While the holidays often mean spending time with loved ones and getting some time off of work, it can also mean unwanted weight gain and the dreaded ‘holiday bloat’. Consider this: waking up on Christmas morning to sun and warmth, taking a scenic bicycle tour of the beautiful coast, eating a fresh meal with the locals and taking a long and leisurely hike through the countryside. All of this is possible with a trip to the popular Algarve in stunning Portugal.
Bike Trails Through the Algarve
The winter months are a bit cooler than summer in the Algarve, but that does not mean you should stay inside. Taking a coastal bicycle tour offers the opportunity to see the beautiful and festive poinsettia blossoms in December and almond trees blossoming in January.Â The Algarve has fewer tourists this time of year, making it ideal for exploration.
If youâ€™re looking to spend half a day or the whole day on a guided tour of some of the Algarveâ€™s mountains, try an organized trip with expert guides and other like-minded explorers.Â Being carted up to the top of a mountain means you can enjoy a leisurely downhill bicycle ride full of information on the flora and fauna of the region. Often, these group trips include scheduled stops for picnics and informative lessons. For the lone rider, many shops in the region offer great deals on rented bicycles Â and mountain bikes. All along the coast, these shops will rent a bicycle to anyone for several hours, days or even weeks.Â
Trail-hiking for the Holidays
To truly appreciate all that the Algarve has to offer, spend some time hiking the newly chartered â€œAlgarve Wayâ€. This marked trail is 260km long and is easily navigated with the assistance of newly refurbished maps. The maps also point out great facts about the plant life and history of the small towns through which it passes. Similar to the bicycle trails, these walking and hiking paths will certainly get you into the holiday spirit in December with the famous wild blooming poinsettias.
Athletics Grand Prix in Albufeira
One of the more popular cities in the Algarve for a European holiday, Albufeira boasts lots of sunshine in the cooler months and plenty of activities for you and your family.Â If you are feeling particularly festive and want to stay active during the holidays, the Albufeira Grand Prix is a fun event that offers a 8km run (if you are up to it) or a more leisurely 4km ‘Father Christmas’ walk (ideal for children and adults alike).
Holiday in the Algarve
With over 167 hours of beautiful sunshine in the month of December alone, the Algarve is becoming quite popular throughout Europe as a holiday option. With miles of bicycle trails, hiking paths and beautiful coastal towns rich in history and healthy, fresh food, this part of the world is ideal for an active and warm Christmas holiday away from home.
Anne Masters has written about history, culture and travel for years, but has found herself becoming an expert most of all on Portuguese culture, and now resides in the Algarve region of southern Portugal. You can find Anne on Google+. Anne Masters