A couple of years ago International Living organized a well-attended tour of Portugal and Spain. While in the southern region of the Algarve, we were lucky to be ensconced at the Tivoli Carvoeiro Hotel. That’s where I made my presentation about Portugal to the tour members (and where it was necessary to tear me away from the breakfast buffet with made-to-order omelets and champagne).

My husband and I are more fans of the central and northern regions of the country, but here we are in the south again, for some medical appointments in Lagoa/Carvoeira, just a sand bucket’s throw from the delightful Tivoli.

While my spouse was otherwise occupied the other day, I scoped out the beachfront. You’re about to see why this area is so very popular with expats, especially in the UK. Note the title of one of the meal offerings here.

There is a boatload, pardon the pun, of things to do and places to stay in the area.

There’s also a bountiful supply of bars–English pubs or otherwise–and restaurants.

If you tire of eating and drinking and touring about and searching for real estate, there’s the ever-popular pastime of shopping. (I can hear the sound of my brother’s wallet opening right now. On his and my sister-in-law’s visits to Portugal he has acquired cork hats and change purses and backpacks and coasters and even a flask. I found a new one for him: umbrellas!)

After browsing a bevy of boutiques I was hungry. I opted for O Patio on the main square. It offered not only good service and food (and apparently fado on Sunday nights) but a view of the ocean. The Absolutely Athens salad more than gave me my veggie quota.

As to the beach itself, waves crashed rhythmically onto shore and the air was filled with a fresh salt tang. I’m sure the few visitors, like me, found it the perfect blend of activity and calm. And that’s just what the doctor ordered.