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?

Clean Safe SeaBookings

Portugal as a trusty holiday destination – the “Clean & Safe” Stamp

Turismo de Portugal Certifies Establishments with “Clean & Safe” Stamp

If you’re hoping to still enjoy some holidays this summer, we’ve got good news. Everything is being done to position Portugal as a trusty holiday destination.

At a time when the recovery of the sector is being prepared, tourism enterprises, tourist entertainment companies and travel agencies have the option to request certification as a “Clean & Safe” establishment. Turismo de Portugal, the Portuguese Travel Bureau, has created a stamp of approval to distinguish tourist activities which are compliant with hygiene and cleaning requirements for the prevention and control of COVID-19 and other possible infections, thus reinforcing the tourist’s confidence in the safety of the destination.

The stamp of a “Clean & Safe” establishment to make Portugal a trusty holiday destination

This validation is free and optional and is valid for one year. It requires the implementation of an internal protocol for companies that, according to the recommendations of the DGS – Directorate-General for Health (similar to the Department of Health and Social Care in the UK), ensures the necessary hygiene measures are in place to avoid risks of contagion and a guarantee of safe procedures for the operation of tourist activities.

The “Clean & Safe” stamp can be obtained online, on the digital platforms of Turismo de Portugal: RNET (National Register of Tourist Enterprises), RNAAT (National Register of Tourist Entertainment Agents) and RNAVT (National Register of Travel and Tourism Agents) and will always be associated with the entity’s registration number.

After companies have submitted the Declaration of Commitment, they can publicise the “Clean & Safe” stamp, either physically on their premises or in their digital platforms. Turismo de Portugal, in coordination with the competent entities, will carry out random audits to adhering establishments.

With this measure, the national tourist authority intends to inform companies on the minimum hygiene requirements and cleaning measures to ensure the safety of various establishments, but to also promote Portugal as a safe destination with measures in place prevent the spread of the Virus via a coordinated action plan from the sector which will soon expand to other areas of activity across numerous expressions of interest. This is one of the many measures Turismo de Portugal promoting to present Portugal as a trusty holiday destination.

Kayak tour in Albufeira
The stamp also applies to outdoor experiences like SUP and kayak tours

“Clean & Safe” boat tours and watersports

At SeaBookings, we partner with the best boat tours and watersports providers in each of our destinations. In fact, in Portugal, almost all of our partners have already obtained the “Clean & Safe” stamp, while others are still fine-tuning their internal protocols to be able to submit their Declaration of Commitment.

On SeaBookings, you can see if an experience has committed to the “Clean & Safe” stamp on the experience page, where we display the stamp.

Clean and Safe Stamp SeaBookings
The stamp is visible on the experience page

If you’d like to know more details about the “Clean & Safe” stamp or about how local tour providers and other travel agents are making sure that Portugal is a trusty holiday destination, feel free to contact us at any time. We’re happy to help and look forward to welcome you safely and clean to enjoy the Portuguese sea.

When will beaches in Spain reopen?

When will beaches in Spain reopen?

Will we be able to enjoy the lovely Spanish beaches this summer? Now that we know that the two-week coronavirus quarantine for overseas arrivals in Spain will be lifted from July 1st, we want to know when will beaches in Spain reopen. According to El País, Spain is to recommend reopening beaches at reduced capacity, just like its neighboring country, Portugal, where beaches are already open.

Spanish beaches should be reopened in summer with measures in place to reduce the risk of coronavirus contagion. These measures include:

  • Limits on capacity
  • Distance between sun loungers
  • Delineating the space allowed for each beachgoer.
Holidays in Spain after lockdown
Soon, beaches in Spain will reopen

Beaches are allowed to reopen under Phase 2 of Spain’s deescalation plan. So far, beaches have been only open for walks and sports activities. The Institute of Quality Spanish Tourism (ICTE) established general protocols for reopening beaches. In addition, a draft agreement was reached with regional and local authorities. The final decision on beach regulations will fall to city councils, which are largely responsible for beach management. In fact, local councils will have to determine whether it is necessary to set up a system that warns people they are unable to go to a beach when it is at capacity. 

“It’s a draft that still needs to be approved by the Health Ministry, meaning that the final version could be different,” explained a spokesperson from ICTE. “The rules are not binding, but they have been created with the input of the regions and local authorities, so we believe that most of them will be followed.”

Just can’t wait to enjoy the beach in Ibiza again!

Local governments should estimate the capacity of each beach, taking into account its characteristics and how space is used (availability of beach umbrellas and sun loungers) to determine whether it is necessary to control access or set up a system that warns people they are unable to go to a beach when it is at capacity. 

According to the guidelines, areas for sun loungers and umbrellas must be clearly demarcated, with controls set up to ensure that “the equipment has been properly cleaned and disinfected.” 

Some regions in Spain have already outlined their own regulations. In Andalusia, for example, Southern Spain, regional authorities have recommended limiting time at the beach to four hours, setting out safe distances on the sand, setting opening and closing hours, disinfecting beaches every day, and banning the use of shower facilities and changing rooms. And in Tenerife, the white-sanded Las Teresitas beach is now open under Phase 2 of the government’s coronavirus deescalation plan. Some watersports are even available already, like SUP tours and kayak tours for small groups.

So the answer to our question is soon! Gradually, beaches in Spain will reopen. There’s no fixed date like in Portugal, because the decision about the reopening date and the protocol for each beach depend on municipal authorities.

Holidays in Spain after lockdown

Holidays in Spain after lockdown? ¡Sí!

We’ve long been waiting for this news! Spain will lift its two-week coronavirus quarantine for overseas arrivals from July 1. Regarding tourism and opening its borders, Spain has been one of the most cautious countries in Europe. Yes, we can continue planning our holidays in Spain after lockdown.

There’s light at the end of the tunnel as Foreign Minister Arancha González says via Twitter that “the hardest part is behind us,” and that “health conditions will be guaranteed” for visitors. It seems like we can enjoy summer in Spain this year as the Spanish government is planning on lifting the two-week coronavirus quarantine requirement for overseas arrivals on July 1. 

Since May 15, the Spanish Health Ministry has required travelers arriving from outside the country to remain isolated for 14 days. The rules currently in place apply to all international travelers, with a few exceptions for specific types of workers.

Soon we can enjoy the Spanish sun again

Both travellers and the local travel sector were concerned about the quarantine period for the effect that it would have on the arrival of overseas tourists this summer. Luckily, given the positive progress of the epidemic in Spain, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced that the sector should start to get ready for the summer season and that overseas tourists would be welcomed into the country under safe conditions from July. He also encouraged Spaniards to start planning domestic vacations from as early as June.

It’s still uncertain if the quarantine-free arrival applies to all foreign travellers or if Spain will bet on the free movement of travelers from countries that send the highest number of tourists to the country, such as Portugal, France, the United Kingdom and Germany.

Let’s stay tuned for more news while planning our holidays in Spain after lockdown this summer. Guess we all deserve some Spanish sun after lockdown, right?

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.

Tips to safely travel after the Coronavirus lockdown

Tips to safely travel after the Coronavirus lockdown

It’s important to take precautions and measurements in times of the coronavirus, also when the lockdown comes to an end. According to the World Health Organization, there are some tips to take into consideration, both during and after lockdown. In this article, we’ll focus on the tips that apply to travel after the Coronavirus lockdown.

Here are some tips to take into account when traveling after the Coronavirus lockdown:

1. Destination 

The first thing to consider is your destination. It’s recommended to only consider countries where the coronavirus contaminations are controlled. It’s also important to inform yourself about the quarantine requirements, both upon arriving at your destination and also when coming back home. Imagine a 14-day quarantine is required at your destination, then you might consider another place. 

2. Airline vs. car

Make sure to pick an airline that assures to have the best health and safety practices in place. Some airplanes are planning to test all their passengers before boarding, for example. And have you already considered traveling by car? Maybe now the time is there!

3. Protect yourself and others 

You should wear a mask to avoid being contaminated and also to diminish the risk of contaminating others. There is a big debate on which type of mask we should wear. The uncomplicated answer is the surgical mask which is single-use and is rather affordable. However, there are reusable masks available too and we think it’s a very personal decision.

You can also protect yourself by using surgical gloves to protect your hands from being infected with viruses or germs during your travels.

4. Stay hydrated

Bring a thermos type bottle or other reusable bottles to stay hydrated while traveling. Several studies show that drinking (warm) water can help to flush out the virus down to the stomach. 

Keep a hand sanitiser in your pocket

5. Bring sanitizer

Using sanitizer is also trending worldwide. The sanitizer has alcohol that kills germs and reduces the number of bacteria or microorganisms on our skin. While traveling, we can’t always wash our hands, so then sanitizer is the best thing that you can carry in your handbag or pocket. Other than that, when possible, don’t forget to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

6. Keep social distancing

Wherever you go, try your best to avoid the crowd. Pick beaches with fewer people, avoid going to the markets at the busiest hours, etc. You can also pick your destination based on this tip. You might prefer an area with nice empty beaches or forests rather than a crowded city.

Avoiding crowds also means being careful with public transport. If you have the chance, we recommend renting a car or using Uber or similar services. And in case you rent a car, or travel in your own car, be sure to wash or sanitize and keep the car clean.

In sum, for the coming months, even after the lockdowns, we need to take care of our health because we don’t know if the virus is still around. 

For now, let’s keep on reading and dreaming about travels. And plan for when we’re free again.

Till then, stay safe.

About the author: Laraib is a professional content writer, travel blogger, with a creative bent of mind. I have authored and published a number of articles in the niche of travel, health & fitness, entertainment and technology domains. Here is my blog.