Jane had chosen Belek, in Turkey, for her summer holiday. Although I’ve visited Turkey more than 10 times, I never saw Belek. I asked her what she thought about the town, the surroundings, about short trips in the neighbourhood, about things to do, see or eat. She said she had no idea about any of those, because she didn’t leave the all-inclusive resort during the entire stay.

If you only had one month holiday per year, how would you like to spend it?

Although it looks like good value for money, I don’t fancy all-inclusive holidays. I don’t want to have all three meals in the same resort, even if they have multiple restaurants to choose from. I don’t want entertainment designed for British, French or Russian tourists. If I go somewhere, I want to eat and drink like the locals, I want to go where those people go, I want to feel the spirit of the place. Big touristic resorts are like those natural habitat replicas you can see at the Zoo. Thanks, but no, thanks!

I understand, however, why people choose this type of holiday. If you just want to relax, eat, drink, sleep, enjoy the beach, all-inclusive packages can be the best for you. With such a package, the travel agent would take care of everything for you. From choosing the flights to transport from the airport to the resort and back, everything is taken care of. You just need to show up. This type of arrangement is possible even in remote and underdeveloped places, where most people make as much money in a month as you can spend in ten minutes in such a touristic resort. Do you want to spend your holidays in Goa? You are almost there! All big travel and tour operators are at your service. Would you rather relax on an amazing beach in Southern Turkey? Do a quick search and you can find heaps of affordable holidays in almost no time.

My Favorite Beach of All Times

Humans have an obsession with ranking everything. You can’t just be. You have to be either better or worse than somebody else. We are trained to think like this even from childhood. Being as brainwashed as everybody else, I want to share with you my personal top of beach destinations. On a second thought, I’ll only tell you about the beach I liked most. There were no all-inclusive resorts right nearby, but if you want to do more than lay on the beach and have a good holiday rest, this is a fantastic choice.

Praia Grande de Pera, Algarve, Portugal

Praia Grande de Pera

Cloudy day on Praia Grande de Pera

Windy day, huge waves

Windy day, huge waves, time to take cool photos!

Praia Grande de Pera is a sandy beach. It is probably 4km long. This is my estimation, based on the time I needed to walk from one end to the other. The access to the beach crosses a dune area covered in small vegetation. Those bushes smell absolutely fantastic! Feel that scent once and you’ll always want to come back. The beach starts nearby a natural reserve full of cool birds and little wild animals and it ends at Armacao de Pera, a neat little town with white buildings which look like made for tourist rentals.

Praia Grande de Pera Natural Reserve

This is the lake next to the beach, where all those wonderful birds were. Praia Grande starts somewhere to the right.

Armacao de Pera

Armacao de Pera – view from the beach

If you go for a walk in the morning, you’ll see the fishermen getting on their boats, going to work. It’s cool to watch. The boats are dragged towards the water by a big tractor which takes a turn just before entering the waves. If you walk in the late afternoon, those boats come back from the sea. They approach the shore in full speed, only to wreck in the fine sand. The tractor picks them up from there are drags them to their spot on the beach.

Fishermen on the beach

Fishermen and seagulls on the beach

There are several bars on the beach, so you can have your morning coffee on a deck, looking at the ocean. As far as I remember, they also serve food, but I didn’t try it, so I can’t tell if it’s a good idea or not to eat there. Speaking of eating, I heard about a great fish restaurant in Armacao de Pera, where you can eat “all you can” for a fixed price, which I think was about 12-15 Euros. The restaurant is just beneath the fishermen booths on the beach, on a small street. I forgot the name, but I still have the location in mind, so it’s on my to do list if I go back to the Algarve again.

How about you? Which is your favorite holiday type? Do you find all-inclusive boring or awesome?

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