Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Portugal: Praia da Rocha

The first place we stayed was the city of Portimão. This was a great place to start off our vacation. 

We arrived to Portugal around 9am on the 24th of October. Stan was very clever and we took public transit everywhere we went. It saved us A LOT of money as we did not need to rent a car, and we hardly used any taxis. From the airport we took a bus to the train station, and there we hopped on a train that took us out to Portimao. This was a nice costal city, mainly built around tourists because it is home to one of the top ten best beaches in the world. The beach where we went to each day was called Praia Da Rocha. We arrived to our hotel, which was basically an apartment and since it was "off season" it was only 30 euro a night, we unpacked, got a lunch prepared, and headed to the beach. I believe it took us about 30 minutes to walk to the beach from our apartment. Without three small children and me who is a notoriously slow walker, it probably would not take so long. It was a pleasant walk, with bright blue skies and a happy sun to make the journey pleasant. Once we arrived to the beach we walked along the boardwalk until we came to a giant rock. At the bottom of the rock were small tunnels, one that you needed to crawl through, and the other you could walk through but you did need to mind your head. Stan being very tall would have to bend over and maneuver carefully through to the other side. This other side was our magical spot. There were far fewer visitors here, and it was breathtakingly beautiful. This spot was where we would spend the next three days. Each day we would walk to our spot and spend as long as we wanted to, it was nice not having anything to do, no phone to answer, no internet to keep our attention... all we were suppose to do was spend time together.

Each day was warm and sunny and we made happy memories together as a family. Each night we would pass by the only market we found, and buy groceries for the next day. It was nice that we could cook meals and not have to eat out everyday. We did, however, take advantage of the fine cooking around and ate some delicious fish. We tried sea bass, sardines which Portugal is famous for, salmon etc. It was nice.


When the tide was out you could go under this arch, but when the tide was in, this area was very dangerous, the waves would crash against the rocks, and there was a strong under current that could pull you under. It was fun to see all the waves that were created by this huge rock. Gregory especially thought this was really cool.

The boys loved to swim in this pool at the hotel. I got in once, but it was ice cold. Even though it was warm outside this pool was too cold for me. Honestly, the ocean water felt warmer! The boys didn't care, they thought that it was fun to swim in the pool and have it all to themselves! There was one other family with small children that would come and their kids would swim too, but if we came to the pool early enough we had it to ourselves. Another advantage of going on holiday off season.

Beautiful views in all directions! It is easy to see why this beach is world famous!

Here is our sand fort. Well I guess it is George's fort. Gregory easily spent hours and hours swimming in the ocean. He didn't mind getting knocked down by the enormous waves and learned to duck down when the big ones came so that he didn't roll with them up to shore, which did happen a few times. He would get so far out to sea that Stan or I had to swim with him for he could not touch the bottom of the ocean.

George likes the ocean. He will swim a bit, but after a while and a time or two being knocked over he is ready for a new activity. So George and I like to build sand castles. However, baby William likes to knock them down. So eventually after all our castles had been knocked down, we decided to build a fort. We dug deep into the sand and build up a large sand wall. George used the bottle top to for "eggs" around the fort. We called it our Egg Castle. After a while, Gregory saw the fun and quickly joined in. It was great fun and a good way to spend an afternoon on the beach.

I also picked up a small soccer ball at the mini market. We spent one afternoon playing soccer on the beach and found that it was fun to kick it out to the ocean and race to get it back. The waves always brought it inland but where inland was the question. All in all the two euros spent on that ball was well worth it!

ready, set...


George took this photo and it's one of my favs!

We were sad to say goodbye to our sandy paradise. I will always love Praia da Rocha and for the magical three days that we were able to sit on this beach, swim in the water, and soak in some happy sunshine. But I was excited to move on to the next part of our holiday... Lisbon!


  1. So beautiful! I am jealous! What an incredible holiday your family will always remember! How are you liking your Ergo??

  2. Hi Lacey! I'm really loving the Ergo. When I saw your question, I had to google Ergo to see what it was. lol But I think we are referring to the baby-carrier, and I really do love it. It was perfect to travel around in. Even though we have a great buggy, it would have never worked in Lisbon and the other cities. How are you doing? I hope all is well. :D