Super special offers for Summer 2018 on villa rentals in Portugal and France

Super special offers for Summer 2018 on villa rentals in Portugal and France
sao nem 1
Escape to the summer sun and enjoy a holiday at a luxury holiday villa to create memories you’ll cherish.
Scrumptious food, delicious wines, beautiful beaches and wonderful countryside, summer in Portugal and France are about lazy days, relaxing in the sun and taking a real break.
Enjoy these super special offers for Summer 2018…
Portugal
Wow factor overload at Sao Nemesio, Praia d’Oura, near Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal (top photo). A spectacular seafront villa with amazing sea views, private access to the beach, golf courses on the doorstep, a big pool in the gorgeous gardens complete with waterfall – it’s the stuff of dream holidays. Sleeping 12 in indulgent luxury. And, now for the temptation – 10% discount off all remaining dates in July, August and September. Book now to avoid disappointment!
_FOT2132
Villa Orquida, Quinta do Lago, Algarve, Portugal, is a beautiful big house. It sleeps 12, with fantastic pool and outdoor areas and is right next to the golf course in a tranquil corner. Walking distance to restaurants and shops, this villa has oodles of charm. Book for the remaining weeks in July and we’ll give you 10% off!
altantico sul 1
The fabulous 10 Atlantico Sul, Quinta do Lago, Algarve, Portugal sleeps 8 in sheer luxury. Wake up to gorgeous sea views, take a dip in the pool enjoy al fresco dining and indulge in the best of the area from beaches to golf courses. We’ve got a 10% discount on bookings between 28th July 2018 and 30th August 2018 – get in touch with us to find out more…
valla 1
Va va voom to the Villa Vallabonzo, near Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal – the ultimate holiday home. Sleeping 10 it has a gym, sauna, hammam and jacuzzi, brilliant clifftop location with a few steps down to the beach, shops, restaurants and bars in easy walking distance. Listening to the soft waves from the terrace with a glass of something chilled – perfection. We’re offering 10% discount off all remaining dates in July, August and September… you’re welcome!
10% discount off all remaining dates in July, August and September! Hurry, book now!!
France
cinq 1
The stunning Cinq Saisons villa, Tourrettes sur Loup, Provence, South of France sleeps ten and has a huge swimming pool and child-friendly garden. It’s close to St Paul de Vence and Vence, has a lovely big pool, beach is just 25 minutes away, and is close to the medieval village of Tourettes with its narrow, cobbled streets and craft shops. We’re offering £400 a week off throughout July and August – Bons Vacances!
Please contact us to take advantage of these great offers, at: info@palmerparker.com or by phone at: +44 (0)20 3735 5818
Palmer and Parker – for people who love luxury

Villas for people who love luxury…

luxury villas in portugal

Portugal: Casa do Diana Praia da Luz, Algarve

Did you know we’ve got 46 years’ experience of bringing you the most beautiful villas in Portugal, France, Spain, Mallorca and Ibiza? We’re very proud of being a small, passionate team that specialises in only presenting you with the most luxurious and exquisite holiday rentals and a very high level of service.

Your holiday starts when you book with us, from the moment you tell us which of our stunning holidays homes you want to indulge in, we’ll make sure that everything runs smoothly so that your holiday is luxurious from start to finish.

Maid service, pools, gorgeous gardens, the most iconic locations and villas that you just don’t see for rent anywhere else – that’s what we’re about. And, if you’re looking to be spoiled rotten on holiday, we’re going to make sure that’s what you get.

Wow-factor hand-picked villas in Europe

We check out all our villas personally. We visit every one of them, check out every room and garden (and yes, we really really love our jobs here at Palmer & Parker) to make sure that what we offer you are the very best villas in Europe.

Luxury holiday villas in Portugal

Pic 2 Casa dos Zefiros

Casa dos Zefiros, Ria Formosa National Park, Algarve

In Portugal we’re truly proud to say – we have the very best villas including at the sought-after Quinta do Lago resort, famous for its championship quality golf courses. We also cover Lagos in the western Algarve and Albufeira, central Algarve.

The best holiday rentals in France

pic 3 Les Palmiers

Les Palmiers, South of France

Whether it’s a chateau in the Loire Valley, a Provencal beauty or a beach house on the sunny Cote d’Azur, our France based villas are all absolutely spectacular.

Spectacular holiday homes in Spain

Pic 4 Finca Las Limas

Finca Las Limas, Marbella, Spain

Spain offers a magnificent stretch of coastline and sierra from Malaga to Gibraltar – as far south and as sunny as you can get in Europe. The eastern end of Spain’s southern coast may have the skyline of Manhattan, but head further west to Marbella and you’ll find many luxurious Costa del Sol villas with excellent golf courses and more nightlife and restaurants than any family can wish for. If you want wow factor – you’ll find it with our fabulous selection of holiday homes.

Millionaire lifestyle in Ibiza

Pic 5 Ibiza

Ibiza: Villa San Augustin, Ibiza

Ibiza is the most westerly of the Ballearic islands, smaller than its neighbour Mallorca where we also have spectacular holiday rentals. To most people Ibiza means fun, a vibrant night life, wall to wall sunshine, spectacular beaches and sports activities galore. Our very beautiful villas transport you to the heart of the jet set lifestyle making your holiday so much more than a break.

We’re always happy to help you with advice on which of our villas is best for you, just give us a ring, send us an email or contact us on Facebook

We want your holiday to be the best you’ve ever had.

Live the dream in the Algarve

Intro picture
Ditch the unpredictable weather and head to the Algarve for sunshine, blue skies and the warm Mediterranean Sea.
With flights from 30 airports in the UK and Ireland it’s so easy to just pack your bags and head for the sun and the holiday of a lifetime.
What makes the Algarve so special?
With 150 miles of coastline, the Algarve has some of the finest beaches in the world and has been voted Europe’s Leading Beach Destination at the World Travel Awards for five of the last six years. Wonderful beaches make the area a beach lovers paradise – the custard-cream golden sands of Praia Do Carveiro were voted best beach in Europe 2018 by European Best Destinations (out of 129 countries).
The Algarve is a golfing hotspot with 43 excellent courses to keep every sort of golfer happy. Quinta do Lago is the ultimate in luxury resorts with world class golf courses and water sports and gorgeous beaches on the doorstep. You’ll discover fabulous restaurants and irresistible shops, picturesque villages and chic towns close by – it’s as busy and hedonistic or as relaxing and tranquil as you want it to be.
The cherry on the cake is to stay in one of the many stunning villa rentals available in the Algarve. There’s absolutely nothing ordinary about our holiday homes, staying in one means you truly live the dream.
Live the Millionaire lifestyle
Pic 1 Quinta Mansao
Everyone has a dream holiday home in mind, but here are just a few exquisite villas from our great selection in the Algarve. And, of course they all have maid service, so you can just put your feet up and enjoy every minute of your well-deserved break in the sun.
Quinta Mansao, Quinta do Lago
Perfect for families, friends and groups, this villa sleeps 14 easily and is a grand new build with a state of the art cinema room, fabulous entertaining areas, large pool and beautiful gardens. The only reason to leave is to go to the beach nearby, to play golf, dine out in one of the excellent restaurants close by, shop in the wonderful shops and, well, enjoy yourself!
Details: Quinta Mansao, Quinta do Lago
Driftwood, Quinta do Lago
Pic 2 Driftwood
This magnificent villa sleeps 8 in total luxury with a superb gym, sauna, large heated pool, cinema room and stunning terrace and gardens. Overlooking the first fairway of San Lorenzo Golf Course in Park Atlantico, 10 minutes walk from the beach – va va voom to this delicious dream holiday in the sun.
Detail: Driftwood, Quinta do Lago
Casa Do Diana, Praia da Luz
Pic 3 Casa do Diana
Two pools, dazzling views over the ocean, beautifully decorated, gym, spa, home cinema, games room and gardens to sigh over – this is one you’ll fall head over heels for. Sleeping 12, this sumptuous villa in a fantastic location is outstanding.
Details: Casa Do Diana, Praia da Luz
Casa do lagos, Almancil, Quinta do Lago
Pic 4 Casa do Lagos
Take a dip in the pool, enjoy candle lit aperitifs on the terrace, watch the turtles swim in the lake and simply unwind in beautiful surroundings. Sleeping 8 this villa is just 10km from the beach and is perfect for friends and for families.
Details: Casa do lagos, Almancil, Quinta do Lago
Villa 22, Vilamoura
Pic 5 Villa 22
Wow, and we really mean wow – this villa is seriously special. Brand spanking new, sleeping 10, it’s set in a luxurious new private gated development at L’Orangerie on the world-famous Victoria Golf Course. With a designer interior, infinity pool and fabulous outdoor entertaining areas – now imagine waking up to that every morning!
Details: Villa 22, Vilamoura

 

Monte Atlantico, Quinta do Lago
Pic 6 Monte Atlantico
Perfect for families, friends and groups, with sea views, close to the beach and to the Ria Formosa and Hole 6 of Sao Lorenzo Golf Course. Sleeping 12 with absolutely spectacular views that make this a standout home from home, watching the sunset over the sea and the golf course from the terrace is what memories are made of.

Details: Monte Atlantico, Quinta do Lago

 

Encosta do Lago, Quinta do Lago

Pic 7 Encosta do Lago

If you like elegant luxury, then this villa which sleeps 12 is for you. With an indoor and outdoor pool, located off Avenida Ayrton Senna. It’s lavishly and stylishly decorated, with a gym, games room, great pool and a garden made for relaxing – it’s your own little corner of heaven.

Details: Encosta do Lago, Quinta do Lago

 

Borboleta, Quinta do Lago

Pic 8 Borboleta

In the heart of the sought-after Parque Atlantico, sleeping 10, Villa Borboleta is just 5 minutes from 72 holes of championship golf, great restaurants, tennis centre and the beach. The cool pool is tempting, as is the built-in barbecue, fabulous outdoor dining areas and just about everything in this house!

Details: Villa Borboleta, Quinta do Lago

 

Head over to our search pages for more superb villas in the Algarve…

 

Spectacular Summer Living in St Tropez

Link

Spectacular Summer Living in St Tropez

st tropez
St Tropez is a place of jet setter elegance but with a quaint old town in which wiggly streets lined with traditional cafés sit happily side by side with upmarket fashion boutiques. The blend of superyachts and supercars alongside traditional French culture is magnificent and mesmerising. Creative director of Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld calls Saint Tropez “Paradise”, and with good reason.
Saint Tropez embodies the glitz, glamour and romance of the French Riviera, and when you’re on holiday here, you should expect nothing less than a truly fabulous villa in the sun.
Jaw-droppingly beautiful holiday homes in Saint Tropez
At Palmer & Parker, we have the very best holiday homes in St Tropez – gorgeous villas with azure blue swimming pools, overlooking the glittering Mediterranean. There’s nothing remotely ordinary about these St Tropez rentals, they’re a big part of your luxury holiday experience and dazzlingly memorable.
Peace and tranquillity in the hills of Saint Tropez
P&P Valgiga
The stunning Villa Valgiga is an idyllic home from home with outstanding sea views. Sleeping up to six, it has a super infinity pool and oodles of charm. Situated just outside the village of Gigaro, you can walk to the shops, bakery, restaurants and pizzeria and the beach is only about 10 minutes’ walk. Adjacent to the National Park which has walking and hiking trails with magnificent views that can take you all the way to the Pampelonne, home to some of the one of the most beautiful beaches in France. The excitements of St Tropez and the many other lovely villages of the peninsula are within easy driving distance.
Details of Villa Valgiga
Close to the centre of Saint Tropez
58958
Set in a quiet residential area of St Tropez, about 15 minutes’ walk to the centre of the village, L’Emeraude is an exceptionally elegant property with panoramic views stretching as far as the Gulf of St Tropez. It sleeps 10 and the fabulous interior has a cool feel throughout. Enjoy the view of the lush garden from your splendid terrace, or while dining al fresco under the vine-covered pergola, the Mediterranean Sea sparkling in the distance. Scented lavender and rosemary bushes line the pathway leading to the salt-water pool, sheltered by tall palm trees, ancient olive trees and colourful flowers.
58967
From this quiet oasis it’s about a 15-minute walk to St Tropez’s lively town centre. In the famous Place des Lices you will experience a genuine village atmosphere with a twice-weekly market attracting visitors from all over the region. Enjoy a meal in one of the many seafront restaurants and stroll along the shimmering marina, where glitzy yachts are moored. St Tropez nightlife is close at hand and so are the legendary beach clubs of Pampelonne and sandy beaches offering all sorts of water sports facilities.
Details of Villa L’Emeraude
Close to the beach in Saint Tropez
P&P Tropezianne
Location, location, location! La Tropezienne is situated in a secure, private residential domaine close to the centre of St Tropez and just 700m from sandy Bouillabaisse beach. Sleeping 8, with a heated pool, air conditioning, a pretty garden surrounded by mature trees and shrubs, an excellent outdoor dining terrace it’s in the idea position for those who love to go to the beach, be in the centre of town and still have privacy and tranquillity.
Details of Villa La Tropezienne
Click here to see all of our exquisite Saint Tropez holiday homes

Dive In! Cool Pools in Portugal

Dive In! Cool Pools in Portugal

 

PP Blog pic 1 casa dos zefiros-1
Summer in the Algarve – sunshine beating down, balmy evenings, historic villages, wonderful beaches, fabulous fresh produce and sea food and of course – a dip in your own swimming pool. That’s what holidays in this lovely area of Portugal are all about.

 
Cool pools you’ll love
Whether it’s to cool off, to relax, to play with the kids or to start the day with a splash of healthy exercise, a pool is a must when you take a holiday in sunny Algarve. We specialise in the most luxurious villas in the area and all of our villas have pools but some of them are simply so special we can’t resist sharing them with you.

 
Casa Dos Zefiros, Fuseta, Ria Formosa National Park, Algarve, Luz, Portugal
PP Blog pic 2 casa dos zefiros
One of the finest villas in the Eastern Algarve, sleeping 14 and set in its own grounds within the Ria Formosa Nature Reserve overlooked by an ancient Moorish watchtower. The beach is about 15 minutes’ walk and restaurants are also within easy walking distance. Boat trips, kayaking, kitesurfing, horseriding, fishing and golf are just some of the activities nearby. The games room has a full-size pool table and table tennis.
The pool: Wow factor overload – 14m x 7m large heated pool which has an electric cover and an elegant toughened glass barrier around it as a safety precaution to prevent direct access from the terrace, great for families.
Details: Casa Dos Zefiros, Fuseta, Ria Formosa National Park, Algarve, Luz, Portugal

 
Atlantic View, Vale do Lobo, Algarve, Portugal
Portugal - Vale do Lobo - 017Foto: Joep van der Pal
Quite possibly the best location in Vale do Lobo. Uninterrupted views of the Atlantic, a short stroll away from the beach at Vale do Lobo and Praca, this excellent villa is a perfect setting for your beach holiday. With 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, maid services, beaches a 5-minute walk away as are the shops, this is a stunning holiday home.
The pool: Infinity pool heaven, facing the sea…
Details: Atlantic View, Vale do Lobo, Algarve, Portugal

 

 

Lakeside, Quinta do Lago, Algarve, Portugal
PP Blog pic 4 Lakeside
This is a superb modern villa with every convenience in a fantastic location, private and secluded despite being close to the Lake with its excellent water sports, and only a couple of minutes’ drive from many restaurants, 4 golf courses, the tennis centre and the beach. It is air conditioned throughout and has 4 bedrooms; 2 King size doubles and 2 twins, each with an ensuite bathroom or shower-room.
The pool: The infinity pool overlooks gorgeous gardens and with views over the 16th hole at Quinta South Golf course – perfect for golfers!
Details: Lakeside, Quinta do Lago, Algarve, Portugal

 
Sao Nemesio, Praia dOura, Sta Eulalia, near Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal
PP Blog pic 5 Sao Nemesio
Enjoying a wonderful and unique location directly above the beach of Dos Bicos with private access to the beach from the garden, this is a very beautiful and superbly furnished and equipped villa. Restaurants, nightlife and shopping are all within easy walking distance. Being above the beach, the views of the sea and along the coast are superb but the location is quiet and privacy is excellent. A path and steps lead directly onto the beach from a lovely garden with waterfall, pool and excellent barbecue terrace. Furnishings and layout let you make the most of relaxed indoor and outdoor living.
The pool: 11m x 5 m with an infinity edge, the views are to die for…
Details: Sao Nemesio, Praia dOura, Algarve, Portugal

 
Linucia, Praia da Gale, Algarve, Portugal
PP Blog pic 6 Linucia
Linucia is a unique villa with charm and history, beautifully restored and well-kept, just 4 kms from Albufeira on the sea beside the famous 5-mile beach of Praia da Gale. Paths run through the garden to different parts of the beach and you can see (and hear) the sea from most parts of the property. It is set in extensive grounds with hard surface tennis court and boules court. It also has a staff of three: the cook and her husband (who does the main shopping and gardening) live in a separate cottage, speak perfect English, and are discreet but helpful, and the maid comes to do rooms and laundry.
The pool: 12m x 6m, heated and enclosed on three sides it’s just about perfect for sunbathing and taking a dip in dreamy surroundings.
Details: Linucia, Praia da Gale, Algarve, Portugal

 
Now, we have to be honest, it was really hard to choose just 5 pools to show you because there are so many more exquisite villas on our books and all of them have irresistible pools. Pop on over to our list of villas in Portugal and take a look, you’re sure to find the villa, and pool, of your dreams.

Summer events in the Algarve

sand sculpture blog 2

What’s on Summer in the Algarve 2018
We take a look at just a few of the many great events in the Algarve this summer: from heritage festivals to foodie fetes and sporty celebrations.
Silves’ Medieval Fair
Every year, the city of Silves hosts a Medieval fair in the historic centre. With travelling musicians, jugglers and colourful market stalls that fill the streets this entertaining fair evokes the spirit of everyday life in the Middle Ages. 10-19 August 2018
The MED Festival
The eclectic MED Festival is one of the most exciting events in the region and is held in the historic centre of Loulé. ‘World Music’ concerts, a variety of handicraft stalls, dance and theatre performances, as well as a selection of multicultural gastronomy can all be enjoyed at this vibrant event. 28-30 June 2018
FIESA – International Sand Sculpture Festival
Between March and October, the town of Pêra holds an unexpected surprise — the world’s largest sand sculpture festival (FIESA). Sand artists come from all over the world and mould between them some 45,000 tons of sand. This year’s theme is “places and faces from the arts and entertainment” – film, theatre, TV and more. From March to November.
FATACIL – Handicraft, Tourism, Agriculture, Trade and Industry Fair
Held in Lagoa this entertaining fair is one of the most popular and largest summer events to take place in the Algarve. Live performances by famous Portuguese and international acts, countless stalls displaying traditional crafts and pottery, as well as a rich variety of typical gastronomy are all on offer at this regional fair. 17- 26 August 2018
The Loulé ‘White Night’
On the last Saturday of August, Loulé hosts a goodbye to summer party with a Noite Branca or White Night party. Everyone must wear night for this vibrant, fun event. Listen to chill-out music as you wander through the bustling streets of the city’s historic centre, street entertainment, music and dancing make this a unique night out.
The Shellfish Festival
This festival is held in the Jardim do Pescador Olhanense area in the town of Olhão. One of the most important gastronomic events in the Algarve calendar, the Festival do Marisco, is an opportunity for local fishermen to proudly display their catch on one of the hundreds of stalls that line the fishing port. Clams, succulent oysters, shrimp, crayfish, lobster and crab will give you a delicious taste of the Algarve. Entertainment and regional sweets can also be enjoyed at this fun festival. 9-14 August 2018
The Sardine Festival
This festival offers the chance to enjoy some tasty grilled sardines from the surrounding waters of Portimão. Every year when the festival ends, colourful fireworks illuminate the sky to celebrate the success of this popular event. Second week of August.
Portugal Masters Golf Tournament
Vilamoura welcomes prestigious golf players every year to participate in this fabulous event – one of the leading golf events in Portugal. Taking place at the resort’s stunning Victoria Golf Club, this is an exceptional event that will thrill enthusiastic golf devotees. 20 -23 September 2018
Details of all events at: www.visitportugal.com/en
Pop over to our search pages for gorgeous holiday homes in the Algarve – there’s nothing ordinary about these rental homes, they’re as special as you deserve…

http://www.palmerparker.com/list/villas-in-Portugal.htm

Best things to do in the Algarve

Palmer & Parker Pic 1 beach

The Algarve is in the south of Portugal. It’s a place of beautiful beaches and cultural cities. Sunshine, golden sands, al fresco dining, lively nightlife, friendly atmosphere and plenty to do make this a top holiday destination. And, when you add to the mix that here at Palmer & Parker we’ve got the best villas for rent in the Algarve – you know its going to be a dream holiday.
Here are five things to do in Algarve in 2018 – guaranteed to inspire…
Beaches
Golden sands as far as the eye can see, the waves of the Atlantic Ocean lapping onto the beach, dramatic cliffs and gorgeous sunsets. The beaches of the Algarve are amongst the most beautiful in the world. None more so that Praia da Marinha. This is real postcard material, an enchanting sight. The eroded limestone forms outcrops, arches and caves and the snorkelling is superb as the sea is particularly clear. Relax on the white sand or enjoy a scenic boat tour of the sea caves along the coast.
Cruises and water tours
Spend half a day or a full day touring the sun-soaked waters off the coast. Take your swimming gear with you and enjoy a dip en route. Depending on which tour you take, you could visit secluded beaches, sample the local brandy, discover the magical caves, relax and simply enjoy the ride. If you’re feeling more energetic then a jet boat tour might be your thing. There are plenty of speed boat tours on offer either privately rented or with a group. Whatever floats your boat!
Historic towns

Palmer & Parker Pic 2 Lagos

There are lots of picturesque old towns where you’ll enjoy a wander along cobbled streets and sitting in shaded squares watching the world go by. A couple not to miss are the old town of Faro, a walled city where orange trees grow and Lagos with its charming shops and churches. Have your camera ready to capture the sights in these lovely historic towns.
Landmark sites
One of our favourite landmarks in the Algarve is the Cabo de São Vicente (the Cape of Saint Vincent) – the most south-westerly extremity in Europe. Until the end of the 14th century, this 60m high jagged cliff was thought to be the end of the known world and even today its an impressive sight with its lighthouse whose light is so bright it can be seen from 60 miles away. It’s around 40km from the town of Lagos and well worth the trip for the stunning views.
Dolphin watching

Palmer & Parker Pic 3 Dophins

Who doesn’t love to watch dolphins frolic in the waves. No one that’s who! We all love to see these joyful and intelligent creatures playing and checking you out. There are several companies operating in the Algarve including www.algarve-dolphins.com. They are the only company working in Algarve waters supporting the research and protection of dolphins and other marine life. Highly qualified marine biologists study the dolphins in their natural habitat and act as guides.

Spanish regional fiestas: celebrate baby jumping, the throwing of goats and tomatoes

One of the things that makes Spain such a fascinating place to visit is a very strong sense of local culture and traditions which go back centuries and vary widely from one village to the next.   When planning a trip try to plan some of these in to your itinerary.  Wherever you go you will find something going on not too far away, and usually the best way to find out is to ask somebody on the ground as things can change from one year to the next.  Every village and every town will have its own things going on, but here are some ideas, including the famous and the downright unusual, to get started.


La Tomatina, Valencia: a riot of colour and fun, don’t bring your good clothes. Valencia may be famous for its oranges, but the nearby town of Bunol is just as famous for its tomatoes – or rather what people there do with them. On the last Wednesday of every August, the charming town gets very messy when after a week of processions and lower-key celebrations, trucks full of tomatoes arive from all over Spain and up to 20,000 revellers proceed to make a complete mess, throwing squashed tomatoes at anything that moves.
Follow Palmer&Parker Holidays’s board La Tomatina, Valencia on Pinterest.


Baby jumping: held each year in Burgos.  Dating back to 1620, this festival is truly hair-raising: babies born in the preceeding 12 months are lined up on mattresses in the main street and grown men dressed as the devil run and leap over them.  This is supposed to cleanse them of evil.  The babies are then showered with rose petals.


New Year’s Eve in the summer, Berchules, Sierra Nevada: the New Year’s Eve of 1994 was a famous washout with a powercut that destroyed festivities, so the people of Berchules in the Sierra Nevada mountains took matters into their own hands and now celebrate the new year not once but twice per year.  The first time is at year’s end and the second time is on the first Saturday in August.  The village once again decks itself out for Christmas with nativity scenes, Christmas trees and carols broadcast from public address systems. Celebrations take place through the day leading up to the chiming of midnight.


Goat throwing!  On the third Sunday of each January, the little town of Manganeses de la Polvorosa celebrates the life of a long-forgotten saint by throwing a goat from the top of the church.  It is hard on the goat but usually they catch it.


Easter processions on Good Friday, pretty much anywhere on the mainland and islands.  In a tradition that goes back to the middle ages, the Semana Santa processions are staged by religious brotherhoods who dress in penitential robes and distinctive tall, pointed hoods.  Each town, village and area adds its own distinctive touch to the celebrations.


Closer to the Costa del Sol, the Gaucin Bullrun About half an hour inland from the coast, the village of Gaucin kicks off the year’s celebrations with its own version of the famous bullrun: the roads are closed off and a bull is chased through the streets by people who didn’t sleep much the night before. very dangerous but maybe worth a look if interested!


Algarve Motorway Tolls Explained

If you haven’t been to the Algarve before (or even just for a few years) then the new toll system on the A22 motorway might be something of a surprise.  It is actually not new (it has been in operation in Portugal since 1991) but it is new to the Algarve, and it is actually very good: in brief, here is how it works.

You may be more used to road tolls in countries like France where you queue up at a window, fumble for change, pay your money and drive on.  The difference is that in Portugal, no people or cash are involved: instead the car is recorded electronically as it passes the toll points and 48 hours later you can go to a post office to pay the toll.

It is a good system (you don’t have to slow down and there are no queues at the toll points) but going to the post office 2 days later is a bit of a pain, especially if there is a queue there, and it is easy to forget (in which case you get fined).  The biggest problem will  be when you are driving back to the airport: if you are flying out of Portugal, how will you get to the post office the next day?

When you pick up a hire car, most companies will offer you an electronic box at a nominal charge of typically about 2€ per day.  The gadget is usually already installed and beeps as you pass the toll point.  The money is taken from your card, usually at just the public tariff, and you don’t need to do anything else.  Many people say ‘no thanks’ to all the extras at the car hire desks: by all means say ‘no’ to everything else but not the road toll box!

FARO220111214-e1323873129934