• PORTUGAL HOLIDAY REVIEWS

Portugal
Stretching along the Atlantic coast on the Iberian Peninsula in Western Europe, the call of the sea has echoed strongly in the inhabitants of the sunny country of Portugal for generations, and today the pull of its ports and beaches is exerted on thousands of holiday-makers. Modern resorts line the coast of the southern Algarvemore
I love Troia, Setubal - Carly. Date of travel: Aug 2009
I love Troia, Setubal
Situated between Lisbon and the Algarve in Portugal, since 2002 that Setubal is part of the list "The most beautiful bays in the world", an organisation that only 30 bays in the entire world are part of. To be in this very selective list the location needs to have quality beaches and good conditions for nautic sports. Setubal has this and much more. Homeland of Jose Mourinho, it was here in the city of Setubal where he started his career coaching the football team of "Vitria de Setbal". Despite being currently far away from his homeland, Mourinho keeps Setubal in his heart and who visits the city easily understands why. Holidays in Troia can include: - enjoying the sun in one of the many lovely beaches, - indulging yourself in a round of golf on some of the most challenging and breath-taking golf courses in the country, - embark on nature walks or biking on the Arrabida (The Arrbida Natural Park, covering an area of approximately 26,687 acres, has predominantly Mediterranean vegetation, with some rare species unique to the region), - go on a boat trip and you may be able to see pink flamingos flying above you and lovely friendly dolphins swimming below you. Truly an experience you'll never forget! - Sailing, diving and kite-surfing are also activities you can enjoy here.
I Love Portugal - Jessica Whittaker. Date of travel: Jan 2008
I have been going to Portugal Sao Joao with my family and friends since the age of 8 weeks old, it is fab! All the Portuguese are really friendly and make you feel welcome. Portugal mainly the strip is great for its nightlife. Lots of fab bars of all ages. I would recommend for children 'Coconuts family bar'. It's the only bar which entertains children and has a live act every night. And the adults. It has quizzes for the adults, then party games for the children, a live act which runs till about 11pm and then karaoke till mid morning. There's lots of other bars and clubs for the clubbers such as 'The Garage, Paradise, La Bamba etc'. It's great! Lovely places to eat as well and some fairly cheap such as Farnels, Paradise etc. Would recommend Portugal to a family or a group of friends! Its Fab!!
Lovely!! - Anita Mumford. Date of travel: Mar 2006
Stayed in the resort of Albufeira. This resort is one of the largest on the Algarve and caters for all tastes. The old town has little squares and winding streets which boasts lovely restaurants (especially fish!) as close to a pretty working harbour. The new town is very lively and full of English, Irish, dutch and finally portugeuse bars! The beach along with the rest of the ALGARVE is made of beautiful golden sand and although the sea is cold(on the Atlantic) you can walk for miles and miles. A car although not essential is recommended as there are many villages both sea side and inland just waiting to be discovered. Cost of living is similar to the UK, petrol is cheap, local transport is fairly good especialy from larger towns. Tour Operator: Unijet
North Portugal Golf is a Hit with the Brits ! - Ian Pemble (Western Daily Press - Golf Jounalist).. Date of travel: Oct 2005
Although I went to North Portugal to play some golf, two of the best things about the trip had nothing to do with the Royal and Ancient game. The first is that Ryanair fly there from Stansted. Not the most convenient airport for the West Country admittedly, but cheap as chips. And at Porto the airline has made part of the terminal its very own, complete with cafe/bar, duty free shop and so on. The other reason is that my trip was arranged by an English businessman based in Porto called Peter Evens (pronounced Evans). His company is called "PortGolf" -¬ but he can organise a complete itinerary, including sight-seeing, water sports, an equestrian centre, go-karting, trips to a famous port lodge (including tastings), dinner at a casino with cabaret, and much more. He also caters for the whole family and those who don't want to needn't go anywhere near a golf course. But I did; and not only were the courses great fun ¬ they were practically deserted. Apart from weekends, expect Millionaire's golf with the course to yourself. I played at three clubs and, for those of you impressed by looks, lets get the beauty contest over with first. Estela, the links course, is not the most attractive. Sadly the beach is masked by an ugly, wire-topped fence ¬- few sea views here --¬ and inland there is low-level agricultural land. Although there were plenty of pumpkins and water melons, it mostly reminded me of UK allotments. The other two, both carved out of mountain greenery, are much prettier. Amarante is probably the best designed, certainly in terms of using the space available, and offers a testing layout with lots of scenery to admire between holes. There are scary blind shots off the first and third tees, a couple of lakes surrounded by greens (but it feels like the other way round) and a few other memorable challenges. The 18th is an up-hill monster par 5, and the fourth is a dogleg-right par 4 with a second shot to a tricky green. This is nicknamed the volcano: it's round with a flat top and any ball that doesn¹t stop on the short stuff disappears off the front. back or sides. The most spectacular course has to be Ponte de Lima. The back nine is fairly traditional parkland with lakes and several ditches to contend with. But the front nine is a wonder to behold. The holes seemed to be individually carved out of the pine forest so that, although a glance at the map shows parallel fairways, they are so far apart any push or pull with leave you deep in the trees. The signature hole is the par-4 ninth. The tee is at the highest part of the course and you have to aim for a landing area (I won¹t flatter it with the term fairway about 200 feet below you. From there it¹s another downhill shot to a green guarded by water and, if your drive was too far left, it¹s a blind shot over some trees. Which was the best course? Estela, funnily enough. But then I¹m a sucker for links golf. On man-made courses such as Amarante and Ponte de Lima the architect has decreed that, on a par 4, you will aim your drive thus and so. If, like me, you are not a long hitter, you won¹t reach any fairway bunkers and your second shot will leave you short of the green ¬ say about 70 yards. You then have no choice but to fly the ball over bunkers, or lakes, or both. On a links course that 70-yard third shot might well be towards a green guarded by nothing more threatening than the grassed-over swales and hollows of the original dunes. So you can make a perfectly good case for using any iron in your bag, from putter to sand wedge. Do you roll it all the way, punch in a low one, or fly it to the edge of the green? You could even smack the ball straight up into the air and hope it drops, hops and stops by the hole. With so many choices, I usually end up making the wrong one ¬- or playing the right one badly. Links golf makes you think and that, for me, is the real challenge of the game. All in all it was a memorable experience and I honestly believe that, if I hadn¹t played any golf at all, there were enough other attractions to made the trip worthwhile -¬ and even better for the non-golfers in the family. Accommodation: I stayed at the British Club, or the Oporto Cricket and Lawn Tennis Club to give it its full name. And it really is a little bit of Britain, founded in 1855 and tucked away behind big gates and a long drive, yet right in the middle of Oporto. The rooms are comfortable and well appointed and the decor throughout is very Gentlemans club with wood paneling everywhere. The food is restaurant quality, with generous bar snacks (naturally there¹s a full English breakfast on offer), and the bar serves drinks at very reasonable prices. The night I was there the expats gathered to watch the England vs Austria football match on a big screen in the bar and I felt most at home. However, Peter can arrange for accommodation from cheap-and-cheerful to five-star luxury. Everywhere you visit, he will have been there first to sample it himself and he prides himself on getting the best possible service for his customers. For example, I had to skip my trip to the port lodge, so I gave him 30 euros and asked him to get me a good deal on some bottles of port. I was expecting him to come back with 30 euros worth of port. Instead I got exactly what I asked for: two bargain bottles and 15 euros change. I¹ve never before met anyone who is more careful with my money than I am. The courses: Ponte de Lima; 6,006 metres, par 71, mountainous forest, spectacular views, hotel at the course - http://www.portgolf.com/pontedelima.htm Amarante: 5,085 metres, par 68, mountainous parkland, spectacular views - http://www.portgolf.com/amarante.htm Estela: 6,017 metres, par 72, classic links, no views to speak of (so concentrate on your golf)- http://www.portgolf.com/estela.htm Please note: These are merely the three courses I had time to visit. Portgolf can also offer trips to three more 18-hole courses, including one across the border in Spain, and several smaller courses ¬ with one in the centre of Porto itself. Getting there: Ryanair seem to have the cheap-flights-to-Porto market sewn up. Be aware that hand luggage is strictly limited (coming back I put my laundry in the golf bag to leave room for a few bottles of port). My return flight was £43, with an extra £34 for the golf clubs. At least Stansted is easy enough to get to via the M4/M25/M11 or by train via London Paddington/tube/London Liverpool Street. As for your trip ¬ talk to Peter Evens at "Portgolf". He will plan a trip (including giving you advanced warning of any cheap flights available) to match your own specifications and budget, meet you at the airport, ferry you around, and wave goodbye from the airport. Thoroughly Recommended. Peter Evens, "Portgolf", website: www.portgolf.com; e-mail: portgolf@netcabo.pt , address: Rua Companhia dos Caolinos, 545, 4460-205 Senhora da Hora, Portugal Ian Pemble “Western Daily Press? Golf Journalist October 2005 Tour Operator: www.portgolf.com
Monte Gordo is ideal - Sheila Brockie. Date of travel: Sep 2005
Staying in the Algarve is in my opinion the best place for people of all ages, especially families. It has some of the best beaches in Europe and the resorts offer loads of entertainment, bars, shops and restaurants. However if you prefer the quieter off the beaten track resorts these are also plentiful. Resorts are sunny, and sporty, offering plenty of watersports and are a golfers paradise. I stayed in Monte Gordo which is near the border to Spain and ideal for a day trip. We went in September and the resort was fairly quiet.This resort has its own nightclub and a casino. It has a lovely cafe lined waterfront and a beautiful sandy beach. We also hired a car and went to Albufeira and Lagos calling into Alvor along the way. In Silves there is a fabulous castle well worth a visit. Tour Operator: Cosmos
Mandy, Don and Gemma. Date of travel: Aug 2005
The biggest selling point for the Algarve is the fabulous sandy beaches. Our hotel was in the modern part of Albufeira known locally as the strip. In the evenings it was very unpleasant with lots of bars and binge drinking. Our young daughter did not feel safe and it was a major blip on our holiday. We hired a car and visited Vilamoura(the most upmarket and expensive resort), Armacao de Pera, Praie Da Gale, Alvor and Lagos which all were very nice. If we come to the Algarve area again we will avoid the Albufeira area and go elsewhere. We suggest to anyone going on holiday with their kids to ensure their accommodation is not in/or near the strip area of Albufeira. Probably OK for the 18/30 age group. Tour Operator: Thomas Cook
Rosamunde and Jason. Date of travel: Aug 2005
We stayed in Albufeira near the strip area and it was awful. Exceptionally noisy, drunks on pavement and we felt threatened: it was a terrible experience. The old town was more picturesque but crowded with street entertainers, but beware of pickpockets. Unless you are a binge drinker or clubbers we suggest you stay well away from Albufeira. Everywhere seems so built up with big hotels. Having made a note of other contributors' comments, out of desperation one day, we got the bus to Praie De Gale which was much more to our liking. Sedate with a beautiful beach. Following our experience we think it is unlikely that we will return to the Algarve area again, it was that bad. Tour Operator: Thomsons
Andrew and Nicky. Date of travel: Jul 2005
We took a late booking with Direct Holidays to Alvor on the Algarve. You have a combination of the old and modern here and so far has not become over commercialised. It still retains some of its authenticity although on the outskirts large hotel have sprung up to cater for the package holidaymaker.There is a good selection of restaurants and bars and some lovely sandy beaches. There is also a bus service to some other nearby resorts. Alvor has still got some character but in a few years time could be spoilt completely by overdevelopment. Bearing in mind we only booked 3 weeks before departure this turned out to be a good choice. Tour Operator: Direct Holidays
Brian and Leslie Harrison. Date of travel: Jun 2005
We stayed at the lovely peaceful resort Of PRAIA DA GALE on the Algarve. It is situated midway between Albufeira and Armacao De Pera. The sandy beach is out of this world and stretches all the way along to Aramacao De Pera which makes a great walk, although best done at low tide. Praia da Gale itself is more residental and is not really touristy but is ideal for a relaxing uncommercialised holiday. If you want night life don't come here as there is not any. Only one bar. There are several restaurant scattered around all within a 20 minute walk. Our favourites were Sao Dominguez(excellent service and food- a liitle upmarket) and TI_Manuel where it was worth the experience of trying as much fish as you can eat for 13 Euros(7 different types of fish- we both managed 5). Becks was also OK.One we would not go back to is the Lighthouse Restaurant which has limited choice was expensive, especially as we felt conned with the fish.Charged you per weight and did not tell you until the bill was presented and that was a major shock. We stayed at the Brisa Do Mar apartments which we found excellent. Above average size, splendilly equipped (except no TV) and a small pool to laze around. There was a large supermaket 2 minutes away. Overall a fantastic holiday, just want we needed a get away from it all break. Tour Operator: Golden Sun
Imelda Roche. Date of travel: Apr 2005
I booked a late deal with First Choice to the Algarve and was allocated the Janelas Do Mar Apartments in Montechoro. They are situated on a hill top with panoramic views and are located just 2.5kms from Albufeira old town and Oura Beach. The property was rated as a 2* but was more like a 3* in my opinion. The one bedroomed apartment was spacious and very clean, reception were very helpful & friendly and the indoor pool and jacuzzi were lovely. There is a bus stop right outside and the taxis were very reasonable. An excellent supermarket can be found just at the bottom of the hill. Tour Operator: First Choice
Michelle Elliott. Date of travel: Apr 2005
We had a private villa through the company Villaplus.com, they were fantastic. This was our first visit to the Algarve and we stayed in Albuferia. It was very quiet and the weather was about 65 degrees, which considering we have four children, one of whom is a baby this was great for us. The 'Strip' which is very well known was awful, full of english bars and cooked breakfasts with nothing more than chicken nuggets for the children, this we did not like. The old town was very beautiful, down by Fishermans Beach, everyone spoke English, which was a shame really as sometimes we forgot we were in Portugal, but all in all a great family holiday, Definately recommend it! Tour Operator: villa plus
Gemma France. Date of travel: May 2004
In the west of the Algarve situated between Praia de Rocha and Alvor is a small resort called Praia da Vau. Thinking that the resort is close to Alvor and Praia da Rocha i thought that there would be plenty to see and do here, but without a car we would have been really limited on places to eat and drink. We stayed at the Vitor's Plaza Apartments and we could not fault the apartments they are spacious and fairly modern. The pool area and surrounds are well kept and with Tennis, Mini-Golf and a small football pitch it was good to see children are well catered for. Tour Operator: First Choice
 
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Hotels in Portugal User Rating
5-Star Hotels
Altis Suites | * * * * * |
Avenida Palace | * * * * * |
Corinthia Alfa Hotel | * * * * * |
Corinthia Lisboa | * * * * * |
Corinthia Lisboa | * * * * * |
4-Star Hotels
Aparthotel VIP Eden | * * * * * |
Tropical Sol | * * * * * |
Alto Da Colina Apartments | * * * * * |
Balaia Atlantico Aparthotel | * * * * * |
Balaia Plaza | * * * * * |
3-Star Hotels
Lazy Crow (Alfama) | * * * * * |
Clube Praia Da Oura | * * * * * |
Aparthotel Dom Pancho | * * * * * |
Hotel Travel Park Lisboa | * * * * * |
Albufeira Jardim 1 and 2 | * * * * * |
2-Star Hotels
Da Gale | * * * * * |
Ibis Lisboa Jose Malhoa | * * * * * |
Americano | * * * * * |
Cerro Malpique | * * * * * |
Clube Maria Luisa | * * * * * |
Other Hotels
Apartment Orion | * * * * * |
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