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First Timers to Portugal

Houston, United...
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First Timers to Portugal

Hi everyone, we're thinking of Portugal for a holiday this July but don't know much about the area, so any advice would be much appreciated.

Holidaying would be myself, my husband and our 8 year old son.

We usually go to Florida and stay in a villa but prices this year are sky high. We'd probably like an apartment complex with a nice pool as we like to have our own space.

Can anyone suggest resorts or apartments that we could look at? Many thanks.

Dublin, Ireland
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for Alvor
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1. Re: First Timers to Portugal

Have a look at Alvor. Lots of nice apartment complexes with nice pools, a great beach, loads of really nice restaurants and a lovely atmosphere.

Algarve, Portugal
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for Vilamoura, Algarve, Portugal
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2. Re: First Timers to Portugal

Here's some information for you about the Algarve:

http://www.visitalgarve.pt/visitalgarve/vEN/

I recommend Vilamoura, just 1/2 hour from Faro airport:

"Vilamoura is the largest luxury tourist complex in Europe, covering some 20 km² of land. It is is a purpose-built resort and marina which was started from scratch in 1974 and is still expanding outwards from the marine center. The resort is favorite for many Portuguese holiday makers but also other tourists keep coming back.

At the heart of Vilamoura is the marina which is surrounded by large hotels and luxury holiday homes as well as a large casino and numerous restaurants and vibrant bars. At the far corner of the marina, it is possible to charter boats for big game fishing. There are also facilities for jet skiing and parascending. Close by there are also a number of sports clubs, a shooting range and many night clubs. Tourism in Vilamoura is extensive and well-developed, with many different resorts with ratings from three to five stars. This is a substantially higher average than the surrounding areas, which have ratings varying from two to four. As a consequence of being mostly privately owned, the town is very opulently designed. For the avid historians there is a preserved Roman site and museum providing an insight to the area's past. Originally a Roman fishing town, the ruins include baths in which the mariners used to bathe."

The marina was awarded 'the best marina in Portugal' and Vilamoura is a certified 'green globe destination'

portugalvirtual.pt/_tourism/…vilamoura.html

http://www.vilamourauncovered.com/

and some weblinks for rentals:

www.ownersdirect.co.uk

www.homeaway.co.uk

www.holidaylettings.co.uk

Edited: 09 February 2013, 19:47
Sunderland
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3. Re: First Timers to Portugal

I would back Paulv66.

Alvor is ideal for young families. There's a fantastic beach which stretches for miles and a boardwalk which runs along the beach and the river estuary.

The resort has a very old-world feel with cobbled streets and lots of bars and really good restaurants occupying old buildings adapted for their new role, rather than purpose-built units. No straight lines in Alvor.

There are plenty of hotels and self-catering apartment blocks to choose from. FTHW has listed most of the main sites but I always stay in Vila da Praia which is five minutes walk from the beach and roughly the same distance from the resort centre. The aprtments are privately owned and are superbly equipped - real homes from home. It also has an excellent pool area with a separate kids pool.

It's two minutes walk from the Dunas do Alvor complex which has a square where there are a couple of bars and restaurants offering very cheap and good value drinks and food - Cactos II bar and the Chill Out bar spring to mind. Both offer a large beer for 1 euro - Cactos II during the day only (It goes up 2.5 euros after 7pm, I think), Chill Out, all the time. The bar snacks are excellent in both.

There are effectively a couple of streets in the resort centre in which all the restaurants and a few bars are located with a separate area, still fairly central, away from that where there a few Irish bars etc. All very family friendly

Carvoeiro is another place where we go frequently - we've stayed in the Monte Dourado complex and Colina Verde - always in privately-owned apartments. These are both only five minutes or so from bothe the beach and the resort centre. It is a similar resort to Alvor restaurant and bar-wise but is much more hilly. The main beach is also quite small but has a square in front of it where, in high season, local bands and other live entertainment perform every night.

Wherever you go you'll have a great time. We've been to Spain, the Balearics, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, the Canaries and so on but Portugal is by far the best place we've been to. The climate is great as it is hot during the day but tends to cool down at night, making mooching around town and sleeping etc much more comfortable.

Houston, United...
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4. Re: First Timers to Portugal

Thanks so much for the responses, will have a look at your suggestions.

london
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5. Re: First Timers to Portugal

another vote for Alvor !

Durham, United...
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6. Re: First Timers to Portugal

I would recommend Vilamoura, I have been going there for 11 years with my family and now with my wife as my children are grown up. You can be as active or inactive as you wish. Can be in the main centre or 5 mins outside where you can find some quiet apartments away from it all. Two good beaches, mini golf, water park, tennis, horse riding and water sports.

Will be going there again this year and stay in private apartments 5mins from main centre

Edited: 10 February 2013, 14:04
Knutsford
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7. Re: First Timers to Portugal

I would reccomend Alvor as others have said. We have a time share there and it is truly a lovely place. We take an 8 year old, 5 year old and 2 year old and they all love it! The beaches are wonderfully maintained tho the sea is cold ;)

There are loads of bars and restaurants where you can pick up a decent priced meal as well! The portugese are wonderful with the children and very polite!

I found villamoura to be more expensive but well worth a visit to see everything there its great for people watching!

We stay at Pestana Alvor park and Dom Jao beach club where you dont have to be timeshare.

The apartments are massive and they really cant do enough for you!

I hope you enjoy your hols

One tip if you do go to Alvor would be dont back heels ;) It is all cobbles and hills so not the best idea after a couple of wines. I live in my flats :)

Sagres
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8. Re: First Timers to Portugal

homelidays.com/FR-Locations-Vacances/pt_alga…

Dublin, Ireland
Destination Expert
for Alvor
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9. Re: First Timers to Portugal

Apart from the usual owners' websites, you will find a lot of Alvor based accommodation here www.alvorowners.com

Sagres, Portugal
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10. Re: First Timers to Portugal

Sagres is a good option if you are looking for some relaxing point with few tourist and nice beaches. It is on the peak of the Peninsula and there are some brilliant sites, as there are nice clifts at some beaches and it is surronded by the Alentejo Natural Park.

Another great assets are their marvelous sea food and a wide variety of hotels, if you are looking for apartments your best bet is Sagres Time which has a really good comments on TA, although there are others like Pontalaia and many houses for rent, if you head for the latest option make sure you check on the looks of the place as they are usualy quite old.