Thursday, 28 February 2013

Ryanair - New Dublin Route To Bremen

Ryanair yesterday announced a new Dublin to Bremen route starting September 2013

For more info see:

New Dublin Route To Bremen

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Lisbon Airport Online Shop

There is an online Lisbon airport shop where you can pickup puchase on arrival. 
It operates between 08:00 and 22:00.
However, for those interested the site is:
and there is an collection point within the baggage hall prior to customs.
I saw it last time I was through LIS at the beginning of the month!

Sunday, 24 February 2013

London City Airport (LCY) to Faro (FAO) - Summer 2013

BA will be operating three flights a week between London City Airport (LCY) and Faro (FAO), Algarve, Portugal between 22 July 2013 and 30 August 2013.


Ryanair - Dublin Runway Caper - February 15

Not good news for St. Michael of O'Leary:

First problems with flights in Spain and Italy, now problems at home base!!!!!

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Bus Station (Rede Expressos) in Porto

The main bus station in Porto from where long distance Rede-Expressos and Citi-Express services arrive and depart is:
4000 PORTO
Tel.: 222052459
(2 minutes walking from "Praça da Batalha")
Its location can be found on the following map:
If you then need to use the Metro, the closest station is Metro Station Bolhão, 5-6 minutes walk from "Praça de Batalha.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Coimbra do Chaupal

On the topic of Coimbra, I would mention my acquaintance Jõao Farinha, and the guitarristas from Fado do Centro on Rua do Quebra Costas nº 7 - 3000-340 Coimbra in Coimbra. (You'll find out why the street is called "Quebra Costas" when you go there!) :)))

João has a wonderful voice and his colleagues have created a wonderful show case for the haunting and melodic sounds of the traditional Fado of Coimbra.


Here they perform the famous fado do Coimbra, "Coimbra", while strolling through the streets of Coimbra. I have had the pleasure to listen to them in person five or six times and it is a wonderful experience!

The lyrics in Portuguese are:

Coimbra do Choupal,
Ainda és capital
Do amor em Portugal,

Coimbra, onde uma vez,
Com lágrimas se fez
A história dessa Inês 
Tão linda!

Coimbra das canções,
Tão meiga que nos pões
Os nossos corações
A nu.
Coimbra dos doutores,
P'ra nós os teus cantores
A fonte dos amores
És tu.

Coimbra é uma lição
De sonho e tradição
O lente é uma canção

E a lua a faculdade
O livro é uma mulher
Só passa quem souber
E aprende-se a dizer


The lyrics cannot be literally translated as the song conveys the "alma" of the students of Coimbra and their longing (saudades) for their famous alma-mater. It also makes romantic references to incidents in Portuguese history. 

The line "A história dessa Inês " casts Coimbra as Inês de Castro, who was murdered in Coimbra in 1325. (See:


Almond Blossom in the Algarve

A good presentation on the history of the famous January/February almond blossom in the Algarve region of Portugal:

Lisbon Airport, Portugal - Aerobus to Gare Oriente

Silly Me!

I have just realised a few months after the Metro link opened between Lisbon Airport and Lisbon Gare Oriente Rail/Bus Station, that the Aerobus service that used to run between the Airport and Gare Oriente has been discontinued.

This is an obvious move given the availability of the Metro link.

Driving from Lagos,Portugal to Lisbon by back roads

The easiest non-electronic toll way to get to Lisbon from Praia da Luz or Lagos avoiding electronic tolls is as follows:
1) Praia da Luz to Lagos on the N125.
2)On approaching Lagos turn left before the Total Garage, at the first roundabout, onto the A22 motorway feeder road. Follow the signs for BensafrimAljezur, Sines.
3) After 8km on a non-toll motorway, one comes to a roundabout.
4)Turn left and continue on the N120 to Aljezur
5) Go through Aljezur and turn left onto the N120 towards Rogil, Maria, Vinagre, Odeceixe.
At Odeceixe one crosses a bridge into the Alentejo.
Continue on passing São Teotonio until one comes to Odemira.
6) At Odemira, drop down the hill, cross the bridge and turn left.
7) Continue onto the next roundabout and cross straight over following signs on the N120 to S. Luis and Cercal. (The next 10km of road are a bit curvy and bumpy.)
8) Pass through S. Luis and continue to Cercal.
9) At Cercal, one will come to a roundabout - turn right on the N262 towards Alvalade.
10) When you reach Alvalade, continue straight on until you hit the old Algarve - Lisbon road. (IC1)
11) Turn left onto the IC1. Pass through the village of Mimosa,
12) Continue along this road about 30 kms until you reach an off-ramp leading off to the right heading for the A2 - Lisboa Motorway.
13) Take this road. When one comes to the toll plaza, take a ticket.
14) Then follow the A2 passing Grandola, Alcacer do Sal and always following the signs for A2 Lisbon.
15) Near Marateca, the motorway from Madrid merges from left. Keep following A2 Lisboa.
16) After about 30 kms one comes to an intersection indicating A12, Ponte Vasco da Gama, Montijo, Lisboa. Follow this off to the right.
17) After about 30km one will come to a toll booth where one can pay cash to a human or a machine.
18) Shortly afterwards you will go through another Toll Booth where one can pay cash to cross the Vasco da Gama bridge into Lisbon.
19) Continue onto the bridge, cross the Tejo.
20) At the 2nd off-ramp after the bridge follow the signs for 2ª Circular, Aeroporto onto the 2º Circular (Ring Road).
21) After about +-4kms one will see the off-ramp marked Aeroporto to one's right.
22) Take this off-ramp, bearing off right into the Airport approach and voila.
Transit Time PDL - Lisbon on this route (+-4:30 hours driving) (I have done it at 04:30 on a Sunday morning in 3:45 minutes non-stop)

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Advance Warning! TAP/Air Portugal - Possible Strike Action

I have have just had in a news article reporting that a meeting between the Unions representing airline workers at TAP and the Portuguese Government today did not finish very happily.
Article in Portuguese here:
Based on recent comments by representatives of the unions I suspect serious strike action, (á la Iberia) may soon follow!!!
I suspect that anyone planning to fly to Portugal in the next months and considering flying with TAP, consider carefully before booking!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Lisbon as an alternative Transit Point for Lagos, Algarve, Portugal

if you take into account the stress involved these days in hiring a car at Faro Airport, the problems with the motorway tolls, the fact that one only knows the day before if a certain train is going to run between Faro and Lagos on a certain day, limited bus frequencies and no public transport links after +- 17:45 as well as other "known unknowns" and "unknown knowns", travelling to Lagos via Lisbon by coach is a doddle and often cheaper!!!!!!
Between Renex, EVA-Mundial and Rede-Expressos we have over 16 daily services between Lagos and Lisbon... more than the 15 we have (on weekdays) between Faro and Lagos by bus and by train.
The EVA Transrapido bus to Faro takes 2hrs 10 minutes and then one still has to get to the Airport.
The train is takes less time but still takes +- 1hr 40mins and but again one still has to get to the Airport.
In the end, now that the metro is open to Gare Oriente and the Aerobus Nº. 2 Service to Sete Rios has been improved, Lisbon as a point of entry for Lagos is a good option.

Train from Lisbon Airport to Faro

Firstly, be aware that there are ongoing periodic strikes/work to rules affecting Portuguese Railways. You should check status 48 and 24 hours before prior to travelling at the Railway's website:
You can find the timetable for the line (Linha do Sul) here:
If your final destination is really Faro there is a good chance that there will be minimal problems. Both Intercidades and high speed Alfa-Pendular services operate between Lisbon Gare Oriente Station and Faro and are only minimally affected by work-to-rules.
In the unhappy event you get hassled by strikes you can always take a long distance coach from Lisbon to Faro. operates buses from Lisbon Gare Oriente Rail/Bus Station to Faro. Again take the Metro three stops from the Airport as indicated above. operate in excess of 12 services daily from Lisbon Sete Rios Bus Station to Faro.
To travel from the Airport to Lisbon Sete-Rios/Metro Jardim Zoologico take the Aerobus Line 2 Bus from outside the main arrivals hall at the Airport. The service runs every 30 minutes from 07:30 to 22.00. Takes about 25 minutes depending on traffic.
Finally, bear in mind that TAP-Air Portugal operate 3 to 4 daily feeder flights from Lisbon to Faro Airport.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

House or Apartment to rent - Porto

Look at Boavista Palace.
We stayed there last week for a week. We have stayed there at least twice over the past 2 years when in Porto.
Located in the Boavista area, only two blocks from Carolina Michaelis Metro and an 8 minute walk from Casa da Musica. It is very easy to access most areas of Greater Porto from there.
See some reviews here:

Porto at Night / a Noite from/de International Space Station

A wonderful night photo of the Porto area of Portugal has been taken by Commander Chris Hadfield based on the International Space Station / Uma foto maravilhosa da área do Porto tem sido tomada à noite pelo comandante Chris Hadfield baseado na Estação Espacial Internacional:

"The city of Porto and the Portuguese coast, taken with our ESA NightPod tracking mount. "

Here is a copy of the photo:

Monday, 18 February 2013

Tourism Arrivals on the up - North of Portugal

An article into today's national "Publico" newspaper confirms what I've been sensing qualitatively for the past few months! (Article here in Portuguese )

Tourist arrivals and visits to the North of Portugal have been increasing. It is clear from sources such as Trip Advisor Forums and forums that there is increasing interest in non-traditional tourism destinations in Portugal on the part of foreign visitors.

This is very good news for the Lisbon, Costa da Prata, Região Centro, Porto, Minho,  Douro, Madeira and Azores Regions but not such good news for the Southern Algarve Region, Portugal's traditional sun and sand holiday destination.

This development does not surprise me given the following facts:

1) The Algarve has become an "expensive" destination when compared to alternative competitors such as Turkey, Bulgaria and even the Spanish Costa's.
2) The Algarve has become an "expensive" destination when compared to alternative national destinations such as Lisbon and Porto. I spent the week in Porto last week. Hotels are cheaper and good typical restaurant/cafe food is up to 15% cheaper.
3) Although the other regions may not have such a long period of "sunny" months, they offer everything else the Algarve offers and more. Good Portuguese wines and cuisine, good public transport, good accommodation, and a much greater greater range of cultural, historic and "fun" things to do while on vacation.
4) With excellent traditional and low-cost air connections through Lisbon and Porto Airports, an excellent internal bus and train network, and excellent multi-lingual tourism industry workers, the rest of Portugal has gone big time as a great holiday/vacation destination.

The Algarve, well it will always be there but I am afraid than the sheen is rapidly dropping of this once "pearl" of Portuguese and European Tourism and if the local operators and national authorities do not do something soon, it is going to take a decade or so before the Algarve regains its pre-eminent position as the pearl of Portugal's tourism industry.

I leave you with a photo of from the lovely town of Amarante in the North of Portugal taken last week.


Saturday, 16 February 2013

Parking in Porto and Comments on Amarante

Unfortunately, the rail line to Amarante was lifted a few years ago.
There are almost hourly bus services during the working week from Amarante bus station to Porto operated by Rodonorte.
Timetable extract here:
You do not really want to drive into Porto, as parking in the centre is bad, as previously mentioned. If you have to drive in, head around the ring road to somewhere like Praça da Batalha/Casa da Musica and try to find parking in a side-street. A good area is around the Metro Station Carolina Michaelis near Praça da Batalha.
Then use the excellent Metro/Bus service and Shank's pony to get around!
If you want to take the train, drive to somewhere like Caide (about 20 kms away and take the twice hourly service into Porto-Campanha or Porto-São Bento)

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Faro Airport - Algarve Car Hire woes

Very interesting article on the ongoing stories of alleged poor treatment of holidaymakers hiring cars at Faro Airport.

If hiring a car for one's holiday in the Algarve, make sure when you arrive at Faro Airport, you should hire from a reputable firm such as Luzcar, Amoita, Auto Jardim..

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Lagos, Algarve, Portugal - "Bar Wars" - Inquiry into Conflict of Interest

Interesting article here, in Portuguese, about the allegations concerning conflict of interest affecting the engineer at the Câmara Municipal de Lagos responsible for the implementation of the proposed Bar Regulations:

Câmara de Lagos abre inquérito à atuação da coordenadora da Unidade de Fiscalização

Monday, 4 February 2013

Lisbon to Praia de Mira

There is are several buses daily from Coimbra (Portagem) to Praia da Mira.
I would recommend:
1) Arrive Lisbon Airport
2) Immediately get the Metro or taxi (Watch the latter! We had yet another contretemps about fares last night with the driver we who took us to Lisbon Gare Oriente Station to get the RENEX bus to the Algarve. We were running late and had no time to take the Metro. Luckily we both speak Portuguese and the driver lost!)
3) Get the 21h27 train from Oriente to Coimbra-B (repeat Coimbra-B) arriving at 23h36. (
4) Take a taxi (Safer at that time of night) to a hotel near the Coimbra Portagem area.
5) Have a look at the Residencial Vitoria (my favorite), the Hotel Ibis or the Residencial Larbelo. I have stayed in the first two. (Tell them you are arriving v.late)
6) In the morning, ask for directions to Portagem (Along the river front, a 100m from each of these Hotels.)
7) Transdev/Joalto Mondego have departures at 7:15, 10:00 and 13.05 all of which go to Praia da Mira. There is also an 08:05 that terminates in Mira.
Transite time is 1h:30mins.
Timetable here (pdf download):