kidding - most Algarve accommodation
How to choose your accommodation in Algarve can seem a thorny problem. But the good news is - that's only because the region offers such fantastic choice and value for the
Algarve holiday rental choice is pretty varied, with a vast range of categories and price ranges. At first, I found it confusing, but once I got the hang, it was
Of course, in region so narrow as the Algarve, nowhere is far from the coast. But the majority of visitors and vacationers are concentrated in the area south of the
that runs east to west through the region.
The nearer to the coast your Algarve accommodation is situated, the more you should expect to pay (surprise, surprise!).
As noted elsewhere on this website, I've enjoyed every one of my different Algarve
vacations, whatever type of accommodation we chose. But my absolute favourite has to be our second
2003 vacation, when we took a wonderful week's Algarve villa holiday. (How I wished we could have afforded the time to stay for a fortnight).
I'm afraid that, once you've rented a holiday villa in Algarve, it
probably spoils you for everything
else (as noted by an Algarve Beach
Life reader on this visitor
But that's not to suggest that there are not many beautiful Algarve apartments from which you could choose. And of course, if you're looking for a holiday from cooking
and clearing up, then a vacation spent in one of the many fine Algarve hotels could be just what you're after.
I've listed what's available from most expensive down to most basic, for ease of reference.
If you want the top rating, look for 'de luxe' or 5-star (no surprises there).
The top Algarve hotels
offer terrific service and standards, but
iare inevitably expensive. Just be quite sure you deserve this much
Needless to say, there are some stunning examples of Algarve villas. As ever, you get what you pay for, but a large party or family could still find this a cheaper option than a
luxury resort or hotel. Since we enjoyed our Algarve villa holiday so enormously, I wouldn't mind spending my time there just
looking around them.
And if you're gearing up for a
vacation, why not see whether some time
spent in a luxury Algarve
villa rental might not
recharge your batteries?
These are a variation on the normal hotel form of Algarve accommodation. They are state-subsidized establishments in restored old buildings or purpose-built premises. Locations are
usually of high standard, with spectacular scenery. Service can (allegedly) be hit-and-miss in some (but
probably better than if the British state were running them).
You can read here about the three (soon to be four) Algarve pousadas.
A popular and clever take on the classic Algarve villa holiday. These establishments usually offer shared facilities such as pools or gyms. Younger families should check that a
resort offers approved baby-sitting services. Good fun if you don't mind crowds and late-night carousing, otherwise can be wearying.
There are many of these establishments
in the Algarve, and they can be just
the thing if you're after maximum
relaxation, without the planning
necessary to enjoy self-catering. Most
hotels offer a choice of
tariffs, from bed-and-breakfast to
The private variety, termed an estalagem, can be extremely comfortable, if rated either 4- or 5-star. Usually quiet, with a nice personal touch.
The more recent examples of self-catering apartments within a 'club' setting show what a bit of forethought and planning can do.
Usually highly equipped, they offer beautiful settings with all the facilities you might want right on hand, should you wish to avoid hire car costs during your Algarve vacation. Some even offer free shuttle bus rides to local attractions.
And if that's whetted your appetite, here's where you can pore over some details of what's on offer at Club Albufeira apartments...
These offer Algarve hotel accommodation, but with the twist of being self-catering. Still offering a high standard of comfort if 4-star rated. Similar Algarve accommodation is
sometimes termed hotel apartamento. They go as low as 2-star rating, but are still pretty good value for money. You can read about the great 3-star rated apartamento we enjoyed in Albufeira...
Still another option, if you're
determined not to bother with
self-catering, is a cheaper-style of
hotel. They might not offer the luxury of
their grander counterparts, but you still
don't need to worry about cooking or
cleaning. Just hit the beaches or get out
and about in the beautiful Algarve
countryside. You can read more about how
to select from the many Algarve
Known locally as albergarias, these can provide extremely comfortable Algarve accommodation, if 4-star rated. Remember to ensure that English is spoken if your Portuguese is non-existent.
apartment rental forms a large
chunk of the tourist accommodation. Many of the properties were purpose-built for tourist rental, and are rated from first-class
down to third-class, according to facilities offered. Great idea if you don't want to be tied to meal times, but are looking for privacy and comfort.
The Portuguese equivalent of boarding houses. You can choose from just bed and breakfast, or have main meals included. Rated from 4 stars down to 1.
Basic Algarve apartments can be either individual entities, or within a block protected by reception facilities. Usually you will be dealing with a managing agent, so ensure English
is spoken (as is usual) in case of problems.
At this end of the scale, usually rated 'second class', but still passable. Algarve apartments, whatever their rating, are almost always clean and comfortable.
These are of either 2- or 3-star rating, but tend to be devoid of any charm. (Doesn't sound like motels, does it?)
Algarve accommodation consisting of bed and breakfast only. Can be surprisingly comfortable, but do check first. (And do ask about any unusual dietary requirements which might
cause problems - this is a meat-and-fish region).
Pousadas de Juventude
State-run youth hostels. Fun if you're young; avoid if you're not.
Usually an en-suite bedroom, with or without breakfast, known in the tourist trade as a residencial.
If you're out and about in a hire car and not tied to staying in one place, country inns can offer a 'twist' on the usual Algarve accommodation. They often have live-in owners,
who may dine with guests. Good fun if you're the sort who doesn't mind informality and 'mucking in'. Once again, check for any special dietary requirements, and that there won't be any language problems.
Sites include caravan parks. Either private or municipal, and rated from 4 stars down to just 1. Very popular and widely extolled as good value for money, you can find sites all the way from Aljezur in the North West to Vila Real on the Spanish border. Although I've never tried it, Algarve camping is increasingly popular.
Often associated with a local agricultural project, this form of Algarve accommodation is termed Agroturismo and provides a rather basic level of comfort to suit
the constitutionally hardy! And (the downside) you'll generally be further away from those luscious beaches, of course!
While, on a more specialist note, why not select some...
Romantic Algarve Accommodation
If you're looking for an Algarve vacation with a difference, then you may like to investigate my page about Romantic Algarve, where I suggest places to you could visit, as well as recommendations for special accommodation that will complement your romantic Algarve mood!
General Notes on Tourist Accommodation
All types and classes of Algarve accommodation are supposed to keep a Complaints Register for inspection by the
Accommodation prices are not under any form of legal
A 50% discount on full meals should be available for children under 8 years.
An extra bed should be provided if young children are sharing a room with adults. But the facility attracts an
supplement of 25% or 30% on the room price.
you find this comprehensive treatment of Algarve accommodation
helpful, rather than overwhelming! Whether you choose a luxury Algarve hotel, a budget apartment rental in Algarve or even a camping holiday, I am sure your time there will be unforgettable (and I
do mean for the right reasons!)
If you fancy going 'independent' and
designing your own holiday without all the unwanted "package" trimmings
check out some details about Algarve apartment rental vacations. After all, what
else do you need except an apartment, a
hire-car and a
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