Friday, 30 January 2015

Seasonal Flighs 2015 - Vigo, VGO, Galicia to London Luton (LTN), UK

The blog for Aeropouerto do Vigo, in Galicia, Spain, reports today that Air Nostrum will be launching seasonal routes from Vigo to London Luton Airport. The periods of operation cover Easter 2015 and Summer 2015. As well as providing a useful alternative route to Galicia, this may be an excellent alternative route option for anyone wishing to visit the North of Portugal during those periods. More here:

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Helicopter service between Ceuta and the mainland of Spain

The helicopter service between Malaga and Ceuta was suspended in July 2014. To date there is no indication when the service will restart. See this article in "La Vanguardia" dated 23/01/2015 The only way at present to get directly between Ceuta and the Spanish mainland is by Ferry.

Lisbon to Cascais - Coast road(N6) vs Motorway(A5)

There are two main road routes from Lisbon, Portugal to Cascais, Portugal. 
The A5 Motorway cuts through an urbanised/industrialised area that used to be forest. It is not very scenic although it is quicker. Tolls apply. One can see the mountains of Sintra in the distance.
The "Marginal" N6 is a lovely drive along the Tejo Estuary WHEN there is little traffic. However, it is a major busy urban artery and unfortunately, one needs to concentrate on driving rather than taking in the sights. There are no tolls on this route.
Avenida Marginal de Cascais, Estoril (5077952681)
By Alquiler de Coches from España (Avenida Marginal de Cascais, Estoril) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Monday, 26 January 2015

Trains from Lisbon, Portugal to Barcelona, Spain.

There is no direct train service between Lisbon and Barcelona.
There is a daily overnight service between Lisbon and Madrid/Irun
There is a connection to Barcelona by changing trains at Salamanca, that avoids have to drag between stations in Madrid.
Details as follows:
Dept: Lisboa Oriente TRENHOTEL 21.18
Arr: SALAMANCA 04.53
Dept: SALAMANCA 06.00
Arr: Barcelona Sants 14.20
Timtetable can be found at Spanish Railways site -

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Barlaventoexpert's Top Tips for Seville, Spain

My top six list of monuments in Sevilla:

1) Cathedral & La Giralda
2) El Real Alcazar
3) Plaza de España & Parque de Maria Luisa 
4) Museu das Bellas Artes
5) Archivo General de Indias
6) University of Sevilla/Real Fabrica de Tabacos (This building was part of the inspiration and backdrop for Bizet's Opera Carmen.)

However, the greatest thing about Seville is the old city itself, and just wandering around soaking up the architecture and sitting in cafes and bars in areas like Alameda de Hercules and the Jewish Quarter.

A traditional Andalucian Tile Plaque on a the wall of a house in the Jewish Quarter of Seville 
quoting the poem "Jardin Antiguo" by famous Sevillan Poet Luis Cernada. Photo by Barlaventoexpert - 2015

My favorite bar for tapas is: Bodega Santa Cruz - Las Columnas, Calle Rodrigo Caro 1a,  Seville.

A short walk from from the Cathedral and Alcazar. Be prepared! It's a bit of an intimidating crush with a combination of locals and tourists. Fastest way to get served is to decide what to eat first, push oneself through the throng to the bar and order. Speaking some Castellano or Portuñol does help as does patience. Vale!



My favorite place for Christmas dinner in Sevilla, (now done it twice!), is El Baratillo, Calle Adriano, 22, 41001 Sevilla.

This is a great little Bistro with a good menu and atmosphere not far from the Cathedral. My only regret are the heads of ex-bulls on the walls. However, great place to eat!


Friday, 23 January 2015

Flying from the Açores to the Canary Islands.

The route is operated by SATA, the airline for the Açores. It is possible that there may be changes to the route following the recent liberalisation of commercial air services serving the islands, which is resulting in the restructuring of the airline.

SATA's current (January 2015) fleet equipment can be seen here:

A dummy reservation on the SATA web-site, shows that the route is operated by Bombardier(formerly De Havilland Canada) Q400 twin Turbo-Prop aircraft.

Dummy Booking:

Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Departure: 08:55 Ponta Delgada Azores, Portugal - Joao Paulo II
Arrival: 13:50 Gran Canaria, Spain - Gran Canaria Airline:
SATA International S45502 e Aircraft: De Havilland DHC-8 400 Series

More about the aircraft type here:

SATA Air Acores DHC-8-402Q Dash 8; CS-TRD@FNC;12.07.2011 607bw (5940070514)
Photo By Aero Icarus from Zürich, Switzerland [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Early morning public transport from Seville,Spain city centre to Seville airport

For early morning flights from Seville Airport one should plan at being at the airport, no later that 90 minutes beforehand. Most airlines recommend being at the airport 120 minutes beforehand. If near the Cathedral Area, the closest stop for the Airport is be Avda. Carlos V (Jardines del Prado) behind the Alcazar and near Estacion del Autobuses Prado San Sebastian. There is a departure at just after 05:00, 05:30. 06:00 as the bus has to come from Plaza das Armas. Takes about 20 minutes to the airport. The current TUSSAM timetable is here(pdf):

Granada, Spain, to Jaen, Spain - ALSA Bus Times - 2015

Winter Bus Timetable for long distance coach services between Granada Bus Station and Jaen, Andalucia, Spain
For those wanting to access bus services between Granada Airport and Granada Bus Station, these are operated by Autocares José González. Timetable (February 2015) in English here:

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Portugal - The Wild Side - Vimeo Video of the week.

Portuguese Daily "Diario da Noticias" reports that the documentary video, "Portugal - The Wild Side" by documentary maker, Diogo Pinheiro, has been nominated Video of the Week by Vimeo.

PORTUGAL the wild side from WILDSTEP Productions on Vimeo.

Coimbra, Portugal - Left Luggage Storage - January 2015

According to the Turismo do Centro Post at Portagem in Coimbra, Cafe Cristal, next to Coimbra-A Station, which used to offer a left-luggage service for day visitors to Coimbra has closed.
However, according to the same office, apparently, on weekdays only, there is a company, Go Walks, that has lockers as follows:
Mobile: (00351) 910 163 118
They are apparently situated in the centre of Coimbra by the river, upstairs from
Cafe Montanha
Largo Portagem 10
3000-337 Coimbra

Day Trip-Suggestion from Lisbon - Coimbra

Another day trip possibility from Lisbon is Coimbra using 's Alfa-Pendular from Lisbon Sta. Apolonia or Oriente Stations. 
There are Alfa departures every hour from 06:00 through to 20:00 North-bound and the last one back south-bound departs Coimbra-B at 21:47
Make sure to get the Alfa not the Intercidades.
The trip takes 1hr45mins each way from Lisboa Sta. Apolonia station. A taxi from Coimbra-B station to Portagen by the Rio Mondego in the centre is recommended. It is well worth it. 
Coimbra is one of the oldest University towns in Europe and aside from this, has been an important centre in Portuguese history since the times of the Romans. Parts of the old University area have been accorded world heritage status by Unesco. One will not be able to see everything but one will get a good feel for the town.
Finish of the day by visiting Fado do Centro for their 30 minute, 18:00 daily performance of traditional Fado do Coimbra.
View of Coimbra, Portugal

Reguengos de Monsaraz - European City 2015

.: Reguengos de Monsaraz selected as the European Ci...:

Reguengos de Monsaraz has been selected as the wine region to be 2015 European "Wine City".


Monday, 19 January 2015

Getting Married in Portugal and the Algarve for non-residents

Thanks to the heads-up from Cubsur for this link providing an excellent synopsis in English about getting married in Portugal!

Spain - Andalucia - Seville & Huelva Regions - Damas S.A. Bus Timetables - Winter 2014/2015

The Winter 2014/2015 Damas Bus timetables for that company's services in the Seville and Huelva regions of Andalucia, Spain, including services from Sevilla and Huelva to Faro, Albufeira, and Lagos in the Algarve region of Southern Portugal and with connections to Lisbon are available for download in PDF format using the following link:

Dawn over Meia Praia, Lagos, Portugal - This Morning

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Taxi from Lisbon Airport to Marriott Hotel, Lisbon

Taxi drivers at Lisbon Airport are a right bunch!!! Ever since the metro extension opened to the airport, and they have lost trade, they have been out to shyster poor unsuspecting punters.
The local police(PSP) arrested at least airport 20 taxi drivers for malpractice in 2014 according to the local press. 
In the past three months, I have had run-ins with two taxi drivers at Lisbon Airport, one who took us on a long new ring road motorway diversion, adding 4km to the trip between the Airport and Praça Saldanha, before I could stop him. The other one took exception to me asking him politely to take us DIRECTLY to our hotel without passing GO and collecting $200. 
I should point out that I have known Lisbon for over 40 years, I live in Portugal and I am reaonable fluent in Portuguese!!!!
It should not cost more than 25/30€ one way for the above with bags depending on the time of the week/week-end or day/night and should be considerably less.
What to do if you are a first time visitor to Lisbon??
Consider taking the Metro or Bus if possible! Avoid the Taxi Rank at Departures.
Alternatively, although it may cost a bit more, I would suggest considering buying a pre-paid taxi voucher on-line from the AskmeLisbon website:
This site is operated by the Lisbon Tourism authorities. They have branches at the Airport and in town.
For more info one can call them on : (+351) 210 312810 or contact them via Facebook.
From the map I reckon the trip is located within the 1coroa option but check with the hotel or AskLisbon..
Prices quoted on the AskLisbon site are much cheaper than you have been quoted. You might get charged something cheaper picking up a cab BUT for peace of mind a pre-paid voucher may be a better option.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Alentejo - New York Times

An excellent article on the Alentejo as a tourist destination by Eli Gootlieb can be found in this weekend's NYT.


I heartily agree about his comments on the B&B Hotel (now known as the Hotel Moov) in Evora. Excellent quality and value for money within the city walls.

Airlines Operating Lisbon to Madrid route - January 2015

The following airlines operate Lisbon - Madrid:
Always check all airlines as sometimes the mainline carriers have better deals, especially if you are travelling with hold baggage.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Portuguese State Youth Hostels to be Privatised.

An article in today's Dinheiro Vivo, reports that the Portuguese Govt. intends putting up 25 state youth hostels up for privatisation by June 2015.

More here (in Portuguese):

Estado vai entregar a privados gestão de 25 Pousadas da Juventude - Dinheiro Vivo

Monday, 5 January 2015

Tunes Station-Algarve

Portuguese Railways, South-bound Alfa-Pendular from Lisbon and Porto to Faro coming into Tunes Station in the Algarve, Portugal.this morning. (Station for connection to Lagos, Algarve, Portugal.)

Portugal - Pingo Doce Supermarkets - Payment by Multibanco Card for purchase less than 20€

Following a visit to my local friendly Pingo Doce Supermarket today, it transpires that the supermarket chain owned by Portuguese Retail group, Jeronimo Martins, has again started, as from 2nd January 2015, accepting Multibanco Debit Cards for purchases of values less than 20€. It appears that the lifting of the ban also applies to credit and debit cards.

This restriction, introduced a couple of year ago, was a real pain for the consumer.

For more, see this article in (in Portuguese )

Sunday, 4 January 2015