Top attractions to visit in Lisbon

Top attractions to visit in Lisbon

Lisbon is the largest city in Portugal and the 10th most populated urban area in Europe. Not only is it large, but it is also incredibly old and full of rich culture and history. Many of the top attractions to visit in Lisbon on this list were made during a period when Portugal enjoyed a larger role on the world stage than it does today, and many were created during the country’s golden age of discovery. During this period, the countries large naval fleet was charting previously unknown routes to some of the most essential trading destinations.

Here we will look at a few places anyone visiting Lisbon should take a moment to visit. It should be noted, however, that this list is by no means exhaustive; it’s merely a few of the top attractions to visit in Lisbon.

The best thing about the Castle is the view

São Jorge Castle

Dating back to the 11th century, this castle was under Moorish rule when it was constructed, although the settlement had been there since the seventh century BCE. From the ramparts, visitors can expect to see breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

Carmo Convent

Founded in 1389, this gothic convent was destroyed in 1755 by an earthquake. “Even though the earthquake savaged the site, the museum still showcases many old relics and artifacts, even including a few pieces of pre-Colombian pottery,” writes Jan Henry, a travel writer at 1 Day 2 write and Brit Student.

Even though the site is not currently standing in its former glory, many visitors still enjoy the historical treasures it has left behind.

Sé Cathedral

Se Cathedral is built above a set of Arabic mosques and gives viewers an interesting contrast between roman and Arabic architecture. “Sé Cathedral is one of Lisbon’s most popular sites and a must-see for anyone traveling to the city,” writes James Burrard, a lifestyle blogger at Writemyx and Origin Writings.

The architecture of Jerónimos breathes the Discoveries

Mosteiro dos Jerónimos

Another Lisbon castle, Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, symbolizes Portugal’s age of discovery when its navy discovered previously unknown routes to India and the middle east. The monastery is surely one of the top attractions to visit in Lisbon. It is large and vast and is quintessentially Portuguese in its architecture.

You can spot this iconic building and others of the same age, like the Belém Tower from a boat tour in the Tagus River.

The National Azulejo Museum

Azulejos, which means glazed decorative tiles in Portuguese, is something that Lisbon is known for. At the national museum, viewers can take in a collection of tiles stretching back to the renaissance and baroque periods.

Lisbon ViewPoints

Also known as “the city of seven hills,” Lisbon is known for having several scenic viewpoints throughout the city. Some of the most popular viewpoints include Senhora do Monte, Portas do Sol, São Pedro de Alcântara, and Santa Catarina.

Lisbon Oceanarium

Perhaps one of the most family-friendly attractions in Lisbon, the oceanarium is extremely well put together and is considered one of the largest in Europe. In the displays, viewers can expect to see a wide array of marine animals and fish, and it is continuously rated as one of the most popular attractions in the city.

The oceanarium also hosts several marine mammals, such as penguins and otters, where they co-exist in large rolling landscapes.

Kayak tour in Sesimbra
Why not try a kayak tour or SUP in Sesimbra?

Lisbon coast

Not so much an attraction as it is an activity, many people find great pleasure in kayaking up the coast, enjoying the beautiful ocean scenery and rocky coastline. Some of the eBay places to undergo this activity include the picturesque Ribeira do Cavalo beach and the Serra da Arrábida Natural Park. The kayak tours depart from Sesimbra.

For nature lovers, the area around Setúbal and Sesimbra is surely to be considered a top attractions to visit in Lisbon. You can read more about the options to get from Lisbon to Sesimbra in this article.

Torre de Belém

Another impressive Lisbon structure, the Torre de Belem, was completed in the 16th century is considered a masterpiece of military architecture. When viewed from a distance, the tower appears as if it is floating in the water, and only upon closer inspection does one see a thin strip of land connecting the tower to the mainland. 

Aside from its beauty, the tower stands as a symbol of Portugal’s rich colonial and naval history and, like a few other items on this list, is a symbol of the country’s age of discovery.

Today, the tower is a UNESCO world heritage site, gaining honor due to its cultural and historical significance. 

Michael Dehoyos has long since been an avid traveler, a passion that led him to become a travel blogger and editor and PhD Kingdom and Academic Brits. When he is not on the road or writing about past adventures, he acts as a marketing consultant to many large companies, helping them develop and implement marketing strategies. He is also a writer at Next Coursework.

travel solo in the Algarve

Best ways to travel solo in the Algarve

The Algarve is one of the best tourist destinations in Europe for people of all kinds! Portugal, in general, is a must-visit in Europe if you’re travelling solo, and the southern region of the Algarve especially should be on the top of your bucket list of places to explore. For us, at SeaBookings the Algarve is one of the best destinations for solo travellers, and especially for those who love the sea as much as we do! Here are some of our insights and tips to travel solo in the Algarve.

Visit Algarve kayak tour in Lagos
From your kayak, you’ll experience the ultimate feeling of freedom

Safety to travel solo in the Algarve

One of the main reasons why the Algarve is a great place to travel solo is because it is very safe. Portugal has been on the top 5 of the safest countries for the last few years, and in 2020 it was ranked 4th on the list of the most peaceful countries published by the Global Peace Index. You can walk the streets of the algarvian towns at ease even at night, and there is very little crime overall in the region.

Of course, there can always be exceptions to the rule, but in general, you don’t have to worry at all when traveling solo in the Algarve. Portuguese people are also very helpful, so if you ever feel unsafe, you can always ask for help from local people. The Portugues police, called GNR, also speaks English and is very friendly and professional, so you can trust them to help you accordingly if you ever need anything.

Personally, we really like to discover the Algarve by train

How to get around in the Algarve

It is quite easy to get around in the Algarve between the main towns of the region. There are great bus and train connections between Faro, Albufeira, Portimão and Lagos that are very inexpensive and easy to catch. You can find most information online on the websites of the bus and train companies. 

The bus terminals and train stations are easy to find, and you can always ask at your accommodation how to get there. Bus drivers and ticket sellers usually speak good English and you can always ask for help or more information if needed. Another option to get around is renting a car, which also gives you more freedom and flexibility to visit also remote beaches.

Of course, you don’t have to miss out on the amazing attractions the Algarve coast has to offer if you don’t have a car. Just book a boat tour from the city you’re staying in to visit amazing places like the famous Benagil cave or the Ria Formosa Natural Park. Boat tours are the best way way to get to know the most beautiful coastline of the Algarve! More adventurous travelers can also enjoy a kayak or SUP Tour!

The best boat tours for groups in Albufeira
Joining a boat tour is a great way to meet people!

Meeting people in the Algarve

Even if you’re traveling solo in the Algarve, doesn’t mean you have to stay alone for too long. In the Algarve it is super easy to meet new people from every corner of the world to connect with! Especially in Albufeira and Lagos there is a big backpacking community, and the cities are full of fun hostels and bars! 

Did you know that Lagos and Albufeira are also famous for a wild nightlife? Especially Lagos is a magnet for young party people, and funny enough, it is full of Australians during summer! People from all over the world love to visit Lagos and spend some time there, thanks to the great atmosphere. Oh, not to forget the marvellous beaches all around the centre of Lagos!

But even if you’re not a party lion, there’s a lot of different kind of activities in the Algarve. Especially around the western end of the region, there are local yoga studios where you can just drop by for a class or any other event, and grab a delicious organic coffee at any of the new and modern cafés nearby. So whatever kind of people you’re looking for, in the Algarve you will probably find them! 

Surfing in the Algarve is also a fun activity and a great way to explore the beaches. Surfers from all over the world come here to enjoy the consistently good conditions and the great variety of amazing surf spots. You can join one of the local surf schools around the coast to learn how to surf in the Algarve, and at the same time, it’s a great way to meet new people! 

A surf class is a must-do for every solo traveler in the Algarve

Activities for solo travelers in the Algarve

The Algarve is especially great for those who love activities in the sea or at the beach! There’s plenty of marvellous beaches surrounded by clear water and impressive rock formations. Did you know that there are many caves and grottos all around the coastline? The best way to visit them is with one of the many boat tours you can choose from in every town of the Algarve

For those looking for more action, there’s a lot of options! Watersports in the Algarve are very popular, and there’s a lot to choose from! No matter if you would like to do a Kayak Tour to Benagil, a fishing tour, a Stand-Up Paddle Tour around the Ponta da Piedade or maybe even try out Flyboard in the Algarve – there’s something fun for everyone in the Algarve!

Our top 3 places for solo travelers in the Algarve

As you saw, there’s plenty to choose from when thinking about the Algarve as your next destination. However, the Algarve is quite big, and there are many different places you can stay at. These are our top 3 places for solo travelers in the Algarve

The Marina is one of the places to be in Lagos

Lagos 

Lagos is the most popular backpacking destination in the Algarve and heaven for everybody looking for a vibrant town with amazing beaches and endless possibilities. Beach bums will love the variety of beaches to choose from like Praia da Batata, Praia Dona Ana, Porto de Mós or the long-stretched Meia Praia, that are all within walking distance from the beautiful city centre. There are many inexpensive and international hostels to choose from, and many different activities to do. Did you know that you can even do dolphin watching from Lagos? Another plus point is the buzzing nightlife and interesting events Lagos has to offer! All in all, Lagos is definitely the best place for solo travelers in the Algarve. 

Albufeira

In Albufeira there are more tourists and thus also more people you can meet than in Lagos.  You can relax at one of the beaches like Praia da Baleeira, Praia dos Alemães or Praia do Túnel and spend the nights having fun at one of the innumerous bars and clubs. Albufeira is (in)famous for crazy party nights it has to offer, so if you’re looking for a wild time Albufeira is the place to be! To get some refreshment on the day after, you can also enjoy a boat tour or even a SUP Tour in Albufeira!

Sagres

The small coastal town of Sagres, in the far west end of the Algarve, is not as commercial as the previous two towns but by no means any less exciting. If you would like to start surfing during their stay in the Algarve, Sagres is a great destination. There are a lot of small hostels around Sagres and due to the many surf spots around Sagres, you have a fun and cool surfing vibe around the town.

For us, the Algarve is a perfect destination for solo travelers and we hope to have been able to help you with our tips for solo traveling in the Algarve! If you have any further questions, just send us an email – we’re always happy to help! 

Our complete SUP Guide

Our complete SUP Guide

SUP, short for Stand-Up Paddleboarding, is one of the most popular watersport activities that have come up in the past few years. It’s a great way to explore coastal areas while staying fit at the same time. And the best part about it – it’s super easy to learn and anybody can do it! We at SeaBookings are also absolutely in love with SUP, and decided to offer a complete SUP guide to anyone looking for some advice! 

Ways to do SUP

By renting a board, you can experience the sea all by yourself

SUP Board rental

Before anything else, you should decide how you want to do SUP for the first time. For this, there are different options – you can rent a SUP board and venture out by yourself and try your luck. If you want to do this, it would come in handy if you already had some experience in other board sports like snowboarding, surfing or skating. 

Guided SUP Tour

If you prefer having a guide teaching you the basics about SUP and showing you around the most beautiful spots, the best option would be a guided SUP Tour. Usually, there are private as well as shared tours available in any region where SUP is possible. A guided SUP Tour is great to really explore the region in a safe and fun environment, while also improving your SUP technique. 

SUP holidays

And for those looking for a real extensive SUP experience, there are more and more offers of full SUP holidays! On these kind of holidays, you will have different SUP experiences and really get to improve your skills. SUP holidays are offered in many destinations already, like Croatia, Greece or Spain! This is a great opportunity for those looking for an active holiday out in nature! 

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

Basic techniques of SUP

A complete SUP guide wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the most important SUP techniques! There are a few things to have in mind when paddling around the water, so here come our most important basic techniques of SUP! 

How to stand on a SUP Board

While it may look easy, you will see that it actually can be quite hard to keep your balance when standing on a SUP Board. To stabilize your body, there a few simple techniques you can use. 

First of all, you should be standing right in the middle of the board. The middle is usually quite easy to determine because it is where the handle is situated. Make sure you use this helping point because if you stay too far in the front or the back, it will be very difficult to balance the board on the water.

Secondly, your feet should be standing shoulder-width apart. This is the best position to balance your body and evenly distribute the weight between your two legs. Also, make sure you don’t grip your toes into the board, but keep your feet flat and stable. In this position, you should be able to stand perfectly stable on your board! 

If you prefer, you can stay on your knees

How to paddle 

After you know how to stand properly on the board, the next thing to do is to paddle forward! When doing SUP, you have one big paddle you use. The first thing to do is to adapt the paddle to your size. There are a few tricks you can use to adjust your SUP paddle correctly:

  • Do a “shaka” or hang-loose, place the thumb on top of your head and where your pinky is, that’s where the paddle should end (while touching the ground with the other end)
  • Put the paddle upright with the handle touching the ground in front of you. The place where the blade starts and the stick of the paddle ends should be right in front of your eyes

Once you have the right paddle size for you, you just need to figure out how to do the perfect stroke. Before starting, make sure you’re holding the paddle correctly – it should be bent away from you. This way you can generate the biggest power while paddling. 

When you start paddling, you first need to dip your paddle in the water in front of your body. Make sure you have the entire blade underneath the water surface to be able to do a strong stroke. Knees should be slightly bent and your shoulders should be relaxed and not pulled up to your ears to avoid injury.

Once the blade is inside the water, you need to do the stroke that moves you forward. For this, you should activate the muscles in your core and back to move the paddle towards you. It’s important to really engage all muscles in your upper body and not only use your shoulders. This way you will have a lot more energy and power! After completing the stroke, you just dip your paddle in front of your body in the water again and go for the next stroke! 

How to turn on a SUP board

To turn your SUP board as a beginner, the easiest way to do so is simply by stroking with more power on only one side. So if you want to go right, you just keep paddling with strong strokes on the left side. To do the turn even faster, you can even do a wider stroke, like drawing a half-circle on the water. 

The other technique to turn is by doing a backstroke. You might already know this if you have done kayaking before! For this, you just remain in the same position standing on the board, but instead of paddling from the front to the back, you reverse the direction of the stroke! So you dip your paddle back of your body and do the stroke to the nose of the board. This way you will turn even faster than using the front stroke! 

These are the two basic techniques to turn a SUP board in the water. Some people prefer the one while others feel more comfortable with the other. The best way to find out which one is better for you is simply by trying them out in the water! 

SUP na Madeira SUP en Madeira SUP auf Madeira SUP in Madeira SUP op Madeira
Big SUP is also fun to try out. In Madeira, Portugal, for example.

Best places to do SUP

Alright, after establishing the most important things about Stand-Up Paddleboarding it’s time to plan your next SUP trip, right? Our complete SUP guide will show you the best spots in Europe for SUP

Portugal

Portugal is our all-time favourite for any kind of boat tour or watersport activity, thus we also think that SUP in Portugal is a perfect holiday activity! The variety of different landscapes and regions in Portugal come with some incredible spots to do SUP! Number 1 being, of course, a SUP Tour to the world-famous Benagil cave in the Algarve. But did you know that the Ponta da Piedade in Lagos is just as stunning as the Benagil area? Here you can also do a sunrise SUP Tour along the impressive rock formations.

Further west there are some unforgettable SUP Tours in Arrifana or, for a change, on an amazing river along the beach of Odeceixe. If you’re looking for an option closer to Lisbon, you can do a SUP tour in Sesimbra that allows you to explore the unique bays of the region. Or you can do a SUP tour in Lisbon to explore the city coastline! For those looking for something calmer, there are options for SUP Yoga in Lagos and Cascais! Portugal is a true paradise for SUP-lovers, and has great options for everybody!

Imagine exploring these incredible landscapes of Rhodes by SUP

Greece

Another great destination in Europe that can’t be left out on our complete SUP guide is Greece! The islands of Greece are great for SUP thanks to the calm and warm waters surrounding them. Being islands, there are also, of course, plenty of coastal spots to explore by SUP! The best way to find the best spots around the coast is by joining a guided SUP tour!

Some of the best destinations in Greece to do Stand-Up Paddleboarding is Rhodes and Crete! In Rhodes, you still have a lot of unspoiled nature that can be best admired from the sea. On a SUP Tour in Rhodes you have the opportunity to move really close to the impressive coastline! In Crete, you can also enjoy the coast while paddling along it, and on a SUP Tour you even have the chance to do some cliff jumping as well!

Croatia is a true SUP paradise

Croatia

Croatia is probably the hidden gem among the best destinations for SUP in Europe! It is spoiled with splendid landscapes and stunning beaches all around, and the warm water of Croatia makes it the perfect destination for your next SUP adventure! 

In Croatia, you actually have quite a lot of complete SUP holidays that are very accessible when it comes to prices! Along the Croatian Coast, there are some amazing spots that you can explore while paddling on your board, like Kornati Islands, Brioni Islands, Hvar Island or the famous Brač Island. Wherever you go, expect breathtaking landscapes and perfect conditions for SUP in Croatia.

SUP yoga is a great alternative to a regular SUP tour

Spain

Last but not least on our list of destinations in our complete SUP guide is Spain! The Mediterranean country and its surrounding islands have a lot to offer when it comes to Stand-Up Paddleboarding. Whether you want to do a relaxed SUP Tour along the coast of Alicante or explore the coast of Mallorca, there are plenty of options to choose from!

Also, the Canary Islands have a lot to offer for SUP-lovers! Stand-Up paddle in Tenerife is a great adventure for those looking for some fun, and allows you to have some of the best views over the volcanic island! And for those looking for an alternative to partying in Ibiza, there’s the option to do some SUP Yoga along the coast!

We hope we could help you out with our complete SUP guide and maybe even ignited the fire to try out stand-up paddle boarding during your next holidays! We promise that you won’t regret trying it out and most probably will find a new addictive hobby! If you have any questions about our SUP guide or any tours, just send us an email! We’re always happy to help spreading the passion about the sea!

Maximizing The Health Benefits of Your Travels in Greece, Portugal, and Beyond

Maximizing The Health Benefits of Your Travels in Greece, Portugal, and Beyond

The only thing better than time spent on vacation is getting healthier when you’re there. The subjects of health and leisure do not always go hand-in-hand, as we often go to an exotic destination only to sit around the pool and drink fruity beverages. However, those who seek to get more out of their trip only need to look for the right destination. 

A trip to the Mediterranean Sea could be just the ticket. When you visit great vacation spots like Greece and Portugal, you are transported to a land of amazing sights along with many ways to keep your mind and body in tip-top shape. To help you plan your next sea-based adventure, we have compiled a guide of the best fitness activities, food options, and travel tips that will help you have fun and feel great at the same time.

Kayaking allows you to explore hidden gems and stay fit

Hiking and Kayaking

The greatest thing about going on vacation to a new place is the opportunity to see amazing sights that you never imagined, and the seaside areas of Greece and Portugal are simply breathtaking, with many man-made and natural sights to behold. One way to stay healthy while taking in the forests and the hilly cliff sides in either country is by taking a hike, and there are many great notable areas to try. 

When traveling among the islands of Greece, one must-see hiking spot is The Menalon Trail, which runs through Arcadia. A hike down this trail will take you through mountains, canyons, and valleys, plus you will see some old and gorgeous villages that will get your heart pumping in more ways than one. There is also the hike on Mount Olympus, which leads you past picturesque vistas on trails for multiple skill levels. On the longer trails, you can even set up camp and sleep under the stars.

In Portugal, there is also a slew of gorgeous hikes, including the Costa Da Caparica Trail, which takes you among awesome white-sand beaches and breathtaking sandstone cliffs. If you love canyons and waterfalls, then the Paiva Walkways are perfect, and you can swim in many of the rivers, which will provide even more exercise. 

There are other opportunities for healthy leisure along the coast as well, including kayaking trips, which may be a bit outside of your comfort zone, but once you get used to it, you will experience a relationship with the ocean that you never imagined. The act of kayaking is exceptionally healthy, as it helps to lower your blood pressure and heart rate, in addition to improving muscle strength in your back, arms, shoulders, and chest.

Healthy Eating

Of course, exercise is only one half of the fitness equation; you also need to eat right, and these travel destinations are known for their tasty and healthy food. There are many ingredients in Mediterranean meals that will keep you in good shape and help fight off sickness. For instance, olive oil is often a common component, and in addition to adding extra flavor, it is said to lower your risk of heart disease. Both countries also use less processed food, which often contains unhealthy levels of sugar and sodium, and instead, they turn to more plant-based ingredients. 

These areas are also big on gluten-free food that focuses less on bread and more on vegetables, fruit, and cheese. While some people may need to eat gluten-free food for medical reasons, those who choose the diet often see an increase in energy plus a chance for weight loss as you eat less bread. Some of the best dishes to choose when in the area include risotto, polenta, and rice mixed with vegetables.

While you are on your trip, check your proximity to some of the best restaurants that are famous for their healthy food. In Santorini, there is a great eatery called Falafeland, which is known for its many vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. Meanwhile, the Katharos Lounge Vegan Meze Bar has received glowing reviews for its affordable dishes and great hummus options.

In Portugal, the area around Lisbon is growing more notable for its many healthy restaurants. The Restaurante PSI has been rated as one of the best vegetarian places in the area, while The Food Temple has many delicious vegan dishes that are very exotic and flavorful. Both destinations are worth the visit if you are looking to try something new.

Coasteering is ideal for nature lovers

Try New Things

Whether your destination is Greece, Portugal, or any of the other hundreds of great landing spots of the Mediterranean, you can maximize the health benefits by getting out there and trying something you’ve never done before. This is especially important as you get older because as you see new places and try new things, you keep your mind sharp. Now is the time to step outside of your comfort zone and begin knocking things off of your bucket list.

When we say try new things, we mean to make a plan to do it all. Make it a habit to speak to merchants and locals that you meet and try to strike up a conversation. While planning out your activities is a great way to see it all, you should also try to do something spontaneous like coasteering along a cliffside or hike a new trail. When you expand your mind by doing new things in a new place, you diversify your mind and gain fresh insights about the world while sweating the small stuff just a bit less.

If you are eager to see the world and experience all that is out there, but you don’t have the funds or the people with which to enjoy it, consider joining or creating an adventure friend group. Essentially, this is a group of people you gather together to experience the outdoors and new locations and experiences. The beauty of these groups is that you are all a team, so if someone is scared to try an activity, the group can provide positive reassurance. Plus, if you are faced with tough decisions or differing opinions when making an itinerary, working together can improve your teamwork and problem-solving skills.

When planning your next seaside trip, consider these fun and trendy destinations. They are gorgeous, festive, and will help you feel better in your body and mind.

Portugal continua a ser o Melhor Destino do Mundo

We went sailing in Lisbon on the Tagus River

We went on a private sailing tour on the Tagus River, in Lisbon. We met our skipper, Nuno, at the Docas de Santo Amaro where he welcomed us on his lovely and cosy “Alchemist”. As we did this sailing tour during the post-lockdown period, Nuno helped us disinfect our hands and shoes before boarding and he’d wear a face mask. These are the protocols by the national Clean and Safe seal.

Unforgettable moments with friends, that’s what we want now, after-lockdown

Once we were all comfortably seated, we were ready to set sail. The wind was on point so we were lucky to almost not use the engine. 

Nuno has a passion for sailing in his veins and you could really sense that. He’s very passionate about sailing, about his boat and about the city of Lisbon. So if you’re interested in these topics, be ready to learn a lot! Even us, Portuguese living in Lisbon learned some interesting historical facts with Nuno. And some of us even accepted the challenge to help a bit with the sailing.

Nuno gave us the choice of a more touristic route in the River towards downtown or to go out to the sea. As we had already sailed in the Tagus River, we were super excited with the option of sailing towards the Atlantic.

We had a great time onboard. We prepared a delicious picnic to share onboard and also brought our drinks from home. Nuno also has a refrigerator available and is happy to share some of his rosé or “green” wine.

We cruised in the direction of Carcavelos beach and were lucky enough to spot some wild dolphins! These were incredible moments. Seeing these magical mammals in their natural habitat is always special. 

Enjoying the sun on the water

Regarding the weather, despite having good wind, we were not so lucky with the clouds that showed up later and made the sunset not so stunning as usual. As such, we’ll go sunset sailing in Lisbon again soon, and try to capture the amazing colors in the sky.

We strongly recommend this sailing experience in Lisbon. It’s a great way to enjoy the city from a different point of view. And, in these crazy times, to be outdoors with a small group of friends, away from the crowds

Need more reasons? Let us know and we'll tell you!

5 reasons to visit Madeira after lockdown

If you’re dreaming about the picturesque island of Madeira, you will be pleased to learn that it will re-open to international visitors from July 1st. Its neighbour in the archipelago, Porto Santo will too. The Portuguese archipelago had closed in March to help control the spread of COVID-19. There are many more reasons, but here are our main 5 reasons to visit Madeira after lockdown.

About Madeira

Madeira is an autonomous region of Portugal, an archipelago of two main islands, off the northwest coast of Africa. Along with the main Madeira island, with a length of 57km and width of 22km wide, its sister island, Porto Santo, measures just 14km by 8km. There are also Desertas and Selvagens islands which are uninhabited. All islands are a true paradise for nature lovers, both sea and mountains.

COVID-19 in Madeira

So far, the region has registered 92 cases of COVID-19 out of which 90 have already recovered. Madeira and Porto Santo will reopen to tourism on the 1st July date when the mandatory quarantine will be eliminated. The reopening will be carried out safely and aiming to recover the confidence both of travellers and locals

You'll be impressed by Madeira's lush landscape
You’ll be impressed by Madeira’s lush landscape

Reasons to visit Madeira after lockdown

1. Madeira has had very few cases of Covid-19

Until the present date, the islands of Madeira have registered ninety-two (90) positive cases of COVID-19. And there was no community contamination and no deaths. The local government acted quickly to control the virus on the archipelago (actually, the whole of Portugal has been widely praised for its rapid response).

Madeira was a pioneer in the whole Portugal, in developing good practices document to deal with Covid-19 – COVID SAFE TOURISM (English version here), resulting from the involvement from the whole tourism sector, along with the launch of a certification process that will reassure consumer confidence and hence promote Madeira as a safe tourism location for all visitors.

2. Free COVID test when visiting Madeira

All travellers are requested to be tested within 72 hours prior to arrival for faster checkout. Passengers who were not tested will do a free test upon arrival at the airport. Children ages 12 and younger do not have to take the test, except for suspected cases.

“The government will pay for all costs of the tests upon arrival to the destination to prevent any extra costs for travellers,” says Eduardo Jesus, regional secretary of tourism and culture. “This measure ensures all visitors that not only the locals are virus-free, but all those who enter will be scanned, thus promoting a highly secure and reassuring environment. The testing process is being prepared by the Regional Health Authority, with the collaboration of ANA – Airports of Portugal, and strives for the highest speed with least inconvenience for travellers.” 

Need more reasons? Let us know and we'll tell you!
Need more reasons? Let us know and we’ll tell you!

3. No mandatory quarantine in Madeira

The Regional Government of Madeira (GRM) will carry out a test for all travellers, upon arrival in Madeira islands. These tests can be avoided if passengers present a PCR test with a negative result, carried out in the last 72 hours before landing time. 

However, while confinement is not mandatory for those who took the test upon arrival, it is recommended for travellers to go to their accommodation while they wait for the results. Results should be presented within 12 hours.

This measure ensures all visitors that not only the locals are virus free, but all those who enter will be scanned, thus promoting a highly secure and reassuring environment.

4. Monitoring of travelers in Madeira

As part of the pre-travel requirements, all passengers should be monitored through an APP (mobile application). The app is called “Madeira Safe to Discover” of the Regional Health Authority, of voluntary, but recommended use, or by telephone contact. 

5. Madeira will always be Madeira

Luckily, COVID-19 did not change the natural and cultural blessings of Madeira. Warmed year-round by the Atlantic sun, Madeira is known as the ‘Pearl of the Atlantic’. The archipelago is worldwide known for its lush botanical gardens, wine tasting and, of course, the crazy toboggan rides in a wicker basket from Monte to Funchal. 

It is also an outdoor paradise that attracts hikers and sea lovers. The main reason to make the journey to Porto Santo is that it boasts one of Europe’s finest golden-sand beaches. Travellers between Madeira and Porto Santo are currently free from any control by Health authorities.

Madeira has already opened most of tourist products and services such as bars, restaurants, spas, and tourist spots implementing health and safety protocols like social distancing, proper hygiene, and the wearing of mask. Boat tours and other sea experiences like SUP and surf will resume July 1st (some have already restarted in June).

SUP tour in Madeira
A SUP tour in Madeira can be done all year round

The Regional Government of Madeira, through the Regional Secretariat for Tourism and Culture, and Madeira Promotion Bureau are working side by side with all stakeholders to relaunch the Destination. Our teams are always available to share information.

What are you waiting for? Madeira is ready for you, vamos! And if you need more reasons to visit Madeira after lockdown, let us know, we’ll convince you!

Visit Algarve kayak tour in Lagos

Please visit the Algarve. Now! For you and us.

My name’s Bo, I’m one of the cofounders of SeaBookings, and I need to share something with you: visit the Algarve. Now. I’d like to share why, for good and bad reasons. Let’s start with the bad.

I went to Lagos for a few days last weekend and I had the best time ever. I usually stay at my parents’ in the countryside, so at first, I did not notice much changed now during the “new normal”. But when I drove into the city of Lagos and found the main avenue empty with no cars parked along it, I felt my heart squeeze. I literally had tears in my eyes. I mean, at SeaBookings, of course, we noticed a tremendous decrease in demand, but I could never imagine Lagos so empty. I could never imagine the Algarve so empty. Or even Portugal as a whole.

Tourism is huge here and we need you. We need you on our boats, but also in our restaurants, our hotels, AirBnBs and shops, of course. In Lagos, maybe one-third of the cute little local shops and cafés are still closed because there’s simply not enough demand to stay open. This needs to change urgently. So, please, please come and visit the Algarve!

At the same time, you may ask why I had the best time ever. Well, simple. It hurts to say but the Algarve with no tourists is a true paradise. If with tourists the Algarve is stunning, now imagine the beaches and roads just for yourself! 

And we enjoyed the sea, of course, on a kayak tour in Lagos! I had visited the famous Ponta da Piedade by sea before, by kayak, SUP and boat, but this time was far the best ever! Besides the fact that the sea was very calm and the light perfect, not having many other boats or paddlers around gave us a very special experience. So calm and relaxing.

So, you better visit the Algarve soon before the other tourists, to have the sea for “yourself”. And also the beaches, the restaurants, the shops, what not! Now is the time to enjoy the beauty of the Algarve peacefully.

And last but not least, I’d like to share my concern about the negative news out there about the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Portugal. Please note that these cases all very much concentrated in the suburbs of Lisbon. And yes, special measures are being applied, but I promise, for now, as a tourist, and even in Lisbon, you won’t even notice them. And about these cases, I truly believe that, if we would consider these cases proportional to the number of tests done, the number would be rather low when compared to other countries. In fact, Portugal is one of the countries of the WORLD with the most tests done per 1000 inhabitants.

So, what are you waiting for? Come and visit the Algarve!

Algarve is the best holiday destination

Travel experts agree: the Algarve is the best holiday destination this summer

A panel of travel experts at Clickstay.com has voted the Algarve as the best destination for British tourists this summer.

52% of the in-house travel pros voted in favour of the Algarve, the South of Portugal, citing successful control of Coronavirus as one of the key factors.

The Algarve obtained more than half of the votes

“Local government has done fantastic work in limiting the spread of the virus and put in sensible measures to ensure people can enjoy their holiday safely”, said Tom Hughes, founder and MD at Clickstay.

“Their use of technology, such as the Info Praia app where tourists can real-time information about the level of occupancy of the beach, is a great example of how the government is being innovative in its approach”, he added.

The article about this study mentions that Portugal recorded a considerably lower number of Covid-19 cases than the UK, so is considered low risk by the UK government. On the other hand, the Portuguese government considers that the UK has got the virus ‘under control’ and is calling for a so-called ‘air bridge’ between the two countries, which would allow British tourists to go on holiday to the Algarve, and the rest of Portugal, without having to quarantine on arrival.

According to these travel experts, there’s a wide range of activities which you can enjoy safely, making the Algarve is the best holiday destination this summer, above other destinations in Europe.

During your stay in the Algarve, you will be able to visit the vast range of beaches without worrying about overcrowding, thanks to social distancing and hygiene protocols and dedicated beach surveillance.

“I usually go on a beach holiday during the summer but was a little anxious having seen some photos of very crowded beaches in the UK,” said one of Clickstay’s holidaymakers, “If social distancing is properly enforced on the beaches in the Algarve, I will definitely consider making the trip”.

Algarve beach
The Algarve’s beaches are a huge attraction for British tourists this summer

Outdoor activities like swimming, kayak tours, SUP tours, and surfing are permitted and most boat tours are already running, all with hygiene and safety protocols in place. In fact, these tours and activities are all recognized by the Portuguese “Safe & Clean” seal. This is surely another big boost for the region’s tourism prospects. According to Tom Hughes, “Many of our customers love to go surfing in their summer holidays, so being able to do that in a safe environment would be a massive attraction’.

For those looking for a more cultural experience, restaurants, hotels, museums and galleries are also already open, with social distancing protocols in place. So yes, you can enjoy some of the local fresh seafood and terraces in under the blue sky are abundant for a safe food-experience.

The shrimps are ready!

The research shows that the geography of the Algarve has also been a factor. In the Algarve, there are many relatively quiet places to rent a villa compared with the busier coastlines of France and Spain, which make it a good destination for those wishing to keep their distance and enjoy a relaxed holiday. 

What do you think? Would you consider the Algarve for your holidays this summer?

Safe Holidays in Portugal

Portugal commits to ‘Safe Travels’ protocols by WTTC

‘Safe Travels’ is a special safety and hygiene mark to provide consistency and reassurance for consumers to speed the Travel & Tourism recovery. Portugal is among the first destinations to adopt private sector protocols and stamp.

 The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has launched the world’s first ever global safety and hygiene stamp. The specially designed stamp will allow travellers to recognise governments and businesses around the world which have adopted health and hygiene global standardised protocols – so consumers can experience ‘Safe Travels’.

The stamp will allow travellers to experience ‘Safe Travels’

The landmark move by WTTC, which represents the global Travel & Tourism private sector, has also received the backing of the influential United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Eligible businesses such as hotels, restaurants, airlines, cruise lines, tour operators, restaurants, outdoor shopping, transportation and airports, will be able to use the stamp once the health and hygiene protocols, outlined by WTTC, have been implemented.

Portugal is a pioneer in this type of stamps

Rita Marques, Portugal’s Secretary of State, said: “Portugal has been committed in reassuring our tourists they will always have the best experience in our country. This stamp, together with our “Clean & Safe” program, is one step further in reassuring everyone that we care, our destination is focused on recovery, and trust is at the core of our business.”

WTTC and all its Members from around the world have the safety and hygiene of travellers as their top priority.

Last week WTTC’s launched the first of range of new worldwide measures that were part of its Safe Travels protocols to rebuild consumer confidence and encourage the restoration of the global Travel & Tourism sector. They provide consistency to destinations and countries, as well as guidance to travel providers and travellers about the new approach to health, hygiene, deep cleansing and physical distancing, in the post COVID-19 world. 

The protocols are also being defined following the experience of WTTC members in dealing with COVID19 and based on the best available medical evidence. It also follows guidelines from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

What do you think about this initiative? Does it influence your decision about where to travel to?

Vale Do Lobo Golf SeaBookings Family-friendly Golf Courses In Portugal

Discover These Family-friendly Golf Courses In Portugal

The many golf resorts across Portugal provide numerous opportunities for families to enjoy themselves not only on the golf course but with a host of activities for the entire family. Along with the first-class golf courses, there are waterparks, beaches, and kid-specific activities can be found at several resorts across the region.

Additional Read: Top 10 blog posts about Portugal

Below are a few of the more popular resorts along with information about their family-friendly features and activities.

Amendoeira Golf Resort

A favorite among many family travelers, the Amendoeira Golf Resort in the Algarve features apartments and villas available alongside 36 holes of Championship golf, with the Christy O’Connor and Nick Faldo courses. There is also a very popular 9-hole course that is perfect for beginners, while still an enjoyable play for low handicappers. A full 27 holes that will put that new GPS watch to its test.

In July and August, the resort’s “Kiz Club” is active. Designed to entertain the younger crowd, it’s a place where children can engage in age-appropriate activities and make new friends. There are also nearby activities for the entire family, like boat tours and fun watersports in Armação de Pêra.

As hosts to the World Kids Golf Championship, the Amendoeira Resort attracts juniors from across the world to compete in a supportive environment, stimulating growth and development as golfers. In an effort to create a true family experience, it is encouraged that parents serve as caddies for their players. After the tournament concludes, a Parent-Child Par-3 contest is held.

The Amendoeira Resort is a prime example of what makes the Algarve region such a great destination, with nearby proximity to the beautiful beaches of southern Portugal. Views of the magnificent Monchique Mountains are at every turn through the two championship courses, and the resort is home to the region’s only floodlit par-3 course.

Photo credit to https://www.amendoeiraresort.com/

Recently awarded the honor of being the Best Course in Portugal by the World Golf Awards in 2016, the Faldo course is consistently ranked as a top 100 course in Continental Europe.

Penina Hotel & Golf Resort

The original home of golf in the Algarve Region, the Penina Hotel & Golf Resort is set within 360 acres of perfect grasslands and natural beauty. Three golf courses, including the Algarve’s first 18 hole championship course, accompany the five-star hotel and leads the way in high-class service.

Photo credit to https://www.penina.com/

For the kids, the Penina’s Kangaroo Club is a securely enclosed and fully supervised area that provides quality entertainment for children. Daily programs balance entertainment with education, to ensure that every child gets the most out of their holiday experience. A swimming pool, climbing area, football pitch, bicycle track, and a sandpit are all at the kids’ disposal, and . during the summer season a supervised bouncy castle is also set up. There is a Kangaroo Club Restaurant, a state-of-the-art crèche with baby changing facilities, a designated toddler area, and a fully stocked game room.

The Penina Resort welcomes dogs up to a weight of 7 kilos, at an extra charge so don’t forget to pack the doggy toys and their favorite food. No other pets are accepted, with the exception of guide dogs.

Penha Longa Resort

With two golf courses set across the beautiful slopes of the natural landscape near Lisbon, the Penha Longa Resort is a spectacular place to play golf. The stunning forests and rocky mountains rise around the grounds, giving an isolated experience and perfect place for a high-class golf escape.

Two golf courses, the Atlantic Course and the Monastery Course are located at Penha Longa. The Atlantic Course is the resort’s main attraction, designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. and is ranked as one of the top 30 golf courses in Continental Europe. The 6,786-yard tract features many dramatic holes cut through the resort’s sloping landscape. The course features two distinct sections, with six holes running through a valley, and the remainder straddling the hillside. The Atlantic Course has twice served as host for the Portuguese Open in the mid-1990s, as well as the Estoril Open in 1999.

Photo credit to https://www.ritzcarlton.com

While the Atlantic Course remains the star attraction at Penha Longa, the 9-hole Monastery Course also deserves a look. A less challenging course, with fewer undulations throughout the tract, the views of the nearby Sintra Mountains are spectacular and make for a nice, relaxing round for players of all skill levels.

There is fun for the entire family, as children can enjoy the Penha Longa Kid’s Club where they can enjoy a host of toys and games to play and learn. With Pirates, Treasures and camping, painting and cinema, cooking classes, and pyjama parties, a continuous choice of activities will fill their days while enjoying their stay at Penha Longa, with even more activities during the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays. 

There is no need to find a dog-sitter for your holiday. Pets are welcomed at the hotel with a reservation of a Junior Suite, but additional charges apply.

Vale do Lobo Resort

The renowned Vale do Lobo Resort sits on the magnificent coast of southern Portugal and is one of Europe’s best all-encompassing golf resorts. Two golf courses, the Royal and the Ocean, provide an epic layout and rank among the best golf courses in Portugal. Vale do Lobo is an ideal combination of two contrasting courses to make it a truly unique venue among its peers.

Thanks to a huge choice of activities, Vale do Lobo is an ideal location to spend quality time with family and friends. Throughout the year there are a host of activities in the various different areas of the resort, from enjoying the restaurants and live music in the Praca to relaxing on the beach or by the pool or just spending time on the courts or the golf courses.

The Tennis Valley section of the resort features a children’s playground area. The newly refurbished par tee mini-golf course includes fantastic new elements, holes, and challenges, including plenty of water features, tricky holes, and oversized entertainment.