Off topic: Travelling in Portugal
Thread poster: Jerzy Czopik

Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:23
Member (2003)
Polish to German
+ ...
Apr 26, 2009

Hello

As I do not speak a word of Portugese, please forgive me for posting here in English.
I'm looking for some advices for travelling in Portugal.
This year we will spend our holiday in Albufeira. However, during the time we will be there I have to go for an important assignment to Vienna. My flight leaves Lisboa on Thursday (May 28) at 1:30 am and I'll return on the following Saturday at 0:55 am. Is there any other possibility to go from Albufeira (or Faro) to Lisboa then using a car? And if I take the car, is there any park & ride possibility in Lisboa, where I could leave the car for those two days instead of parking at the airport) Airport parking is of course a good option, but it costs 37,50 EUR...

And another question about the price level in Albufeira and neighbourhood. How much have we to pay for a cup of coffee or for some ice? Is there something we should know/avoid when shopping and eating there?

Thank you very much for any advices - please in English, as otherwise I will need to hire a translator

Best regards
Jerzy


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 03:23
Dutch to English
+ ...
My advice ... Apr 26, 2009

Firstly, avoid Albufeira like the plague. Honestly Jerzy, it's a nightmare, especially in summer, and unless your idea of fun is spending time on an overcrowded beach surrounding by flabby, lobster-red, loud-mouthed tourists who mostly seem to spend their time swilling back too much beer and acting like the characters in the tabloids they spend the day reading, you won't enjoy it. It's noisy -- very noisy -- and best suited to teenagers on group holidays. May/June might not be too bad, but I've never been able to spend more than an hour in the place, any time of the year. Maybe it's just not my cup of tea, but I thought I'd give you my impressions of the place from living here, knowing there are far nicer (and cheaper) places to visit in Algarve.

Furthermore, with a few exceptions, the restaurants in Albufeira are hopelessly overpriced and you won't experience the 'real Portugal' that can found elsewhere. To give you an example of prices, a coffee in my small town (São Brás de Alportel, which is just over 20km inland from Faro) is still 50c in most places, but go to Albufeira and you'll be asked at least EUR 1.50, if not more.

As far as travelling to Lisbon is concerned, you can get an excellent high-speed train from Faro to Lisbon that takes three hours and costs about EUR 26 one-way (first class). There is a slower one that is a little cheaper and takes about four hours. From Oriente station in Lisbon to the airport a taxi should cost no more than EUR 10 (should be less as it's only about 2-3 km to the airport, but considering you'll have luggage, budget around EUR 10).

If you travel by car, you can add total (one-way) toll fees of just under EUR 20 to your fuel bill. Finding the airport is not easy if you're not used to the roads and, unless you're used to it, driving in Lisbon can be a bit hair-raising. I'd strongly suggest the train as you'll end up getting there quicker and won't have the parking fees. You will have to book your train in advance during summer though -- this can be done online through http://www.cp.pt. As mentioned above, you need to get off at Oriente Station.

Hope this helps
Debs

PS: Looking specifically at your flight times, you'll have a wait if you are using the train service, but the timetable is available on http://www.cp.pt. anyhow (once you've put in your departure and destination stations). There are buses -- which I've never used and which stop a bit further away from the airport -- but you can check those timetables on http://www.eva-bus.com/home (there is an English version).

I'm pretty sure you can fly directly from Faro to Vienna in summer -- I think I've seen flights on the departure board when I've been at Faro Airport, but unfortunately I've never noted the exact details.

[Edited at 2009-04-26 16:42 GMT]


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CristinaPereira  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:23
Member (2005)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Train Apr 26, 2009

As Debs said, I would also suggest you the train. I already tried buses (many years ago) and it's not so comfortable, as you can't get up and go to the bar, for instance. The "AP" category in the www.cp.pt website are best and faster (also a bit more expensive).

Also, will you be here in August? I can't think of a single place in the Algarve which isn't crowded by that time

I usually stay a week there, but secluded in a nice villa with swimming pool when no one bothers us. But of course you''ll want to to do your sightseeing. And if you already booked your holidays, well, enjoy it! I hope it won't be such a nightmare. But be prepared to stand in the line in the bakery, the ATM, etc.

Best,

Cristina


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Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:23
Member (2003)
Polish to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you very much Apr 26, 2009

Should I have asked before...
We are not directly in Albufeira, but in Alfamar Beach Resort Hotel.
I hoped, that that early in the year, before the real season we will not have that much crowds there.
What we are looking for is sun and beach. We will have a car, so going elswhere then Albufeira will not be a problem.
As for the travel - going to Lisboa is not a problem at all, I have a good train or bus connection. Coming back is a bit a different story, as the services start at 7:00 am - so I would have to wait 6 hours at the airport. This is ridiculous and for that reason I will most probably stick to car. As I will have plenty of time, maybe there is something like the German Park & Ride system - parking spaces in the city suburbs for free, locaed beside a train or tramway station?

Going from Faro to Vienna was not an option, as I could not find any direct flights or feasible fares.

BTW, the dates of our holiday are May 23rd til June 6th, so I still hope not to meet that many crowds.

Thanks again
BR
Jerzy


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 03:23
Dutch to English
+ ...
That's different ... Apr 26, 2009

Jerzy Czopik wrote:

Should I have asked before...
We are not directly in Albufeira, but in Alfamar Beach Resort Hotel.


That's about 100m from Falésia Beach (which is very nice) and I've just spoken to my husband who knows the hotel well (through his work) and he says it's a good choice. You can easily avoid Albufeira altogether, if you wish (as it's still about 6km away), and if you have a car, there are plenty of other great places to go. If you have time, plan a trip to the west coast (Sagres, Aljezur, etc). Those are the best beaches (although a bit rough for swimming) and far less crowded. Also, there's a lot of German spoken on that side of the coast. Plan an hour by car each way for those trips, but well worth the drive. If you enjoy fish, there are excellent restaurants in Sagres overlooking the sea. I paid just under EUR 100 for five adults on Easter Sunday, including drinks and a tip, which isn't bad.

It shouldn't be crowded over your dates Jerzy as it's not school holidays. The weather over that period is usually fine -- not too hot like July/August, but sunny and certainly warm enough to be on the beach. It doesn't normally rain then. My husband is off over the same time and still reckons he'll get his fishing in at his favourite haunts without too much disruption

Agree with you about the train times coming back. Unfortunately I don't know of any park-and-ride systems. Hopefully our Lisbon-based colleagues can help you out.

If you need anymore info about Algarve though, feel free to email me.

Enjoy
Debs



[Edited at 2009-04-26 18:33 GMT]


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Teresa Bento  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 03:23
Member
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Definitely true Apr 27, 2009

Lawyer-Linguist wrote:

Firstly, avoid Albufeira like the plague. Honestly Jerzy, it's a nightmare, especially in summer, and unless your idea of fun is spending time on an overcrowded beach surrounding by flabby, lobster-red, loud-mouthed tourists who mostly seem to spend their time swilling back too much beer and acting like the characters in the tabloids they spend the day reading, you won't enjoy it. It's noisy -- very noisy -- and best suited to teenagers on group holidays. May/June might not be too bad, but I've never been able to spend more than an hour in the place, any time of the year. Maybe it's just not my cup of tea, but I thought I'd give you my impressions of the place from living here, knowing there are far nicer (and cheaper) places to visit in Algarve.



This is SO true! Albufeira in August can be hell.
I'd suggest a trip to Sagres. It can be pretty windy, but it has amazing beaches such as Martinhal, Beliche and Mareta. (I've lived there as a child, does it show I miss it?).

Even at this time of year, if you're in the Algarve on a Friday or a Saturday and you want to have a good night sleep, please don't do what I did, which was staying at a hotel with several bars and a disco on the ground floor. Avoid those like the plage as well. I was on the 6th floor and kept on hearing drunken people screaming all night.

Best of luck, Jerzy!


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Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:23
Member (2003)
Polish to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for your useful informations Apr 27, 2009

Well, booking is made already, so no changes are possible anymore.
But I still hope Alfamar Beach will not be that bad in the end of May. We will have a bungalow for us, instead of a room, what should help us avoiding to much noise.

Thanks again
Best regards
Jerzy


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