After a 4 hour beautiful drive through many tunnels and hills from Madrid, we approached San Sebastián with hungry bellies. We decided to eat lunch at a nice restaurant called Portuetxe following our Airbnb hosts recommendation – and it was fantastic! Probably one of the best ribeyes I have eaten – and anyone that knows me well knows that I’ve eaten my fair share! Gaurav enjoyed a delicious fish, and the kids cooperated by being fairly well behaved. After checking in to our Airbnb and a brief rest, we headed to the old town and La Concha, the towns charming beach – and it was stunning. La Concha, meaning “the shell”, gets its name due to the shape of the beach. It was nearly 7pm but the beach was brimming with people of all ages, and in the true “laissez faire” culture of the Spanish, little kids were slashing naked in mud puddles. I was in love with this town! Next, we walked to the old town and enjoyed pinxto bar hopping – the calamari and chorizo were some of our favorites. Gandarias and La Mejillinera are a couple we recommend.
We spent the next morning at the beach, and the kids enjoyed time with the waves and their sand toys. The water was perfect! Ayaan, Ariana and Daddy Pig enjoyed jumping in muddy puddles. After washing off in the nearby showers, we enjoyed another bout of pinxto bar hopping. We then drove to a stunning viewpoint on Mount Igueldo to overlook the bay and La Concha. Gaurav took Ayaan to the carousel in the old town that he really enjoyed. After a siesta that afternoon, we enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Akelarre, a three-Michelin started restaurant overlooking the coast while the kids played and then slept with a babysitter.
After breakfast, I picked up a Hertz rental car to drive to Marbella with Ayaan and Anjali’s parents’ bags, while Anjali drove the Peugeot with the rest of the gang. The 2 hour 45 mins drive from Seville to Marbella was winding and gorgeous across many mountains, lakes and changing landscapes. Both kids napped for almost the entire time and Ayaan woke up as we approached Marbella saying “Daddy this is so beautiful, it feels like Hawaii.” And it sure does with amazing weather, surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea and mountains.
We stayed in a lovely Airbnb in a complex near Puerto Banus with a resort style pool, a great restaurant and hookah! The guests were very nice and it was probably one of my best Airbnb experiences too date (I still prefer the comforts of a hotel to be honest). We spent the first evening dipping in the warm pool, eating some Lobster paella and watching the thrilling games between Argentina-France and Portugal-Uruguay. At night, I put the kids to bed while Anjali took her parents to a nice Indian meal. And for the second time on the trip, we headed out after dinner while MIL watched the kids. We walked down the buzzing Puerto Banus – a harbor with high-end yachts, open bars with people overflowing to the streets, house music and Ferraris everywhere. It was a fun night out after a while for just the two of us after the hectic month of June.
On our second day, we hit the pool again on another beautiful day after which we strolled Puerto Banus in the day and ate at the locally recommended Picasso pizzeria overlooking the sea and the yachts. The children and us were super excited to get some Chicken Tikka pizza!
After lunch I got to watch Spain lose among the locals which was quite an experience. Kids woke up late from their nap so we headed to the old town in Marbella for a stroll and dinner in the square. The old town reminded us of a Greek town, specifically Mykonos, with its tiled cobbled streets, roses everywhere and cathedrals. I ended the night smoking some double apple hookah and watching Croatia beat Denmark in penalties!
Our last day as a family in Marbella got to a relaxing start at the beach. The kids are finally at the age where they love the beach and can independently play with each other and their sand toys. One of my favorite parts about this journey is taking the time to observe Ayaan and Ariana interact without having to rush. Ayaan has become a real big brother fetching water for Ariana from the sea!
We ate lunch at our Airbnb and after putting the kids to sleep MIL took care of the kids while Anjali and I headed out to Nikki beach for some chill music and rose at the pool and beach. We ate dinner as a family at Tuk Tuk, an Asian fusion restaurant that was great.
Marbella and Puerto Banus have definitely been the highlight of the journey so far!
A short 2.25 hour drive from Lisbon brought us to the beautiful Pine Cliffs, A luxury collection resort on the beach. We enjoyed an al fresco lunch of gazpacho and fajitas before hitting the resort pools. A bottle of rose and a lot of splashes later, we enjoyed a Japanese dinner at an elegant outdoor restaurant by Chef Olivier. Ariana enjoyed bonding with her masi while devouring sushi (see video). Later that evening, we enjoyed a nightcap of Madeira on our deck before drifting off to sleep.
placeholder://We started the next day with a sumptuous breakfast and then spent some time enjoying the kids club. Ayaan and Ariana got to ride in some real John Deere trucks and jump in a bouncy house! Ariana has started speaking a few full sentences since our trip began and it’s been a pleasure to witness her progression real-time. Her favorites include expressing her preferences – “I like masi!” or “I don’t like this”.
We then joined the rest of the family and drove along the coast to Praia de Benagil. Ayaan and Ariana enjoyed playing by the beach, and then we took a boat which guided us through an awe-inspiring landscape of limestone formations and crystal clear blue aqua!
That evening, we grabbed drinks and dinner at the hotel bar where we had prime seats to watch the Portugal vs Iran and Spain vs Morocco World Cup games.
The next morning, we headed to the stunning hotel beach that was lined with cliffs of orange hues on one side and surrounded by clear blue water on the other. We had lunch at Mare, the hotel’s beach side bar before heading to the pool where Ariana napped and Ayaan enjoyed an ice cream with Nani. In the evening, we headed back to the kids club where the kids got to ride a motorized car!
This evening, we’re looking forward to having the babysitter watch the kids while we enjoy a nice meal with my parents at Pescadore, the hotels seafood restaurant. After the meal, Gaurav and I opened the bottle of Sassacaia that we’d saved from SF and enjoyed it against this beautiful backdrop of illuminated orange cliffs…Overall, Algarve (and the Pine Cliffs resort) was stunning and did a solid job of differentiating itself from other beach destinations.