Relaxing Vacation in Portugal


Jul 23rd, 2013, 12:23 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2013
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Relaxing Vacation in Portugal

Boyfriend and I are looking to disconnect, ideally in a quiet-ish town or village in Portugal this October. Ideal scenarios would be: reading a good book on a balcony or patio overlooking a fantastic view (ocean, nature, or charming village), enjoying local cuisine, going for scenic walks or hikes (simple hikes, mind you, as neither of us are hikers), lots of relaxing and enjoying each other's company, secluded beaches, rustic atmosphere and above all, no pressure.

What we don't want: all-inclusive resort style vacations, situations where there is a lot of pressure to socialize and meet other people, shared lodging (no bed and breakfasts, hostels, places with shared patios dominated by loud tourists), see-and-be-seen beaches, intense nightlife (although we're open to a lively and delicious restaurant scene), camping, hopping between multiple towns. We will probably be there in early October, for 7-10 days.

We would love suggestions for specific areas in Portugal where we might be able to find the experience we're looking for. Also welcome are recommendations for specific places to stay, like houses for rent, cottages, villas, apartments, etc. We probably will not be renting a car, but might end up doing so if absolutely necessary. Thanks!
cisrnita is offline  
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Jul 24th, 2013, 08:26 PM
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Do you have a budget in mind? If so, and reasonable, then I would head for Cascais.
Robert2533 is offline  
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Jul 25th, 2013, 02:46 AM
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October is a good month to be in the Algarve. The unfashionable end of Tavira or Faro would be nice. Tavira is an old Tuna hunting village now past its best but with a good line in restaurants, a roman bridge, local museum and (like a lot of this coast) you have to cross an internal sea to get to the beech. Tavira is on the main east west bike route as well.

Faro is the local capital and most people just pass it by, pity really the shopping is good, the main town squares are enjoyable in the evening especially the one around the marina and some of the small local restaurants away from this are fantastic. Again on the bike camino,

Alentejo is the up and coming star just to the north of the Algarve main E/W motorway. Far more rural, fewer tourists but good food and wine. The best place we found here was it is near a beach and the staff will do as you want, from pamper to ignore you, restaurants limited.
bilboburgler is offline  
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Jul 31st, 2013, 03:51 AM
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The Algarve is an awesome place, which surely can offer all of the stuff you are looking for. You only have to be selective as to the appartments.

I second Tavira. It's a really love little village. Do some research for great local food. However, I feel spending two days there is really as much as I could do at most. It could also easily be a day trip.

And bilbogurler has it all figured out about Faro. Yet, again, I wouldn't stay longer than a night or visit the city the night/day of departure.

However, if you are willing to cut the touristic places, I can only recommend Ferragudo and the surrounding area towards Cavoeiro. Ferragudo is an old fishermen village, really slow paced, laid back with great cuisine for sure. There's great deal of beaches to choose from. But - you have to rent a car 110%.

Lagos is a bit more touristy, still lovely, charming. Do some research and see what you prefer. I would be glad to help with restaurants in that areas if you went there.
MaloBalo is offline  
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Jul 31st, 2013, 04:47 AM
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Are you fixed on mainland Portugal? Just asking because the Portuguese island of Madeira (locasted off the coast of North Africa) would tick many of your boxes.
Gordon_R is offline  
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Jul 31st, 2013, 08:28 AM
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I think as others have mentioned the southern coast of Portugal would fill much of your wish list. The Algarve as this area is known is about a two hour car ride down from Lisbon or busses and trains run down. If you can fly directly into the southern airport at Faro you can rent a car there. TAP airlines has a few flights a day from Lisbon. I feel that you would enjoy the area more with having a car. The whole southern coast is no more than a three hour drive east to west to give you some perspective.

For over 25 years we have owned a second home there and know the area very well as we spend 2-3 months a year there. Where we live sounds like just what you are looking for as far as walking, food beaches, beauty and it is located just east of Ferragudo that was mentioned above and is a out half way between the east and west border/coast. If you go to Faro or Tavira you are way over by the eastern border and the beaches while long and nice do not have the spectacular cliffs. Another "negative" is to drive out to the western part of the Algarve you will have a longer drive. i would base myself in the middle of the Algarve so you are conveniently positiosned if you decide to explore.

As to not violate any Fodor's rules feel free to email me if you are interested [email protected] dear friend rents very inexpensively a lovely one bedroom sea view apartment (near to me) It has all amenities, a huge garden with big pool, only 14 units and in Oct. very few others would be there. It is a kilometer outside a town you can walk to for very good restaurants, markets and many of gorgeous beaches. Be careful where you stay as many areas of the
Algarve have turned into big tourist cities with lots of ugly condos, bangers and bean restaurants, karaoke bars and do not have much Portuguese flavor about them. I would be happy to send you photos of the area, town it is outside of and also the apartment itself. There is also a lovely small inn nearby but it has no sea view and is a bit pricy.

Google Vila Vita Parc. This is a very expensive hotel complex right near the area of this friend's apartment. It will give you a glimpse of what the beachfront looks like right in that area. This friend and her brother run one of the best restaurants on town. It is small cozy and family run with delicious food. Hope you will enjoy Portugal as much as we love it, Also email me if I can answer any more questions or be of help.
lowcountrycarol is offline  
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