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.

COVID-19 measures for the beaches in Portugal

COVID-19 measures for the beaches in Portugal

Portugal is ready to start receiving tourists again. A major attraction in Portugal is certainly its stunning beaches. For a safe travel experience, we’d like to share the COVID-19 measures for the beaches in Portugal.

Summer is coming. It will be a special summer, as we’re all super excited to enjoy the beach after lockdown. Given the ongoing risk associated with the coronavirus, it is necessary to reinvent the way in which beaches are enjoyed, stressing the need to maintain physical distance and basic sanitary measures. However, we must not forget that it is very important to keep a day at the beach a comfortable experience. 

Visit Portugal this summer COVID-19 measures for the beaches in Portugal
The Portuguese beaches are ready!

The start of the official bathing season in Portugal has been delayed a few days, to June 6th, because of the measures needed to be set regarding Covid-19. The Portuguese government has given authority to local municipalities and local maritime authorities, together with the Portuguese Environment Agency to establish and implement a series of protocols regarding the usage of beaches in Portugal. 

Beach protocols may be updated along the summer if needed, depending on the evolution of the virus. Here are some of the main COVID-19 measures for the beaches in Portugal you need to know.

  1. There will be signs (like traffic lights or similar) to indicate the occupancy of each beach and this information and other details will also be available online through an App (“Info Praias”) or on the Portuguese Environment Agency’s website:
    • Green – under ⅓
    • Yellow – ⅔
    • Red – full and you should not enter.
  2. Car parking will only be allowed in designated areas.
  3. There may be some circulation direction lanes or markings on the sand to make sure people can keep their distances while walking around.
  4. Beach towels should be separated by at least 1.5 meters between families or different groups of people and sun umbrellas will have to be at least 3 meters apart.
  5. The rental of thatched umbrellas, awnings and tents will only be allowed for half a day (either morning until 1.30 pm or afternoon after 2 pm) for up to 5 people. 
  6. Only individual sports activity will be allowed on the beach, except for nautical activities, surfing, diving and similar watersports under specific rules.
  7. Public bathrooms and showers will follow strict hygienic rules and public equipment will be sanitised frequently.
  8. Beach bars and restaurants will also follow sanitary and social distancing protocols.
  9. Beach hawkers (“vendedores ambulantes”) need to use face visor and mask.
Surfing, for example, is permitted, in groups up to 5 participants

Please remember that a safe beach experience starts with ourselves, so don’t forget these good practices for a safe beach day:

  1. Before the beach: check the flow of nearby beaches, consulting the InfoPraia app, preferring those with a lower level of occupation, marked in green, as well as monitored beaches and with quality control;
  2. When there is a high level of occupation, do not risk traveling, as it can be difficult to keep the safety distance;
  3. When accessing the beach: wear shoes, always move on the right and follow the signs that may exist on the floor and keep a distance of 1.5 meters from other users who do not belong to your group;
  4. On the beach: keep the social distance of 1.5 meters to other users, on the beach and in the sea a 3 meter spacing between parasols;
  5. At the beach bar or sanitary facilities: wear shoes, disinfect hands and keep social distance;
  6. When leaving the beach: do not leave litter or butts on the beach (masks and gloves should be deposited in general garbage containers).
visit Portugal this summer
Another tip is to travel later in the season, so you’ll find beaches emptier.

Do you think these rules are acceptable, too relaxed or too strict? We hope that, despite the limitations and additional care to be taken this summer, you will enjoy the beach and the sea to the fullest. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us. For more information, consult the complete guidelines.

Visit Portugal this summer COVID-19 measures for the beaches in Portugal

7 reasons to visit Portugal this summer

After several months at home and possibly some cancelled trips, you must be as eager as us to travel again! The majority of the team of SeaBookings lives in Portugal and this is also where the company was founded. There are many reasons to visit Portugal bus now, given the current circumstances, we’d like to share some special reasons to visit Portugal this summer.

In fact, Portugal is ready and prepared to receive you for summer holidays. Check out our 7 reasons to visit Portugal this summer:

Surfers have been enjoying the sea again since May 4th

1. Beaches in Portugal are already open for the practice of sports

Since May 4th, we can enjoy the beaches again, not to sunbathe yet, laying on a towel, but to walk, run or practice any other watersports like surfing. We can already enjoy the beach! Let’s cross our fingers that very soon, we can freely enjoy the beach again.

According to the Algarve Travel Board, beaches will open in June, with health regulations and procedures in place. A maximum number of people per beach is one of the possible measures. Let’s see.

And if you like waterparks, the Algarve Travel Board points to June and July to reopen these, again with special health measures. The park’s capacity will, therefore, be reduced and have compulsory use of masks in closed areas like restaurants and stores.

Marina de Lagos by Mario Majer

2. Golf courses, marinas and some hotels are already open in Portugal

Portugal was rather quick to adopt preventive measures at an early stage of the pandemic. As such, Portugal has fewer cases than other European countries; with only 11 reported deaths per 100 000 population (May 14th, according to the ECDC). And looking within Portugal, the Algarve, our favorite destination, is one of the least affected regions in Portugal.

Some golf courses, marinas and car hire businesses are already open with strict health protocols in place, of course. Regarding hotels, over a third of hotels in the Algarve are open and the local tourism board expects this to rise to 75% in June and most to be open in July.

Portugal is a seafood paradise!

3. Delicious Portuguese Restaurants

During these times, you might want to book a hotel or apartment with a kitchen so you can cook some meals at home and use your time outdoors to enjoy nature. Take-away and delivery services have been open during the whole period of lockdown in Portugal and work very well.

The good news is also that as of May 18th, restaurants can reopen with 50 per cent capacity restrictions. 

We can’t wait to meet some wild dolphins in the middle of the sea…

4. Sea experiences will resume very soon in Portugal

Thanks to the large effort by the national authorities and also local agents, Portugal defined a set of best practices in terms of safety and security, to restart its tourism sector. The “Clean & Safe” seal is one of these measures. 

Turismo de Portugal, the Portuguese Tourism Board, recognizes companies in the Tourism sector that comply with the recommendations of the local health authority to avoid the contamination of COVID-19.

All tourism companies that wish to obtain the “Clean & Safe” seal must comply with a set of provisions. Of course, most of our local tour providers in Portugal have already obtained this seal and are ready to have you once the local authorities give us the “OK” to resume our sea experiences (it should be in the coming days). In fact, in Madeira, nautical experiences will restart already on May 20th! So if you visit Portugal this summer, you’ll be able to experience the sea to its fullest!

In addition to local tour providers, other sector agents are also strongly committed to reopening in a gradual, responsible and safe manner and commit to the seal. According to João Fernandes, President of Algarve Tourism, the Algarve already has 271 hotels, 176 tourist entertainment companies and 177 travel agencies, duly certified by this initiative of Turismo de Portugal, that pioneered this worldwide.

The airport of Lisbon is still scarily empty at the moment

5. Safety measures upon arrival in Portugal

The reopening of borders and air traffic is the main factor that still remains undefined, preventing the return of tourism in full. For now, travel from and to outside the EU will at least be banned until June 15th in Portugal

Portugal seems to be the right bet as several international airlines and tour operators are showing great interest in resuming their flights to Portugal. Some airlines already even taking reservations.

Regarding the local airports, some measures are being implemented upon arrival to ensure the protection of passengers and staff. The possible measures at airports in Portugal include:

  • Temperature measurement at arrivals;
  • Hand sanitizers at all points of the terminals;
  • Mandatory use of a mask at the terminal;
  • Warnings for the need for extra hygiene care and the need for physical distance;
  • Installation of personal protections in service counters (acrylic and glass);
  • Reinforcement of cleaning of spaces and equipment with hospital-level disinfectants and use of UV equipment, among other measures.
The Torre de Belém in Lisbon can be seen from a boat tour but also be visited from land

6. Local culture in Museums, Monuments and Cinema in Portugal

According to the Portuguese reopening plan (Plano de Desconfinamento), as from May 18th, museums, monuments and palaces, art galleries and the like will reopen with reduced capacity and physical distance. The use of masks might also be mandatory in some places.

And from June 1st, cinemas, theatres, auditoriums and concert halls should be open again. Be aware that these will have marked seats, reduced capacity and physical distance.

The sad news is that summer festivals have been banned until September 30th.

Face masks and hand sanitizer are widely available in Portugal

7. Face masks and hand sanitizer are widely available in Portugal

A few days after the use of masks in schools, public transport, shops and other closed spaces with a lot of people became mandatory in Portugal, the VAT rate was reduced from 23% to 6% on this kind of protective equipment, as well as disinfectant gel. Masks and hand sanitizer are available at pharmacies but also at big supermarkets like Continente, Pingo Doce, El Corte Inglés and Mercadona. The supermarkets Intermarché and Bricomarché stand out as they sell disposable masks and other personal protective equipment at cost prices “without any profit”.

According to ECO newspaper, the disposable masks are available for 0.40 cents a unit and a pack of 50 masks costs 20.15 euros. A 50 ml bottle of hand sanitizer is 4.90 euros and prices are monitored weekly in order to have the best price on the market.

Another reason to visit Portugal this summer are it’s spacious beaches

We know that traveling in these “new normal” times can be a bit scary, but we truly believe Portugal is a good bet. If you’ve got any doubts or tips about traveling to Portugal this summer, feel free to contact us at any time. 

Planning the Perfect Seaside Getaway for After Coronavirus

Planning the Perfect Seaside Getaway for After Coronavirus

As the COVID-19 pandemic takes its course around the globe, we find ourselves staying at home as part of a lockdown designed to keep the disease at bay. While we are glad that we can limit the spread, we are also limited on fun things to do. But like all uncertain times, this too shall pass. When it does, it will be time to celebrate.

Why not let loose with a fun seaside getaway? While most of us are stuck at home, we are presented with the perfect chance to plan our next big vacation. Don’t let the opportunity go to waste. Use this time to choose the ideal destination, save your money, and plan your itinerary, so you and your family can enjoy the perfect post-coronavirus adventure.

The colors of Madeira are just incredible!

Research Your Dream Location

Whether you are planning to visit the gorgeous landscapes of Madeira or take in the sites of Algarve, Portugal, this is the perfect time to research your destination and get your plans in order. Take the time to search online for popular seaside hotspots and choose which you would like to visit. In addition to picking the fun places to see, you also want to flesh out the logistics of your trip, like how you are going to get around once you are there, whether it be public transportation or your own vehicle.

There are other considerations to make, as well. If you are planning on going hiking or boating, will you need to rent specific equipment? If you are going to a different country, are you able to speak the language? If not, take this time to bone up on some popular phrases. Is there cell phone service where you are going? If not, then you may have to make alternate communication choices or stay at a hotel close to the attractions you want to see.

Dogs love to go on seaside adventures, too, because they can feel their ears flap in the wind as you cruise along in a rented speedboat. Use this time to think about the details of bringing a pet. If you are flying, make sure that the airline allows pets. Make a list of all the pet supplies you will need, including treats, a good leash, and a collapsible water bowl. You will also want to research your destination to see if your pet needs any special vaccinations and bring this paperwork on the trip.

Lockdown: time to save or loose money?

Take the Time to Save Money

Whether you are planning to visit your local beach or the coast of another country, you will want to save money so you can have a fun and comfortable trip. One benefit of having social distance and stay at home orders is that you are now presented with a good time to save the funds that you need. Of course, the first step is to make an itinerary of the places you will want to visit and check out the cost of each, in addition to the price of your lodgings. 

Once you have a number in mind, start saving. If you are the type of person who struggles with saving cash, then consider turning it into a game with a no-spend challenge. Essentially, this involves hiding your credit and debit cards, creating a budget for only the necessities (food, utilities, gas), and obtaining the support of your family as you attempt to go at least a month without spending unnecessary money. Put all of your extra cash in a “vacation fund” that cannot be touched until your trip.

Since just about everyone is currently banned from going to parks, movie theaters, and restaurants, this is the perfect time to be a cheapskate. Set a savings goal and take this time to research high-interest savings accounts, where you can gain even more extra cash off of interest. If you are currently working from home, you can also try a side hustle like online tutoring or taking surveys to save even more.

Prepare your means of transportation

Prepare Your Vehicle

Even after the social distancing measures come to an end, it will still be prudent to stay away from large groups, and a road trip along the seaside will give you that independence while you enjoy the gorgeous sites. If you are taking your own car, this is the perfect time to get your vehicle checked out and road-ready. Luckily, mechanics are considered an essential business, so they are open and willing to help.

When it comes to getting your car road trip-ready, be sure to check your tires and get an oil change. Wherever you are going, create a vehicle emergency kit filled with essentials such as first aid supplies, granola bars, and necessary maps. Speaking of maps, this is also a great time to figure out your routes so you know when you have to leave and how long you’ll be traveling each day.

It is always smart to practice defensive driving, meaning that you must drive without distractions while anticipating issues on the road. So, if you are going to a new seaside destination that you haven’t visited before, check out images of the streets you will be driving on. If you are driving along the coast, you may encounter many winding roads, so use this time to take a drive on a similar road near your area so you can get some practice. If your destination is famous for rain, then read up on how to drive in these conditions.

As the coronavirus takes its toll, we are living in some not so fun times, but these dark days will one day be a thing of the past. Use the time to plan the dream seaside getaway and be ready to go when the time is right.

5 Tips For Your Holidays In Aljezur

5 Tips For Your Holidays In Aljezur

Aljezur is a small town with ordinary houses located on the western coast of Algarve, Portugal. If you’re planning holidays in Aljezur, read further.

You will see a lot of whitewashed houses, rural architecture, windows with painted borders, and victorian era streets here. It has greenery and wildlife all around it. 

You can find empty beaches around Aljezur

Here are five tips you need to know before spending your holidays in Aljezur.

1. Beaches, Parks and Walks

Aljezur is home to some beautiful beaches, parks, and nature walks. They are clean, unspoiled, and quiet, which gives you several reasons to spend your day there. Here are a few beaches and parks in Aljezur.

1.1 Beaches of Aljezur

Many places near the western Atlantic region of Algarve are still untouched. The scenery of the beaches on the West Coast is much distinct from the South Coast Beaches. They are clean, unspoiled, and quiet, which gives you several reasons to spend your day there. The most famous beach on the west shore is the Praia do Amado beach. This beach is famous among surfers for the pipeline waves. Make sure that you wear appropriate beach costumes, and don’t forget to carry your sunscreen. You can show off your surfing skills by taking one of the guided SUP tours.

1.2 Costa Vicentina natural park

This park is a dense and hilly natural park, untouched by humans. It is located on the western shore of Algarve, this park lies secluded, and is not spoiled by high rises. It is excellent for biking, hiking, horse-riding, and even bird watching. When going with your friends and family, go on a vehicle with a sturdy roof rack to carry your biking and hiking gear without any discomfort.

1.3 Pontal da Carrapateira

It is a lovely walking trail along the cliffs between “Praia da Bordeira”, and “Praia da Amado”, recognized for its picturesque landscapes and natural beauty.

2. Castles and Forts

The castles and forts are fantastic pieces of history. They are well preserved in Aljezur and give you a glimpse of what life had been in the past. Below are the two most famous castle and fort of Aljezur.

2.1 Castle of Aljezur

As per the archaeological evidence, the Aljezur Castle antedates to the iron and bronze age. This structure stood as a guard of the local community and the port. Later in the mid-13th century, the Christians captured it. Visit this place to take a walk to the top of two towers and get a stunning view of Aljezur.

2.2 Fort of Arrifana ruins

The Fortaleza da Arrifana stands on the cliff of Paris da Arrifana on the west shore of Aljezur. Earlier, this fort acted as a guard to protect the local fishers and the seashore. The fort was constructed in the 17th century and was instrumental in preserving the coast and the local tuna fishing area.

White is the color of most local chruches

3. Church

The Misericórdia Church, with the foundation laid around 1611, is a beautiful church with bell towers and pinnacles. You will witness fascinating statues and sacred art inside. The church survived an earthquake in the mid-18th century and has a marvelous white facade to it. There is a guided tour that you can take to know the history of the place.

The “Nossa Senhora da Alva Church”, constructed in the 18th century, is another famous church built after the earthquake hit the Misericordia Church. The appearance of the entrance gateway of this church is extraordinary and displays several statues.

4. Museums

Museums help you learn about the past of a place. Aljezur has four museums that cover the city’s history. The Municipal Museum is a structure built in the late 19th century that portrays antiques from the Islamic periods. It is an excellent place to learn about the local culture. The “Sacred Art Museum” is another museum that is famous in Aljezur for its array of religious paintings and sculptures. A shelter for elderlies in the medieval era, this museum now stands next to the “Igreja da Misericordia”. The Museum of Portuguese painter Jose Cercas is another place to reminisce of the Portuguese art of the mid 20th century at the house of the great painter himself.

Holidays in Aljezur are a good idea for seafood-lovers

5. What and where to eat and shop in Aljezur

The best foods to try in Aljezur are fish and seafood as they are available right next to the shore. One of the top seafood eateries in Aljezur is the Sabor’arte. If you are looking for a sumptuous lunch, visit the Mo Bistro at the center of Aljezur. If you want a nice hot cup of coffee along with new and exquisite meals every day, then this is the cafe to visit. Visit Trigo Vermelho for delicious homemade gluten-free Pizzas.

If you are looking to shop for local goods and are a fan of local street food, then take a tour of the “municipal market of Aljezur”. Here you can buy fresh meat, fruits, and vegetables.

Conclusion:

Plan your next holidays in Aljezur, keeping the above pointers in mind. Also, prepare a budget for spending on each activity. Aljezur is best explored on foot, so remember to travel light while you are sightseeing.