December 3, 2016

Restaurante Lacus

Restaurante Lacus is a new restaurant, bar and cafe in Lagos just across from the Slave Museum and Praça do Infante Dom Henrique.

Restaurante Lacus, Lagos, Portugal.

The menu includes bruschetta, kebabs, grilled fish and meats. Lacus also offers a variety of yummy desserts plus draught beer, cider and wine.

Restaurante Lacus, Lagos.

Restaurante Lacus
Rua Silva Lopes 5
Lagos 8600-315, Portugal
Tel: 282 084 932

The restaurant can also be entered from Rua da Vedoria 4.

December 1, 2016

Clube Praia da Oura Albufeira

Clube Praia da Oura Hotel is a large resort hotel popular with families on package tours located on Oura Beach in Albufeira.

Clube Praia da Oura Albufeira,Algarve, Portugal.

Accommodation is in over apartment style 500 rooms all with ensuite bathroom and a pleasant seating space with sofas and a coffee table.

The spacious landscaped grounds feature two outdoor pools, tropical gardens, as well as al fresco bars and cafes. Evening entertainment includes live music and karaoke. The hotel is a short bus journey back into Albufeira town or is a short walk from the many restaurants and bars on the nearby Strip and Estrada de Santa Eulália.

The sheltered beach at Oura is only a short walk down from the hotel.

Clube Praia da Oura Albufeira,Algarve, Portugal.

Clube Praia da Oura Hotel
Rua Oliveira Martins
Praia da Oura
8200-911 Albufeira, Portugal

Clube Praia da Oura Albufeira,Algarve, Portugal.

Oura Beach, Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal.

November 24, 2016

Majestic Cafe Porto

Cafe Majestic is an historic cafe, located on the fashionable shopping street of Rua de Santa Catarina, in Porto.

Majestic Cafe Porto Portugal.

Opened in 1921, Cafe Majestic is known for its lavish Art Nouveau architecture including its lovely marble facade and ornate, wood and glass interior.

The Majestic soon became a meeting place for Porto's elite including artists, politicians and writers.

In more modern times, the Majestic is associated with author J.K. Rowling's rather unhappy stay in the city, along with the Livraria Lello bookshop. No doubt some of the inspiration for the Harry Potter series of novels stems from the plaster ceiling, Flemish mirrors, leather upholstery and varnished wood of the interior of the cafe.

Majestic Cafe, Porto, Portugal.

Majestic Cafe
Rua Santa Catarina, 112
4000-442 Porto
Tel: 222 003 887
Hours: Monday-Saturday 9.30am-midnight

The Majestic Cafe is a short walk south from Bolhão Station on the Porto metro.

November 22, 2016

714 Lisbon Bus

The 714 Lisbon bus runs from Outurela, through Belem, past Belem Station, Alcântara and then on to Pç. Comércio and then Pç. Figueira.

714 Lisbon Bus, Portugal.

The bus links many metro stations and places of interest in the Portuguese capital including the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga (NMAA).

Services from Outurela begin at 5am with the last buses at 9.40pm. There are reduced services at weekends and on public holidays.

November 21, 2016

Institute of the National Archives Portugal

The National Archive of Torre do Tombo (Arquivo Nacional da Torre do Tombo) is Portugal's national archive and dates back to 1378. National Archive of Torre do Tombo was renamed the Instituto dos Arquivos Nacionais (Institute of the National Archives) in 2009. It is located north of central Lisbon and is home to many historic documents.

Institute of the National Archives Portugal.

The name Torre do Tombo comes from the fact that the archive was first kept in a tower of that name at Lisbon Castle (Castelo de São Jorge).

After the devastating 1755 Lisbon Earthquake, Manuel da Maia (1677-1768), the guardian of the archive, personally organized the safe transferal of the archive to the the Convent of São Bento, which is where the Portuguese Parliament now stands.

In 1990 the archive moved to its present location, a concrete, modernist building with large, striking gargoyles designed by sculptor José Aurélio.

Carta de Pêro Vaz de Caminha (Letter from Pêro Vaz de Caminha).
Among the thousands of documents stored here are the historically important Corpo Cronológico (Chronological Corpus), a collection of manuscripts on the Portuguese Age of Discoveries and an original copy of the Treaty of Tordesillas, negotiated by King João II of Portugal and King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Castile, which divided the newly "discovered" lands outside Europe between the two Catholic powers.

The Carta de Pêro Vaz de Caminha (Letter from Pêro Vaz de Caminha), also in the archive, is the first document describing what was to become Brazil. Both the Carta de Pêro Vaz de Caminha and Corpo Cronológico are inscribed on UNESCO's Memory of the World Register.

Arquivo Nacional da Torre do Tombo
Alameda da Universidade
1649-010 Lisbon
Tel: 210 037 100

Cidade Universitária and Campo Grande are the nearest stations on the Lisbon metro.

Institute of the National Archives Portugal.

Institute of the National Archives Portugal.

Institute of the National Archives Portugal.

November 18, 2016

Hotel Jeronimos 8

Hotel Jeronimos 8 is a four-star hotel adjacent to the UNESCO World Heritage listed Jerónimos Monastery in Belem, western Lisbon.

Hotel Jeronimos 8, Belem, Lisbon.

Belem is busy during the day as tourists visit the Jerónimos Monastery, the Ajuda Palace, MAAT and the Museum of Coaches, but at night the area is quiet and perfect for a good night's sleep and also for exploring the historic streets in relative calm before you turn in. Exit the main entrance and the Jerónimos Monastery is staring you in the face, an unforgettable sight.

The hotel itself has friendly, knowledgeable staff and the rooms are spacious and comfortable. The buffet breakfasts are some of the very best we have experienced in Portugal. A variety of bread, hams, cheeses, fruit, vegetables and even champagne and pastries from the nearby Pasteis de Belem.

The bathrooms are large and marbled, all rooms are equipped with Wifi and a well-stocked minibar and some have private terraces.

The nearest bus and tram stop for journeys in to the center of Lisbon is virtually outside the hotel. Also just up the road is the football stadium of Os Belenenses.

Jeronimos 8
Rua dos Jerónimos 8
Belem, 1400-211 Lisbon

November 17, 2016

Fortaleza da Arrifana

The Fortaleza da Arrifana is a ruined fortress on the headland at Praia da Arrifana on the sea west of Aljezur on the Atlantic Coast of the Algarve region.

Fortaleza da Arrifana, Aljezur, Algarve, Portugal.

The Arrifana fortress was first constructed in 1635 during the reign of King Philip IV to protect the fishing industry in the area. By 1754 there was a small garrison here with cannon and 13 soldiers.

The fortress was massively damaged by the 1755 Earthquake which greatly affected Lisbon and the south of Portugal.

Repairs were undertaken in 1762 and 1771 but finally the fort was abandoned in the early 19th century.

Fortaleza da Arrifana, Aljezur, Algarve, Portugal.

In 2011, the structure was secured and excavations undertaken. There are superb views of the coast from its walls.

The beach at Arrifana can be reached by taxi from Aljezur in about 20-25 minutes.

November 7, 2016

Vicentina Hotel Aljezur

The Vicentina Hotel in Aljezur in the Algarve is currently the only four-star hotel in town and makes for a relaxing stay in this relaxing town.

Vicentina Hotel Aljezur Portugal

The Vicentina is located in Igreja Nova, the more modern quarter of Aljezur. The hotel has clean and spacious rooms with excellent Wifi and the restaurant is definitely worth trying for Portuguese food with a modern twist and fine wines. An added luxury is the small pool open to residents.

Vicentina Hotel Aljezur Portugal.

Free parking is available at the hotel and some of the rooms have great views of Aljezur Castle and the old town or overlook the pool.

Vicentina Hotel Aljezur Portugal.

The breakfast buffet is outstanding with a variety of fresh choices and is a great way to start your day. Across the road from the Vicentina is a large pharmacy and the hotel is close to a supermarket and the Igreja Nova church. Recommended.

Vicentina Hotel Aljezur Portugal.

Vicentina Hotel
Av General Humberto Delgado
S/N Junto Aos Bombeiros Voluntarios
8670-00 Aljezur, Portugal

October 31, 2016

728 Lisbon Bus

The 728 Lisbon bus runs from Avenue Descobertas in Restelo, through Belem, past Belem Station on to Cais do Sodre Station, then Apolónia Station to Gare do Oriente to the Avenue Descobertas in Portela.

728 Lisbon Bus in Belem.

The bus links many metro stations and places of interest in the Portuguese capital and runs mostly along the River Tagus.

Services from both ends of the route in Restelo and Portela begin at 5.25am with the last buses at 11.30pm. There are reduced services at weekends and on public holidays.

728 Lisbon Bus, Belem, Portugal.

October 30, 2016

Belem Station

Belem Station is a railway station on the Cascais Line (Linha de Cascais) from Cais do Sodre to Cascais. Belem Station is handy for seeing the sights in Belem and is located close to the Estação Fluvial de Belém, the Museu Nacional dos Coches, MAAT and the Jardim do Ultramar.

Belem Station, Belem, Lisbon, Portugal.

A pedestrian bridge connects the two platforms of the station. Don't forget to either purchase a ticket at a machine on the platform or buy a Viva Viagem card to travel on the Cascais Line. You are not supposed to board the train without a ticket and can be fined.

The first train for the eight minute journey to Cais do Sodre from Belem is at 6.02am. Trains run until 2.02am. To Caiscas the first train for the 35-minute journey is at 5.38am with the last train at 1.38am.

Belem Station
Avenida da Índia
1300-298, Lisbon

October 29, 2016

Café A Brasileira

The Café A Brasileira in the Chiado district of Lisbon is one of the Portuguese capital's most famous cafes along with the Pasteis de Belem in Belem.

Café A Brasileira, Chiado, Lisbon.

The Café A Brasileira dates from 1905 and was opened to serve Brazilian cafe - hence the name which means "Brazilian lady." It is thought the bica - an expresso-style coffee was first served here.

The cafe became a hang out for artists, intellectuals and writers which helped to spread its popularity. A seated statue of the poet Fernando Pessoa by sculptor Lagoa Henriques sits at a table outside the cafe.

Both the exterior and interior are heavily ornate in the style of the period when the cafe was established. The interior has black and white mosaic floors with brass fixtures, painted ceilings and sculptured wooden walls. The exterior has a relief of a man drinking a coffee below the name of the cafe.

Café A Brasileira, Lisbon, Portugal.

The businessman behind the Café A Brasileira, the Brazil-based trader Adrian Telles, also opened a branch in Braga. Nowadays, the cafe is popular with locals, tourists and students from the nearby School of Fine Arts of Lisbon University. Unfortunately Café A Brasileira's fame and over-popularity has resulted in a recent decline in standards and service. Best to visit in the morning, out of season.

The nearest Lisbon metro station is Baixa-Chiado.

A Brasileira
R. Garrett 120, 1200 Lisboa
Tel: 21 346 9541
Hours: 8am-2am

October 28, 2016

Olhão Station

Olhão Station (Estação Ferroviária de Olhão) is a station on the Algarve Line (Linha do Algarve) in Olhão. Olhão Station is usually unmanned and has a slightly run-down feel to it.

Olhão Station is an easy 10-15 minute from the centre of Olhão. There are trains from Olhão to Faro Station for the ten-minute journey at 6.34am, 7.21 (except Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays), 7.51am, 8.12am, 10.06am, 12.06pm, 1.32pm, 2.32pm, 4.35pm, 5.29pm, 6.34pm (Sundays, or Monday, if it is a public holidays, from 3 July-4 September), 6.53pm (Monday to Saturday. No Monday service if it is a public holiday. In this case there is a Sunday service, between 3 July and 4 September. Daily service after 5 September), 8.04pm (except Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays) and 9.39pm.

Olhão Station, Algarve, Portugal.

There are trains from Olhão to Vila Real de Santo Antonio Station at 7.59am, 9.08am (except Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays), 10.06am, 11.45am, 1.06pm (except Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays), 2.06pm, 3.11pm, 4.35pm, 6.02pm (Monday to Saturday. No Monday service if it is a public holiday. In this case there is a Sunday service, between 3 July and 4 September. Daily service after 5 September), 6.02 (Sundays, or Monday, if it is a public holidays, from 3 July to 4 September), 6.40pm (except Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays), 7.38pm, 9.18pm and 10.03pm.

Comboios de Portugal timetable on pdf

Olhão Station, Algarve, Portugal.

Olhão Station
Rua dos Combatentes da Grande Guerra
8700-440 Olhão

October 26, 2016

Tourist Offices in Albufeira

There are two main tourist offices in Albufeira on the Algarve. The main tourist office is near a set of stairs at Rua 5 de Outubro just before the tunnel to the town's beaches, Praia do Peneco and Praia dos Pescadores.

Albufeira Tourist Office, Algarve, Portugal.

The helpful staff speak a number of languages and there are free pamphlets, also in a variety of languages. Bus and train timetables are posted on the walls. The staff can also offer help on finding accommodation or an open pharmacy or clinic, for example.

Albufeira Turismo
Rua 5 de Outubro
8200 Albufeira
Tel: 289 585 279
Hours: Daily 9am-1pm; 2pm-6pm

There is another tourist office out near the beach at Praia da Oura to the east of the city centre. This modern, tent-like building is on Estr. de Santa Eulália not far from The Strip and close to a number of large resort hotels, bars and restaurants.

Tourist Offices in Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal.

Posto Municipal de Turismo de Santa Eulália
Estr. de Santa Eulália 3
Areias S. Joã
8200-269 Albufeira
Tel: 289 515 973
Hours: 9am-6pm
Closed Saturday, Sunday and public holidays (though times and days may vary)

October 24, 2016

Praia da Rocha Hotels

Praia da Rocha, just south of Portimão on the Algarve has a number of fine hotels. These are clustered mainly on the promenade on the bluff above the beach on Avenida Tomás Cabreira that runs east - west from the fort and marina to the junction with Rua do Miradouro at the end of the sands.

Praia da Rocha Hotels.

At the top end of the scale are such hotels as the five-star Bela Vista, a former mansion renovated in a modern Portuguese style, the excellent four-star Tivoli Marina Portimão with modern facilities including two seawater pools, the Hotel Oriental, also four-star, has a pool and rooms with superb sea views. The five-star Hotel Algarve Casino has lovely gardens and two outdoor pools.

Hotel Jupiter, Praia da Rocha, Algarve, Portugal.

Slightly more budget options include the Hotel da Rocha, the Jupiter Algarve (above) and the three-star Avenida Praia.

Hotel Algarve Casino, Praia da Rocha, Portugal.

Also on Avenida Tomás Cabreira and the streets running north are a number of apartments and villas. These include the Apartmentos Mirante da Rocha, the Apartamentos Algarve Mor and near to the fort and marina the Vila Lido and Tivoli Marina Portimão.

Avenida Tomás Cabreira also has many bars and restaurants and is the main entertainment area in Praia da Rocha along with the marina. Marisqueira Coral (Tel: 282 419 058) makes the guide books and gets excellent reviews for its well-presented seafood dishes. Restaurante F (Tel: 919 115 512) is another top restaurant in Praia da Rocha.

Hotel da Rocha, Praia da Rocha.

October 20, 2016

Casa Museu Pintor José Cercas

The Casa Museu Pintor José Cercas (House of José Cercas) is one of the four museums in Aljezur that can be visited on a combined ticket. The others are: the Aljezur Municipal Museum, The Sacred Art Museum and the Museu Antoniano Aljezur (St. Anthony's Museum).

Casa Museu Pintor José Cercas, Aljezur, Portugal.

The small house is the former residence of the locally born painter José Cercas (1914-1992) during the last days of his life.

The house contains a collection of both Portuguese and foreign ceramics, sacred art, sculptures as well as period furniture. Some of the artist's work and paintings by other Portuguese artists are also on display. The house was left to the municipality of Aljezur and converted into a museum in 1995.

Casa Museu Pintor José Cercas, Aljezur, Portugal.

Casa Museu Pintor José Cercas
Rua do Castelo, Aljezur 8670-075
Tel: 282 991 011

Casa Museu Pintor José Cercas, Aljezur.

October 15, 2016

Lagos Tourist Train

Lagos like other resorts on the Algarve, Albufeira, Faro, Tavira and Praia da Rocha has a Comboio Turistico or tourist train that makes an hourly loop between Lagos town center and the outlying beaches of Praia Dona Ana and Praia do Camilo.

Lagos Tourist Train, Algarve, Portugal.

The toy train starts at Lagos Marina, runs through Lagos town centre along the waterfront then on to the top of the road above Praia Dona Ana and Praia do Camilo before turning around at Ponta da Piedade, going past the track leading down to Praia do Camilo, down to Praia Dona Ana near the Carvi Beach Hotel and then back to Lagos Marina.

Lagos Tourist Train, Algarve, Portugal.

Lagos Tourist Train, Algarve, Portugal.

In season the tourist train begins at 10am from Lagos Marina with the last train from Ponta da Piedade at 7.25pm.

The trains are manufactured in Germany.

Lagos Tourist Train, Algarve, Portugal.

Albufeira tourist train

Faro tourist train

October 14, 2016

Museu Antoniano Aljezur

The Museu Antoniano Aljezur (St. Anthony's Museum) is one of the four museums in Aljezur that can be visited on a combined ticket. The others are: the Aljezur Municipal Museum, The Sacred Art Museum and the nearby House of José Cercas (Casa Museu Pintor José Cercas).

Museu Antoniano Aljezur, Algarve, Portugal.

Originally the Museu Antoniano building was a chapel built in the 17th century before the 1755 earthquake after which it became the parish church of Aljezur (Igreja Matriz). From 1809 until 1995 the building was a private home. The building was then taken over by the city council and became a museum in 1998. This small, sacred space hosts exhibits dedicated to St. Anthony as well as pictures, paintings, engravings, books and ancient coins.

Museu Antoniano Aljezur, Algarve, Portugal

October 13, 2016

Carvi Beach Hotel

Carvi Beach Hotel on the bluff at Praia Dona Ana Beach in Lagos is an upmarket hotel with spacious rooms and excellent facilities.

Carvi Beach Hotel, Praia Dona Ana, Lagos.

There's an excellent breakfast on the roof terrace with views of the sea. This also serves as the restaurant's bar and restaurant. As on the roof is the hotel pool.

All rooms have Wifi and air conditioning with large and comfortable beds. Many of the rooms have small balconies.

Praia Dona Ana is connected by the Lagos tourist train and by local bus to Lagos town, which is only a 20-25 minute walk away past the campsite.

Carvi Beach Hotel, Lagos, Algarve, Portugal.

Next door to Carvi Beach Hotel are the Villa Doris Suites but adjacent to this development is the rather ugly sight of an abandoned building daubed with graffiti.

Praia Dona Ana Beach is close to the small but very picturesque Camilo Beach which is also connected by the tourist train.

Staying at the Carvi Beach Hotel means you can avoid the crowds at the beach in the early morning and late afternoon.

Carvi Beach Hotel
Alameda Dr. Armando Soares Ribeiro
Praia D. Ana
8600-500 Lagos
Tel: 282 762 026

Carvi Beach Hotel, Lagos, Algarve, Portugal.