welcome by the manager who helped identify local tourism spots and information about their complimentary shuttle tour towards places of interest for tourists.

The Patio Suite would have to be one of our favourite hotels during our stay because of the picturesque views that are offered overlooking Falesia Beach and admiring the multiple pools and exotic drinks they had to offer.

The following day, we travelled to Albufeira, one of the Algarve's most popular destinations. A relaxing dolphin and cave tour on a catamaran along the coastline with Algar Experience revealed the region's dramatic cliffs, hidden caves, and secluded coves. As we sailed along the crystal waters, local guides entertained us with tales of maritime history.


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Before heading to the third and final hotel, we stopped off at Silves, a lovely cobble-stoned town full of life and home to the Castelo de Silves, a medieval fortress perched on the hill.

This town was full of life and colour and worth a stop if you’re in the Algarve especially if you’re a fan of history.

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It was here that we met our second tour guide, Joao from Algarvian Roots who showed us the historic area of the town including the museum with a large well centred around the building.

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After the tour, he introduced us to his friend's cosy restaurant, Docaria Do Sul, and treated us to some of Silves’ traditional sweets and some carob coffee made in the Algarve.

In the last few days, we stayed at the Monchique Resort Hotel and Spa, a lesser-known area of the beautiful Algarve.

The hotel featured a luxury, reasonably priced restaurant with pizzas that could only be described as heavenly.

On the first day in the hidden gem of Monchique, we reunited with Joao to go on an 8km tour of the town and its surrounding hills, learning about the history of cork and eucalyptus trees that keep the town alive and thriving.

Daily Echo: Cork trees in Monchique.

Joao also showed us the remains of trees damaged from the famous fire in 2018 which destroyed parts of Monchique’s wildlife and plummeted the nearing towns into smoke.

We were also lucky enough to see the once-a-month market held in the town. This market offered fresh fruits, poultry, vibrant plants, and many more which Joao explained used to be the sole source of shopping for the town when vehicles didn’t exist.

When we returned back to the hotel, we had one last day to indulge in the spa filled with thunderstorm showers, multiple aromatic saunas and an ice room to cool down after a dip in the infinity pool.

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Before driving back through the valleys and down to the airport to board the plane back to the UK, we reminisced on the time we spent soaking up the sun the last week and the adventures we got to experience along the way.

Boarding the plane back we were welcomed onto the jet by a group of attentive and friendly flight attendants who catered to our every need.

Jet2 is announcing new flight paths from Bournemouth next year, so Dorset and surrounding residents can experience the same adventure, near the comfort of their own homes. 

For more information on the Algarve, visit:

Leading leisure airline offers friendly low fares, great flight times, and a generous 22kg baggage allowance from £37 from Bournemouth to Faro.  Bournemouth to Faro flights start from £51pp one way including taxes (based upon April 2025).

Prices are correct as of 3 June 2024.

For more information, visit or call 0800 408 5599.