Most Popular Posts of 2014

I know it's already the end of January (how the heck did that happen so quickly?) but I'm still reviewing 2014 and planning things for this year. Here's a look back at Emma's Travel Read more

15 Things to do in Bruges

1. Lizzie's Waffels If you're going to Belgium then of course you want to try some authentic Belgian waffels. In the name of research I tried lots of different waffels in Bruges but none Read more

Magical Melville Castle

January is traditionally the most depressing month of the year, so when I was invited to stay in a beautiful, 18th century castle on the outskirts of Edinburgh I literally jumped at the chance. Just Read more

Bruges In Pictures

Bruges (or Brugge in Flemish) is one of the most idyllic, fairytale-esque cities I've ever had the pleasure of visiting. I've just returned from a magical four days exploring the city and fell head Read more

20 Things to Do in Edinburgh

1. National Museum of Scotland  I visited the National Museum of Scotland for the first time earlier this year and absolutely loved it. It's full to the brim with fascinating exhibits on subjects ranging from Read more

10 Things I Believe About Travel

Travel is many things to many people. For me, travel is amazing, inspiring, educative and wonderful. I believe there are so many benefits to travelling the world and I think it's something everyone should Read more

Laid-Back Lagos, Portugal

Posted on by Emma Gray in Destinations, Portugal | 8 Comments

I booked a holiday with my two best friends with the intention of having a relaxing week in the sunshine and if you’re looking for somewhere to chill out and relax on the Portuguese coastline then I’ve found it!
Lagos, Portugal

Lagos is a town in the popular Algarve region of Portugal and attracts visitors from around the world. I had a fabulous week exploring the town and beaches of Lagos and here’s just some of the reasons why. Read more

My Algarve Insider Tips

Posted on by Emma Gray in Portugal | Leave a comment

I’ve been lucky enough to visit the stunning Algarve region of Portugal on many occasions. It’s close proximity to my home in Scotland, and it’s infinitely better weather, makes it an ideal destination for me to escape to for a few days. It’s definitely one of my favourite short-haul places to visit and I like to think I know a few great places in the area, so these are my tips for tourists visiting the Algarve

  • The beaches of the Vale do Lobo area are gloriously unspoilt. While you’ll find the beach in Albufeira beautiful, but crammed full of tourists, only a few miles down the road you’ll find quiet, peaceful, picture perfect beaches where you can truly relax.

Vale do Lobo, Algarve, Portugal Read more

Tastes of Albufeira

Posted on by Emma Gray in Portugal | Leave a comment

I’ve visited Albufeira quite a few times when I’ve been in Portugal’s Algarve region but I particularly enjoyed it during my last visit as it was off-season and so wasn’t crammed full of tourists. I stayed a short drive away from Albufeira in Vilamoura, a lovely town with a beautiful marina and a great beach.

There’s lots to do in Albufeira but my favourite part is the stunning beach, typical of this area of Portugal. The beaches here are beautiful, expansive, sandy and unspoilt.  Best of all, during the spring they’re not so busy that you can’t find a space to park your beach towel.

Fisherman's Beach, Albufeira

Fisherman’s Beach Albufeira

Dom Carlos Restaurante, Albufeira

The owners, Ana and Peter, are the hostess and chef respectively and, together with a kitchen assistant, they make all the food themselves. Dinner at Restaurante Dom Carlos is more than just a meal; it’s an experience.

There are five courses comprising of a starter, soup course, fish course, main course and desert. Before you even get to the starter you are greeted with some of Peter’s freshly made bread- trust me, this man’s soda bread is to die for! I love it so much he even wrapped some in tin foil and let me take it away with me!!

Interior of Dom Carlos, Albufeira

Interior of Dom Carlos Restaurante

Because the restaurant is so small Peter is able to come and talk you through his carefully prepared menu and he’s always happy to answer any questions you have about his dishes. He has a real passion for food and for his job so he’ll do all he can to make sure you truly enjoy your meal. His Portuguese wife Ana is the perfect hostess and makes you feel completely relaxed and at home.

Dom Carlos, Albufeira

Delicious scallop starter


Dom Carlos, Albufeira

Sea bass


There just aren’t enough words to describe how good Peter’s food is, and I’m certainly not a foodie, but I do know good food when I taste it. The fact that Ana and Peter are so lovely and welcoming just makes your experience here all the better. If you’re in Albufeira, or even anywhere near it, be sure to call Ana and make a reservation here. You definitely won’t regret it.

Spring in the Algarve

Posted on by Emma Gray in Portugal | 4 Comments

I think spring might just be the best time of year to visit Portugal’s Algarve region. Why? Well, the weather is so much better than in the UK (I have fresh tan lines to prove it!), the flowers and trees are beginning to blossom creating some wonderful colours and, best of all, there aren’t as many tourists as in the busy summer months.


The Algarve is blessed with miles upon miles of beautiful, unspoiled beaches and at this time of year I found them all but deserted. Quiet beaches are the best for getting a healthy dose of vitamin D while strolling along the beach, dipping your toes in the water and not having to worry about stepping on anyones sandcastles.


Vale de Lobo Beach, Algarve

Beach at Vale de Lobo

I stayed in chic Vilamoura which was busy with groups of golfers attracted to the multitude of beautiful golf courses nearby such as Vale de Lobo, Quinta do Lago and San Lorenzo. Despite not being a golfer I enjoyed a lovely lunch on the deck of the Quinta do Lago clubhouse overlooking the golf course and watching the golfers tee off on the first hole of Quinta do Lago South course.


Quinta do Lago, AlgarveQuinta do Lago, Algarve












Vilamoura itself has a beautiful, uninterrupted beach with some beach bars with stunning views out over the water. There is also a lovely marina filled with opulent and expensive boats. The marina is lined with boutique shops, restaurants and bars, many of which have decking overlooking the water and I loved sitting there with a drink in hand gazing out over the water and watching people pass by around me.


Vilamoura Marina, Algarve

Vilamoura Marina


My favourite time was at sunset as I loved watching the sun sink behind the boats in the distance creating vibrant colours in the clear sky. Bliss.


Sunset at Vilamoura, Algarve

Sunset over Vilamoura Marina


We had lovely meals in three of the restaurants that line the marina- Il Lamparo, The Mayflower, and my favourite, Prime. It was sadly a little too chilly at night to eat on the deck next to the water, but I imagine in summer it would be amazing.


Vilamoura is filled with lovely hotels and I stayed at Dom Pedro Golf which had a gorgeous pool and a great bar area which was prefect for a nightcap. The view from my balcony was gorgeous, looking out over the casino and towards the sea. I definitely recommend this hotel it if you’re heading to Vilamoura.


Dom Pedro Golf, Balcony

It was tough waking up to this view in the morning!


The Algarve is the perfect place to spend a relaxing few days enjoying the spring sunshine. The beaches, friendly locals, great restaurants and close proximity to the UK means it’s an ideal place to escape and recharge your batteries after a long British winter.