Insight /

Portugal

Just Back From Fora da Caixa

Real Holidays’ Matt Fisher and family discovered an unspoilt part of Portugal on his multi-generational summer holiday.

A spacious, exceptional value villa on Portugal’s ruggedly beautiful west coast.

Showing that we walk the talk, our director Matt Fisher took his extended family to a villa in Portugal and found it to have plenty of space for everyone, while being exceptionally good value in high season, in an area that offers authentic experiences for the whole family.

The Villa

As we were three generations holidaying together, we chose this villa for its spacious five bedrooms that all had ensuites. When we arrived, we realised that the light-filled villa gave us much more space than we had hoped for. The layout means that the first-floor bedrooms have their own living area and balcony which gave the grandparents in our group some quiet time.

The main hub of Fora da Caixa is the well-equipped kitchen and sitting room which opened out onto a lovely terrace which had comfy seating and a dining table. From here steps led down to the pool area.
The gardens were a lovely surprise, filled with secret pathways and herb borders which were fun for the children to explore. There was also a great bbq area surrounded by foliage. The view from the villa clinched it for me. It was so relaxing to sit on the terrace with a drink in hand looking over the lagoon, framed by pine trees. And once the sun had set, this quiet area meant stargazing was a treat.

Near and Far

The great thing about the location of this villa is that it makes it very easy to do very little, equally for those that are looking for culture or activity there was explorations aplenty. For a family of mixed ages and likes, this worked well. Going to the beach was a daily occurrence for most of us, one was walkable from the villa – a stunning expanse of white sand and gentle waters. The calm lagoon was ideal for a paddle, windsurf or kayak, and the Atlantic Ocean meant that surfing was also on the agenda.

Wherever we went, we found amazing little beach shacks and restaurants ready with plates of clams and fresh fish and plenty of icy beers. Further afield were more isolated beaches and Medieval towns, filled with history in their breezy cobbled street. In Obidos, we explored the imposing and well-preserved castle and Tomar, the once religious centre of the Knights Templar, breathes heritage. We even found Lisbon to be doable in a day trip.

  1. Matt’s Highlights

    What I loved was the range of glorious beaches, never crowded and without a single UK tourist. We really felt that we had discovered a secret enclave of Portugal unknown to Brits! Driving along the spectacular coast between Foz do Arelho and Nazares (famed big wave surfing spot) we were able to drop down to numerous beaches for a surf, swim, sunbathe, spot of lunch or sundowner.

    We went to the lagoon for calm swimming and windsurfing; and the Atlantic to surf the barrels of the beach breaks. We liked Baleal and Ericeira for a particularly cool surf vibe and plenty of bars and restaurants to sit back with a beer and soak it up.

  2. Foodie

    We were all very impressed with the high quality of food – and the reasonable prices also made a holiday in Europe surprisingly good value. Everywhere – from the tiny shacks on the beach to larger restaurants in Obidos’ old town – had a wonderful area of fresh fish, fish stews, plates of garlicky clams and steak cooked on a hot plate.

    Well-stocked supermarkets with fish and meat counters, plus local fruit and vegetable markets made shopping for the villa easy, and we got into a lovely routine of nightly bbq’s accompanied by Alentejo wines under starry skies.

  3. The Verdict

    I’m thoroughly sold on Portugal as the ideal destination for family summer holidays. The food, wine, spectacular coastline and good value for money make it all so easy for three-generations holidaying together. I’d also say that having a spacious, well-equipped villa is key – and Fora Da Caixa really delivered on that front. When can I go back?

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