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?

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. 

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.

sailing with kids in the Algarve

5 reasons why you should go sailing in the Algarve with kids

The Algarve, the South of Portugal, is a popular holiday destination for families from all over the world. In fact, there are many reasons why the Algarve is a great destination for those traveling with kids. The Algarve has a mild climate all year round, it’s super safe, there are great family-friendly restaurants and accommodation options as well as things to do. We went sailing in the Algarve with kids and it was one of the most unforgettable experience during these holidays in the Algarve.

We visit the Algarve quite often as my parents and sister live here and my husband and the little one just love it as much as I do. This time, on a summer-like day in March, we grabbed the opportunity to go on a half-day sailing trip in Portimão. We had such a great time that we decided to write this post to convince you to take you kids out sailing in the Algarve too!

Here are our 5 reasons why you should go sailing with kids in the Algarve:

These sailboats are very spacious!

1 – Sailing boats are very kid-friendly

Among the different types of vessels we have at SeaBookings, sailboats, be it monohauls or catamarans are some of the most kid-friendly. Especially on private charters, you have plenty of space for you and your family. While some may be actively helping in the sailing, others may be relaxing in the sun and the youngest ones may even be napping in the shade. When the sea is calm, sailing boats are suitable for all ages, from babies to grandparents!

Why such a serious face if sailing is so relaxing?

2 – You’ll be involved in the sailing and your kids too

On the sailing trip we did in Portimão with the kids, we were actively participating in the sailing. If you prefer not to, of course, you’re free to simply sit back and relax, but for us, learning some new skills was super exciting!

Is sailing a new hobby or will she continue preferring to draw?

3 – You and your kids may discover a new hobby

As you’ll be sailing yourself, pushing the ropes and steering the boat, you may discover that you actually really like it and want to learn more about sailing. Or maybe, you’re an avid sailor and would like to show your kids what sailing is all about. Well, here you’ve got the perfect setting to do so: great boats, experienced skippers and incredible scenery and some of the best conditions in Europe!

Just being outside and exploring nature would be a reason to take the kids sailing!

4 – You’ll be doing an outdoor activity together

It’s scientifically proven that experiences bring more happiness than things. Spending time together with our kids is one of the most valuable things we can do. We can guarantee you that the morning we spent out sailing with the kids in the Algarve won’t be forgotten soon! And how healthy is breathing the fresh sea breeze and charing up some vitamin D?

Enjoy the stunning coastline around Portimão

5 – You can adapt the experience according to your preferences and needs

With our 6-year-old, we thought a full-day sailing experience might be a little too much this time of the year. In March, the weather can still be a bit tricky in Portugal but fortunately, we were blessed with 20 degrees and a blue sky. In reality, time flew by while we were sailing along the beautiful Algarve coastline! Next time, we’ll probably go for a full-day experience to have more time to explore some of the many cute secluded beaches of the area. And one day, we already promised the little one, we’ll be spending a night or two on a boat. How cool is that?

As you can see, sailing with kids in the Algarve is a great thing to do when visiting Portugal. And you don’t need to worry about catering as this can be arranged (and we highly recommend it! We had a delicious brunch on board!). The only thing you need to care about is to bring a wind-jacket (which we did not use this time, but you never know) and a hat and sunscreen (yes, even this time of the year the sun can be strong already!).

Feel free to book your sailing experience here or contact us if you’ve got any questions or suggestions about sailing or other boat tours with kids in the Algarve. Happy holidays!

Westcoast of the Algarve 1

Our top 6 beaches at the Westcoast of the Algarve

While most of the tourism in the Algarve is centred around the hotspots like Albufeira, Portimão and Lagos, the Algarve also has an entirely different side to it! Did you know that if you drive a bit further West, north of Sagres, there is a whole other landscape and climate of the Algarve to be discovered?

The Westcoast of the Algarve has become more and more popular especially among surfers and travellers looking for a bit less tourism and more nature! The wild and dramatic cliffs, good wave conditions and hidden beaches are worth visiting! Let us share with you our top 6 beaches at the Westcoast of the Algarve! 

Praia do Castelejo

Praia do Castelejo
Praia do Castelejo and Cordoama are right next to each other

If you come by car from the Southcoast of the Algarve, you will just have to pass through the cute town of Vila do Bispo to get to Praia do Castelejo! This beach is especially popular among surf schools, as it usually is blessed with great conditions for beginners

The beach is located in the middle of Costa Vicentina Natural Park, being surrounded only by nature! There is only one restaurant at the beach where you can enjoy some snacks and drinks, looking down at the ocean! At the restaurant, you also have toilets, which is definitely a plus! 

One of the best things about this beach is that at low tide you can walk all the way beneath the impressive cliffs to Praia da Cordoama! The walk is beautiful: the sea by your left side, the raw landscapes of the Algarve to your right! At Praia da Cordoama you can also enjoy a drink or go for a dive in the sea before walking back! 

The broad sandy beach also means that you can usually always find a quiet place, even during high season when the beach can get pretty crowded. Just walk a little further and enjoy the view while relaxing in the sun!

Ponta Ruiva

Ponta Ruiva is less easy to reach, a pure gem!

Ponta Ruiva is one of the beaches that are still very untouched, but it is becoming more and more crowded due to the good waves you can find here! However, be aware: Only try to get to Ponta Ruiva if you have a stable car that can also drive off-road, as the road there is… well, not a real road 😉

Also, you should maybe ask someone before going there what the best way is, as some navigation systems get lost in the countryside and you can easily get lost, also because there are not many signs leading you to Ponta Ruiva. It is close to Castelejo, so you also access it from Vila do Bispo.

Once you get there, it is worth it though – It is a really wild beach with no restaurants or any construction at all! You have to walk down a rather steep road to get to the sandy beach, where you have quite a lot of rocks, depending on the tides! Surfers really like this beach because if the swell is big enough, you have a really nice point break here! 

But also surf schools are starting to come here more and more often to play in the white water with beginners! Just make sure you bring enough water and snacks when you come to Ponta Ruiva because the next supermarket is a long drive away 😉 

Praia da Amoreira

SUP Paradise!

Praia da Amoreira is a little bit further up the coast than the last two beaches! What makes this beach so special is the river mouth, that ends up in the sea. This means that you can not only lay at the beach but also far behind it along the river where you can enjoy swimming in the much calmer water – perfect for families with kids

You can access the beach either from “behind”, by walking along the river and the sandy dunes up to the beach or you park at the main car park by the restaurant and don’t have to walk far! At the restaurant, they serve drinks and food and they also have toilets there.

At Praia da Amoreira you can also catch some fun waves, depending on the conditions! This beach has a pretty good road leading up to it, which is why it usually gets a lot more crowded than the other two beaches during high season! However, if you go along the river you will always find a quiet space! 

Did you know that you can also do a SUP Tour along the river? This Amoreira SUP Tour is a great way to explore this region and paddle through the vast landscape! It is very easy, so no previous experience is needed!

Praia do Amado

This is where SeaBookings’ founders – Femke and Bo – learned surfing!

Praia do Amado is probably one of the most famous beaches along the Westcoast of the Algarve! Reason for this would be the great waves and the famous surf schools that have been here for decades! But of course, the beauty of the sandy beach in front of the steep cliffs also does its part! 

You can park at the top of the beach and walk down the road to the beach, or you can also access the beach from behind from the Natural Park nex to it. This is also a nice walk and you come out at the left end of the beach.

At low tide the beach has a lot of space, so you can walk quite far to both sides and enjoy the beauty of nature! There are bathrooms at the car park as well as some snack bars where you can get food and drinks to restore your energy levels after surfing or just a day at the beach. 

You can book surf lessons at Amado Beach and learn the sport together with one of the oldest surf schools of the Algarve right at the beach! Sounds good right? We think so too, that’s why it is one of our top 6 beaches at the Westcoast of the Algarve.

Praia da Arrifana

During winter, the beach is nice and calm.

Another of the top 6 beaches at the Westcoast of the Algarve has to be Praia da Arrifana! This little beach has become one of the hippest beaches of the region, and there is always something fun going on around the village and the beach! 

The beach is the heart of the village with the same name, so you have quite a lot of cafés, restaurants and bars around the beach. However, you should have good fitness if you wanna go down to the beach because you will have to go back up again 😉 The road to the beach is long and veeeery steep! But there are also “shuttles”, so if you don’t feel like walking up you can just drive back up to the car park!

Down at the beach, you have a pretty cool restaurant with delicious food, where there are a lot of concerts and parties during summertime. And if you come here around the end of July, you can enjoy a weekend full of fun at the harbour of Arrifana – first the traditional Sardine fest on a Saturday where you pay entrance and can eat as many Sardines as you can get. And the day after there is usually the Arrifana Sunset Fest – a night full of fun and amazing music underneath the stars!

Praia da Arrifana is definitely one of the hot spots for all people looking for a fun time and to meet new like-minded people from all over the world! There are also plenty of surf camps and hostels around the area. And you can also do some fun SUP Tours at Arrifana, during the day and at sunset!

Praia do Vale dos Homens

https://www.seabookings.com/destination/portugal/45-aljezur
The stairs to Praia Vale dos Homens are worth it

The last one of our top 6 beaches at the Westcoast of the Algarve would be a secret spot – Praia do Vale dos Homens! This beach is located just before Odeceixe, and you should be fit to get there: To walk down the beach, you have to descend A LOT of stairs!

Once you get down, you can enjoy a wild beach with not many people. There is no restaurant or any other construction around this beach, so be sure to bring enough water and food! But it is worth it if you’re looking for some peace and quiet at the beach.

At low tide, you can even sit in some natural pools that form between the big rocks at the shore. And here you can also walk a little bit to the right side and explore the steep cliffs that give the beach a mystical touch! As there are no lifeguards, you should be able to swim and read the sea if you would like to go for a swim, as there are quite a lot of big rocks! 

Be impressed by wild flora, fauna and rock formations

There are many many more beaches along the coast, but these ones were our top 6 beaches at the Westcoast of the Algarve! If you would like some more tips about any of the beaches or the Algarve in general, just send us an e-mail!

Beach An Alternative Travel Guide To The Algarve

An alternative travel guide to the Algarve

The Algarve is a holiday haven, packed full of character. With almost year-round sunshine, golden beaches and fresh local delicacies, the Algarve is a location which will likely entice you back again and again. 

Each visit to this area of Portugal can be different from the last, as there is so much to see and do and the Algarve is one of the most unique holiday locations in the world. With a coastline stretching almost 100 miles, UNESCO protected parks and nature lands, this region of Portugal offers one of the best tourism experiences in Europe. 

However, if you’re looking for travel experiences which are slightly different from the usual holiday offerings, then the Algarve has plenty to offer. Here is an alternative guide to visiting the Algarve.

Things To Do in the Algarve

Underground Wine Tasting

8 meters underground, the Cave de Vinhos wine cellar is over 150 years old and holds 11,000 bottles of wine, from a number of different regions in Portugal and locations across the world. The Algarve is home to endless vineyards and wine regions, meaning that wine tastings and experiences are plenty. 

If you want a wine tasting experience which is unique and memorable, then a visit to the Cave de Vinhos is a must. As well as wine tasting, the cellar also hosts private dinners for up to 12 guests and cheese and wine tastings throughout the day. 

The Chapel of Bones

Capela dos Ossos (Chapel of Bones) is in the village of Alcantarilha and is perhaps one of the spookiest, yet most intriguing, buildings you will ever see. At first glance, you might think that the chapel is merely just decorated with bones, but actually the walls are constructed from femurs mixed with mortar. The bones in this chapel are the remains of 1,245 monks, whose bones were displaced during the building of the chapel. 

Oyster An Alternative Travel Guide To The Algarve
Oyster tasting is a must!

Fresh Oyster Tasting

The Algarve is renowned for its seafood dishes and sure you can order oysters at a seafood restaurant, but why not go on a fresh oyster tasting trip? On this excursion, you can eat oysters which have been plucked straight from the ocean and opened right before your eyes. 

There are numerous food tours and oyster tasting experiences which leave from Ilha de Culatra in Ria Formosa, where you will learn all about oysters from a local producer, try fresh oysters and enjoy a crisp, cold glass of white wine, all by the ocean.

Norvacortica Cork Factory Tour 

Something which many people don’t know about the Algarve is that it is famous for quality cork, which is used by global brands such as Rolls Royce, NASA and Moet Chandon. Cork oaks line much of the Algarve countryside and tours around cork farms and factories are a great way to learn more about the history and get an insight into the cork industry and the Norvacortica factory is one of the most popular.  

Places to Stay in the Algarve

Depending on the amenities you want nearby and who you are travelling with, there are plenty of places to stay in the Algarve which are popular with tourists. 

Albufeira

If you are looking for a fun-packed holiday with plenty of family-friendly activities, then Albufeira is the destination for you. Albufeira is perhaps the largest and liveliest town in the Algarve and has something to offer everyone. You’ve got a charming historic centre at the heart of the town, whilst “The Strip” is just a stone’s throw away and is full of late-night clubs and bars. 

Albufeira beach is one of the best in the region and with beautiful water and sand stretching along the length of the town. Albufeira is an extremely popular holiday destination and has almost completely handed over to tourism, so if you are looking for traditional Portuguese culture, other destinations may be best. 

Vilamoura

Vilamoura is a sprawling resort with 4 golf courses, a large marina and beautiful sandy beaches. The town is well known for its luxury and sophistication and is one of the pricier destinations in the Algarve. Vilamoura has a mature atmosphere and is more catered towards older people, golfing enthusiasts or those looking for a little extra luxury. 

Vale do Lobo

Vale do Lobo is a luxurious and self-contained resort and is unique to Portugal. Vale do Lobo was the first major development in the Algarve and today is the largest luxury resort of its kind in Portugal. With endless facilities and services, all located in a unique area, Vale do Lobo is a must-visit if luxury is at the top of your holiday list. There are two highly accredited golf courses – the Royal and the Ocean – in Vale do Lobo, which are perhaps the biggest attractions. 

Loulé

Famous for its markets and laid back atmosphere, Loulé is located in the middle of the Algarve. This historic market town is steeped in history and even has a 13th-century castle. The traditional cobbled streets are lined with bars, restaurants and cafes and there are plenty of charming shops packed with pottery and handcrafted goods all from within the local area. For a true taste of Portuguese culture, a visit to Loule is a must. 

There is also the Loule Carnival, which is one of the biggest highlights of the year in the Algarve’s calendar. This colourful carnival takes place in February over three days, usually starting on the Sunday before Shrove Tuesday, and has been said to rival Brazil’s world-famous Rio Carnival with its dancing and costumes. 

Wherever you’re staying, a visit to Ponta da Piedade in Lagos is a must!

Traditional Dishes to Try in the Algarve

Portuguese food is heavily influenced by Mediterranean cuisines and relies heavily on fresh seafood, which it has in abundance and spices and olive oil. A visit to Portugal, and the Algarve in particular, will bring you a whole host of tasty traditional dishes to try. 

Cataplana de Marisco

Cataplana de Marisco is a dish which originates in the Algarve and is a true seafood feast. This dish gets its name from the copper pan in which it is cooked – a cataplana, which is a dish with rounded sides and is connected by a hinge which opens and closes like a clam would. Onions, tomatoes and garlic are stewed with white wine, chorizo, clams and prawns.

Cozido à Portuguesa

Cozido à Portuguesa is a dish which is often referred to as a Portuguese boiled dinner, but is better known as a traditional stew. Whilst the ingredients sometimes change, depending on where in Portugal it is prepared, it is essentially a platter of slow-boiled meats, sausages and vegetables. In the Algarve, you’ll traditionally find it made with a mixture of potato, lamb, chicken and fresh mint. 

Pastel de Nata An Alternative Travel Guide To The Algarve
You can try the Pastéis de Nata at every small “café”

Pastéis de Nata

Pastéis de Natas is perhaps Portugal’s most known, and most loved, dish. These palm-sized desserts are made from puff pastry which is filled with a yellow custard, made by whisking egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest and cream which are then baked until golden. Whether you choose yours topped with powdered sugar or cinnamon, they are traditionally eaten for breakfast, as a snack or for an evening dessert.

Natalie Wilson is a freelance writer in the travel niche, and can provide advice on anything from hidden gems to the best Algarve villa accommodation. When not writing, Natalie can be found reading a good book with a cup of tea or planning her next travel destination – the Amalfi Coast is next on the list. You can connect with her on Twitter @NatWilson976

Activities in the Algarve - Easter holidays

Tips for your Easter holidays in the Algarve

Tips for your Algarve Easter holidays

It’s almost Easter! Are you lucky to have booked your Easter holidays in the Algarve, the South of Portugal? Cool!

We’ll share some tips on the best activities during this time of the year. Most activities and things to do in the Algarve depend on the weather and ocean conditions.

The good news is that temperatures have been ranging between 10 and 18ºC. January and February normally are quite rainy months, but between rain sunny days can defenitly be enjoyed.

Today was a sunny day, but you never know what to expect from tomorrow. Given the volatility of the rain, we recommend you to be prepared for both.

Bring some outfits for sunny spring weather but also for rainy days. Spring,  considering March & April as rainy months, and May, the first extreme sunny days can be enjoyed.

The Algarve is mostly visited to enjoy nature and specifically the ocean. In fact, the south of Portugal has stunning beaches and an impressive coastline. That’s why most of the activities are related to the ocean.

On easter sunday, some families just prefer to enjoy family holidays in a region with many things to do.  Outdoor activities, boat tours, watersports, day tours, and a lot of others.

We’ve seen a trend over the years and realized that boat tours, either to the caves or the dolphins, are the most popular activities during your Algarve Easter holidays.

Tips for your Easter holidays in the Algarve

The best things to do in Easter in Lagos are:

Dolphin watching

Dolphin watching in Lagos is, with no doubt, one of the most popular activities in the Algarve.

Out of all boat tours and water sports, the dolphin watching boat tours are the favourite under families. Kids love dolphins and adults get emotional on seeing these mammals in their natural habitat.

Most dolphin watching tours take about 90min and depart from the Marina of Lagos. There are several kind of boats that do these tours, from big stable ones to speedy and agile rigid inflatable boats. Choosing the type of boat is a matter of personal preference.

The dolphin watching tours from Lagos are suitable for all ages, from two-years-old to 80-years-old. We even went on a tour on a rigid inflatable boat with our 80 years old granddad once.

If you’ve got back or neck problems, then you might want to check the ocean conditions before and choose the boat accordingly.

observação de golfinhos de Lagos

Dolphin watching tours are a true adventure. The dolphins are wild animals and as they are not fed, you never know when and if you’ll find them.

Dolphins and other marine life are spotted on about 90% of the tours, so the chance is very high. Yet, please bear in mind that seeing marine life is not given.

Dolphin watching tours are very safe and life-vests are mandatory.

Cave boat tours

The whole coastline of the Algarve is known for its amazing rock formations and marine caves.

The regions of Lagos and Benagil are particularly known for their unique beauty. To be able to enjoy the beauty of the coastline, boat tours are very popular.

grotten boot trip lagos, Grotto boat trip from Lagos, Passeio as grutas da ponta da Piedade,

Many families and groups of friends choose the grotto tours as the outdoor activity of their Easter holidays in the Algarve.

Among all activities in the Algarve, the cave tours are mostly sought by families and elder people as the tours are very calm.

These boat trips are ideal for nature lovers and people who like to take pictures. The rock formations and grotões are very photogenic!

The cave boat tours can be one to two hours and there are also several different types of vessels you can choose from.

Some days the boats cannot go out because of the ocean conditions, but fortunately, this is rare. Cave tours in Lagos are very safe and life-vests are mandatory.

Benagil cave boat tour

Benagil is one of the most impressive marine caves of Portugal and even Europe. The best way to observe this impressive cave is by boat.

That’s why the boat tours to the cave of Benagil are a very popular activity for Easter holidays in the Algarve.

Again, there are several types of vessels and even different locations of departure. While some boat tours to Benagil start at the fishermen beach called Carvoeiro, others start in Armação de Pêra.

We are specialized in Benagil boat tours, and offer over 30 tours to this cave.

Lagos Benagil SeaBookings (3)

Cave and dolphin boat tour in Albufeira

If you’re staying near Albufeira, you’re lucky because you can go on the cave and dolphin boat tour.

This tour combines the best out of the activities in the Algarve described above. This is one of the most popular things to do during any holiday in this region.

This tour will show you the beauty of the rock formations and caves of the coastline in the region of Albufeira and also take you on a dolphin watching adventure.

This boat tour departs from the Marina of Albufeira and there are two different types of vessels.

Cave & dolphin watching albufeira - Albufeira dolphin watching - Dreamwave

If any of these boat tours sound good to you and you’d like to include them into your plans for your Easter holidays in the Algarve, we recommend you to book as soon as possible. We also recommend to book your flights and hotel or villas in the Algarve on time to benefit from the best prices!

During the holiday season, some boat tours, like these that are the most popular ones, may get fully booked. So, book now and avoid disappointment and waiting lines.

If you’re looking for more or other tips for your Algarve holiday, let us know. We’d be happy to help! Happy Easter and enjoy the region!

Benagil cave Algarve

Top 10 blog posts about Portugal

2019 was a busy year on our blog and the top 10 of our most-read blog posts were all about Portugal! Traveling to Portugal soon? Don’t miss out on our top 10 blog posts about Portugal. Within Portugal, some of the most-read blog posts were about the Algarve while others about Madeira. And, no surprise! Blog posts about Benagil are very popular.

Read our Top 10 blog posts about Portugal:

Tips for your Easter holidays in the Algarve
Discover the prettiest beaches in the Algarve

Our top 6 beaches in Lagos, Portugal

One of SeaBookings’s founders, Femke, has been living in Lagos for more than 20 years now. Living in Lagos is lovely and the beaches in Lagos continue to surprise every single day. Lagos is worldwide known for its stunning beaches. Femke shares her top 6 of beaches around Lagos. The beaches in Lagos are all stunning and all different.

Her favorite 6 are Porto de Mós, Praia da Batata, Meia Praia, Praia do Pinhão, Praia Dona Ana and Praia do Camilo. But it is hard to choose and herself usually goes to quieter beaches that are a bit further away from town.

SUP tour in Madeira
Doing a SUP tour in Madeira can be done all year round

9 reasons to visit Madeira during the Fall / Winter

Thinking about Madeira as a trip during this Winter? Good idea! We went to visit Madeira in low season and had a great time. That’s why we’ve shared 9 reasons to visit Madeira during the Fall/Winter.

SUP or kayak to Benagil
The epic Benagil cave is just one of the many caves of the region

Algarve Caves: Top 5 – Caves of Portugal

If you’re planning your holidays to the Algarve, you’ve most likely already heard of the Algarve caves. In this article, we’ve shared the top 5 caves in the Algarve you can’t miss.

To write this article, we’ve spoken to some of our partners who know the Portuguese coastline like no other. Check them out and book a boat trip to visit them!

SUP or Kayak to Benagil
SUP or Kayak to Benagil

Benagil – the best way to discover the cave

The Benagil caves are the most impressive sea caves in Portugal. As a result, the cave has been the most popular cave to visit in the Algarve. There are several ways to visit this cave. In this blog post, we tell you some of the possibilities and the pros and cons of each. 

Lisbon’s enchanting during sunset!

How to get from Lisbon to Benagil

Traveling to Lisbon and dreaming about visiting the famous Benagil sea caves in the South of Portugal? How to get from Lisbon to Benagil is one of the most frequent questions our customer support gets. This is why we decided to make a blog post about how to get from Lisbon to Benagil!

It is possible to visit Benagil from Lisbon on a day tour. However, if you can spare one night, it is much more relaxed if you take your time and make it at least a two-day trip. But that’s just a suggestion.

Sesimbra is a great spot for nature lovers

How to get from Lisbon to Sesimbra

And another “how to get from A to B” blog post in our top. If you’re visiting Lisbon, you have many possibilities for fun day trips to discover more of Portugal! One of the day trips we recommend is Sesimbra!

We love going to Sesimbra so now and then and think you should too, so we decided to make a post about how to get from Lisbon to Sesimbra! The easiest way to get from Lisbon to Sesimbra are our transfers, which start at 25€ per person and pick you up and drop you off at your accommodation in Lisbon. But of course, there are more options.

On a boat ride along the coast, you get to see many caves

Algarve Caves: Top 5 – Caves of Portugal

This blog post was already mentioned above. Interestingly, its German version is also in our list of most-read blog posts about Portugal 😉

From a boat, you’ll enjoy the coast from a different perspective

How to get from Faro to Benagil cave

If you are on holidays in the Algarve, you might be looking for some tips about how to get to the famous Benagil cave. That’s why we want to help you find out how to get from Faro to Benagil cave. Remember that there are boat tours to Benagil with many different departure points in the Algarve (from Lagos to Vilamoura), which might be easier to reach than the Benagil Beach itself, by land.

grotto trips in Lagos
Welcome to paradise (aka Ponta da Piedade)!

5 Ways to discover Ponta da Piedade Lagos

Ponta de Piedade is another popular landmark of the Algarve. It’s a must place for nature lovers and photographers thanks to the beautiful colours of the setting which make an incredible postcard portrait. 

For the most sporty ones and if you dare climbing up 182 steps to the top of the lighthouse, you’ll have a view of the Ponta da Piedade promontory, which marks the limit between land and sea. This lighthouse can also be reached by car or foot from Lagos. Of course, we are a fan of the kayak, SUP and boat tours to Ponta da Piedade. To discover the best way to discover this area for you, read further.

Albufeira Holiday Tips
Enjoy the many things to do in Albufeira

20 Things to do in Albufeira – Algarve, Portugal

We’ve been writing quite some blog posts about things to do in Albufeira because it’s one of the Algarve’s most popular holiday destinations. Albufeira has long been one of Portugal’s most popular resorts because it combines an interesting cultural heritage, stunning beaches and there are many things to do in Albufeira for all age groups.

We hope you liked our list of most-read blog posts. Let’s see if next year, we get some articles about our other destinations in this top 10! Happy 2020!