OceanBlue Portugal

Burgau, Algarve, Portugal
Book from Book from £75 per night

Ocean-facing retreat in the unspoilt western Algarve: 4 self-catering apartments (sleeping 2-4) with an array of opt-in adventures

At the tip of southwest Europe, Costa Vicentina Natural Park is one of Portugal’s least-developed regions: a wild landscape of jagged cliffs, hidden coves, gently forested hills and sun-beaten villages. It's only an hour from Faro, yet it feels worlds away. For boat builder Sean and personal trainer Lucy, it's a perfect setting for their OceanBlue dream: leading small groups on off-the-map adventures to beautiful places.

Their striking white villa, set among wild gardens overlooking the sea, is split into four self catering apartments. Interiors are modern and bright, with simple Scandi-style kitchens and azure tones running throughout. Shady terraces lead out to the main pool, where you could spend your days in blissful recline. But it would be a shame to miss out on discovering the natural beauty around you. There are stunning clifftop hikes, gentle rivers to paddle, twisting valleys to ride, and a glistening coast to explore on a slick catamaran (Cheetah no.500, handbuilt by Sean). Guided activities are optional and tend to be led in small groups adapted for all ages, abilities and levels of adventure. When it comes to beaches, the sandy bays of the south coast are walkable, and the surf beaches of the west coast are 20 minutes by car. And if, after an active day, you don’t then feel like cooking, it’s a gentle stroll to cute-as-a-button Burgau village (0.5km), where beachside tavernas make gourmet treats out of fresh-as-you-like seafood.

We went to OceanBlue feeling a tad apprehensive about an active holiday; we left feeling completely reinvigorated and longed for more time - both of us utterly charmed by this wild corner of untouched Algarve.

Highs

  • A great place to come as a couple, with friends or as a family
  • The gorgeous setting in a natural park, with walking and biking trails right from the door, and beaches 5 minutes away
  • Wonderful activities exploring under-the-radar spots: guided mountain-bike rides, paddleboard tours and catamaran trips to secret coves. Do as much or as little as you'd like
  • The local village of Burgau is a gem, home to a lovely beach and some great tavernas
  • An easy, laid-back atmosphere, sparked by fabulous hosts Lucy and Sean

Lows

  • The villa is a little tricky to find, especially if arriving at night - make sure you print out Lucy's instructions before coming
  • There's a blind bend when driving out from the villa - use the mirror mounted on the wall opposite
  • Kitchens don't have ovens or much in the way of storage space but are fine for preparing simple meals. There's a communal BBQ and a bar and seating area by the pool
  • You'll need to bring beach towels
  • The owners have small friendly dogs, but these can be kept away from communal areas

Best time to go

April, May and June are our favourite months to visit, with glorious sunshine, pristine beaches and carpets of wild flowers. Autumn is also very appealing when the beaches are quiet and the ocean is warm. The high season months of July and August can be hot, but cooling northerly winds keep temperatures bearable. Winter nights are cold but the villa has underfloor heating and faces south, so the sun still shines most days.

Our top tips

Even if you're not a fan of organised tours, OceanBlue's personal or small group activities are not to be missed. Whether you're a beach lover and water enthusiast or prefer exploring hinterland valleys and villages, they'll get you to places you'd never find in a guidebook by discovering the real Portugal through different activities.

Great for...

Beach
Cheap & Chic
Eco
Family
Great Outdoors
  • Boutique Apartments
  • 4 apartments for 2-4
  • Self catering; walk to restaurants
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Bicycles Available
  • Laundry Service
Room:

Rooms

There are three two-bedroom apartments and one studio apartment. All of the two-beds overlook the pool and huge view beyond. Rooms are stylish and cleverly designed: internal walls are lined with mud plaster to create a soft acoustic and ambient climate - cool in summer, warm in winter. There's also underfloor heating to stay cosy on cool winter nights.

Bedrooms are on the small side, but living areas have plenty of space. Open-plan interiors are predominantly white, with dashes of tropical turquoise or deep ocean blue. We loved the thoughtful extras: flaky pasteis de nata from the local bakery, a bottle of red, and handpicked flowers from the garden placed in oversized vases.

Lagoona and Azul overlook the pool and each have two bedrooms, a large open-plan living area, and lovely light bathrooms with walk-in showers. Oceano, where we stayed, is similar but it has a small tub in its bathroom and a large private garden with a plunge pool - though we thought it looked more like a kids splash pool. Either way, the garden is an ideal space for kids to romp around or for those wanting a little more privacy.

The smallest apartment, Sapphire, doesn't come with a sea view, but its deck area is separate from the others, with a cool hammock chair. Inside, there's a kingsize bed in a large open-plan studio, with a basic kitchen and a large wet room.

Features include:

  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Terrace
  • Underfloor heating
  • WiFi

Eating

Each apartment has a simple kitchen with fridge, toaster and twin hob, but no oven. The two-bed apartments also have a microwave, and guests are welcome to use the communal barbecue and honesty bar in the pool area. You can buy everything you need in Burgau, a short walk or drive down the hill. There's a small supermarket, bakery, grocery store and wine shop, as well as daily visits (except Sundays) from a van selling fresh fish.

However, eating out is a real highlight of the region; Lucy and Sean will recommend excellent restaurants and cafes - we can vouch for Miam, where the fish is fresh from the boat and the beach views are dreamy. Fish and seafood are the basis of traditional Algarve cuisine. A regional favourite is cataplana – a combination of fish, seafood, chorizo and vegetables cooked up in a copper saucepan. Or you might want to try arroz de marisco - a rice dish of prawns, clams and crabs cooked with tomato and wine in a large clay pot. And if you fancy a break from seafood, there's a funky and affordable pizza restaurant in Burgau called Love Burgau - great for fish-free or fussy eaters.

Features include:

  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Dishwasher
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob or stove
  • Microwave
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Toaster
Eating: azul
Activity:

Activities

Guided activities:
Most mornings there is a different activity on offer, guided by Lucy or Sean. You can also make requests if there's anything you're especially keen to do. They can be adapted for all ages, abilities and levels of adventure. Sometimes you will be part of a small group, other times it will be just you and your guide. It's all bespoke and very flexible.

  • Mountain bike through rural valleys, grassy meadows and coastal trails
  • Try paddleboarding the lagoon or between secret beaches along the coast; great for core, balance and body strength
  • Enjoy a relaxing sea safari on Sean's 11.2m Cheetah catamaran; swim to hidden bays, snorkel into blue grottoes or picnic at anchor
  • Boost your fitness levels with Lucy's Sunrise sessions; from morning bootcamps on the beach to guided runs and poolside pilates

Independent time:
  • Chill by the pool or in your private garden
  • Follow one of Lucy's Self Guided Explore Tours, exploring lesser known beauty spots and beaches in the Natural Park
  • Hike along the ancient coastal paths, stopping off for lunch at the traditional fishing village of Salema
  • Surf the gentle waves of the south or the wild breaks of the west. You can hire wetsuits from OceanBlue and Lucy can arrange lessons on request
  • Hit the beach. Burgau is walkable and has a lovely stretch of golden sand; Zavial is wild, with dramatic cliffs; Cabanas is sandy, with a super beach club and beanbags
  • Take a drive to dramatic Cabo de São Vicente, Portugal's most southwesterly point, with a lighthouse and spectacular views
  • Visit historic Lagos with its bustling markets, buzzing nightlife and pretty harbour estuary

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Paddleboarding
  • Pilates
  • Surfing

Kids

Children of all ages are welcome and it's a great place for a family break. Older kids will get the most out of the activities on offer, but they can be tailored to all ages, abilities and levels of adventure. The Sea Safari is fun for all ages; the catamaran has a comfy seating area in the shade and a spacious deck ideal for sunbathing or somersaulting into the turquoise sea. Back at the villa, the saltwater pool is large and there are inflatables to borrow.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

Sapphire is a studio apartment with kingsize bed and a single sofabed/space for a baby cot; Azul, Lagoona and Oceano are all two-bedroom apartments (one double, one twin/double) with space for one baby cot.

Kids Activities on site:

  • Swimming pool (unheated)
  • Biking

Families Should Know:

The pool is not fenced. Two small friendly dogs may be around but can be kept away on request.

Distances:

  • Airport: Faro (1-hour drive)
  • Shops/restaurants: 0.5km
  • Hospital: 12km (Lagos)
Kid Friendly:

Location

Ocean Blue is on a hilltop just inland from the traditional fishing village of Burgau, in Portugal's western Algarve. Surrounded by wild fig fields, it's on the edge of the Costa Vicentina Natural Park.

By Air:
Fly into Faro then hire a car. It's an hour's drive.

Alternatively, Lucy can arrange airport transfers, or you can take a train from Faro to Burgau, then taxi/walk from there.

Detailed directions will be sent when you book through i-escape.

Airports:

  • Faro 97.0 km FAR

Other:

  • Beach 1.0 km
  • Shops 0.5 km
  • Restaurant 0.5 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 6 independent reviews from i-escape guests

9/10
Room
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

Really enjoyed our stay. Lovely position and views.

8/10,

My teens loved their stay at Ocean Blue - particularly the energetic bike ride led by Lucy and Sean and the trip out on their boat exploring the coast near Lagos which included both snorkelling and paddle boarding off the boat.

Lucy provided lots of recommendations for beaches to go to and places to eat. We had some amazing meals, particularly at Latitude and the Zazu beach bar in Luz, which was a lovely walk of 5km along the coast.

All in all, a lovely week's stay and we thoroughly enjoyed our first time in the Algarve!

10/10,

We had a brilliant time at OceanBlue in what was our first trip out of the country for three years. We particularly enjoyed the boat trip with Lucy and her family!

10/10,

As a family of 3, we really enjoyed our stay in Oceano. The setting was very relaxed and comfortable and we enjoyed having the extra side garden but we also spent a lot time using the communal areas too, including the large main pool. Hosts, Lucy and Sean were highly accommodating and engaging, in particular making suggestions to include our 7 year old in activities. This went over and above what you would expect from a self catering let. They are knowledgeable and well equipped to support many different activities - the boat trip and paddle boarding was a particular highlight for us.

10/10,

Lucy is a great host, at a great location providing excellent support in all aspects (dining, sports, excursions). We really enjoyed our holiday. We’ll be back!

10/10,

We had a wonderful family holiday at Ocean Blue Portugal, truly memorable. The villa itself is stunning, I made full use of the beautiful pool and swam in it every morning. Kids also loved the paddling pool in Oceano, which has warm water so perfect for little ones. Sean and Lucy are always on hand to help with anything too which was appreciated. Their guide to the local area was very helpful and much appreciated- we made full use of it when planning our day’s activities. This is a beautiful part of the world and we hope to return someday in the future. Highly recommended all in all.

10/10,

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