Stay or Away: Escape the everyday to Carmarthen Bay and the Algarve

When you just want to get away from the busyness of everyday business, what better way than running off to a destination with glorious landscapes?

Here we present two options for the perfect escape from reality; one based on your doorstep in the UK, and another a little further out in the golden lands of the Mediterranean.

STAY – CARMARTHEN BAY

Wales is famed for Brecon Beacons, but there’s a magic that exists elsewhere in this breath-taking natural beauty of this country. Go south to discover the stunning coastline of Carmarthen and Carmarthen Bay, the birthplace of Merlin and the landscape that inspired celebrated Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas.

Carmarthen is a small town sitting on the River Tywi, which winds down towards Carmarthen Bay before opening up on into the mouth of Bae Caerfryddin. This is a town where two worlds collide, as distinct Roman heritage and Arthurian legends crown this Wale’s oldest continually occupied town, while modern art and culture and a renowned gastronomic scene ensures this little destination remains on the map.

Just 90 minutes from Cardiff, a retreat to Carmarthen feels world’s away. From hoary traditions like coracle fishing, to ancient castles and centuries old landscapes, Carmarthen is steeped in history.

At stay at Hoseasons Carmarthen Bay opens up an age-old world of possibilities for the curious tourist. Venture nearby to visit Kidwelly Castle by land or dare to cross the waters to the cliffside fortress of Llansteffan Castle, for unparalleled views of the River Tywi towards Ferryside and a taste of life in the 12th Century. While on that side of the river, pay a visit to Dylan Thomas’ Writing Shed and sit, admiring the view where he conjured his modernist masterpieces.

For a truly vintage experience, board the Gwili Steam Railway to explore the quaint villages and wildlife hotspots along the River Gwili.

Adventures of this kind will leave you pining for relaxation. Retreat to Hoseasons and laze by the pool or take a stroll on the neighbouring beaches.

St Catherine’s caravan is available from £319 for 7 nights based on 8 people sharing.

AWAY – THE ALGARVE

The Algarve boasts variety of landscapes and species, making a trip to the region a pleasure of discovery for the nature enthused and curious alike. Think red-cliffed coastline flanked by Atlantic waves which creeps into tranquil whitewashed Moorish villages speckled with orange groves.

From soaring mountains to vast plains, wide sandy beaches and jagged coastlines, the Algarve has a little bit of everything. The sea, however, offers an exceptional layer to Algarve life. Wading out into the Atlantic during low tide, locals search for barnacles, while fishermen who practise age-old family traditions sail the coast in search of squid, octopus, sardines and tuna for trading with local restaurants. Against this backdrop of habitual life is a plethora of contemporary opportunity for holidaymakers.

Settled in the peaceful resort of Vale de Parra, elevated above sea levels, a stay at the stylish Casa Mara villa offers unparalleled views of the ocean. Wake up to panoramic coastal views from your bedroom balcony and allow your mind to escape with the endless possibilities offered by your coastal residence.

Take a boat ride off the coast, where the Common, the Rissos, the Harbor Porpoise and the Bottlenose are just some of the beautiful dolphin species that will playfully circle your vessel beneath the afternoon sun. If luck is on your side, you might also spot sea turtles and the Minke whale. If adventure is what your heart desires, visit the famous marine cave of Bengali on a stand-up paddle board tour – an extraordinary way to explore the impressive coastline of the Algarve.

After a thrilling day at sea, retreat to the hillside oasis of Casa Mara, with pit-stops along the lively resort of Albuferia, where multiple bars, clubs and restaurants await.

Villa Casa Mara is available from £489 for 7 nights.

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