Algarve, Western Portugal (Lola Akinmade Åkerström)
There’s something about listening to the powerful lapping of waves along the shore as the sun begins to set that evokes one’s sense of mortality. Powerful yet soothing as a gentle breeze whispers through swaying cattails. That same soothing sound rocked my daughter to sleep as she clung to me, cocooned in my wool blanket like a kangaroo’s litte joey.

That sound requires intent listening.

An intent listening that requires you fully absorb and live in the moment. And it is when I’m subconsciously forced to live in the moment that I become acutely aware of just how minuscule I am in life’s grand scheme.

“Is this your first time here?” Isabel asks me at breakfast, a flip-note and pen in hand ready to scribble down whatever my heart desired. Behind her in the distance, Ponta da Atalaia juts out into the Atlantic Ocean with steep cliffs on both sides.

Algarve, Western Portugal (Lola Akinmade Åkerström)

I was in Europe’s southwestern-most point at Martinhal Resort located right next to the sleepy seaside town of Sagres in the least developed part of Portugal’s Algarve region. Clean soft white sands of Martinhal’s beach with crystal clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean seemed to bear testament to the region’s preservation and status as a national protected area.

As I listened to waves of the same ocean that carried Portuguese explorers including 15th century Henry the Navigator out to sea, towards the unknown, I wondered if they’d also sat in silence, listening to that lapping, pondering their next adventures while in reverence of just how mighty the world seemed to be.

How mighty the world really is.

“Yes, it is,” I tell Isabel. But I hope it certainly wasn’t going to be my last. After all, I’d just found the best beach I’ve ever visited to date at its shores.

This was my first time at Martinhal Resort and my family had been invited as guests to explore the property, try out its family-friendly activities, dig into its cuisine, and just relax.

Algarve, Western Portugal (Lola Akinmade Åkerström)Algarve, Western Portugal (Lola Akinmade Åkerström)Algarve, Western Portugal (Lola Akinmade Åkerström)Algarve, Western Portugal (Lola Akinmade Åkerström)Algarve, Western Portugal (Lola Akinmade Åkerström)Algarve, Western Portugal (Lola Akinmade Åkerström)Algarve, Western Portugal (Lola Akinmade Åkerström)

The word “tranquil” has been so overused in travel that it seems to have lost its true meaning. And describing a resort geared towards families with screaming babies and tyrannical toddlers as “tranquil” couldn’t be more of a dichotomy.

But the word couldn’t be more apt in Martinhal’s case. Maybe it was the time of the year we were there – early September.

Algarve, Western Portugal Lifestyles around Portugal (Lola Akinmade Åkerström)

Maybe it was the vastness of the property that spread us families out. Within view of each other and communing together at breakfast yet still enough distance to make us feel like we were in our own exclusive enclave.

Whatever it was, I enjoyed this property and the Algarve, and I envision return trips to the region in the future.

To listen to those lapping waves.

Algarve, Western Portugal Lifestyles around Portugal (Lola Akinmade Åkerström)Algarve, Western Portugal (Lola Akinmade Åkerström)Algarve, Western Portugal (Lola Akinmade Åkerström)

* Map courtesy of Casas do Barlavento

View more photos from Martinhal and the Algarve in my Portugal image bank. Have you been to this part of Portugal before?