When travelers unfamiliar with a place rely on its past reputation as a spring break haunt for college kids or a family-friendly place with limited dining opportunities, there is nowhere to go but up — even if some genuinely excellent restaurants have served its residents for ages. That’s certainly true on South Padre Island, whose chefs and restaurateurs take full advantage of its sub-tropical location in the Gulf of Mexico, fresh produce from the Texas mainland and a mix of familiar (Mexican, Texas barbeque) and unexpected culinary influences from near and far.
The alluring Brigitte Bardot made Saint-Tropez such a legendary destination a Lebanese business tycoon built Le Byblos hotel in an extravagant attempt to woo her. French singer Johnny Hallyday also has a mythical reputation in the village (he’s the subject of an exhibit at the Musée de la Gendarmerie et du Cinema through June 2020). So does resident artist Paul Signac, who lured his avant-garde friends to paint in the village, and who is the subject of a show at the Musée de l’Annonciade.
By Hainan Airlines
Lagos offers the best of the Algarve’s two worlds. At the western end of Portugal’s fabled beach-lined coast, Lagos combines a mellow, relaxed charm with excellent tourist facilities: good hotels, plenty of restaurants and a variety of water sports and things to do. It’s a great base for exploring this quieter end of the Algarve, which includes a bit of history kids can relate to.