Away to the Algarve, Direct to Dubai

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Away to the Algarve, Direct to Dubai

If you don't have your travel sorted these places might inspire and you might even sort a new passport

Brigit Grant is the Jewish News Supplements Editor

Fancy a vintage American car to take you to your wedding in the sun? Casa de Mondo has one
Fancy a vintage American car to take you to your wedding in the sun? Casa de Mondo has one

The Algarve boasts 3,000 hours of sunshine a year and more than 30 golf courses. If that isn’t enough to attract Jewish tourists, you can now get help there with your application for a Portuguese passport.
In 2015, Portugal offered citizenship to Sephardic Jews of Portuguese origin but, until recently, only Lisbon’s Jewish community could assist. Now after a lot of bureaucratic shenanigans, the JCA (Jewish Community of the Algarve) has become the fourth official religious entity by law and can take tedious form-filling off your hands. As the orgnisation also hosts Shabbat dinners and festivals, you can be among your own from the moment you arrive.

You can hear the goat bells from the terrace

If it’s a haimishe welcome you’re after, then book one of three eclectic cottages at Casa De Mondo in the hills of Boliqueime. Just 25 minutes from Faro airport and within sight of the sea, House of the World (as it translates) is a rustic property with a gorgeous pool, a terrace of pomegranate and lemon trees, and a chilled vibe. Also welcoming little ones (cots are available), Casa De Mondo is close enough to the action in Albufeira, but remote enough to enjoy the sound of goat bells.

Palms by the Casa De Mondo pool? Is this Portugal or Hawaii?

The property provides breakfast, but the generous hosts invite guests to dinners and BBQs cooked by Michelin star chefs who just happen to be their friends.

Mexican Fiesta vibe lunch at Casa de Mondo

You might even get to make an authentic pastel de nata, which travellers will enjoy as much as the nearby village, where festivals happen weekly. If you like to celebrate in warmer climes, the large imagination will make it memorable fiesta. And if you want a small wedding (there are hotels nearby for guests) the vintage American car on the drive is available to hire.


Further down the hill in posh Quinta Da Lago,The Four Seasons Fairways is a manicured resort with luxury villas for large families. Landscaped gardens, private pools and easy access to the many golf courses, anyone with a low handicap might want to audition for the Four Seasons Fairways Club Competition.

Lazy guests who don’t want to cook (who does on holiday?) can take advantage of the onsite Vivo Bistro & Cocktail Lounge, where they also do take away but, in or out, the menu offering such delicious plates as goats’ cheese panna cotta with fresh fig or seared sea bass will have you ordering every night

Seared sea bass at Vivo Bistro

If you want to eat out without the kids, there is a babysitting service and by day a new crèche service for six-month-old babies and toddlers up to two. The revamped kids’ club caters for three- to 12-year-olds and fills days with Disney cinema afternoons, treasure hunts and private swimming lessons. Ask nicely and you can have a lesson too as the staff are very obliging. But they’re willingness to help does not extend to improving your golf handicap. 

West End Travel in Swiss Cottage and Hendon has much to celebrate. Not
only has it many times been awarded El Al’s agent of the year, it is celebrating 50 years in the industry. Owner David Segel says that providing a first-class service, getting to know his clients and knowing the business inside-out are key to his longevity and success. If the pandemic taught travellers anything, it’s that real people – ie travel agents – are so much better at organising journeys and sorting out problems than the internet.

The Burj Al Arab Hotel – get there with West End Travel

“Just as you would go to an accountant for financial advice and a lawyer for legal issues, why would you not go to an expert in travel when booking a trip?” asks David. “Did you know that we can often beat even the lowest flight price you can find online? What’s more, we can hold flights, hotels rooms and tours for months with no down payment; we can negotiate the most suitable rooms for you and give advice you will most definitely need when travelling in a post-pandemic world. Things do go wrong and, if you use an agent, it becomes their problem, not yours. If airlines lose baggage or cancel flights or there are delays, if your hotel room is not what was promised – that’s what we are there to resolve.”

After two years of travel restrictions, frustrated travellers are throwing caution to the wind, packing their bags and jetting off. Israel is blooming and Dubai and Abu Dhabi are the hotspots. West End Travel has great deals to all of these and many more, with professional and personal service.

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