Despite the economic crisis and the travails it has brought, Lagos Council seems hell bent on continuing to destroy what little remains of its night-life attraction. While I can sympathise with the issue of noise in the old town, it is a regrettable side effect of about the only economic raison d'etre for the town, at present.
Fishing is practically dead, the cost of parking is chasing people away from down-town shops, and this latest move will contribute to the slow death for the solo traveler business.
Lagos, for many years, has been on the European backpacker route for US and Antipodean travelers. One of the attractions has been the late night activity. This has generate substantial income for Lagos in terms of backpacker hostels, etc. It has also spread the word about the desirability of Lagos as a holiday destination.
Lagos is already suffering from a number of almost terminal hits.
I have never seen Lagos so quiet as over the past few days. Even the Vila Galé Hotel only had 20 to 30 cars in the car park over Christmas.
Lagos in the Algarve is dying. The local youth are moving away and it is not just because of the economic crisis.
I suspect, that in the absence of having money to spend, and to try to distract the populace from the fact that vast amounts of money do not appear to have been spent wisely in Lagos in recent years, the Council, with elections coming up in late 2013, are trying to push through a measure that will be popular with residents of the old town, irrespective of the economic consequences.
Given the increased cost and difficulty of getting to Lagos, what with ongoing train strikes, motorway tolls, reduce frequencies of flights to Faro, the prognosis for this town is not good.
I have always made an effort to promote and encourage folk to visit Lagos, but these latest measures are making me actively desist from promoting it.
I no longer can recommend Lagos as an ideal cost-effective destination for holidays.
I now prefer to encourage travelers to visit Lisbon, where there is still a night life, a greater range of things to do and tourist offers, and some great beaches at Oeiras, Carcavelos and Estoril. From there, it is also much easier to visit other parts of Portugal, than it is from Lagos.
In the Algarve, albeit the eastern end, it appears that Olhão and Monte Gordo are making a real effort to promote themselves as "visitor friendly destinations"!!
At present, there are currently no direct flights scheduled from Faro to Milano in either the winter or summer 2013.
Ryanair have tried to animate routes to both Milano/Bergamo & Orio al Serio in previous seasons, as well as to Madrid and Barcelona.
Indeed, I even understand that for Summer 2013 there will be no route to Madrid.
Unfortunately, it appears that low usage resulted in these being dropped. Efforts have been made to promote the Algarve as a tourist destination into the Italian and Spanish market but with little success. So existing scheduled routes target the destinations in the Algarve's main target markets...viz. UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France, Scandanavia, Switzerland, Canada, Luxembourg and certain charter markets such as Poland, Finland and Russia.
Decreases in visitors is severely affecting Faro's attractiveness as a flight destination and I am afraid it is only going to get worse.
I recently had to travel from Lagos, Algarve to Pompeii in Italy via Napoli. The only options were either via Sevilla or Lisboa. In the end, because I like Seville and had to spend the night there, I took the twice daily bus from the Algarve to Seville and then flew Vueling.com from there.
I am increasingly recommending folk want to travel to and from the Algarve to consider using Lisbon as their gateway. There are frequent buses between Albufeira and other Algarve towns to Lisbon, taking three to four hours and from Lisbon there is a much greater choice to flights to a variety of European and destinations including Italy.
As regards France, ryanair.com fly several times a week to Paris Beauvais.
Have a specific look at vueling.com. They are the only real low-cost airline that I know that offers through booking. When I flew from Seville to Napoli in November 2012, I got a ticket for €55.00. The route, however, was by one aircraft from Seville to Barcelona, a two hour stop-over and then another Barcelona to Napoli.
Vueling.com fly from Lisbon as well.
On final option to consider, could be flying Ryanair from Faro to Porto. There are many more flights from Porto into destinations in France, Spain and Italy than there are from Faro.
Ask us that question a few days before 15th August.
In principle, there should be both rail and bus services.
However, with the ongoing work to rules and strikes that have been affecting the railways here over the past few months that have affected travel on public holidays and ongoing labour rumblings in all sectors, it is unlikely we can say what the situation is with any certainty until a couple of days before.
It has been announced this afternoon that the Portuguese Airport Authority, operator of Lisbon,Porto, Faro, Azores Airports and Beja International has been sold to Vinci, a French Consortium. (Not sure about Madeira)
Although the company operates a few small regional airport in France the purchase of ANA will bring the company into the ranks of the big international airport operators.
Three weeks ago, en route to Sevilla on the morning EVA bus from Lagos, about 5 minutes from VRSA, and with three pax of Asian looks on board, I heard the driver phone the police at the border to say the bus would be crossing the border in "15 minutos"!
When we arrived at the Guadiana bridge, sure enough, there were two Spanish Guarda Civils from the joint border control point waiting to walk through the bus and check ID's. The three paxs turned out to be from South Korea, so no problem.
On the return trip, a week later, we passed over the bridge with no id check stop.
I have noticed the drivers doing something similar before but have never been close enough behind them to hear the conversation exactly. It appears the the drivers of both the DAMAS and EVA buses on the Sevilla run have an "unofficial" agreement to notify the border police if they are carrying passengers whose id they think should be checked.
Therefore, always carry a passport or Euro ID if crossing the Portuguese border between Portugal and Spain at VRSA/Ayamonte.
Portuguese Govt. has decided not to sell TAP to the only accepted bidder, (ostensibly due to lake of bank guarantees)! Says it remains the Goverment's intention to privatise the airline in 2013! See: (in Portuguese) http://lnkd.in/8vHtMS
Once again I have to report that a taxi driver at Lisbon Airport last Saturday night tried the "forgot to switch on meter" scam.
My wife arrived on a flight from Italy at about 22:00 and although she is wise to such things, after a long days travel, she did not notice that the taxi driver who was taking her too the VIP Zurch Hotel at Entrecampos had not switched on the metre.
En route, she noticed the meter was not ticking and asked him how much he was going to charge her!
"Euro 25.00, says he!"
My wife speaks Portuguese very well, although with a Anglo-Brazilian-Rio-Carioca accent! The taxi driver thought he had picked up an innocent Brazilian Tourist!!!! Unfortunately, for him, my wife knew the approximate cost of the ride and had, fortunately, in her bag, a receipt for €7.50 for a similar trip from the Airport to the VIP Zurch a couple of weeks previously.
There then ensued a rather strong "fish market" conversation, in Portuguese, at the end of which the taxi driver received €11:00 as it was late on Saturday night.
When she told me later, I said she should have gone into the hotel and told the reception to call the police. She said the receptionist on duty said exactly the same.
So, if you are flying into Lisbon Airport and are going to use a taxi to get to your destination:
1) Go to the Lisbon Tourism desk (Straight in front of the exit from the baggage hall) and ask them how much a taxi should cost to your destination.
1) Make sure the meter is ticking before your leave the stand! If he doesn't switch it on, call one of the PSP officers who are usually hanging around the taxi stand and tell them.
2) If you only find out, en route, the meter is not working, as soon as you arrive at your destination call the receptionist and tell them. They may well call the police.
Lisbon Airport taxis drivers are hurting because of the recent opening of the metro to the Airport. However, forewarned is forearmed and the more we nip this in the bud now the better!
As I surmised previously, negotiations for the sale of TAP-Air Portugal are becoming increasingly difficult as the Portuguese Government's constraints of the sale are becoming so rigid as to make it almost impossible for potential investors. One almost thinks the Government does not really want sell the Airline.
The latest news is that the Portuguese Govt. is demanding 100% bank financing guarantees from the sole remaining preferred bidder.
It appears that repairs to two damaged bridges and other roadworks on the N120 between Lagos, Algarve, Portugal and Aljezur/Odemira will advance during the first half of 2013, reports local newspaper Sul.