2014 was an i-escape baby boom: we welcomed 3 little ones, who have all recently turned one. Bundles of toddler energy, it’s no surprise that all 3 sets of parents are very ready for their 2015 holidays! The first to share her plans is Head of Bookings, Kate, who is mum to Flynn, 4 and Jori, 1
Our 2015 plans are the last for many years that won’t be dictated by school holidays. We’d usually take a late summer holiday in September when the crowds have all left and the temperatures have cooled, but this year that month will be fraught with starting-school-shenanigans for my 4-year-old. So, we’re off to our long-term favourite Muxima in June.
This will be our 3rd visit to this colourful eco-retreat in sunny Portugal, which might sound boring but we LOVE it here – the beauty is in not having to waste time finding shops, the best beaches and child-friendly places to eat. As my kids get older we’ll certainly travel further afield, but, for now, short flights and an easy drive are worth their weight in gold.
My oldest is full of excitement about going back to see Jorge, Sofia and their 2 boys, who he adores. He cannot wait to see the pig, donkey, goat, dogs and chickens. And after drab winter mornings learning to swim at the local leisure centre, he is full of chat about swimming with the frogs in Muxima’s natural pool.
The highlights for Chris and I are the easy-going warmth of Sofia, Jorge’s delicious homemade breakfast cakes, the stunning empty beaches, and the rustic charm of the local area. We cannot wait to introduce Jori to it all; very adventurous, he’s sure to love it. And on a practical level, he’ll be all set up with a travel cot and high chair (the less stuff we have to cart with us, the better).
It’s easy to be self-sufficient at Muxima: lazing by the pool, watching the kids play with other little guests in the small playground, and cooking up local fresh food in our kitchenette. Day trips are a cinch, too, driving 15 minutes to beaches and estuaries then enjoying grilled sardines, cataplanas (a Portuguese version of paella) and pasteis de nata with a cold vino verde at surfer cafes as the sun sets. Sandy feet, a dusty car, happy kids = happy days!
I’ll be planning our 2016 holidays by Christmas, because in order to get the place you want at the right rates in the school holidays, you need to book early. We’d like to take the kids to Greece. Chris and I did a lot of island hopping in our 20s, and we loved the quieter islands, accessible only by ferry or hydrofoil, where the pace of life is slow.
Alternatively, as flights to Portugal are cheap, we might try exploring a different region. We love the look of Casas do Coro, which we could link up with a short stay in Porto. Each apartment is set up for maximum privacy but they are very welcoming of families, and we’ve heard wonderful things about the restaurant’s food. Onar also looks to be the ideal getaway for us. Secluded, quiet, and with easy access to fantastic beaches. Whilst I love a beach holiday, Flynn would like to explore mountains, so maybe it’s time for a change of scenery…? Watch this space.