Friday, 6 June 2008

Algarve & Portugal - Possible Itinerary - Summer 2008

As you are coming to the Algarve between 20 to 26 July, I STRONGLY repeat STRONGLY do not recommend Albufeira.

This is peak tourist season.

Albufeira will be full of tourists from Northern Europe at that time. It has lost its Portuguese character. If you want a resort full of English, Irish, and Dutch Pubs then Albufeira is OK.

Otherwise, I would strongly recommend you consider the following alternatives:

1) Lagos

In the Western Algarve and where I live. Dating from prehistoric times, it retains its city walls and Portuguese character. Lots of Portuguese restaurants. Historically, it was the jumping of point for the Portuguese Voyages of Discovery.

Great Beaches - Meia Praia, 5km of sand, Porto de Mos, Praia Dona Ana.

An ideal departure point for exploring the Algarve and the West Coast.

Have a look at this link on wikipedia:,_Portugal

If you read Portuguese, see this one as well:

In Lagos, I can recommend, the Marina Club which should suit your needs.


Also, The Hotel Aqualuz

Both the above are near beaches but also within easy walking distance of the town for restaurants and bars.

If you are looking for apartment rental, have a look at the Lagos page of this website here:

The site is still being developed for 2009 so you would have to email them on:

They have rental apartments on Meia Para Beach that I know, but you need a car.

I can also suggest you look at

Don't worry about the site. The owner is reputable and has a good range of properties.

For the above two you can say you were referred by Barlaventoexpert!

You may find some more nuggets of interest by searching my blog here:

2) In the Eastern Algarve, I would recommend Tavira which like Lagos retains a sense of character.

I not sure what your budget is but I can recommend the Hotel Vila Galé in Tavira.

As regards, travelling to the Algarve, make sure you do want to take the Bus.

EVA buses leave Lisbon from the Sete Rios coach station - Metro Station - Jardim Zoologico and about 12 minutes from Rossio by Metro.

However, it is you first time coming to the Algarve, you might consider the train.

The trip is spectacular. Leaving Lisbon Entrecampos Station (Metro Station - Entrecampos) you cross the 25 Abril bridge with stunning views over the Tejo and then pass through the Alentejo until reaching the Algarve. There are two fast Alfa-Pendular trains and several Intercity trains per day. The former are air conditioned.

For Lagos, you would change trains to a local train at Tunes, while

for Tavira, you would change trains at Faro.

You can find a direct link to the pdf version of the current CP timetable for this route on my blog:

Scroll down on the right and you will find at panel entitled:

»» Algarve & Portugal - Travel Transport Links

In this panel look for:

>>>Portuguese Railways - 2008 - Lisbon - Algarve Faro/Lagos Timetable

Click on it to download the timetable in pdf form.

As regards, car hire most vehicles in Portugal are manual shift. Automatics are available at a premium and need to booked well in advance.

In Lisbon & Tavira, I would recommend AutoJardim.

In Lagos, I would recommend Luzcar (they could meet you off the train)

As regards day trips to Porto, your best bet would be by High Speed Alfa-Pendular Train from Sta. Apolonia Station.

You can find the timetable in my blog as indicated above under:

>> Porto - Lisbon - Porto Train Timetable

Current trip time is 2hr:45min each way so you will not have lot of time.

Really you should concentrate on the River area and the Centre of the Town.

For more info, have a look at this link to the Porto offical tourism site: