Portugal, the Europe nation you will definitely fall in love with

Portugal is one of the most popular spots in Europe and, for the third year in a row, the country won the prestigious title of Europe’s Leading Tourism Destination at the World Travel Awards 2019.

Among the distinctions was Lisbon for Best City Break Destination in Europe and Best European Cruise Port, and also the Algarve, as Europe’s Leading Beach Destination. 

With more than 600 miles of sandy coastline and sun-kissed landscapes, Portugal offers one of the best climates in Western Europe and more than 350 beaches to explore. In addition, it was considered by Reader’s Digest one of the 11 best-ever off-season-travel destinations. 

So what makes Portugal a continuous attractive destination that makes flocks of tourists travel to this little corner of Europe each year?

We decided to ask Jean Claude and Marc, that changed their whole lives from France to live in Olhão, one of the traditional cities in the sunny Algarve!

Why should you pack your bags and discover the Algarve?

In Portugal since 2016, Jean Claude and Marc visited the country for the first time for holidays.

From the North to the South, they travelled to Porto, Lisbon, even visited Aveiro and Alentejo but was in Olhão that they found a home. And all it took were a few times escaping from the routine in France to discover the wonders of the Algarve.

If we could describe the Algarve, we would identify three regions, and as Kevin Gould, ex-journalist for the Guardian put it:

“ll call them the Mystic East, the Dead Centre, and the Wild West. Most people flying to Faro will end up at the popular resort towns of the Dead Centre such as Vilamoura, Albufeira and Lagos, leaving a whole lot of Algarve relatively free of visitors. But if you do fetch up in such a resort, a 20-minute drive will deliver you to some of southern Europe’s most scented, empty countryside.

Our Mystic East is the borderland. The Guadiana river separates the Algarve – where humility is regarded as a strength – from brasher Spain. Inland, it’s possible to meander for miles through enchanted valleys, hear birdsong, see few people and find peace. The east’s coastal margin is where the ocean is tamed by the sand islands, salt pans and azure lagoons of the Ria Formosa natural park, where flamingos and dolphins abound.”

Want to know what is the interesting thing about this? Kevin recently left England and travelled to Algarve to open a restaurant in Olhão, the Chá Chá Chá!

All in synch over here, fate’s name maybe Portugal.

Algarve is one of the most beautiful gems in Portugal!

Back to Jean Claude and Marc.

When we interviewed them for the first time, our Proudly Portugal campaign has not started. However, we discovered they were also immediately hooked by the traditional and picturesque side of Olhão, a distinctive and still untouched by tourism kind of city in the southern region of Portugal.  

Since then, not much has changed, and the love for Portugal stands firm, but we can now announce that Jean Claude and Marc were part of the cast, as main characters, for our” proudly campaign videos, titled “Love has a name at Quinta do Lago”!

Let’s meet them!

What are the things you loved the most about Portugal?

We appreciated the welcome feeling and the authenticity of the people. They are all so friendly and kind with each other, without judgement or any type of taboo. We adored the way of life, a quiet and unstressed pace, the climate of the Algarve who suit us perfectly (mild to very hot but often with some fresh air coming from the sea.)  

We love Olhão, which is a real Portuguese town mix with an international community but keeps is authenticity, a town of fishermen! We love the fish and fruits markets in the seafront and the beautiful islands of Culatra, Armona and Farol, part of the famous Ria Formosa. We adore walking through the sunny and old streets of Olhão with the smell of bougainvillaeas bloom.

“Olhão is a totally different place, it’s a real town with Portuguese living there, it’s got a lot of character, style and it’s so friendly.”

Fuseta, in Olhão: Old Fishing Village Bursting with Carachter

What do you think about the gay-scene in Portugal?

We are not part of the gay community as such but more integrated with all communities, but we were very proud to go to the gay pride in Faro for the 3rd time this year, we went to the previous one as well as the gala of XIS for the second time this year.

There is a beautiful spot in Faro called Prestige, who often offer some excellent shows!

We think there is more of a gay scene in Porto or Lisboa but not that much yet in Algarve. You have beautiful gay LGBTQ friendly beaches on the coast tough.

What do you think Portugal differs from other gay-friendly destinations in Europe or around the World?

One of the major points we think Portugal is considered a gay-friendly destination in Europe is the laws and regulations applied to protect the LGBTQ community and let’s not forget that it was already 10 years ago that same-sex marriage was legalised.

It’s always complicated to answer this question as every country has its distinctive characteristics and struggles, but we would say that Portugal is a very open country with friendly people, where you can live your life as you wish, in any style you want without discrimination. 

Would you recommend a travel to Portugal to your friends?

Of course! I do recommend a visit to Portugal to all my friends, for the richness and beauty of the country, the taste of the food the wine and the traditional products made here.

Proudly Portugal recently launched the campaign “Portugal. Travel to Feel” and you two participated as a senior gay couple living in the Algarve which ended up to be a close scenario to your own life!

Tell us a bit about your experience, did you enjoy to participate in this project?

We are very proud and happy to be part of the cast for this campaign. We hope this project will help LGBTQ people to come and discover the beautiful and diverse regions of Portugal, from North to South.

The experience of filming this campaign was great and gave us the opportunity to discover an area of the Algarve we did not know yet, which is Quinta do Lago!

It’s really important to communicate and to share among all members of the LGBTQ community and all our gay-friendly friends how Portugal has become one of the most pacific and progressive countries in the world, and how well it lives up to the hype, the so-called “du bien vivre au Portugal”.

About Jean Claude and Marc

A hotel owner and a special education teacher living in France dropped everything (selling everything) and move definitively to Olhão!

We are travel lovers and we always loved to discover different countries! When we came to Portugal we first went to Porto and the nearby regions, then we visited Aveiro, Lisbon and also the beautiful region of Alentejo. We then explored the Algarve and we fall in love with Olhão, the cubist town with Moorish influence.  

First, we bought a house and used it as a holiday home and opened a local accommodation and acquired rental properties in Olhão.

Currently, we are welcoming tourists from all over the world for them to discover and appreciate the Algarve and the beautiful country of Portugal!”

Since you are here!

Take a look at Jean Claude and Marc’s local accommodations in Olhão, and explore the beautiful regions in the Algarve:

https://abnb.me/vUjGYaGfu3
https://abnb.me/bnNU6EHfu3https://www.misterbandb.com/fr/rooms/225647

Credits

Photo by Thibault Mokuenko on Unsplash
Photo by Kobu Agency on Unsplash
Photo by Lxmax Design Studio on Unsplash