During Easter, I took a family trip away to Portugal with my family and stayed in a lovely hotel called Hotel Falesia between Albufeira and Vilamoura. We only stayed around the local area but I must say it was the best gluten free experience I’ve had yet, whilst going abroad as a Coeliac! The hotel was ‘adults only’ which meant it was a dream paradise for relaxing but having fun at your own leisurely pace. I’m going to outline all that I ate whilst staying there for the week, however, if you would like any information about the area in general, hotel or other attractions/excursions – feel free to contact me.
Also, if you would like to add a recommendation to this collection, feel free to drop me a comment or message and I can add it – the more the merrier. There’s only so much food one can eat during a trip!
Address: Pinhal do Concelho, Praia da Falesia, 8201-911 Albufeira, Portugal
To start with, my hotel provided the most magnificent gluten free experience from the second I stepped through the marbled wonder. We were staying on a half-board basis, meaning we were provided breakfast and dinner every day. Arriving late-morning, we were all quite peckish and wanted some lunch. We sat outside by the pool in the beautiful sunshine and I had that classic ‘ah I’m on holiday vibe’ immediately. I only wanted something small so decided to go for the fresh vegetable soup.
When questioning about the soup being gluten free, the lady serving went to get some reassurance from the chef about the ingredients. To my demise, I was told that the soup had gluten-containing ingredients in, but she followed up that statement by explaining that the chef will cook me a soup from scratch without any grains in it. Result! I knew we had chosen the right hotel at that moment. They then surprised me again by providing three slices of gluten free bread and butter alongside it. The soup was absolutely delicious (I wouldn’t normally get this when it’s hot outside but it was just perfect).
Cross-contamination was avoided at all costs! Freshly-cooked plate of any hot food items you desired in the kitchen and offered table service too. Gluten free bread, wide selection of fresh fruit, gluten free cakes and biscuits.
Extremely wide variety of gluten free dishes! Buffet service but cross-contamination avoided. Extensive choices at the fresh salad bar (see below). Fresh veggies, oven-cooked potatoes and more! Gluten free pasta also available on request, all sauces gluten free anyway – including the delicious carbonara (my favourite!).
Read more about about breakfast and dinner at the Hotel Falesia here!
Address: Av. Sá Carneiro 18, 8200-295 Albufeira, Portugal
GLUTEN FREE PIZZA. HAPPY HOUR. I reckon that’s all I have to say about this golden gem of a place. You could choose any pizza toppings on a gluten free deep pan base, free from cross contamination. Even a bacon double cheeseburger pizza!
I decided to go for the Sicilian, consisting of pepperoni, mushrooms, green peppers, cheese and tomato sauce. The pizzas were quite expensive (see prices above) but it was honestly maybe the best gluten free pizza I’ve had that has a thicker base so was 100% worth it! They even provided me with a little garlic butter dip once I saw it on the menu, my favourite (and a bit unhealthy) dip ever for pizza dipping. Due to it being conveniently happy hour when we arrived, I also treated myself to a strawberry daiquiri.
Address: das, Estr. das Açoteias 347, Albufeira, Portugal
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/snackbartanias
On our last day, we decided to take a walk within the hotel’s local proximity and to my surprise, I came across a ‘Sem Gluten’ sign at the first restaurant we stumbled upon. It was literally a two minute walk away. This was a burger place so I was very happy, another treat for me! The waitress was very understanding and knowledgeable about gluten free food, Coeliac Disease and cross-contamination so I was instantly eased when ordering. Her dad even went out to get suitable chips for me that he knew were completely safe for me to eat, and they cooked these in a seperate fryer to normal.
I went for a Hawaiian burger with chicken breast, pineapple, bacon. I paid 2 Euros for the gluten free bun but my family said they liked the look of mine more than theirs (which made a change).
Address: Algarve Shopping Loja 1317, Lanka Parque Coe Indústrial, 8200-425 Guia, Portugal
The iconic gluten free McDonald’s was had on our first full day in Portugal. This was due to it being our only predicted rainy day and the fact that I couldn’t contain my excitement after it popping up all across Europe on my Instagram feed! Us Coeliacs aren’t that lucky in the UK yet, but to be honest, it was nice to have as a treat.
I went for the ‘McRoyal Cheese’ which I was hoping would be most similar to a quarter pounder, and it was! They even sold little garlic mayo for 30 cents extra – perfect with the chips.
Address: Lanka Parque Comercial e Industrial do Algarve, Lote R, Fração 3, Albufeira, Portugal
I also found tonnes of goodies that catered for gluten free, dairy free, vegan and more in an organic health food shop. CROISSANTS. Who else misses them since being diagnosed? Or just hasn’t really seen them anywhere since Genius discontinued theirs for whatever reason? Well you’ll be sure to find Schar ones in Portugal! Here are just a few, check out my Instagram for the rest…
Thank you for reading this has been a lengthy post! I honestly am still in awe at the ‘special treatment and choices’ on offer in this beautiful place. I do hope this is helps out anybody planning on visiting the Albufeira/Vilamoura/Algarve area soon, or in the future. Or maybe even inspires you to go due to how incredible and safe my experience was. I’ll definitely be back myself.
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