Eco tours in the Algarve

Discover the best eco tours in the Algarve

Are you planning to go on holidays in the Algarve and searching for a way to minimize your footprint while adventuring abroad? Look no further – Lianne, customer support and content/translations at SeaBookings, listed the best eco tours in the Algarve!

Our favorite eco tours in the Algarve

1. Coasteering

“I highly recommend coasteering for true ocean lovers as being closer to the ocean and nature in general, is impossible!” (Bo)

“I highly recommend coasteering for true ocean lovers as being closer to the ocean and nature in general, is impossible!” (Bo)

Coasteering is a very original, exciting and sustainable way to explore the Algarve. And that’s why this experience is on our list of eco tours in the Algarve. If you are looking for some adventure, then this sustainable tour to explore the Algarve coastline is the perfect activity to do.

Coasteering involves swimming, walking and jumping from cliffs, so you can imagine it is a very intimate way to explore the coastline! Would you like to know what our experience with this lovely sustainable tour was? Last summer we experienced ourselves how amazing coasteering is! You can read our experience here.

2. Solar Boat in Ria Formosa

A solar boat is a great choice if you'd like to minimize your "travel footprint".

A solar boat is a great choice if you’d like to minimize your “travel footprint”

Yes, you read it right. We now have a boat tour departing from Faro that is fully powered by solar energy! This solar boat tour is one of the eco tours in the Algarve. And besides that, the boat is super quiet without the noise of an engine what makes it possible to approach animals without disturbing their peace. So, do you want to be part of the future, and enjoy a sustainable tour in Ria Formosa? This eco-friendly sustainable tour on a solar boat in Ria Formosa is an amazing way to explore the natural beauty of Ria Formosa without polluting nature!

3. Morning SUP grotto tour in Lagos

Stand-up paddle is a favorite for environmentally-conscious travelers

Stand-up paddle is a favorite for environmentally-conscious travelers

Stand-up paddle tours are one of our favorite eco tours in the Algarve. A very peaceful way to start your day during your holidays in the Algarve is by doing this SUP grotto tour in Lagos.

Stand-up paddle is rather easy to learn and a great way to enjoy the sea. Before the busy tourism starts you will get the opportunity to discover the calm waters around the coast of Lagos. And we can promise you that hearing the sound of lapping water while standing on your SUP board is very nice and calming! Our dear colleague Nathalie did this sustainable tour in Lagos together with her dad. If you want, you can read her experience here.

“The light at this time of the day is just absolutely magical. Praia Dona Ana, usually a busy beach full of people, is a true paradise this early in the morning. Peaceful and quiet, with the calm and clean Atlantic Ocean in front of it. Only for this view of another beautiful day starting in Lagos it was already worth getting up so early.” (Nathalie)

4. Kayak in Vilamoura

Kayaking is great for families

Kayaking is great for families as each kayak takes 1, 2 or 3 people

This kayak tour in Vilamoura is on the list of eco tours in the Algarve because it’s a nice sustainable tour to do with the whole family! During two hours you will get the opportunity to explore the pretty coastline of Portugal and our experienced guides know exactly where to take you!

By kayak, YOU will be the engine! Do you like to kayak alone, with one other person or even three in total, it’s up to you! This sustainable tour in Vilamoura has single, double and triple kayaks. That way you can choose how you would like to explore the coastline.

5. SUP tour in Benagil

The Benagil cave is a must-see in the Algarve!

The Benagil cave is a must-see in the Algarve!

We already mentioned that stand-up paddle tours are our favorite sustainable tours in the Algarve and this SUP tour in Benagil will definitely be the highlight of your holiday! Did you know that this tour allows you to enter the Benagil cave and admire the cave from inside while standing on the sand?

The experienced guide Bruno knows the area around Benagil very well and he is happy to share his passion for the nature of this region with you! I did this sustainable tour in Benagil together with my boyfriend. If you like, you can read more about my experience here.

Do you have more questions after reading this article or are you looking for more tips to discover the beautiful Algarve in a sustainable way? Please let us know by sending an email to [email protected]!

beaches in Mykonos

The 5 most beautiful beaches in Mykonos

Mykonos is one of the hippest and most attractive of the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea. With its unique landscapes, hip cafés and restaurants and super hot parties, Mykonos is swamped with young party people, influencers and of course just travellers looking to spend an awesome holiday on a beautiful island. The turquoise warm water and white sandy beaches are perfect for a relaxing beach holiday.

With so many amazing beaches to choose from all around the coast, it’s hard to choose the best ones. But don’t worry, we’ll help you find the 5 most beautiful beaches in Mykonos!

Don't miss out on a beach party!

Don’t miss out on a beach party!

Platys Gialos Beach

Yes, Platys Gialos is one of the most famous beaches in Mykonos and can’t miss on the list of the 5 most beautiful beaches in Mykonos. The close proximity (5km) to Mykonos town as well as the long sandy beach in front of the turquoise waters are the reasons why Platys Gialos Beach is one of the favourite beaches among travelers in Mykonos!

There are loads of hotels and restaurants just in front of the beach, making it perfect for those travellers looking to not only spend a day at the beach but also want to have a delicious lunch or some fresh drinks. It’s perfect if you like to be among people and still enjoy the beach! You can admire Platys Gialos Beach also from the sea, like on this full day boat tour in Mykonos.

Why not join a boat trip?

Why not join a boat trip?

Paraga Beach

Paraga Beach is also one of the paradisiacal beaches, not far away from Mykonos town and very popular amongst tourists and locals. Back in the 70s, it was very popular amongst Hippies, due to the unique and beautiful sandy beach and the rocks in the middle, making the beach look even more special. Even today you can still do nude sunbathing at this beach.

In summer, Paraga Beach is one of the hotspots for beach parties among young and stylish travellers from all over the world. The parties at Paraga Beach are legendary, and the setting is simply the best! It’s one of the 5 most beautiful beaches in Mykonos for those looking for a laid-back place where you can also party and meet loads of new people!

Paraga was very popular amongst Hippies in the 70s

Paraga was very popular amongst Hippies in the 70s

Fokos Beach

For those of you looking for a more quiet beach to relax and not be disturbed by too many tourists, Fokos Beach is a good place to go! Fokos is not one of those perfectly organised beaches where you are sharing the place together with the crazy crowd of Mykonos town. Instead, you have a nice stretch of sand, some pebbles in between and of course the crystal-clear waters.

Fokos Beach is perfect for families looking for a quiet corner on the island. But also nudists will find all the freedom they want on Fokos Beach since it has turned into a naturist beach over the past couple of years. The beautiful scenery is definitely worth a visit and thus one of the 5 most beautiful beaches in Mykonos.

Hard to choose, so here's some help to pick some beaches in Mykonos

Hard to choose, so here’s some help to pick some beaches in Mykonos

Agios Ioannis Beach

Agios Ioannis Beach in Mykonos is a great spot at the south-west coast of the island. From here, you have an amazing view of the historical island of Delos. You can easily get here by bus from Mykonos town to enjoy the soft sand and the warm, clear waters in front of the sea. At Agios Ioannis, you have some hotels and restaurants just around the beach as well to enjoy some food and cold drinks in between your sunbathing!

Since you can easily get into the calm waters at this beach, it’s perfect and very safe for families with small children! And if you would like to go on a fun day out on the sea on your private catamaran, this full-day private catamaran tour in Mykonos with a delicious BBQ starts right in front of this beautiful beach!

Refresh with a dive!

Refresh with a dive!

Merchia Beach

Merchia Beach is another one of those absolute secret spots among the 5 most beautiful beaches in Mykonos. If you’re looking for a really quiet spot without any distraction at all, Merchia Beach is the place for you! It is in the North-East of the island, and there is not much infrastructure all around – so make sure to bring enough water and something to eat!

Merchia Beach is not your typical sandy beach like all the beaches in the South of Mykonos. Instead, you will find a rather pebbled ground, no hotels around and therefore not many people. If you want to escape the crowds completely for a day, it’s the perfect place to find peace and quiet! This one is one of the 5 most beautiful beaches in Mykonos due to its serenity and emptiness!

If you have a rental car or a scooter during your holidays in Mykonos, why not explore all of the 5 most beautiful beaches in Mykonos? This way you have many different impressions of the island, and can enjoy it to the fullest! We hope you have a lot of fun doing so!

dolphin watching tour in Setúbal

We went on a dolphin watching tour in Setúbal with the family

By Bo, co-founder of SeaBookings, working from Lisbon:

What better birthday present can you give than a day out on a boat? This year, for my mother in law’s birthday, we decided to give a special present: we went on a dolphin watching tour in Setúbal with the family. When we finally found a Saturday where we were all available and the weather forecasts were OK, we booked our dolphin trip in Setúbal for the afternoon.

The nets in the front are a lot of fun

The nets in the front are a lot of fun

Setúbal is known for its delicious fried squid. And as the dolphin watching tour in Setúbal would depart at 14h30, we’d have time to enjoy some of this local delicacies. We booked a table at Taska da Avenida, number one on TripAdvisor for the famous “choco frito”. In fact, it was the best fried squid we’d ever had and the French fries and salad were also delicious. So, if you plan a day trip from Lisbon to go on a dolphin watching tour In Setúbal, pass by Taska da Avenida before. The restaurant is only 10min by foot from the meeting point to catch the boat.

It's hard to catch them on camera, but they were all around the boat!

It’s hard to catch them on camera, but they were all around the boat!

Once our bellies were happy, we took a stroll around the streets of Setúbal and met the crew of the boat tour at their office. Here, the youngest one of our party, Luísa of 5 years old, was super excited to learn about the dolphins that we’d be searching for. In Setúbal, in the Sado River, lives a resident pod of bottlenose dolphins of 27 members. These resident pods are very rare and as they are residents, the skippers and marine biologists on board have a strong record of their behaviour. They can even identify each of the 27 dolphins by their dorsal fin! Of course, Luísa was impressed to know all this and to learn about the life of these beautiful creatures.

The boat used for this dolphin watching tour in Setúbal is a very nice and comfortable catamaran. You can sit in the shade or in the sun or even on the nets. After picking up one more family from Tróia, on the other side of the Sado River, we were ready to start our journey in the search of wild dolphins. As they are not fed or tagged, the crew never knows where they’re hanging out, so there’s always a small chance to have tough luck and not find them. However, given that this pod of dolphins is resident, the chances are very very high. In the last years, the success rate has been 90-95%.

Kids love this dolphin watching tour in Setúbal

Kids love this dolphin watching tour in Setúbal

After cruising river-inwards for about 20min we already saw the first splashes. Yes, we had found them! Everybody on board was super excited. As soon as we approached the pod of dolphins, they were all around the boat. It’s truly magical to see how people react when they see these beautiful creatures. It’s so special finding them in their natural habitat. The skipper explained that we could only be with them for 30min so we would not “disturb” them too much. One thing we really liked was to feel that this tour operator truly respects these animals and are interested in them. One of the skippers even explained a lot about them. He went from family to family and explained a bit about this curious pod of resident dolphins, both in English and in Portuguese. The other skipper was steering the boat and even allowed Luísa to help him!

We could not get enough of observing the dolphins!

We could not get enough of observing the dolphins!

Before heading back to the dock in Setúbal, we still did a scenic tour along the green hills of the Arrábida Natural Park and the white sanded beaches of Tróia. It was beautiful!

This dolphin watching tour in Setúbal is very suitable for families. On our trip, there were many kids and even babies on board and in our case, grandma also enjoyed a lot! We recommend to check-in at least 15 min before the departure of the tour so you can take a look at the office and learn about the dolphins. Regarding food and drinks onboard, we brought some water and fruit and cookies and there’s also a bar service for additional drinks. To find out more and to book, feel free to have a look here.

We went Whale Watching in São Miguel

Our friend Cristina, blogger at The Choice of Magic, shares her unforgettable experience Whale Watching in São Miguel:

Welcome to São Miguel!

Welcome to São Miguel!

The island of São Miguel is certainly one of the most breathtaking places in Portugal. With eternally green hills, blue-green water, spotted cows and delicious cheese, it’s the perfect getaway for a long weekend. There are obviously plenty of things to do in a place where nature is so overwhelmingly beautiful: from hikes and baths in the island´s many hot springs to eating all the “lapas” you can find, and to finally going on a most amazing adventure: Whale Watching in São Miguel. 

When planning our trip, we positively knew we wanted to venture into the sea and try our luck at Whale Watching in São Miguel. Something else we knew was that we had to do it with an agency that had consideration, respect and love towards the animals and their ever endangered ecosystem. After thorough research, we decided to ask SeaBookings for help and they promptly booked us a tour with a local whale watching tour agency of extremely kind and passionate people.

Lourenzo, the Marine Biologist

Lourenzo, the Marine Biologist

The tour started on a sunny day, at 8:30 am from Vila Franca do Campo’s marina. We got there early and having followed the advice of the tour operator, with some milk in our bellies to combat the seasickness. The tour started on land with a touching video about our oceans. Minutes later, adults and children alike were embarking along with Tiago, the boat’s captain and Lorenzo, our charming Italian marine biologist. Waterproof jackets on, scarves around our faces and sunglasses firmly secured, the boat started towards the great unknown.

The views over the shore are stunning!

The views over the shore are stunning!

Not even 10 minutes in, we encountered our first colony of bottlenose dolphins. Now, I’ve only ever seen dolphins in aquariums and this was a completely different experience. Seeing these wonderful creatures in the wild and hearing Lorenzo’s stories about the dolphins of New Zeeland, we felt utterly overwhelmed and grateful for being able to experience this. The colony was a big one, over 100 animals, jumping around our boat and giving us the welcome to their island. The boat had stopped for us to admire the animals, take some blurry pictures and recover from the first batch of seasickness.

This tour operator works with whale spotters who from the island’s shore, oversee the sea with powerful binoculars and warn the boat captain of where these wonderful creatures are lurking. After seeing two colonies of bottlenose dolphins, the whale spotters excitedly warned our captain that a group of sperm whales was nearby. We rushed in their direction and it wasn’t long until we found the beautiful animals resting in the water and soaking up the sun. Lorenzo explained that it was a matriarchal group formed out of three adult female whales and their calves. I cannot even begin to describe the feeling of smallness one feels when seeing a baby whale expelling water through its blowhole. Remember all the cartoons you’ve seen with whales doing this? Well, it´s even better in reality.

It's hard to catch the animals on camera!

It’s hard to catch the animals on camera!

Three hours flew by unbelievably fast and as we were circling the beautiful islet of Vila Franca do Campo, the site for the Red Bull Cliff Diving competition, we wished we could do it all over again. We returned to base for a final cup of tea and chat with Lorenzo and learned more about the island’s effort in preserving the oceans and helping these animals. We left smiling, thankful and just a tad more mindful about how wonderful nature is.

Many thanks, Cristina, for describing your experience Whale Watching in São Miguel so beautifully. For more details about this tour or bookings, please have a look here.

48 hours in the Algarve – Sunset, waves and culture

This is a guest post by Peter Jenkins, Owner and Luxury Villa Specialist, Sun-hat Villas and Resorts.

There’s something magical about The Algarve. From the instant you step off the plane, you are transported to a holiday haven and can feel an indescribable buzz; not just from the delightful climate, but also from the friendly locals, and let’s not forget the cuisine.

The region has become a hot spot amongst jetsetters who like a touch of elegance with their evening cocktails when overlooking the stunning beaches and enjoying the tranquility of the peaceful fishing villages. The area is also a firm favourite of chilled out surfers, hoping to catch some wonderful waves on Portugal’s widest swell.  With such a wide offering, we have gathered a list of our top recommendations, ideal for a short weekend or spread out over a long relaxing trip.

Day 1

Sunrise surf

The striking cliffs, impressive cliff-top fortress (and the most powerful lighthouse in Europe) can all be found in the glorious Sagres, which is one of the places to catch some waves – or at least watch some the cool surfers show you how it’s done! Check out Magic Seaweed’s handpicked guide for what to expect when out on the water.

After hitting the beach, Sagres is a fabulous place to spend your morning. With its joyful cafes this is a great spot to grab some breakfast (or brunch if you want a lazy lie-in). Terra is a great venue to head for breakfast. A glass of delicious fresh juice or a cup of roasting hot coffee teamed with either a nutella or peach filled croissant, can be one of the best ways to start the day. It is also a good option for vegetarians and vegans.

Explore Alcoutim

Unicode

Discover Alcoutim

After an extremely active and revitalising morning, you may be tempted to treat yourself to a slightly more laid back afternoon. On the exciting drive to Alcoutim, you will be able to discover the picturesque countryside views and see the sights of its warm riverside beach. This is a cool place to rest and watch the cheeky fish occasionally jump in and out of the water.

After bathing at the beach, take a stroll in the cultural and historical town, steeped in culture with a Moorish castle, 14th Century castle remains and 17th Century fort.

Sunset: From surf to turf

One of the places we love to dine at is Almancil’s hilltop restaurant Parilla Natural. This stunning eatery features its own wine cave and offers visitors an outside dining experience amongst tall trees and charming candlelight. If you’re feeling chilly, fear not as there’s an inside eating area too! From the menu, we particularly like Surf and Turf paired with Batatas Fritas Caseiras (hand cut potato fries), and for drinks, be sure to try the Lemon Cheesecake Martini.

Day 2

Climb the mountains

Foia - Highest Mountain in Algarve

Foia – Highest Mountain in Algarve

The magnificent Foia Mountain, also known as Monchique, is the highest in the Algarve. Adventurists, who want to partake in the challenge of making it to the top, will be able to walk around the area with a local guide and come face to face with cooling water springs and views of the coastline scattered with attractive little villages. Be sure to pack a tasty picnic breakfast, whilst you enjoy the view from the top.

An afternoon in Albufeira

Albufeira's beach

Albufeira’s beach

The old town of Albufeira is exceptionally captivating and is surrounded by a whole array of delightful restaurants and bars offering everything you could possibly imagine; from the imaginatively presented and tongue tantalising gourmet dining experience at Al Quimia, (some of the food is dished up in a goldfish bowl), to much loved authentic and inexpensive take-aways such as the Albufeira Gourmet Churrasqueira Take-Away, which serves mouth-wateringly good ribs and skinny fries.

The main square bursts into life in the evening with locals and revelers and the maze of cobbled side streets hold interesting hidden finds; it’s also great for finding a souvenir or too!

Sunset at Sea

Watch the sun as it comes down, whilst you’re cruising through the sea on a sunset boat tour. You’ll be able to witness all of the pretty colours of The Algarvian sun, whilst also visiting the moonlit caves, dancing under the stars, relaxing on the deck and taking a cooling night time dip in the ocean. Guests will be treated to one complimentary drink, and there’s also a bar on board for you to sample the local wines and beers. The tours depart from different locations like Vilamoura or Albufeira.

Book your accommodation on time

Book your accommodation on time

If you’re feeling tempted and want to plan your next Portuguese adventure, take a peek at the luxury villas in Vale do Lobo, and the rest of the Algarve, that Sun-hat Villas have available.

Top 5 things to do in Crete

Top 5 things to do in Crete

Crete is the largest one of all Greek islands and has a lot to offer – from paradisiacal beaches with white sand and crystal-clear waters, over the impressive mountain landscapes and the antique towns like Chania and Heraklion, full of ancient history and Greek mythology. Did you know, that according to the Greek mythology, the god Zeus was born in the Ideon Cave on Crete?

Crete is the perfect destination for all kinds of travellers. Families, group of friends, solo-travellers, party people, sun-lovers and naturefreaks will all find something to do on this special island. With this blog post we would like to give you an idea of the big diversity of activities offered on this island. Our list of the top 5 things to do in Crete will help you get the most of your holidays in Crete!

The Top 5 things to do in Crete

1. Enjoy Balos Lagoon

Enjoy the sceneries of the island

Enjoy the sceneries of the island

Balos Lagoon is one of the most famous beaches of Crete, and a visit to this paradise is definitely one of the top 5 things to do in Crete. Most probably you have never seen a beach this beautiful ever before in your life! In the Balos Lagoon you will find the whitest sand, the most crystalline waters and simply a breathtaking view over the two islands lying just in front of the lagoon!

Balos Lagoon is situated in the northwest of the island, on the Gramvousa peninsula. The best way to get here is by boat or ferry. If you’d like to visit the region around this unique place, a private boat tour in Crete is the best way to do so! However you decide to visit this natural paradise, we’re sure you will be amazed by the sheer beauty of the amazing Balos Lagoon!

2. Stroll through Chania old town

Gotta love the colors of Chania!

Gotta love the colors of Chania!

Chania is one of the most beautiful towns in Crete, and this is not only because of its location right at the sea. The many old buildings, narrow streets and cute cafés and restaurants invite all travellers to stroll around the old town and enjoy the feeling of history around every corner. Visiting Chania is one of the top 5 things to do in Crete. Just don’t forget to bring your camera, as the picturesque little town is the perfect place to take amazing photos at.

One of the most popular attractions in Chania is, by no doubt, the Old Venetian Harbor. It is called Venetian Harbor because it was created, just like most of the old town of Chania, during the times the Venetians were in charge of Chania before the Ottoman Turks took it over. In the Old Harbor, you will find the old Venetian and Turkish designs. These different influences are very interesting to look at and certainly unique! From the Old Venetian Harbor, you can also do a lot of great boat tours, like for example a private half day sailing tour in Crete!

3. Do a SUP Tour

Enjoy the warm waters around Crete

Enjoy the warm waters around Crete

The warm and calm waters of Crete are simply perfect for all kinds of watersport activities! Since we are absolute ocean-lovers, it’s no big surprise that one of our top 5 things to do in Crete is a SUP Tour. And during this fantastic SUP tour in Crete, you can even go snorkeling to explore the beautiful underwater world and jump off the impressive cliffs around the coast.

For us, SUP (short for stand-up paddleboarding) is one of the most fun ways to explore the amazing coast of Crete. During a SUP Tour in Crete, you stand on one of the big and stable SUP-Boards and use a paddle to move in the water. This way, you stay fit while exploring the unique coastline. Our SUP Guides know the region very well and will bring you to the most beautiful hidden spots around the coast!

4. Try Scuba Diving

Crete is the perfect spot to try scuba!

Crete is the perfect spot to try scuba!

Scuba Diving is a real adventure and always an unforgettable experience. The warm and calm waters around Crete are perfect for this sport, and trying scuba diving for the first time in Crete is the best way to explore the underwater world. Immersing yourself for the first time in the fascinating world beneath the surface will literally be a breathtaking experience!

If you try scuba diving in Crete for the first time, you will be of course under the supervision of experienced and professional PADI Instructors. With them, you will learn all you need to know to take your first breath underwater. Exploring the magic world underwater for the first time is so exciting and for us one of the top 5 things to do in Crete! And since you don’t need any experience at all, everybody can join! Even kids can go diving for the first time in Crete, with our special Kids program!

5. Walk the Samaria Gorge

Welcome to hiking paradise

Welcome to hiking paradise

If you would like to explore other landscapes besides beautiful beaches in Crete, hiking the Samaria Gorge is definitely one of the top things to do in Crete during your holidays. This Gorge is one of the longest gorges in Europe with 16km. The landscapes are simply beautiful, and you will find peace far away from the busy touristic coastal towns.

The mountain landscape of the National Park is a big contrast to the beachy scenery down at the coast. Sometimes you will even see snowy patches on the top of the mountains! The trail is very beautiful and good for all levels of hikers. Along the trail, you will also pass by old churches and other remains of people who once lived in this mountain area. It’s a great way to spend a day escaping the crowds and enjoy nature!

There are many nice things to do in Crete

There are many nice things to do in Crete

Whatever you decide to do of the top 5 things to do in Crete, we’re sure you will fall in love with the big diversity of this island! Crete is a great holiday destination all year around, and we hope you have a great time exploring!

 

grotto trips in Lagos

Grotto trips in Lagos can be done all year round

Bo, co-founder of SeaBookings, went on a grotto boat tour in Lagos and shares her experience:

It was late February when we went to Lagos, Algarve, to visit my parents who live there. As my boyfriend had never seen the famous rock formations of Ponta da Piedade, we decided to join a grotto trip. The grotto trips in Lagos run all year round. In fact, each time has a year is special and unique as the light varies along the seasons.

Departure point of grotto trips in Lagos

Most grotto trips in Lagos depart from the modern Marina de Lagos. There are also grotto trips departing from Ponta da Piedade itself and from other locations, such as Praia da Luz. Personally, I really like departing from Marina de Lagos. Here, you have the chance to use the bathroom before and after the boat tour and also grab a coffee with a nice view.

grotto trips Lagos

We went on a boat with 4 other people and Joaquim, the skipper

When to do a grotto tour in Lagos

If you ask me what the best time of the day is to see the rock formations, it’s hard to answer. Some of the rocks are more illuminated by the sun in the morning, while others in the afternoon. I’d say going around midday is perfect, as the sun hits the water from above, creating a beautiful effect on the different shades of blue of the sea. However, if you’re planning to do this boat tour during the hot Summer months, you might prefer to do an early-morning trip (when there’s usually less wind), or enjoy a sunset boat tour.

Regarding the time of the year, I’d say these grotto trips in Lagos are marvellous at any season. In the summer it’s nice because the chances of a bright sun are higher. And also, if you choose the longer coastal trip, in Summer, you can enjoy a refreshing dip in the sea. On the other hand, in the low season, from October to April, these grotto trips are more special as the coastline of Lagos is less crowded with other boats and stand-up paddle and kayak tours. In February, we enjoyed a boat tour with virtually no other boats around, giving a more peaceful experience. The downside of the low season is surely the unstable weather and sea conditions. For the grotto trips in Lagos, the sea should be extremely calm, otherwise, it’s simply too dangerous to cruise so close to the rocks and in the caves.

We went on a regular cave tour from the Marina to Ponta da Piedade which takes about 1h15. The boats are guided by one skipper and have 9 places. We were lucky to be skippered by Joaquim, o young local entrepreneur who, together with his dad, owns several boats to take people out and enjoy the gorgeous coastline of Lagos. After a quick safety briefing and explanation of what to expect on this boat tour, we were ready to leave the Marina.

Joaquim explained all points of interest where we cruised by and enthusiastically replied to all questions we and the other participants had. It was impressive how Joaquim managed to manoeuvre the small boat in between narrow alleys created by the unique rock formations around Ponta da Piedade. He knows these rocks and caves like no other and, according to the tides and sea conditions, he decided in which caves we could enter. Everybody on board was astonished by the beautiful colors of the red cliffs and the turquoise waters of Ponta da Piedade.

Most tours are circular, so the start and end point are the same

Most tours are circular, so the start and end point are the same

We highly recommend the grotto trips in Lagos to everybody visiting the Algarve. The tours are rather affordable and give us unique views over the characteristic coastline of Lagos. These boat tours are suitable for all ages, from 0 to 100, and given the comfortable boarding conditions, even people with less mobility are welcome!

Sailing Portugal

The best of sailing in Portugal

The best of sailing in Portugal

Portugal has an enormous coastline. Portugal mainland has a coast of almost 1000km. To that, we should add 670km from the Azores archipelago and 250km from Madeira. Enough space to develop a broad variety of water sports and boat tours. Today we’ll share the best of sailing in Portugal.

Beside its geographically fortunate conditions for sailing, Portugal is also blessed with amazing weather conditions for sailing. With its mild climate and characteristic ocean breeze, sailing in Portugal can be done all year round. Another factor that makes Portugal a great sailing destination are its many sophisticated marinas along the coastline, from North to South and to the islands.

The best of sailing in Portugal

The best of sailing in Portugal

However, there are a few places that stand out, for example Cascais, near Lisbon, and Lagos in the Algarve as well as Albufeira. These cities with modern marinas are amongst the best regatta locations in the world. Cascais, Lisbon and Lagos host some of sailing world’s most prestigious events and regattas. The Tall Ships Races and the Volvo Ocean Race in Lisbon are examples on Portugal mainland. In the Algarve, the TP/52 Audi Med Cup was held in Portimão. Also the Islands, for example Madeira are popular as the Clipper around the world Regatta was held in Madeira.

Sailing in Portugal is a great thing to do during your holidays, especially given its mild climate, cheerful sunshine and favourable winds. In addition, the Atlantic Ocean is a “little box full of surprises” as sometimes it is beautiful and calm for a relaxed sailing session while sometimes more temperamental, offering challenges that require more experience and energy.

Sailing in Portugal is a great thing to do during your holidays in Portugal. If you do not owe your own sailing boat, no worries, there are enough experiences that will make you have a great sailing experience and make you feel like you own the boat!

Sailing in the Algarve :

Half day sailing from Albufeira

FINISMAR - albufeira boat trips

Half day sailing in Albufeira Portugal

This three hour sailing in Albufeira will make your dream to feel like you own a yacht come true. While on holidays in the Algarve, feel like you’re the owner of a beautiful yacht, on board of FINISMAR. With a small group of friends or family and a trained and friendly crew, you’ll experience the joy of sailing in Portugal, departing from the Marina of Albufeira. You’ll be cruising along the coast with its spectacular rock formations, caves and white sandy beaches up to Carvoeiro light house.

FINISMAR is a modern yacht with a length of 15 m (50 ft) and width of 4.5 m (15 ft). Its engine is a Perkins Sabre (92 HP) which can reach a speed of 10 knots. The vessel has a capacity of 12 passengers and includes all modern technologies for an unforgettable and smooth experience and great comfort and stability.

Full day sailing from Albufeira

This sailing experience in the Algarve is similar to the one above. The difference is that this is a full day experience. As you’ve got more time, you will anchor next to a quiet beach for a BBQ lunch.

You will also have time to visit the marine caves or go for a dive into the deep blue ocean. This sailing experience depart from the Marina of Albufeira around 10h30 and the return to the marina will be around 16h45.

Start sailing from Praia da Luz, Lagos

Sailing in Lagos

Sailing in Lagos – Praia da Luz

This experience is great for those who are looking for a Sporty and fun way to discover the coastline of the Algarve during their vacation in Portugal. The Algarve, and in Particular Praia da Luz, is characterized by the well-known “Nortada”, an offshore wind coming from the northwest quadrant. The “Nortada” gives excellent conditions to practice sailing.

To learn and improve your sailing skills, the Beach Hut Sailing center, based on the beach of Praia da Luz, provides the latest equipment, has got a large selection of gear, from initiation level up to advanced levels of sailing.

This sailing experience will take about five hours and is designed for the complete beginner. Guided by friendly and experience sailors, you will learn the basics of sailing. You will learn about sailing in all directions in light winds and you will also get an introduction to the sailing equipment, about how to start, control the boat, steering it and enjoy!

Sailing around Lisbon:

Learn sailing in Lisbon

learn sailing lisboa

Learn sailing Lisbon

This sailing experience is designed for beginners as it’s got a big learning component and is suitable for all ages (above 14 years old). It takes place in the surroundings of the marina of departure. Depending on the conditions of the wind and tide, you will go out head to the lighthouse of “Bugio” in direction of the Atlantic. Alternatively, you’ll make a beautiful approach into Lisbon, along the Tagus River.

In this sailing experience in Portugal, you will learn the basics of sailing and be involved in the manoeuvring of the vessel. This sailing experience in Lisbon takes approximately two hours. You’ll get the possibility to try and learn this unique sport and will supply support and gear for all levels of experience. Come and try it!

 

Romantic cruise in Lisbon

sailing tours lisbon

Sailing tours Lisbon

Sailing in Portugal is not only about sports and energy, it can also be done in a more relaxed and even romantic way. In Lisbon you can go on a private boat cruise for two. This is an unforgettable experience: a romantic sailing cruise on a unique over 10 meter luxurious sailing yacht.

The tour departs from Oeiras, near Lisbon and you’ll be sailing along the Estoril Coast or in direction of Belém, according to your preference. During this sailing experience, you can simply enjoy the ride and your beloved one or participate in manoeuvring the vessel. If you want, you’ll be involved in hoisting the sails, taking the wheel and sail towards the horizon for a more intense experience.

Historical Lisbon sailing tour

Sailing Lisbon

Sailing Lisbon

If you like sailing and are looking for a more cultural touch too, this historical sailing tour from Lisbon is for you. While sailing along the Tagus River, you’ll enjoy a special view over the city and also over the other side of the river.

The historical Lisbon sailing tour starts at Doca de Santo Amaro. This “Doca”, one of the many small harbours of the Portuguese capital, is located under the emblematic Bridge of the 25th of April.

First, you’ll head in direction of the Atlantic. In this direction, you’ll pass by Belém with its famous tower and Padrão dos Descobrimentos. You’ll also be able to see the Monastery of Jeronimos, another great monument of Belém. When you pass by the contemporary building of the Champalimaud Foundation, you’ll turn to head back in direction of the city center.

The extraordinary view over Terreiro do Paço, also known as Praça do Comércio – the main square of the Portuguese Capital, is one of the main highlights of this tour. The sailing tour will finish at the same place where it started, under the bridge.

Combining nature, adventure and historical experiences, this is sailing experiences is among the best sailing cruises in Lisbon.

Sailing on the Islands:

Dolphin & coastal sailing tour from Madeira

sailing boat trip ventura

Sailing boat trip ventura

On Madeira you can enjoy a sailing tour that involves dolphin observation and also allows you to enjoy the dramatic coastal views of the island.

For the children, the observation of dolphins or other marine mammals in their natural habitat is a moment that stays forever in their memory.

Given its specific conditions, in the middle of the Atlantic, almost 30 species of cetaceans (dolphins and whales) can be found around the Madeira Islands Some of the most common species are Common Dolphins, Bottlenose Dolphins, Pilot whales and Atlantic Spotted Dolphins. Sometimes even Killer whales and Sperm whales are found.

This sailing tour from Madeira takes place on a beautiful traditional wooden sailing boat. Beside the highlight of the dolphins, the trip is also very worth it for the sailing experience itself and for the beautiful sights over the ocean and to the shore of the island.

You may have the chance to have a swim at the base of Cabo Girão. Cabo do Girão is the 2nd highest sea cliff in Europe with 580m! This depends on the weather and ocean conditions. This experience is one of the best ways to enjoy Madeira to the fullest!

Sailing Lisboa Portugal

Sailing Lisboa Portugal

Does this combination of a sailing experience and a stunning holiday destination sound good to you? Please don’t hesitate to contact us for more details or feel free to book your sailing in Portugal now!

Vilamoura Portugal

Tips for the best holidays in Vilamoura

If you’re planning your trip to the Algarve, the South of Portugal, holidays in Vilamoura can be a good choice. In our point of view, Vilamoura is one of the Algarve’s finest resort towns. If you go for holidays in Vilamoura, you’ll get so much more than just amazing beaches and a pleasant climate.

In the 80’s, Vilamoura was envisaged as an exclusive beach resort and elite golfing center. Today you can still feel this “exclusivity” as the town has matured into a modern and stylish holiday destination known for glorious golf courses, a trendy marina and outstanding tourist facilities.

holidays in Vilamoura

Where to stay during your holidays in Vilamoura

We recommend you to stay within the modern marina development. In the Marina of Vilamoura you’ll be surrounded by charming restaurants, fancy cocktail bars and a chic nightlife.

In the Marina you’ll find some of the best things to do during your holidays in Vilamoura: boat tours and watersports. And from the Marina, it is only a short walk to the white sanded beaches.

Also, it’s only a short drive to the championship grade golf courses around Vilamoura. Vilamoura, and specially the Marina, has world class hotels and fine apartments.

Boat trip Vilamoura SeaBookings (2)

The best thing to do in Vilamoura

Unforgettable boat tours and watersports

Most likely, your holidays in Vilamoura will mostly be spent around the Marina. Boasting a 1,000-berth marina, Vilamoura has a lot to offer in terms of boat tours and watersports!

For the ones who prefer a serene day out in the Atlantic, there are dolphin watching tours or coastal tours of a half or full day. There are super speedy jet boats and jet skis for the ones who are looking for an adrenaline boost. Sailing is also an option. Fishing tours in Vilamoura are also very popular, from shark fishing to family fishing tours.

In terms of watersports, how about enjoying a unique view over the Algarve while parasailing or you can go for the Action Pack and do several watersports with your friends for three hours.

Play golf

Only a few minutes drive from the Marina of Vilamoura, you’ll find the five 18-hole golf courses that make Vilamoura one of the best locations for a golfing holiday in Portugal. Are you new to playing golf? This ultimate step-by-step guide for beginners may help you out 😉 

In the Marina you’ll find agencies that rent quality clubs and provide transport to all of the major courses throughout the Algarve. There are five golf courses in Vilamoura:

  • Victoria (18holes – used for the Portugal Masters)
  • Pinhal (18holes Par 72)
  • The Old Course (18holes Par 73)
  • Millennium (18 holes Par 72)
  • Laguna (18holes Par 72).

All five golf courses are operated by the Oceanico Golf company. They have a worldwide reputation for the highest standards and excellent facilities.

ddcefad985cc72ef7f7be18e09604f661bc7b566884b0bced6337aad

Enjoy the beach

The beaches of Vilamoura are stunning. You’ll find soft white sands and crystal clear sea waters that are safe for families. You can enjoy and relax on the sun loungers while the water sports in Vilamoura (jet skis, banana boats and parasailing) will entertain “kids” of all ages.

There are two main beaches in Vilamoura:

  • Vilamoura Beach (or “Praia da Marina”) to the east of the Marina
  • Praia da Rocha Baixinha to the west of the Marina

Both of these beaches in Vilamoura have sun loungers to relax comfortably and lots of fun water sports to entertain the most active ones.

There are plenty of beach bars for delicious fresh meals and refreshments. There’s a third beach if you decide to spend your holidays in Vilamoura at the Tivoli Marina Vilamoura hotel. The Tivoli Vilamoura has a private Purobeach!

Have fun in waterparks

For the days that the ocean is too rough to enjoy a boat tour or do some watersports in Vilamoura, there are many alternatives. The Algarve is great for kids and teenagers, who will love Zoomarine (a marine park in Guia) or the waterparks of Aquashow and Slide and Splash (in Quarteira and Lagoa).

Taste local culture

Holidays in Vilamoura are also interesting for those wishing a more cultural holiday. Within a few minutes drive you could visit the historic city of Faro, the capital city of the Algarve. The market town of Loulé is also a nice day tour.

Boat trip Vilamoura SeaBookings (3)

Who goes on holidays in Vilamoura?

Vilamoura is great for holidays with your family. There are many excellent family hotels and in the town children will be welcomed in all restaurants, cafes and shops. Large groups who are on stag/hen do’s or simply looking for a cheap drink holiday don’t usually pick Vilamoura. For this sort of holiday Albufeira is more adequate.

Given its modernity and exclusivity, some visitors may find Vilamoura devoid of Portuguese charm and character. This is compensated by its outstanding tourist facilities and services.

If you’re looking for a more traditional Portuguese holiday destination, we recommend the historic city of Lagos or the charming town of Tavira for example.

Are holidays in Vilamoura expensive?

Holidays in Vilamoura are not the cheapest destination in Portugal. Vilamoura is known for exclusivity, so is marginally more expensive than the other popular resort towns of the Algarve.

In fact, Vilamoura is popular among travelers who are looking for a refined and luxurious holiday destination, with a preference to quality over cost.

In Europe, Portugal is a comparatively inexpensive country. In general, food, accommodation and transport are much cheaper than many other established holiday destinations like the Balearic Islands or Greece.

For the season of 2017 Vilamoura is expecting a sell-out summer, following the success of 2016. So, to secure the best prices, we suggest to book accommodation, flights and other things to do far in advance.

In fact, our advice is, if you are seriously considering a holiday in Vilamoura, to book accommodation now.

5684121702_50d5aa0d41_b

When to go on holidays in Vilamoura?

Vilamoura has long warm summers. Spring and Autumn are pleasant and winters are mild but unpredictable. During the winter Vilamoura has an equal number of bright days as wet days.

The high season is from July through to August. During these months the beaches are packed and most hotels are sold out.

June and September tend to be popular months with couples. These months before and after the high season are outside the school holidays and you’ll find a Vilamoura without the hordes of children. Weather is usually still fantastic during these months.

To enjoy the beach during your holidays in Vilamoura, we recommend traveling from mid-May until mid-October. The two ends of the season provide great value with last minute accommodation deals and cheaper flights.

During the winter season, tourist facilities in Vilamoura close down to fully reopen for Easter.

Most restaurants and cafes in the marina complex stay open year round. However during the winter the region will feel very quiet excepting Christmas and New Year, when there is a lively atmosphere.

Vilamoura Portugal

How to get to Vilamoura?

The closest airport to Vilamoura is the main airport of southern Portugal: Faro airport. Faro airport is located 25km to the west of Vilamoura.

Faro is a major airport with flights covering the whole of Europe. As the Algarve is a popular holiday destination during the summer time, there is frequently a shortage of seats/flights in the summer. So, we advice to always book well in advance to secure the best prices.

Unfortunately, there is very limited public transport from the airport to Vilamoura. The route requires two bus journeys and takes between 1.5-2hours depending on connections. That’s why most visitors pre-book a transfer.

Transfers from and to the airport can be a private transfer or shared (mini bus or coach), prices per person range from €50 for private to €25 for shared. Another option is of course to rent a car.

Watersports Vilamoura

Holidays in Vilamoura are great if you’re looking for a real taste of Algarve luxury. Vilamoura is one of the biggest private tourism resorts in Europe and is know to be one of the most prestigious in Portugal. Even if you are not staying in Vilamoura during your holidays in the Algarve, it really is well worth a visit, just to see how much the Algarve has to offer.

Help save the oceans

11 Things You Can Do To Help Save The Oceans

By Nathalie, content and translations at SeaBookings, who’d like to share some tips about the things you can do to help save the oceans.

At SeaBookings, we are all passionate lovers of the sea and of our blue planet. We are so thankful for the waters of the sea that gives us life and make a life on earth possible. However, we do also recognise our responsibility to take care of these waters and to protect them so that future generations will be able to enjoy the sea as much as we do! That’s why we think it is important we share 11 things you can do to help save the oceans with you!

We can all make a difference

We can all make a difference

1. Pick-up (at least) 5 pieces of plastic on every beach walk

The first thing you can do to help save the ocean is really easy and can be done literally anywhere and by anyone! Whenever you go to the beach, just pick up 5 pieces of plastic! At the beach, it’s especially important to help save the ocean, but even if you go for a walk in the city or wherever you live, make it your goal to always pick up at least 5 pieces of plastic! This is a minimal effort but if more people commit to it, it can make a huge difference!

There are some nice movements going on regarding picking up litter. We really like “LitterHero” based on two main ideas: Think Global & Act Local. What makes them different is that they are building a global alliance of local Litter Hero groups into a world-wide force to prevent and eliminate litter. They have several initiatives in Lagos, Portugal, and we’ll be there! You too?

Nathalie even likes to use her lunch breaks to clean up some litter on the beach.

Nathalie even likes to use her lunch breaks to clean up some litter on the beach.

2. Say NO to plastic straws

Luckily, this one on our list of 11 things you can do to help save the oceans has been becoming more and more of a topic and many restaurants and cafés are already aware of the problem of plastic straws. Did you know that the Marina de Lagos has launched a pioneering campaign in Portugal to abolish single-use plastic straws, as a way to contribute directly to the reduction of plastic in the oceans? Let’s hope many other Marinas and institutions follow soon!

However, there are still many places where they give you automatically a plastic straw with your drink, most of the times even wrapped in plastic as well. Just say “without straw, please” when you order a drink that’s likely to be served with a straw. Step by step this little gesture will help reducing the amount of plastic straws being used!

 

3. Bring your own bags to the supermarket

Unfortunately, most supermarkets still make clients use plastic bags for fruits and veggies out of convenience. But if you re-use those plastic bags every time you go shopping, you already help to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags! And there are even shopping bags you can buy that are made of see-through fabric and that you can re-use as many times you want, like these ones. This way you can completely get rid of using single-use plastic bags at the shops! 

Fish

Be conscious of the choice of what you eat

4. Make sure you only consume sustainably-caught fish

If you are a seafood lover, one of the things you can do to help save the oceans is making sure you only buy and consume ethically caught fish! The overfishing and the way commercial fishing is done is very often harmful to not only the fish that are caught but also to many other species like dolphins and other sea life. That’s why making sure your fish has been caught in a less harmful way is very important! The app Seafood Watch, for example, can help you find “ocean-friendly” seafood!

 

5. Avoid plastic lids on takeaway cups and use your own refilable bottle or cup

When you are on the run and grab a coffee, smoothie or whatever kind of drink along the way, make sure you try to avoid taking a lid for your cup! These lids are also single-use plastic items that are simply not necessary and can be avoided simply by saying “No thank you!”. Even better – always carry around your own cup or thermos flask with you and just ask the people to pour the drink directly into your own flask or reusable cup!

Avoid single-use and when not possible, don't use the plastic cap

Avoid single-use cups and, when not possible, don’t use the plastic lid

6. Bring your own takeaway containers

This one comes together with number 5 of the 11 things you can do to help save the oceans. Just like carrying your own flask for takeaway drinks, you can also plan ahead and bring your own takeaway container when you have to do a takeaway for food! There are affordable glass containers at every supermarket that you can buy, and if you carry one of them in your bag you’re always prepared for food emergencies, or if you can’t eat all the food at the restaurant! So much single-use plastic can be avoided by being one step ahead and having containers in your bag.

 

7. Avoid using cosmetics with micro-plastic

This one is not only for the health of the planet and the oceans but also for your own wellbeing! At some point, the cosmetic industry decided it was a good idea to use micro-plastic particles in cosmetics like deodorants, body scrubs and many other items. This is super harmful to both your health and means a lot more plastic pollution for the oceans as well! So next time you buy cosmetics, make sure you check out the list of ingredients and avoid buying those using plastic particles – for your and the oceans sake!

 

8. Recycle!

Luckily, recycling is a topic that has been covered broadly by many countries already. Recycling your rubbish is super easy and makes a huge impact on the environment. But also think about recycling on a bigger scale and think about reducing – do you really need to buy a new phone, or do you know someone who is selling one that is barely used? Same with laptops and other technical equipment. And of course cars – producing a new car has a huge environmental impact. So why not save money and buy a used car? Recycling is possible in so many ways, and one of the 11 things you can do to help save the ocean!

We have solar panels to power the boat

Some boats have solar panels to power the boat

9. Try a boat tour on a solar boat

At SeaBookings, we already have two solar boat tours available – one in the Algarve in Ria Formosa and one in Lisbon! We believe this sustainable form of enjoying a boat tour could be the future of boat tours, so we’re more than happy to already be part of this new movement. If you can, try to choose a tour on a solar boat and thus reducing your carbon footprint while still having a great experience!

Don't abandon your inflatables. Think about where they'll end up...

Don’t abandon your inflatables. Think about where they’ll end up…

10. Don’t abandon your beach toys (inflatables and sand toy sets) on the beach

There are so many deserted plastic toys and inflatables roaming through the oceans of the world and being a huge threat to sea life. So next time you are at the beach, make sure to take all your belongings with you and try re-using them instead of throwing them away straight away. Also, if you see that somebody else has abandoned some of their beach toys, make sure to pick it up and placing it in a (recycling) bin! The fish will thank you immensely.

 

11. Use a portable ashtray on the beach

Surely there is nothing more unpleasant than laying down your towel in the sand just to see that all around you there are hundreds, thousands of cigarette buds. If you smoke, make sure to use a portable ashtray on the beach or anything else to take your cigarette buds with you and putting them in the bin. This way, the beaches will be cleaner and people can enjoy it more!

Portable ashtrays are a must for smokers

Portable ashtrays are a must for smokers

As you can see, all of the 11 things you can do to help save the oceans are super easy to implement in your daily life. And if everybody does their part, we can work together to help save the ocean! There are also campaigns like the Planet or Plastic Pledge by National Geographic that motivate and help people make a difference in their daily life! Let’s work together and help save the oceans and our planet!