October 2, 2015

Sea Kayaking in Lagos

Sea kayaking tours off the coast of Lagos on the Algarve has become a popular part of any holiday to this lovely part of Portugal.

Sea Kayaking in Lagos, Algarve, Portugal.

Sea kayaking tours generally last about 3 hours and head south from Lagos town around the spectacular promontory at Ponta da Piedade, where participants can marvel close-up at the picturesque limestone and sandstone cliffs, islets, grottos, caves and coves.

Sea Kayaking in Lagos, Algarve, Portugal.

Tours also take in the beautiful Praia do Camilo (Camilo Beach) usually on the way to Ponta da Piedade.

After a rest on shore, the tour companies will tow you back by motor boat which is with you to insure safety.

Kayak tour packages generally are limited to about 15 people, include a guide, insurance, a life-jacket, water-proof bag and often snokelling equipment. It is usually cheaper to book the tours down on the sea front in Lagos rather than up in town with travel agents.

Sea Kayaking in Lagos, Algarve, Portugal.

Prices are presently about 25-30 Euros with the morning tour slightly more than the afternoon tour, though some companies may charge less at the end and beginning of the high season in August.

There are a number of sea kayak companies to choose from. One we have tried is:

Cais da Solaria
Tel: 351 913 066 468

Sea Kayaking in Lagos, Algarve, Portugal.

September 16, 2015

Vila Real de Santo Antonio Station

Vila Real de Santo Antonio is the eastern terminus of the Algarve Line from Lagos in the east via Faro.

Vila Real de Santo Antonio Station, Algarve.

The Vila Real de Santo Antonio Station building is a lovely white-washed art deco structure about 15 minutes walk from the center of town.

There are presently 13 trains a day from Vila Real de Santo Antonio Station to Faro where travellers can change for onward connections to Lagos or north west to the capital Lisbon.

Vila Real de Santo Antonio Station, Algarve, Portugal.

The stops on the line from Vila Real de Santo Antonio Station are Monte Gordo, Castro Marim, Cacela, Conceição, Porta Nova, Tavira, Luz, Livramento, Fuzeta, Fuzeta-A, Olhão, Bom João and Faro.

Trains leave Vila Real de Santo Antonio Station for Faro at 5.48am, 6.26am, 7.05am, 7.22am, 9.08am, 11.13am, 12.39pm, 1.33pm, 3.33pm, 4.35pm, 6.03pm, 7.10pm, and 8.42pm.

Walk south from the station to get to the centre of Vila Real de Santo Antonio. places to stay include the Hotel Apolo, Coracao de Cidade and Villa Marquez.

Vila Real de Santo Antonio Station, Portugal.

Vila Real de Santo Antonio Station timetable.
Click to enlarge timetable

September 14, 2015

Residencial A Doca

The Residencial A Doca is located in the center of Faro, very close to the Doca de Recreio waterfront. In its previous incarnation the property was the Residencial Oceano.

Residencial A Doca, Faro, Algarve, Portugal.

Clean, good value and with Wifi, the Residencial A Doca is a recommended place to stay for single travellers on a budget or small families.

Residencial A Doca is close to the Japanese-style eatery Omakase and the Ancora Bar and is close to many of Faro's main attractions in the Old Town which is a few minutes walk away.

Residencial Oceano in Faro Algarve Portugal

Residencial A Doca
Rua 1º de Maio nº21,
8000-474 Faro

September 9, 2015

Alojamento Local Bela Vista Olhao

If you are looking for a cheap, traditional place to stay in Olhão on the Algarve, Alojamento Local Bela Vista should be high up on your list of possibilities.

Alojamento Local Bela Vista, Olhao.

Situated just a few hundred meters from the main restaurant street on Avenida 5 de Outubro, the ferry terminal for Ilha da Armona and Ilha da Culatra as well as the town's famous fish and fresh produce markets, Alojamento Local Bela Vista is ideal if you don't want to break the bank and stay at the modern, five star Real Marina.

Alojamento Local Bela Vista, Olhao, Portugal.

The double and twin rooms are not spacious but adequate enough for a short stay. There is plenty of space up on the roof terrace which also has some nice views out over town. There is WiFi throughout and a laundry just round the corner.

Alojamento Local Bela Vista, Olhao, Algarve.

Things can get a bit noisy during the annual Festival do Marisco in August but the loud music doesn't go on so late.

It's only 10-15 minutes from the hotel to both Olhão railway station and bus terminal for onward transport to Faro, Lisbon or Seville in Spain.

Alojamento Local Bela Vista, Olhao, Algarve, Portugal.

A similarly traditional inn in Olhão with roof terrace and friendly service is the English-run AL - Alojamento Local Pension Bicuar.

Alojamento Local Bela Vista
Rua Teófilo Braga 65
8700-520 Olhão

Alojamento Local Bela Vista, Olhao, Portugal.

Alojamento Local Bela Vista, Olhao, Portugal.

September 4, 2015

Arenilha Guest House Vila Real de Santo Antonio

Located right in the centre of the old town of Vila Real de Santo Antonio, the pleasant Arenilha Guest House makes for an excellent place to lodge whether it is for a night or a longer stay.

Arenilha Guest House Vila Real de Santo Antonio, Portugal.

The rooms for two people may be a little on a small size but the Arenilha is clean and well-kept with friendly staff. There is a pleasant terrace outside on the street that is lined with restaurants and bars. Adequate free Wifi is provided.

Vila Real de Santo Antonio is very much a family-orientated resort and noise is at a minimum not much after dark making for a good night's sleep.

Arenilha Guest House Vila Real de Santo Antonio.

The Arenilha Guest House is about 15 minutes on foot from Vila Real de Santo Antonio railway station and only about five minutes from the bus station on the river front next to the ferry across the Rio Guadiana to Ayamonte and Spain.

From here there is an EVA bus to Seville in Spain at 9.35am as well as local buses to Monte Gordo.

The main places of interest in the town are within easy reach including Praça Marquês de Pombal, the City Hall, the Tourist Information Office and the 18th century parish church.

Arenilha Guest House Vila Real de Santo Antonio.

Arenilha Guest House
Rua D. Pedro V 55, 8900-29
Vila Real de Santo António

Rua D. Pedro V is off Rua 5 de Outubro near the post office.

Arenilha Guest House, Algarve.

Hotels in Portugal - Booking.com
Budget Hotels - Portugal
Hotels in Portugal - Agoda

September 3, 2015

Manta Rota

Manta Rota is a small seaside resort west of both Monte Gordo and the border town of Vila Real de Santo Antonio. The pretty sandy beaches at Manta Rota form part of the larger Parque Natural da Ria Formosa.

Manta Rota, Portugal.

Just to the west of Manta Rota is Cacela Velha (Old Cacela) an historic fishing village which has become better known, though not over-crowded in recent times. The village is known for its annual Noites da Moura Encantada (Nights of the Enchanted Moor) festival held in early August. The beach here is popular with gay visitors. The four-star Robinson Club Quinta da Ria close to two golf courses is the upmarket place to stay. Other recommended hotels in the area include the Hotel Turoasis and the Cabanas Park Resort.

There are bus connections to Manta Rota from both Monte Gordo and Vila Real de Santo Antonio to the east and from Faro and Tavira to the west. The nearest train station is Cacela on the local line between Faro and Vila Real de Santo Antonio.

Before the onset of tourism the area's economy was geared to fishing especially the local sardines and tuna. The town's restaurants serve excellent fresh fish and seafood done in the Algarve style.

Manta Rota, Algarve, Portugal.

Budget Hotels - Portugal
Hotels in Portugal - Agoda

May 30, 2015

Guarda Cathedral

The most striking attraction in Guarda is its fortress-like Sé, a massive, medieval cathedral built in granite between 1390-1540. The Sé in Guarda is remarkable for the number of different architectural styles in its construction, its Gothic exterior combined with intricate Manueline flourishes.

Guarda Cathedral, Portugal.

 The interior of the cathedral is distinguished by a beautiful Renaissance, white marble altar and carved by French sculptor João de Ruão.

Bishop Vasco de Lamego began construction of the church we see today, the third cathedral to be built in the city, during the reign of King John I.

Guarda Cathedral, Portugal.

Guarda's cathedral stands adjacent to the town's main square - the Praça Luis de Camões - and a statue of Dom Sancho I, who founded the city in 1199. The main square has a number of cafes and includes Guarda's turismo.

Sé da Guarda
Praça Luís de Camões
6300 Guarda

The friendly though basic Casa da Se guesthouse is right in the main square.

Guarda Cathedral interior.