Monday, 4 July 2011

Lagos on a budget

Hostels in Lagos:

Have a look at:

I know both personally and both great places to stay.

Stop Press - Porto - Vigo Rail Service cancelled.

The national newspaper "Publico" has just reported that CP (Portuguese Railways) is stopping its service between Porto and Vigo as from next Sunday, 10th July 2011.

Henceforth, the only public transport connections between the North of Portugal and the Galicia region of Sapin will be by bus.

See (in Portuguese):

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Palaces in the Algarve and the South of Portugal

Just got back from a business trip to Coimbra! (Cubsur...Rede Expressos up - 6hrs 45 mins / Rede Expressos back to Sete Rios, Lisbon and then EVA to Lagos - 6hrs 45. Round trip cost - +- € 60.00)

If you want three days of history in Portugal, Coimbra and environs are a good place to start.

Viz Lagos and history:

While there may not be castles on the scale of Pena, Obidos, Alcobaça and Batalha in the Western Algarve there is plenty of history.

Recent archaelogical research suggests that the region of Portimão and Lagos was inhabited by he Phoenicians +- 2600 years ago.

There are Roman ruins in Lagos and Praia da Luz.

Lagos evolved as a town during Moorish and early Portuguese history and it was from Lagos, Sagres, Sines and Lisbon that the first Portuguese voyages that opened up the route to India around the Cape of Good Hope and to Brazil.

Much of the town was destroyed in the 1755 earthquake, at which time, the Capital of the Algarve was transferred to Faro. Although the city walls remain, as do certain key churches and other buildings, much of the old town was destroyed at that time.

None less, together with Tavira, Lagos is still one of the two towns in the Algarve that retains their "Portuguese Feel" and atmosphere.

The nearest castles are at Silves(Moorish) and Loulé. There are no palaces in the Algarve. Prior to the arrival of rail, the Algarve was still considered not part of Portugal and, in fact, treated more like a colony.

Until the end of the monarchy in 1910, the monarch was known officially as the "king/Queen" of Portugal and the Algarve. Despite this, the monarch's rarely if ever visited the Algarve, hence, no Palaces in the regal sense.

Indeed, from memory there are few "Palaces" per se South of a line running from Setubal to Evora.

Plenty of large and small castles but Palaces no!

List of Palaces in Portugal from Wikipedia (in Portuguese) here:

Also, see:,_Portugal

A final thought, if you have a car and are coming in October, (and, if cost is an issue, depending on whether tolls will have then been implemented on the A22), you could take your friend to Sevilla for the day (Albeit a long one!). 3hrs each way on good motorway. Park at either Estacion das Armas or Colon Underground car park and visit the Alcazar Palace.


Also pop into the Cathedral next door and see Christopher Columbus' tomb!

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Cheap and Cheerful Restaurants in Lagos, Algarve, Portugal

Restaurant A Forja

R. Ferreiros 15/7, Lagos 8600-727, Portugal


I am sure there will be no problem taking a baby there but be warned it is a bit claustrophobic when full.

Another cheap and cheerful is the Adega da Marina on the Avenida.

I'm tending to go there these days when I get back to Lagos late in the evening.

Had a meal there last night - Costeletas do Porco, Salad, Bread, Butter, 1/4l of wine and a Bica Cheia for € 10.25

Another real cheap and cheerful I often go to is:

Churrasqueira Frangos S. João

Urb. Marina Sol Lote 17 - loja A

8600-707 Lagos

Telefone: 282 767 128

To get there, wander down the Avenida in the direction of Mcdonalds, until you come to the Seagulls' roundabout. (a/k/a the Caravela Roundabout).

Turn left into Rua Vasco da Gama, at the Posto do Turismo, take the first right and then right again. The Restaurant is on the left.

I have been known, recently, to have a full workman's lunch there for € 7.50.

Supper is equally reasonable.

The installations are clean, if somewhat basic. There is no menu...they tell you what's on the menu that day. They do speak some English. Great for kids. The locals who hang out there are a good bunch.

If it's any recommendation the local police and ambulance service often stop in for take-outs.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Churrasqueira Esperança - Lagos - Algarve - Portugal

Had lunch at Antonio's new restaurant today!

He has moved to Chincato Industrial estate up from the Solmate Showroom and above Barão Madeiras..

The new place is called

Churrasqueira Esperança

Urb. Ind. da Marateca

Lt 14 Loja 1

Tel: 282 082 502

Tm: 918 362 740

Told him that folks are after him on the Web!

Promised to pass this on!

Easiest way to get there:

Head out of Lagos on the N125.

1km out take the filter lane off left at Raminho's, just after Pete's Plants.

Continue along the filter lane until you come to the first road on your right!

Solmate is on the corner on the left.

50m up the hill and you will see the Churrasqueira Esperança on your right.

Off source if you know the short cut from much the better!!! ;))

Friday, 6 May 2011

Portugal - Economic Crisis TNG - To boldly go.....!!

Well, things are roaring ahead here, (or perhaps backwards - 2% GDP growth next year!)

However, the Portuguese sense of humour has not yet been lost.

Wonderful video here (partl in Portuguese) starring the three wise men from The IMF, The European  Central Bank and the European Commission, known locally as the "Troika" - Jürgen Kröger (European Commission), Poul Thomsen (IMF) e Rasmus Rüffer (ECB) - Their job! To do what's never been done before...Fix Portugal's economic mess.

If the country can produce videos like this, increases in service exports should be no problem!


Obrigado Sérgio para o link! :))

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Re: EuropCar Emergency Asst Left Me Alone and Stranded

I would have thought a call to 112, (They have English speakers) the Portuguese national emergency number would have at least brought a local police officer to the scene who would have been able to help you.

As regards mobile phones, just make sure with your Stateside operator before you leave, that your sim card and mobile phone work in Europe. These day, if one has a quadband phone equipped with a suitable sim card there should be no problem.

I have difficulty understanding the constant problems North Americans seem to have with mobile phones when traveling internationally. I have used my basic Portuguese mobile phone all over Europe, in South Africa, in Hong Kong without any problem. Sounds like US based mobile operators are not nearly as customer friendly as ours over here.

As regards the reaction of the Portuguese shop staff and security, I find this story strange. I am sure if you had said you were not feeling well, they would have called 112 for you. I have known Portugal for 40 years and generally, the Portuguese are very helpful if someone is in need. They may not appear so to one's face but they are.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Portuguese Motorways - Electronic tolls - Latest

There was an announcement to night that the tolls will not be introduced on April 15th as planned as the caretaker government here in Portugal does not have the full legal status to implement them.
See: (in Portuguese)

It will probably be at least another two months before they are introduced.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Portuguese Motorways - Electronic tolls - Latest

Latest this evening! SIC TV News reports that despite the roads authority "Estradas de Portugal" being €2bn in the red and banks refusing further credit, it is highly likely that implementation of electronic tolls will be delayed from 15 April 2011 until after the elections in June.

Reason given is that the current caretaker govt. does not have the legal power to proceed.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Portuguese Motorways - Electronic tolls - Latest

A news flash on the RTP (Portuguese TV) web site today reports that a regulation has been published in today's Diario da Republica (Govt. Gazette) providing for the implementation of a pre-payment voucher costing € 20.00 and allowing circulation for unlimited mileage on motorways with electronic tolls for a period of three days.

Report here in portuguese:

As soon as the modalities of acquiring one of these pre-paid cards is clear will post more info.

Monday, 28 March 2011

What's a typical portuguese style dinner?

Portugal has a wonderfully diverse cuisine.

My favorite dinner would be to start with Caldo Verde Soup,


then proceed to Bacalhau com Natas. (Cod Fish in cream sauce)

See: http://

and then perhaps top it off at the end with Tarte de Natas (Cream Tart) for dessert.

See: http://portuguesemenu.blogspot.c...

A good bottle of Portuguese white wine during the meal.

Afterwards, a small black coffee washed down by Medronho, a Portuguese Air Force jet fuel variant, produced in the Southern Alentejo / North Algarve region of Portugal. (The caseira (home made version is always the best!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Santiago de Compostela - Lisbonne

Il n'existe pas des liens ferroviaire direct entre Santiago de Compostela et Lisbonne. Actuellement, il sérait necessaire voyager en passant de Madrid.

Le moyen le plus rapide avec le transport en commun entre ces deux villes est en autobus.

La société exploite un service quotidien:

Départ - Santiago de Compostela: 10:30
Arrivée - Lisbonne (Station d'autobus: Sete Rios): 19:30

C'est la solution la moins compliquée, étant donné que toutes les autres solutions, il faudrait au moins deux transbordements en route.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Sofitel Liberdade Lisbon to Porto by Train

From the Sofitel Liberdade Lisboa, the nearest train station for Porto is Sta. Apolonia, which is also the terminus for trains to and from Porto from Lisbon.

If you have a lot of bags, I would counsel a taxi which should not cost more than a few euros.

The hotel is close to Avenida Metro station, which is on the Blue Line which runs straight to its terminus at Stª. Apolonia. It is a 10 minute run to Stº. Apolonia.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Tolls on the A22 - Via de Infante - Algarve - Further Commentary

I've been away, but I am convinced that the chaos that is likely to result from a lack of foresight and planning by the Portuguese authorities on the planning of implementation of tolls on the A22/Via de Infante is going to result in a massive decrease in day and week-end tourists from Spain, with a substantial resultant negative multiplier effect on the local economy.

As diskwizz said above, this is going to hit the area west of Albufeira particularly.

I am, therefore, predicting a substantial decrease in tourism revenues for operators in this area for Summer 2010.

I do no believe the EN125 will be an option in Summer. It will be bumper to bumper. I have driven it from Lagos to Faro Airport several times recently and even off-season it takes 1hr. 25 minutes early on a Sunday morning.

My own advice to those planning to visit the Algarve after 15th April is as follows:

1) Come on a package tour including hotel and transfers to destinations.
2) Do not hire a car from Faro Airport, unless you are prepared for a "grind" along the EN125 getting to your destination.
3) Do not get an airport transfer, unless the company in question can confim the price of the transfer when booking.

4) If travelling to the Algarve by air, do not consider the Algarve as your only destination!!!!

Consider flying to either Lisbon or Seville. Spend a couple of days in either centre and then take a bus or train to your final destination in the Algarve. That way you can see a bit more of Portugal/Andalusia as well.

If you need a hire car, rent on locally on arrival in your destination.

However, at all costs avoid the A22 - (Via de Infante)!!!

A final observation. Even with electronic tolls, there is a simple solution, which no one appears to have thought off. Parking Garage type ticket machines where one can by "one-off" magnetic cards for a single trip.

Only problem is "someone" has to pay for slightly more expensive readers, software and other equipment to mount on the pylons capable of reading them.

I am not against tolls per say, but this complete lack of planning for a workable toll system, is, I am convinced going to result in serious and possible fatal damage to the Algarve as a tourist destination.

Even within Portugal, the Algarve is under increasing competition from Lisbon, Porto and other destinations.

I cannot believe that the IMF, if they were called in to assist on Portugal's problems, would advise on killing the golden goose of Algarve tourism. I am sure they would have advised on the need to build toll booths or provide an alternative systems for car-borne visitors to the Algarve.

Seville Airport Buses (update)

The Seville Airport City Main Terminus Bus Stop is currently moving around frequently owing to works on the metro system. Even the locals don't know where it is.

I got caught out last Sunday en route from Lagos, Algarve to Palma da Mallorca via Seville and

Damas/Eva bus from Lagos to Sevilla Estacion da Armas.

Got myself to the Prado Bus Station and asked the newsagent (in Castellano) whether the bus stop for the EA airport bus was where it was previously. She said yes. I headed in the that direction in steady rain only to find it was not there. Then asked another local and was directed 300m in another direction.

No bus.

Finally asked yet a third person and finally was directed to another location 250m away where there were +- 70 people waiting in the rain for a bus that was 20 minutes late. It was one rather drenched Barlaventoexpert that finally got to Seville Airport. (Don't anyone let you believe that it doesn't rain on the plain in Spain!)

As off last Sunday, therefore, the itinerant Airport Bus Terminus Stop in Seville was located on Avda. El Cid (Jardines del Prado de San Sebastian Side) facing the Antigas Fabrica de Tabacos.

My return trip from Palma da Mallorca to Faro by Air Berlin was much more comfortable! :))

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Advice on Lagos

Lagos is not a "built-up" resort as in terms of Albufeira, Benidorm, Torremolinos.

It still retains the atmosphere of a "Portuguese" town. From the centre it is easy to walk to Praia de Batata and Pinhal beaches. Praia Dona Ana can be walked or bussed. Porto de Mos beach can be reached by local bus as can the 4km long stretch of Meia Praia just over the river.

In summer there is a small shuttle ferry over the river that takes you to the town end of Meia Praia in a couple of minutes.

As regards, accomodation I would also suggest you look at the following hotels:

Albergaria Marina Rio
Aqualuz Lagos
Hotel Marina Club.

These are also fairly well situated for east access to the centre.

The sea in July should be warmer but remember Lagos is located on the Atlantic and changes in sea current can mean the occasional period of colder water.

There are not many organised day trips available from Lagos. However, by bus one can visit Sagres, Salema, and Cape St. Vincent.

Also by taking the bus to Portimao you can also connect to a bus to Monchique, the small mountain that dominates the region.

I recommend you have a look at Cubsur's site for more bus info:


Saturday, 12 March 2011

Travel Madrid/Faro/Granada

It depends when you intend travelling.

As from 27th March 2011, will be restarting its direct flights from Madrid to Faro. Think they run three times a week.

Otherwise, the alternatives as indicated above are:

1) Bus - from Madrid Estacion del Sur bus station to Seville Plaza das Armas Bus Station and then either:

i) One of the two daily DAMAS/Eva transportes buses from Seville to Faro


Did this trip myself back in December 2010.

ii) One of the buses from Seville to Faro. (Twice daily at weekends)

2) Train/Bus

As previously stated, AVE train from Madrid to Seville and then bus as above.

As regards travelling from Faro to Granada, bus is the only real option and you will have to travel via Seville again. operates this route. It requires a transfer between Seville Estacion das Armas Bus Station and Prado Bus Station in Seville.

Current Schedule shows:

Depart Faro: 01:15
Arrive Granada: 11:00

You may be able to get better connections traveling by DAMAS/Eva transportes buses from faro to Seville and then connecting with a Seville to Granada bus.

There are several daily.

As regards cheap hire car at Faro Aiport, this is unlikely. Prices are climbing due to shortage of vehicles and a host of other economic factors.

However, bear in mind that the cheapest price quoted may not be the best once you look at the small print.

Train from Lisboa to Portimao

1) There is a train Station at Portimão.

2) There are two trains that will meet your needs:

i: Lisboa Gare Oriente Station Depart: 17h20
Portimão Arrive: 21h29

2: Lisboa Gare Oriente Station Depart: 18h42
Portimão Arrive: 21h42

Be aware that during March 2011, ongoing work to rule strikes by CP Rail staff has resulted in some train cancellations.

We do not know yet is this will continue in April and the online timetable for April is not yet up.

See this recent article on my blog for further information including information on buses from Lisbon to Portimão in the event of train disruption:

Train to Sintra from Entre Campos

Direct trains from Lisbon to Sintra depart from Rossio Station in the Baixa.
Travelling from Entrecampos is possible but you need to catch a train to Cacem or Monte Abraao and change there.

Link to timetable here:

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Lisbon,Portugal to Cadiz, Spain

There are no easy options for traveling by public transport between Lisbon and Cadiz.

There are expensive flights operated by TAP/Air Portugal between Lisbon and Seville from where you can get a bus or train to Seville.

Alternatively, you could take a long distance bus.

See the following article on my blog about travelling from Cadiz to Lisbon:

Just reverse the instructions and away you go.

Two days in Lisbon with child.

If you only have 2 days in the Lisbon, I would strongly suggest you do not plan to go far from the city.

With a child, places like Lisbon Zoo ( Site currently being remodelled), the Oceanarium at Parque de Nações ( ), and the beach at Estoril,(30 minutes by train from Cais de Sodre train station) (,would be your best bet.

Finally, a open top city tour is always a great thing for kids.


All the above are accessible by public transport (Metro/Train)

As regards accommodation it depends on your budget. One of the several IBIS hotels could be a good bet with kids. Alternative, you could have a look at:

Residencial Portuense (


Residencial Florescente. ( )

I have stayed at both and they are welcoming and very central.     

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Lisbon Airport to Portimão

Lets summarise this:

There are three ways to get from Lisbon Airport to Portimão by Public Transport:

1) Train -

Departures (Winter 2011 timetable) at

Transit Time from Lisbon between 3,5 and 4,5 hours.

Train Change at Tunes Junction.

Take the Nº.96 Aeroshuttle bus from Lisbon Airport to Lisbon Gare Oriente Station. Leaves every 30 minutes and takes about 10 minutes. Costs €3.00

Train Prices up to € 27.50 on way depending on train.

2) Bus - EVA/Rede Expressos - - Depart: Lisboa

Sete Rios Bus Station

To get from Lisbon Airport to Lisbon Sete Rios Long distance Coach Station again take the Nº.96 Aeroshuttle bus (this time in the other direction) which leaves from outside the Arrivals hall:

(Aeroshuttle - Copy of note from Lisbon Airport website.) Aeroshuttle (CARRIS Nº96) - Available everyday, every 30 minutes between 7am and 11pm, the aeroshuttle connects Gare Oriente - Airport - Entrecampos - Sete Rios Bus/Coach Station - Praça de Espanha.

Extract of Rede Expressos/EVA Bus Timetable - Current time of departures from Lisboa Sete Rios Bus Station to Portimão.(includes eva and rede expressos) here:


Prices between € 18:00 and € 19:00 one way per adult.

3) Bus - Renex - Depart: Lisboa Gare Oriente Bus Station

Take the Nº.96 Aeroshuttle bus from Lisbon Airport to Lisbon Gare Oriente Station. Leaves every 30 minutes and takes about 10 minutes. Costs €3.00

Timetables here in pdf format:

Prices usually less than Rede Expressos but transit time about 4,5 hours.

Note: The above information also applies to travelling from Lisbon Airport to Lagos. Arrival times in Lagos approx. 30 minutes later.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Spain - Lower Motorway Speeds.

This just in!

A report in today's Portuguese newspaper, Journal de Negocios, reports that the top motorway speed in Spain of 120km/hour is to be reduced to 110km/hour in an effort to promote reduced fuel consumption in the current economic crisis of increasingly climbing fuel prices.

See (In Portuguese):

Lagos, Algarve, Hotels

Sorry, been busy the past couple of days.

The Lagos hotels that will probably fit your needs are:

Lagos Town

Marina Club (As already mentioned)
Albergaria Marina Rio (Quality)

Porto de Mos

Vivenda Miranda - 2km from town but views spectacular and Porto de Mos beach nearby.

Meia Praia

Hotel Vila Galé - 50 m from beach. Regular bus to town in daytime and about 15 minutes walk from town via the shortcut behind the station.
Yellow Hotel Lagos - 3km from town but 50m from beach. Regular bus to town in daytime.

I also would not recommend the Tivoli Lagos! Its getting long in the tooth and the environs leave a lot to be desired,

Portugal - Alma - Mariza - Amalia

Thanks for the thanks. Portugal is a great place for independent travellers!

Next time, can I recommend, in addition to Ginja Obidos "oppidum", you try Beirão, Brandymel and if you can find it, Algarve/Alentejo produced Portuguese Air Force jet fuel, a/k/a Medronho!!!

As you have learned to appreciate fado, here are some links to renditions of some of my favorite Portuguese traditional songs for you:

Mariza - Barca Negra -
I saw Mariza sing this in the auditorium here in Lagos last August!

Amalia Rodrigues - "Casa Portuguesa" -
An extract from an old rendition by Amalia from the '60/70's on France 3.
This is how it should be sung!

Amalia Rodrigues - "Lisboa Antiga" -
Amalia singing to a b/w video of Lisbon made by the EPCI, a multimedia school in Lisbon. Brings back many memories from Lisbon years ago when I first new it as the capital city of an empire.

Amalia Rodrigues - "Coimbra" -

This song is about the famous university town, Coimbra.
For me all of these describe the term "alma", which is really unexplainable to non-Portuguese but which is absolutely central to the character of the Portuguese, be they from the Trás-os-Montes or the Algarve.


Monday, 21 February 2011

Sintra's Moorish Castle Book

Try contacting the Castle marketing person Susana Quaresma yourself by email:


I am sure they will be pleased to try and help you. I am sure if you write in English it will be no problem.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Walking near Lagos

The nearest supermarket is the one by the Triangulo Restaurant. The Intermarché supermarket is about 2km away depending where you are staying In Porto de Mós.

To get into Lagos, you will not route via the coast. The roads in the area and into town are all tarred, with pavements and good lighting. Be aware that the walk back up from Lagos can be a bit of a haul.

There is a cliff-top path running from Porto de Mós beach to the cliffs overlooking Praia da Luz. Be careful if using it, as parts of the cliff are eroding.

There is a steep path down the cliff to Praia da Luz. One will need to be fit.

Transport Lagos to Albufeira

Take the bus!

For Timetables:


or visit Cubsur's site at

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Transit Lisbon Airport

As a holder of an Australian passport you should be eligible to enter the EU Schengen area member states for up to 90 days.
See this article on wikipedia and especially the map at the bottom of the article.

Consequently, it would appear that, subject to anything that would preclude you personally entering a Schengen Member State, there would be no problem in you exiting Lisbon Airport for your layover as Portugal is one of the Schengen Member States.

Tolls on the A22 - Via de Infante - Algarve - Further Commentary

By mid April 2010, it is likely that electronic tolls will be introduced on the A22, Via de Infante, which is the main arterial motorway linking Spain with the western Algarve.

In recent years, the number of Spanish tourists from Seville, Huelva and western Andalucia who have used this motorway for day or week-end trips and spent a lot of money in local restaurants has been very beneficial to the struggling local economy.

I am not against tolls, as I understand that Portugal needs to financing its debt, but I cannot understand the madness of not having some "pay as you go" human manned motorway payment system for tourists and visitors driving into and in Portugal.

In the Algarve, the only realistic alternative route to the A22, the EN125 will be choked solid year round from April onwards.

I am, therefore, now recommending to tourists and visitor that they should not drive to and from the Algarve full stop, if they are in a hire car or foreign car and plan using motorways.

The Algarve has been one of the main "economic engines" of the Portugal for many years now. The implementation of an electronic toll system that tourists and foreigners, (especially, day visitors from Spain) will find hard to understand and use, is economic insanity, at a time, when the region is already suffering badly from the economic crisis,

If you are thinking of visiting the Algarve from April onwards, be prepared for long drives on old slow alternative routes, or fly into Lisbon, spend a couple of days there, and then come on down to the Algarve by bus or train and hire a car locally when you arrive.
Avoid Faro Airport in high season as the exits onto the EN125 are likely to be choked as people try to avoid using the A22 motorway with its electronic tolls..

Friday, 18 February 2011

Lagos hotels with 80 y.o. mom


Marina Rio

Marina Club

Both of these are down by the river side and on the flat. She should be able to get to the Marina Complex and Town Centre slowly without to much hassle.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

tolls on the A22 - Further Comments

Further post of mine from forums.

It is madness and likely to result in a decrease of 50%+ in the number of Spanish Tourists that drive over for the week-end in my estimation.

It is now over 3 months since tolls were mooted and despite articles in both the Portuguese and English press and blogosphere nothing has changed. I was speaking to the director of a well-established local car hire firm recently and he confirmed that no movement has happened yet on the toll issues from the perspective of the car hire firms. They are waiting on the Portuguese Govt.

My advice to folk wanting to visit the Western Algarve, from April 2011 onwards, is to now fly to Lisbon if they can, have a couple of days in Lisbon and take a train or bus down to Lagos and hire a car here. Alternatively, fly to Seville, have a couple of days there, take one of the two daily buses to Lagos and hire a car here. These options, which are direct, at least, mean that one doesn't have to get at least two types of public transport to get from Faro Airport, to say Lagos, if one really doesn't want to go to the expense of hiring a car and figuring out how to pay electronic tolls.

Email address for Vale de Carros

Are these any use?

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Zoomarine Sam the Dolphin

Reported this pm in Publico that Sam the Dolphin, "oldest male dolphin in the world" (captivity?) passed away at Zoomarine-Guia last Sunday.

See: (in Portuguese)

Re: Alfagar 2 apartments- good for couples?

Please always state which town a resort is near!


Cascais to Lisbon Airport - Early Morning

I'm sorry to be such a bore, but I really do think the flight is too early in the morning to get the first train from Cascais, and get to Lisbon Airport by bus two hours before for check-in.

The 05:30 gets into Cais de Sodre at 06:10.

The Aerobus only starts from there at 06:55

There is Nº. 44 departure at 06:23 which might get you into the airport at 07:00.

The schedule shows a transit time of about 36 minutes. It is borderline.

However, to really be sure, I would recommend a taxi from Cais de Sodre to the Airport. (Especially, it you have bags.)

Note that once the Linha Vermelha Metro link from Gare Oriente to the Airport opens, hopefully towards the end of 2011, this advice may change.

Re: Official tour guides - fight piracy

You know, I agree with most of the sentiments above!

However, most people going on holiday do not want to be bothered about legally finding out about whether or not some one is a legally licensed guide etc. They just want a good reliable (and usually cheap) service quickly.

Insisting that tourists "check legally" to see if a guide is properly licensed or not, is just the right way to chase people away from a tourist destination!

To me, if one is a high quality licensed guide, what one must do is high quality pro-active marketing, be competitive and not depend upon on licensing systems and bureaucracy to protect you from the competition.

My beef is with people who are legally licensed guides, airport transfer operators, etc. who use the system of needing to get a degree, license, bureaucratic authorisation, etc. to stop others (especially the young) easily getting into their business and making a living!!!

Today, especially with the internet and its forums, social media, (facebook, twitter,etc) and other channels, marketing oneself powerfully as a guide is a lot easier. However, it requires ongoing daily work monitoring all the media, chasing down leads and converting the enquiries into sales.

Being a good service provider such as guide, airport transfer service or whatever, requires constant work at marketing both on the web and foot slogging around local hotels, conference organisers, cruise line companies, etc. on a regular basis chasing business and not just waiting for phone calls or email enquiries to come in.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Portimao to Morocco

The only realistic option to get to Morocco from Portimão is via Seville and Algeciras by bus/ferry.

See this page on my blog for more background info:

As regards the Morocco side of the trip, I suggest you post in the Morocco forums.

One other new alternative, albeit rather convoluted, might be to fly from Faro Airport to Porto Airport and then from Porto Airport to Marrakesh. Both services operated by The flights do seem to tie in going, On the way back you might need to spend a night in Porto.

You could also train or bus from Portimão to Porto.

See Cubsur's excellent site at:

Parking at Marina Rio Hotel - Lagos

It's now all pay parking around the Marina Rio, including the new tarred car park on the North Side.

To avoid paying for parking, park on the other side of the river by the Marina and walk over the bridges or in the gravel car park behind the old warehouses near the new Camâra building and walk.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Sofitel to Lisbon University for Conference

It appears to be being held at the Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa according to the Ed Media website here:

However, the two relevant pages on the University website do not show that conference at all:

Nearest metro: Cidade Universitaria - Metro Linha Amarelo (Yellow) - Direction Odivelas

Assuming that you are staying at the

Av. da Liberdade 127
1269 Lisbon, Portugal

you would need to get the Metro Linha Azul (Blue Line) (direction Amadora Este) at Avenida Station. One stop along change at Marques de Pombal to Metro Linha Amarelo (Yellow) - Direction Odivelas. Get out at Cidade Universitaria station.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Breakfast in Lisbon

The Pasteleria Baiana, 67 Avda. da Liberdade, on the corner of Travessa da Gloria and Avenida da Liberdade, do bacon and eggs/quasi english breakfast.
Eaten there many times.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Seville to Lisbon

There is no high speed train link between Seville and Lisbon, or indeed between any centre in Spain and Portugal!

The only airline that operates the route, at present, is TAP Air Portugal and prices are quite steep. does not operate this route.

The only real way to travel between the two centres by public transport is by long-distance bus.

For more info, see this recent article on my blog:

Trip to Lausanne, Switzerland

Last weekend travelled via Lisbon by to Lausanne, Switzerland to attend the semi-finals and finals of the annual Prix de Lausanne International Ballet Competition.

Some interesting observations:

1) My lifetime belief in 100% swiss efficiency was shattered upon arrival at Geneva International Airport, when the train I was supposed to catch was cancelled "for technical reasons".  It is true that there was another one 15 minutes later, but that it not the point.

2) Then during the semi-finals of Prix de Lausanne itsself, held in the Palais de Beaulieu Congress Centre, the sound system and monitors constantly gave problems. In the end, the semi-finals had to be suspended for 30 minutes while the techs sorted everything out. Apparently, the problems had also occurred in early sessions during the preceding week.

3) The staff at the box office were also not exactly "on top of things"!

4) The Ibis Lausanne Centre Hotel where we stayed was fine except for the fact that the "magnetic card" readers in the two elevators were old and out of sync. We kept having to go to reception to request new keycards as we could not get to our room as the elevator would not move without them.

5) On my return trip, the chaos at the Easyjet check-in at Geneva Airport was worse than many airports. We already had printed our boarding cards on-line, but had a case to put in the hold.

There was no dedicated baggage drop counter and no signs clearly stating that passengers had to first go to machines nearby and print baggage labels, then go to one of then check-in desks and present their boarding card, then the baggage was put on the conveyor. Worse still, the ground staff who were supposed to be off assistance were surely and extremely unhelpful.

Not a good advert for and Geneva Airport.

Certainly, my belief in "Swiss efficiency" has been shattered!!!


Travel related questions - Quora or TripAdvisor?

It depends! I am a volunteer Destination Expert with In the forum where i operate, namely Portugal, there is a lot of activity and many contributors with excellent knowledge who are frequently able to provide comprehensive replies to answers.

However, there are other forums, (e.g. Romania, Seville etc) where there are fewer contributors and destination experts and where the quality of the knowledge available is much less comprehensive or useful.

One should check out the forum for the country in question to see whether one feels that a forum for a specific destination is comprehensive enough. Then decide whether to post there or on

Be aware that is not a travel info website so may not be sufficiently specialised for responses to travel questions

Travelling Faro to Cascais

In either case you will have to go to Lisbon first.

From Faro Bus Station one can take a Renex bus to Lisbon Oriente Bus Station and then Metro to Cais de Sodre Station and then train to Cascais.

From Faro Bus Station one can take a Rede Expressos/EVA bus to Lisbon Sete Rios Bus Station and then Metro to Cais de Sodre Station and then train to Cascais.

From Faro Train Station one can take a Train to Lisbon Entrecampos Station and then Metro to Cais de Sodre Station and then train to Cascais.

The fastest public transport combination would probably require 4hrs30mins minimum each way.

For more info see Cubsur's excellent site:

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

BA - London City - Faro - June 2011

I missed this announcement made in mid-December 2010.

Apparently from June 2011, BA will be operating 3 weekly flights from London City Airport to Faro, Algarve, Portugal.


Wednesday, 2 February 2011

tolls on the A22 - Further Comments

There have already been problems with Tourists driving hire cars up in the Porto area on motorways where the system has already been implemented.

The problem is that someone in the Portuguese Govt. shot their mouth of first without thinking about the implications, particularly in the Algarve where the N125 is the only alternative.

What I don't understand, when unemployment is increasing, is that the Portuguese Govt. could have said to the concessionaires who operate the motorway, build tolls booths, create some jobs, and add a little to the toll over the period of the concession.

They've (Portuguese Govt.) now got themselves into a situation where politically they cannot backtrack because of the chaos it will cause up North if the the Via de Infante A22 is exempt or has boothed tolls.

Methinks change will only happen in the summer when the N125 is gridlocked from VRSA to Lagos and the accident rate has shot up 100%. Then they will have their excuse to recant with justification.

Bus Seville to Madrid Barajas Airport

The bus calls in at Estacion Sur Bus Station in Madrid for about 15 minutes but continued onto Barajas Terminal 1.

If you have a look on the website you will see the timetable.

Extract here:

01:00- SEVILLA 07:30 - BARAJAS
08:00- SEVILLA 15:10 - BARAJAS
10:30- SEVILLA 17:00 - BARAJAS
14:30- SEVILLA 21:40 - BARAJAS

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Lisbon Airport Hotels

There are actually very few hotels close to Lisbon airport and even fewer with good car access.

The nearest I have stayed at is the Radisson Blu Hotel, Lisbon:

There is also the Residencial Terminus which is closer to the Airport. I have walked past it but never been in it.

35 minutes from the Airport on the South of the river and lying on the old Lisbon - Algarve road is the IBIS Setubal.

I stayed there several times several years ago. It is set in a garden with pool.

Monday, 31 January 2011

2011 - Weekly Charter Flights - LHR - Beja International!

No one is going to believe this!

Thanks again to Sergio Bastos of (see ) for the heads up on this.

Sunvil Discovery, a British Tour operator, are going to begin weekly direct charter flights between London Heathrow and Beja, Alentejo on 22 May 2010.!


As far as I know this will be the first semi-regular passenger service in and out of Beja to any destination.

According to Sergio's article, return flights will be €230.00 return. The flights will be operated by Embraer 49-seat plane operated by BMI.

Algarve - Private Tour Companies?

Firstly, late August/early September is still a long way  ahead. The economic crisis is biting in teh Algarve with higher fuel prices etc.

Most of the private tour operators are small businesses so I cannot guarantee they will still be in business by the time you come.

I do not personally recommend operators but the following are companies that have been used or recommended in the Algarve forum.

Algarve Jeep Safari -
Followmetours -

OwnersinPortugal -

"Comment on OwnersinPortugal from contributor on Tripadvisor"

" .... I found this on the internet and booked two day trips with Alan Sutton last year when we were staying in Albufeira. We found him to be very friendly but professional and a mine of information. You tell him what you would like to see and he can add in suggestions of things which you would probably not know about. The beauty is that you set the pace of the day, spending longer in places that interest you and moving on faster if something doesn't take as long as expected.Alan points out things of interest throughout the journey in his up market Citreon picasso with tinted windows, air con and cooled water. He also takes you to some great local cafes/restaurants depending on what sort of place you would like to eat at.

He picked us up from and returned us to our villa in Albufeira. We had one tour going west, up into the mountains of Monchique and visiting Silves and the highest point, along the West coast to Cape St.Vincent and back via the South coast passing through Sagres and Lagos etc. The second tour we went East, stopping at Loule and visiting the market hall full of local produce, Faro old town , Tavira and Vila Real de Santo Antonio at the Spanish border. These towns were all very different and the area is much less commercialised than the central Algarve.CAn thoroughly recommend these tours and We will be booking further tours with Alan when we return to the area. "

As regards where to stay, Albufeira is very central but very very touristy. If you seek somewhere more Portuguese have a look at either Tavira or Lagos.

Taxi transfers from Faro to Lagos

See this recent article on my blog for starters. Also applies to all destinations in the Algarve.


Sunday, 30 January 2011

Traditional Portugal - Cascais??

Cascais is a good base for touring the Lisbon region but it is upmarket "OK, Yah!" Portugal.

If you want to see real Portugal, and depending on when you are travelling, Ryanair operate Dublin to Porto in the summer season.

Porto is much more traditional and you have the added option of being able to easily visit the historic cities of Guimarães and Braga on day trips by rail or bus as well.

Finally, Ryanair also operate direct flights from Porto to Faro Airport, only 20 minutes drive from the "walled resort!"!

Alternatively, if a second flight with Ireland's Favorite (?) airline, doesn't appeal, the six/seven hour trip by the morning Alfa Pendular Train from Porto to Faro, via Lisbon with a spectacular transit of the 25 de Abril Bridge over the Tejo (Lisbon) would allow you to see a lot of Portugal.

I just have a feeling that from what you want Porto and the North might be more appropriate.

How to get from Cadiz Spain to Porto or Lisbon in Portugal?

There is no convenient train services (you would have to go via Madrid and Seville), nor flights, (you would have to go via Madrid.)

Your best bet will be by bus as follows:

1) TG Comes ( operate coaches between Cadiz and Sevilla El Prado Bus Station every couple of hours from 07:00 thru 21:00. Transit time is about 2 hours.

2) Then see this article on my blog which details how to get from Seville to Lisbon via Faro:

Do not forget about the 1hr difference between Spanish time and Portuguese Time.

3) From Lisbon there are regular buses and trains to Porto. From Lisbon Sete Rios Bus Station, there are frequent hourly services to Porto operated by Rede Expressos hourly through the day until 21.00. Transit time is about 3,5 hours.


There are several trains per day also between Faro or Lisbon and Porto.

Timetable here:

Faro Bus Station is close to the Rail Station.

In Lisbon, you would need to get a surburban train or Metro to get to Gare Oriente Station to connect with the trains to Porto.

What's the cheapest way to get from Sevilla to Lisbon?

Almost Certainly by Long distance Bus!

There are no low-cost flights nor train between the two centres.

At present, there are two operators which offer this service:


Website url:

One daily service with an extra on 4 days a week.

SEVILLE(Plaza das Armas) 15:00 LISBON Sete Rios 21:15 - Thurs/Fri/Sat/Sun
SEVILLE(Plaza das Armas) 23:59 LISBON Sete Rios 07:30 - Daily

Price - Single - One Way - € 35.00

2) Damas/EVA


It is possible to take the morning Seville bus to Faro and connect with a forward service to Lisbon as follows:

SEVILLE(Plaza das Armas) 07:30 FARO 10:10 - Daily

Price - Single - One Way - € 16.00

FARO € 11:00 LISBON Sete Rios 14:15 - Daily

Price - Single - One Way - € 19.00

Total Price Seville - Lisbon € 37.00

Apart from this getting a lift with some one is the only other way

CP - Portugal - Possible International Train Service Reduction Alert

An article in today's Publico newspaper reports that Portuguese Railways are considering reductions in the two international trains services it operates to Hendaye/Paris and Madrid, namely the Sud Expresso e Lusitânia Express.

Travellers with plans to use these services should maintain a check on this as there is a possibility that the services may be reduced to only a few times as week.

See: (In Portuguese)

Article on Lisbon in NYT

Excellent article on things to do in Lisbon in the NYT.

Link here:

Thanks to @osoares on Twitter for drawing it to my attention

Earliest Bus from Lisbon City to Airport

Unfortunately, during winter the first service of the Carris Nº 91 Cais de Sodre to Airport bus from the centre of Lisbon is at 07:00.


I'm afraid it will have to be a taxi.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Flight from UK to Azores

As regards flights to the Azores, SATA the airline of the Azores operates direct flights from Ponta Delgada to London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Manchester and Dublin.

See their site here:

I know that the Regional government has been working on getting low-costs to serve the island but to date has had no great success with the exception of Air Berlin from Nuremburg. (If Air Berlin can truly be called a low-cost.)

Pizzolino Pizza, Lagos, Algarve, Portugal.

For those of you who are in and about Lagos, and are fans of pizza,

I've just had a message in to say that Pizzolino Pizza has now reopened after a Christmas. (Apparently with a new ceiling! )

The address is:
Urb Lapinha
Rua Salgueiro Maia Lt 8 r/c
Loja J

Tm: 282 769 647
(Just down from the Black Ball roundabout and Finibanco)

If you got there don't forget to congratulate them on the new ceiling as you walk in! :)))))))

More Public Wifi Access - Silves

Interesting article here!

Silves Camara have increased the number of wifi hotspots in Silves, Armação da Pera and Messines

Seville Airport Buses

Buses from Seville El Prado via Estacion Sta. Justa are operated by TUSSAM, the local transport authority.

Link to the timetable here:

Unfortunately the first service on a Sunday is at 06:15 arriving at the Airport at 06:45.

If you are flying with an airline that does online check-ins, you may be able to get away with it. Otherwise its a taxi, i'm afraid.

Faro to Albufeira Transfers

The official ANA Aeroportos Airport guide for Winter 2011, quotes between €49.00 and €68.00 for a SIX seater taxi between Faro Airport and Albufeira
dependent on time of day/night/weekend. There may be extra for charges.

You may find a pre-booked private transfer a better bet.

Here are some links to be going on with:

Faro to Lisbon by Train - Arrival Station??

The trains from The Algarve and Evora stop at Entrecampos station and Gare Oriente station. Some Intercity trains stop at Sete Rios Station as well.

Rossio Station only serves the Sintra Line.

You should probably use Entrecampos station. From there to get to the Rossio/Baixa area you can take the Metro in direction RATO, change at Marques de Pombal station to the Blue line direction Stª. Apolonia and detrain at Restauradores Station.Shouldn't take more than 15 to 20 minutes.

As regards Évora, the railway line is currently being rebuilt and when it reopens in May, there will be major changes to the service.

You should check the status of this line in September.

The Rossio/Baixa area is the old centre of Lisbon and a good central area to stay in for first time visitors to Lisbon.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Private drivers - Lisbon Port

I recently came across this site/service through twitter:

I have never used them but it might be along the lines what you are looking for.

If you use them it would be great if you could report back.

Airport Transfer - Porto

They are thin and far between owing to the good public transfer up there.

Have a look at these guys:

Have used their sister outfit here in the Algarve.

You can also try the company mentioned in this article on my blog, Quality Tours:

I visited their offices last year while up north and was impressed by what I saw.

However, I have not actually used their services.

Their transfer page is here:

Portimão - Festa de Laranja

More Algarve News today.

Journal de Barlavento today reports that Portimão municpal market will be hosting a "Festa da Laranja" or "Orange festival" during the week of 7 to 12 February 2001

Local oranges will be on sale and catering students from the local catering and hotelier school will apparently be doing their stuff!

See: (In Portuguese)

Hope it doesn't turn out to be a bit of a lemon!

Laranja Cozida, anyone?

(Exits stage left smartly to avoid be flambeéd!...)

“ Carnivorous Plants in Portugal ”

Just when one thought it was safe to wander freely the rural areas of Portugal, information comes via the twitter feed of @ecosistemas that there are carnivorous plants in Portugal.

See: (in Portuguese)

How threating to these local "Audreys" ( are is not clear, but probably best "to be aware...very aware"!!! :)))))))))

Ryanair Pax Stats Q4 - Porto Airport

Today's national daily Publico reports that in the last quarter of 2010, Ryanair, for the first time, outstripped TAP, as the largest carrier of passengers to and from Porto Airport.

See: (in Portuguese).

This is good news, but it should engender a "Warning, Will Robinson!" moment, given that it is old news that no airport should become so dependent on one carrier.

Let's hope Transavia, Easyjet etc. consider expanding their operations from Porto because if Ryanair suddenly has a "Valencia" moment and decides to cut flights or move/close its base in Porto, the economc and job implications would be substantial.

Calçada da Patriarcal, Lisbon

Lisboa Gare Oriente is a large Multi-modal Transport Hub located on the even larger Parque da Nações area which is a town in itself. Trust me, I've walked much of it.

Assuming your apartment is located at Calçada da Patriarcal,1250 Lisboa, (Google Maps), it is a long way from Gare Oriente, being situated of Avenida da Liberdade and running up towards the Rato Area.

If that indeed is where your apartment is, you would be much closer to Stª. Apolonia Station where the Lisbon to Porto trains depart from. A taxi will probably be the best way to get to the station, unless you are very close to the Avda. Liberdade end. There, you could just walk to the Avenida Metro Station and the metro to Stª Apolonia.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Ryanair - Faro to Prestwick(Glasgow)

Ryanair have announced that they are increasing the frequencies on this route to daily as from 26 March, 2011.

See: (In Portuguese)

Public Transport - Lisbon Airport to Figueira da Foz

It is a long distance from Figueira da Foz from Lisbon Airport.

According to Google Maps the fastest route with tolls takes 1hr50mins and is about 200kms long.

The options by public transport are:

1) by taxi to Gare Oriente Station, then train to Pombal or Alfarelos and then local train to Figueira da Foz. Quickest transit is 2hrs22mins.

I have posted the timetable here:

2) Bus as you have mentioned.

3) Private transfers as you have mentioned.

I have checked the site of these guys:

Their price for 6 people is € 312.00 one way which given for them, has to cover a 400km return trip, high fuel costs and motorway tolls here in Portugal I do not think unreasonable.

The other option is for you to hire a people carrier or minivan depending on how long you are here for. It might work out cheaper in the end.

Finally, the cheapest way would probably be by train or bus as with discounts for pensioners you may be able to get return fares for all for under € 300. However, then there will be taxi costs on that.

A final thought I have just has is that it may be cheaper to get to Figueira da Foz via Porto.

Ryanair have just announced they are starting a Manchester to Porto Service from 13th April 2011.

A transfer for 6 people from Porto Airport to Figueira da Foz with the firm I referred to above will cost € 240.00 according to their website. I am sure other firms would quote similar prices as the distance is shorter - +-156km taking 1hr40mins.

Where should I take the family to in Africa?

All the above suggestions are good. However, from Sydney, the only direct flights to Africa are SAA and Quantas to Johannesburg.

South Africa is great and wonderful but the security situation in and near most big cities, including Cape Town, is still of concern. Out in the rural areas its not so bad.

From Johannesburg, you can fly direct to Botswana and Namibia both or which have great wildlife travel products. In Botswana, one has the Okovango and Chobe Parks. Namibia has Etosha. The only problem is that the distances are great (like the Outback!)

One country not yet mentioned and which can be reached via Jo'burg is Zambia. However, I understand these days visas are required for entry for UK,US and Aus citizens.

Tanzania is an interesting idea and one I supprt, The country has made remarkable strides in recent years. Although again distances are great, the country includes great destinations such Kilimanjaro, the Serengeti, Zanzibar, the beach coast north of Dar and if you are really being adventurous Lake Tanganyika.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Hotel Burgau

Dropped by Hotel Praia de Burgau this p.m.

Sign on door says "closed for refurbishment"

Also say for further info please email:

Phone number is given as:


Looks very closed to me.

Ryanair new Faro - Manchester route

Ryanair have announced that they will begin operating a route six times per week from Faro to Manchester as from 13th April 2011.

See: (in Portuguese)

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Algarve Rail Line Price increase Summer 2011

The following article (in portuguese) in the Portuguese Paper Publico today reports that there will be an increase of ticket prices on the Algarve Line from Lagos to Vila Real Stª. Antonio as from summer 2011.

It also reports that airconditioned rolling stock will be introduced in the next few months.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Hotel near Faro airport!

The nearest reasonable hotel to Faro Airport is the Faro Ibis. It's about 3kms from the airport.


You will still need a taxi to get there and back. Maybe the car hire company can deliver the car to you at the IBIS the next morning?

It does have a bar.

Have stayed there and it is a typical IBIS. Reasonably good quality for a reasonable price as one would expect from an Accor Group Hotel.

Otherwise you'll have to head into town to the more costly Hotel Eva or the Hotel Faro. There are Pensões but none as far as I can remember with bars.

Salema to local beaches

I haven't walked that stretch in many years but when I did, it was a hike as one has to climb up cliffs and hills and wander down rocky footpaths. Not for the faint of heart. I would estimate at least 1 to 1,5 hrs if you are fit.

Albufeira to Cascais

It will be a very long day.

You can either drive, train or bus it!

Driving would be quickest (3hrs30mins) but with the price of tolls and fuel, I don't really recommend it.

From Albufeira Centre or Bus Station one can take a Renex bus to Lisbon Oriente Bus Station and then Metro to Cais de Sodre Station and then train to Cascais.

From Albufeira Centre or Bus Station one can take a Rede Expressos/EVA bus to Lisbon Sete Rios Bus Station and then Metro to Cais de Sodre Station and then train to Cascais.

From Albufeira Train Station (located 8kms from Albufeira - buses from Albufeira) one can take a Train to Lisbon Entrecampos Station and then Metro to Cais de Sodre Station and then train to Cascais.

The fastest public transport combination would probably require 4hrs30mins minimum each way.

For more info see Cubsur's excellent site:

Train Lisbon to Pragal

You want the Fertagus trains!

Southbound weekday timetables here:

Fertagus site (in Portuguese here:

There are few CP long distance trains that stop there.

As regards the Lisboa Card, which one do you mean?

Travelling to Olissippo Castelo hotel

I would definitely NOT recommend walking up to the Olissippo Castelo hotel on arrival! The climb is very steep and unless you know exactly where you are going through the old alleys and stairs you can waste a lot of time. You will find it a real problem with a suitcase.

I know this, as it it is near the Chapito theatre and restaurant, which I frequent sometimes when in Lisbon.

So, I recommend that you do one of two things, bearing in mind taxis are not expensive in Lisbon:

1) Take a taxi direct from the airport to the hotel. probably less than € 15.00 depending on time of day/night & no. bags.

2) Take the Aerobus 91 to Rossio as Cubsur says, cross over the square to Mcdonalds, turn right and you will see the Teatro Dona Maria II. In front of you and to the right of the Teatro Dona Maria II you will see a taxi rank. Grab a cab.

Probably less than € 6.00 time of day/night & no. bags.

Bear in mind that it will seem a long journey up to the hotel, and you may think that the driver is up to one! However, with the one way street and control access system in the Alfama, Se and Castelo area, taxis have to go all round the house to get there.

However, take my word for it you do NOT want to walk up there with suitcases!!!

The Hotel has a great view over Lisbon. For a view of the river, if it's a nice day, walk down to the Restaurant Chapito at Costa do Castelo, nº 1 / 7, 1149-079 Lisboa - Portugal

Best at lunchtime with a wonderful view from its terrace over the Tejo to the South.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Portuguese Wines - Article in the Wall Street Journal

Thanks to O. Soares for the heads-up on this somewhat patronising article published in the WSJ.

The following quote from the article made me furious....

"One reason may be Portugal's food. There aren't any globally famous Portuguese chefs as there are in, say, Spain (i.e., Ferran Adrià) and the country's chief culinary attraction, salted cod (bacalao), isn't exactly a dish to please a crowd. As the growing number of Italian, Spanish and even Greek restaurants in this country have shown, the popularity of a country's cuisine often precedes the popularity of its wines. "

OK, there are some Pizzerias and Trattorias here in Portugal, but "growing number of ...Spanish and Greek restaurants??"... Pray where? I know a couple in Lisbon but a growing number throughout the country?

The writer can't even spell "Bacalhau" correctly, certainly does not know that there are "365 ways" to prepare it and certainly has not visited Portugal or enjoyed its cuisine. Why do so many Spanish visit Portugal just for lunch? ..... to eat!

One only has to visit the following site (albeit in Portuguese!) for an extensive list of Portuguese dishes!

When Amalia Rodrigues, the famous fado sang the song "Uma Casa Portuguesa", about the traditional warmth  of the Portuguese home she sang these words

"É só amor, pão e vinho
e um caldo verde, verdinho
a fumegar na tijela."

Translated approximately:

"It's only love, bread and wine
and a caldo verde (soup), steaming in the bowl.."

Portuguese cooking and cuisine is as central to Portuguese culture as wine! 

I could go on but suffice to say journalists, especially those writing for august journals such as the WSJ should research their subject matter properly first! 

Eh Pah! Não me lembro a última vez fiquei assim chateado!!!

Lagos, Algarve, Portugal - Building Work News

Just a couple of notes on things going on here:

1) The New Parking Garage

A couple of days ago a team turned up with a pneumatic drill and compressor and started to attack one of the very sharp "up ramps."
Driving past this morning it appears that they might be knocking one of the two tight and steep ramps into one! It will be an improvement but still can't see it will improve the steep ramp.

Wonderful for a recently opened car park.

2) Model - A22 - Quatro Estradas Road.

Just in time for the implementation of tolls, it appears that under their contract from Central Govenment, the consortium, that has won the bid to manage and re-vamp the N125 throughout the Algarve, has decided that a good place to start would be to start building the long-outstanding link from Modelo Lagos to the isolated roundabout on the A22 off-ramp and then onto the Quatro Estradas/Luz intersection.

I noticed a couple of dozers and JCB's looking lost near the Modelo Roundabout, just before new year. Like all good builders, five or six days after New Year, surveyors pegs and Bob the Builder type earthworks began appearing.

There was a gaggle of engineering types loitering by the Modelo Roundabout discussing the quality of the mud or something, so I stopped and had a word.

They confirmed that the link is under construction and that indeed with 12 to 18 months the road will be through. It certainly will reduce the summer queues at the Centro da Saude roundabout.

Food options near Rossio train station

Just in front of Restauradores station (off Rossio) where you get the trains to Sintra you will find the Cafe Beira Mar. It is technically on the corner of Praça D. João da Camara and Rua Primeiro de Dezembro.

If it's full, don't be intimidated. They do meals, snacks and will probably pack up sandwiches, local savory snacks and pastries for you.

I've snacked there many many times.

I've snacked on of Portuguese Trains before but remember that the Lisbon to Sintra Service is a urban service and not one is going to love you if you start laying out a full meal while the train is packed.

It's only a +-45 minute run however.

Faro-Seville Bus: Restroom on board?

I have used the DAMAS/EVA service often and there is no toilet on-board.

At present the service does tend to stop en route once at a service area in Spain for about 15 minutes but I believe this to be at the driver's discretion.

I have also seen travelers asking the drive to wait for a minute or two at Tavira Bus Station while they head to the loo.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Meia Praia, Lagos PT/MEO TV/net/Téléfone agora ativa

Para quem ter uma propriedade na zona da Meia Praia,Lagos tenho sido hoje com dois técnicos da PT que me informaram que o serviço MEO TV / Internet / Telefone já está disponível para as propriedades situadas dentro de 1500 metros das duas centrais equipadas. Isto deve incluir a maior parte nova da zona Albadeira também.

Meia Praia Area - PT/MEO TV/Internet now active

For anyone with a property in the Meia Praia area, I have just been with two technicians from PT who have informed me that the integrated TV/Internet/Phone service is now available to properties situated within 1500 metres of the two equipped exchanges. This should include most of new Albadeira as well.

Help with trip please

Another case of "If its Tuesday, this must Belgium!"

1) You are on holiday so relax! Don't try to fight the jet lag.

2) If you are flying TAP or assocate airline in the Star Alliance combine, I would fly into Lisbon and straight away get the connector flight to either Porto or Faro airports. It should not cost much more I would of thought and will save a lot of agro.

3) If Porto, check into your hotel and have a kip. Then relax that night on the old river front having a drink and a dinner.

4) A couple of days later take the train down to Lisbon and spend 4 days there.

5) Then come down to the Algarve, (I would recommend Lagos or Tavira). You only need a couple of days here and will only really be able to visit one centre based on your limited schedule.

6) Fly back from Faro Airport to Lisbon on the TAP connector and back to the other side of the pond.

Parque de Floresta/Quinta da Encosta Velha

Quinta da Encosta Velha neighbours/back onto PDF.

To all intents and purposes these are one and the same.

Both are next to the village of Budens. Quinta da Encosta Velha is within walking
distance of Budens, from memory PDF because of the hills is dubious. There is an Ecomarche supermarket in Budens.

A car is definitely necessary to visit beaches and explore the area.

Fast trains from faro to lisbon.

The Fast AlfaPendular runs twice a day every day!

7h05 Faro
9h56 Lisboa - Entrecampos

Time: 2h51

15h05 Faro
17h56 Lisboa - Entrecampos

Be aware that the AlfaPendular is operated by Italian built Pendolino units with computer controlled stabilisation. Some people, like me, can feel quite sea-sick on the first stretch up through the mountains.

Yellow Lagos Beach Hotel - Meia Praia, Lagos

It opened, then closed, then opened, then.....

Its been closed all winter. There are external signs of activity and my local Ukranian petrol attendant and Meia Praia undercover operative tells me that they are threatening to open it again in April.

Externally not much to look at...More like a cross between a modern hospital and Bayern Munich Stadium with its changing colours at night.

Had a look inside the reception last summer when it was open and seemed quite well appointed. Great Views and 75m from the beach.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Best way to get to Porto?

There is only one train company/service operating from Lisbon to Porto.


If you are staying in the Baixa Area of Lisbon, catch the train from Stª. Apolonia Station.

If staying elsewhere in Lisbon, catch it from Gare Oriente.

In Porto, leave the train at Porto Campanha.

As regards, Rede Expressos, the Rede Expresso depot in Porto is:

4000 PORTO
Tel.: 222006954

See this article on my blog for map to bus station.

Flying through Paris to Faro

Easyjet currently operate Paris Orly to Faro direct on Tuesday and Saturdays!

I think from memory that Air France and TAP are part of the same airline consortium. If I am right, they will take responsibility for you if you are delayed. There is at present always a third TAP Lisbon Faro flight at +-22:00. If you are delayed you would almost certainly be "bumped" automatically to that flight.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Melhor Acesso aos Transportes Público - Aeroporto de Faro

Agradeco Sérgio Bastos do para este noticia.

Um artigo na edição jornal Algarvio Região-Sul hoje que vai haver uma reunião hoje entre o Turismo do Algarve, Aeroporto de Faro e a Eva Transportes, (o operador dos serviços ródivarios principal no Algarve), com o alvo de melhorar o acesso de transportes públicos para o Aeroporto de Faro.

O artigo em português encontra-se aqui:

Tem, obviamente, finalmente chegou ao conhecimento das autoridades do turismo regionais que a implementação iminente de portagens na A22 etc está empurrando os visitantes para o Algarve buscar, cada vez mais, opções de transporte público para chegar aos seus destinos locais.

Vamos esperar EVA também concorda desviar, pelo menos, o seu serviço Transrápido via o Aeroporto de Faro, assim, oferecendo aos viajantes algum acesso de autocarro direto para destinos como Albufeira, Portimão e Lagos

Improved Public Transport Access - Faro Airport

Thanks to Sergio Bastos of for the heads-up on this.

An article in the Algarve newspaper Região-Sul today reports that there will be a meeting today between Turismo do Algarve, Faro Airport and Eva Transportes, (the main bus operator in the Algarve), about improving public transport access to Faro Airport.

Article in portuguese here:

It has obviously finally come to the attention of the regional tourism authorities that the impending implementation of tolls on the A22 motorway etc is pushing visitors to the Algarve to seek cheaper public transport options to get to their local destinations.

Lets hope EVA also agree to route, at least, its Transrapido service via Faro Airport thus offering travellers some direct bus access to destinations such as Albufeira, Portimão and Lagos

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Travel from Seville to Madrid Barajas airport

I took the Socibus through bus option from Seville Plaza das Armas to Madrid Barajas via Madrid Estacion del Sur in late November.

It takes just over 6 hours.The bus may stop for a 10 minutes or so at Estacion del Sur awaiting arrival of the Socibus Service from Cordoba. There is a 20 minute stop en route near Bailen for food and watering.

The currently shows a 01:00 departure from Seville arriving at Madrid Barajas at 07:30.

I would not recommend the Madrid Metro from Estacion del Sur or Atocha if you are in a hurry as it requires 2 changes en route and when you have bags it is a pain.

On my return trip, it took me 50 minutes at 06:00 in morning to get by Metro from Barajas to Estacion del Sur as the Socibus service had not yet started from Barajas.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Nicest beach for a visit in the Algarve region?

I would also suggest Lagos, 15km further down the line from Portimão.
Depending on budget, consider the Hotel Vila Galé Meia Praia in Lagos which has great views of the bay and lies 100m from Meia Praia Beach, a 5km long sandy beach.

It is 15 minutes walk from the station and 20 minutes by foot from town. There are regular bus services to town during the day.

Another alternative is the Albergaria Marina Rio, situated on the Avenida facing the Marina. The Meia Praia bus service also runs in front of this hotel.
Bear in mind that this year Easter coincides with the public holiday Dia da Liberdade on 25th April.

It is therefore likely that, despite the economic crisis, there may be some pressure on local hotels throughout Portugal.

I would suggest that you consider booking sooner that later.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Algarve Tourism Market - More Competition from Estoril/Cascais.

I was very interested to receive via twitter notification about the following article in the Irish Times about the tourism attractions of the Estoril/Cascais region of the Lisbon Metro Area.

Given the easy access to the area by public transport and the greater range of destinations served by Lisbon Airport, as well as the increasing use of the latter by low costs such as, the potential renaissance of this are as tourist destination is long overdue, but also a great threat to the Algarve travel market.

The reality is that the area has nice beaches, easy and low cost public transport links AND lots of things to do to, including culture. Lisbon is only 30 minutes away by train and  Sintra only 30 minutes by bus.  

As an all round destination package, the region must become an attractive competitor for potential visitors to the Algarve seeking a holiday where they don't have to hire cars, figure out how to use electronic and pay motor tolls, and search around for a greater variety of things to do when they are not on the beach.

See the article here:

I have know the area since I was a kid years ago and I do believe it will become and increasing threat to the Algarve Tourism sector and begin to win a significant level of travel business away from the Algarve as an increasing number of low-costs start to serve Lisbon.