Some helpful tips on how to get around

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Portugal's beauty has inspired a lovely lady who shares from her heart some verses, celebrating the Portuguese experience.

Enjoy her poetry here

Travel Tips

(based on our own experiences)

Check out our A - Zees providing some useful travel tips, based on our Lessons Learned. They should help you get acquainted with the Portuguese experience and answer some of your FAQs "Frequently Asked Questions".

Airports: You can fly into the three major airports; driving times off-rush hour are provided; add and extra 1-2 hours during rush hour or better still avoid peak times

Lisbon (Central) - Driving time to Lagos: 2.5-3 hours
Faro (Algarve-South) - Driving time to Lagos: Just 1.25 hours
Porto (North) - Driving time to Lagos: 6 hours

Airports Arrival-Departure Info: This is an invaluable website for Arrival and Departure info at Portugal's Airports; it also provides useful info on all airport services; Visit Portugal's Airports

Airports Process - From Airplane to Baggage Pickup: Lisbon Airport relies on airport buses to transport passengers from the plane to the terminal, so plan for additional time. The process through Passport Control and Baggage pickup is very slow so work on your patience and use the washroom before you leave the airplane; plan for an hour to exit the airport

1) Passport Control: Have your passports ready on exiting your aircraft; get ready for long lineups for this your first stop; the process is smooth though lengthy; Portuguese customs officers are very professional and efficient; there are different booths for European Union countries and All Other countries, so look for the signs and avoid waiting in the wrong lineup
2) Baggage Carts: As you exit the Passport Control area, your next objective is to pickup a baggage cart; there is an abundance of carts available for those who have the foresight to come armed with 1 Euro (1€) coins to pay for the carts; baggage carts are available through self-serve automatic dispensers; insert your 1€ coin; wait for the green light and then pull out your baggage cart; if you did not have insight into this practice, there are money changers at the baggage dispensers to change your Euro notes into those useful little Euro coins
3) Baggage Pickup: Armed with your Baggage cart(s), you now have the pleasure of finding your baggage carousel; there are two floors with baggage pickup facilities, connected by a sloped walkway; look for the television screens with your flight number; be ready for a very long wait; baggage arrives in several streams; so just when your think your baggage has been lost, out comes another load of baggage; note that oversize baggage (e.g. golf carts; baby seats) "usually" comes out of a separate location near the baggage carousel against the wall; look for the "oversize baggage" signs; this lengthy wait will give you the opportunity to help a Portuguese women lift, off the carousel, her heavy bags full of goodies for her family whom she is returning home to visit
4) Baggage Control: This is your last step as you get ready to exit the secure area; look for the signs "Something to Declare" or "Nothing to Declare" and proceed to the appropriate exit accordingly; customs officers may choose to check your bags as part of standard security
5) Entering Airport Arrivals Area: As you arrive in the general airport terminal, you walk through a boardwalk area, lined with family and friends waiting to greet their loved ones; go left for the coffee shop and washrooms; go right for the Car Rental counters and follow the signs
6) Car Rental Pickup: In Lisbon, the rental counter is in an attached adjacent building, just follow the signs; in Faro, the rental counter is just outside the terminal building; some car rental agencies are more expedient than others; expect a wait, commensurate with the number of planes arriving

Airport Transfers - Faro: If you are not up for renting a car, and would like the comfort of a reliable Airport Transfer Service with an easy booking and meeting process, you will appreciate this service; in addition to their Car Rental, LagoRent offers a licensed Airport Transfer Service. Note: After a long overseas flight, many clients prefer an Airport Transfer pickup On Arrival and a Car waiting for them at our apartment. 1-stop-shoping with LagoRent makes this possible.

Benefit to Clients: Drivers are conscientious, speak English, know our Apartments, rep waiting for you On Arrival.
Vehicles: Minibus to suit party size, luggage, golf clubs etc.
Minibus Price 1-way to Faro to Lagos: 1-4 per: €75 (includes the A22 highway tolls), so an amazing price. Prices are: for the party not per person.
Car Seats & Quick-Grocery Store Stop: Free of charge, must request at booking time.
Locations Serviced:
Lagos, Praia da Luz, Albufeira & others
Direct Booking, Pricing & Helpful FAQs on their website:
Airport Transfer Service “LetsGoTransfers”
Tel: +351 282 762 467 or +351 917 892 619

Other Services on Request: Lisboa & Seville Airport Pickup, local Lagos Restaurant pickup/dropoff, etc.

Airport Transfers - Lisboa - Private Pickup - Pedro at LisbonTaxis: A greater variety of International flights arrive Lisboa Airport. After a long flight, if you prefer the comforts of a driver waiting for you, Pedro at Lisbontaxis provides a Private Airport Transfer Service from Lisboa Airport to Lagos and other destinations in Portugal. He also offers Private Tours from Lisboa and is most knowledgeable. Pedro's service is efficient and takes away some of the "On Arrival in a foreign country anxiety". He is waiting in the Arrivals Lounge with a warm welcome and you are on your way so smoothly. Given the 2.5 hour drive from Lisboa to Lagos and the return drive for the driver, the price is reasonable. Even more so when sharing a cost amongst 4 persons.

Pedro uses tourism cars: eg. For 4 passengers (Mercedes E sedan), 6 passengers (Chrysler Grand Voyager/VW Sharan) and 8 passengers (Mercedes Vito/VW Transporter). For larger groups, he works with a partner company that provides buses with capacity to 52 passengers.
All prices are per car, door-to-door service, include luggage, tolls and all taxes. no night/weekend fee, etc. The service includes an English speaking driver waiting at the arrivals hall with a sign with client name. Payment must be made at the end of the transfer in cash. If credit card is absolutely required (Visa/Mastercard/Maestro ONLY), payment is due at time of reservation.

To Book, simply email Pedro for the price, providing your dates/flight details: Tip: Pre-book well in advance, as soon as you have your flight booked.

Ours and our clients experiences with Pedro's outstanding service.

Our Experience: On a recent visit to Portugal we arrived at Lisboa Airport and had the pleasure of meeting Pedro in person and trying out his service. It was just the two of us so more expensive than the bus or train but absolutely worth it. We were impressed with Pedro's service, his professionalism, his knowledge, his warmth and his high-end vehicle with plenty of space for us to sit comfortably and for our luggage. This was so very rewarding after a long flight. Going this route avoids the hours of delay while you are tired and jetlagged: eg. Sitting at Lisboa Airport waiting for a flight connection to Faro Airport OR taking the airport shuttle to the bus/train station, buying tickets, sitting at the bus/train waiting for departure time. We have previously used the public transit but now I cannot imagine another trip without engaging Pedro's Private Airport Transfer Service.

Tim: After the long flight, Pedro was standing in the front of the crowd with a sign as we walked out into the sea of people! It was fantastic to have him there to greet us, sweep us up, and take us on our way. He is very knowledgeable and was able to answer all of our questions as well as provide suggestions for our curious minds.

Janette: The service was excellent! He was such a nice accommodating guy. His English was very good and he had a very pleasant personality. He had researched your website as well to ensure he knew how to get to the apartment. He waited with us until Barbara arrived, he didn't want to leave us there alone. Excellent service all around, I would highly recommend Pedro. Of course it is more expensive than the bus but after an 8 hour flight and not being sure of where you're going is was nice to have him there waiting and taking us directly to the apartment without having to wait for a train/bus and/or transferring and/or catching cabs/shuttles.

Airport Transfers - Lisboa - Public Transit: If you are looking for a cost effective means of getting to Lagos, the national train and bus service is excellent and efficient. Lisboa Airport offers a bus shuttle to both the Orient Train Station and the EVA Bus Station. One consideration: Train requires a train change in Tunes, so Lisboa to Tunes to Lagos. Bus requires no change but does stop along the way. You can check the latest frequency, duration, price and operating hours on their respective websites. Also refer to our Excursions Lisboa - Getting There From Lagos for further train and bus details: We have for years used this means of getting from Lisboa to Lagos as have many of our clients travelling on a budget. You can then rent a car locally in Lagos if you wish.

Algarve: Get to know the Algarve with its rich culture and history.

Banks: Hours are usually 08:30 - 15:00 Monday to Friday (closed weekends); you can use your bank card at most ATMs (bank machines) to withdraw local currency (Euros €); banking machine in small remote towns have a low withdrawl allowance and are often out of funds, so prepare for this; service fees apply to each withdrawl from ATMs; it is worth comparing the exchange rate from your ATM withdrawl vs your credit card exchange rate

Beaches: Topless is in, if you enjoy the freedom; sunscreen and a beach umbrella are a "must have"; bring a Frisbee or football; beach umbrellas, beach towels and beach chairs can be purchased at most major supermarkets and at Praia Dona Ana for reasonable prices; we prefer to use a huge beach blanket to dump our gear on and to avoid getting sand in our bags

Bathrooms: Great clean public bathrooms, located at the Lagos Town Waterfront, are a real relief after your walk into or around town; refer to the Lagos Old Town Map

Books: If you have an abundance of holiday time and are looking for loads more detail on Portugal and the other wonderful regions to visit, check out our favourite books

Lets Go Portugal AND Lonely Planet Portugal: Ensure that you get the Portugal only books; the combined Spain and Portugal versions don't provide sufficient info to get the best of Portugal

Buses Lagos: If you did not choose to rent a car and would like another means of transportation for the longer treks, take the local "A ONDA Buses"; they offer a great and modern local bus system in Lagos with stops directly in front of our apartment buildings; the buses are reasonable priced and superb for zipping around town, to the beaches and even to neighbouring towns. Many of our clients use the local buses regularly, especially during winter long stays; this local means of transport is convenient and efficient most days, depending on traffic; the buses service both the town of Lagos and the outlying areas of the Lagos municipality

For a superb snapshot of the "A ONDA Bus System" with great tips in English visit: Lagos Navigators

And of course check out the "A ONDA" web-site in Portuguese for more details; the most current routes, schedule and pricing are colourfully laid out and easy to follow; don't be shy, give it a try!!!

Buses - Inter-city: These buses provide an inexpensive means of taking excursions to other cities in the Algarve or to other parts of Portugal; there are plenty of choices of buses; pick-up a schedule at the Lagos Bus Terminal; see Lagos Main Map; there are two bus companies providing service from Lagos to other towns and cities in Portugal; check out our Excursions - Lisboa - Getting there from Lagos for further details on routes, fares and schedules

Car Rental: A must IF you like to explore, need flexibility and enjoy your freedom; not necessary if you are OK with a lot of walking into town, to nearby beaches and restaurants in close proximity to our Dona Ana (DA & DA2) apartments; gas in Portugal is expensive, so you may prefer to rent a smaller car or one with diesel; ensure that you take out sufficient car insurance coverage; deductibles are high. Remember cars with manual transmission are the norm in Europe, automatics are more expensive.

LagoRent (Lagos owned): We personally use LagoRent and are delighted with their attention to their clients. Our clients have also been very pleased with the price, quality and service. You can pickup a car at the Faro airport or in Lagos; they are flexible in the duration of rental e.g. you can rent a car for a day, a week or longer; pickup the car in Lagos at their office or at our Apartment and return it to the Faro airport
Booking Process: On-line or at the Lagos office
Direct Booking, Pricing & Helpful FAQs on their website:
Faro Airport Pickup: On exiting from the baggage area into the main terminal, proceed outside and walk directly to the car park, per their directions provided to you; your LagoRent representative will be waiting for you with a warm welcome
Faro Airport Return: We returned the car to the location specified by LagoRent with ease
Phone: +351 282 762 467
*** Ask for Cristiano or Nuno, the owners
Pickup: Faro Airport or at Lagos office or at our apartment
Return: Faro Airport or at Lagos office
Other Services: LagoRent also provide Airport Transfer Services, see above. Note: After a long overseas flight, many clients prefer an Airport Transfer pickup On Arrival and a Car waiting for them at our apartment. 1-stop-shoping with LagoRent makes this possible.

CarJet Iberia - (Spanish owned): Ken's parents rented a car for 7 weeks, this winter, and had a very good experience with CarJet Iberia, an on-line car rental Company; you can pickup/return the car at the airport
Booking Process: Straight forward on-line booking; was able to speak to a representative via telephone
Lisboa Airport Pickup: On exiting from the airport baggage area into the airport main terminal; look for your representative waiting for you with a sign "All Inclusive Car Hire"; our rep. took us took us to cafe stand in the airport terminal; rep. filled out paperwork, took apartment address and license info, credit card imprint for 50€ if car not returned with gas tank full; rep. took us to the car in parking area P4 and showed us the car briefly; rep. gave us the paperwork to store in the car glove compartment; rep. also provided a parking lot voucher to let us out of the parking lot and to also let us into the parking lot to return the car on final departure (do not lose this voucher)
Lisboa Airport Return: Use the parking voucher to get into the parking lot on departure; we returned the car to the P4 parking area; we left the key in the glove compartment
Note: They offer you the flexibility of pickup at one airport and drop off at another airport. Based on your flights, this can be quite useful.

Chemists/Pharmacies: The Chemists/Pharmacists in the Lagos area have been very knowledgeable and very helpful in assisting with our needs; the Jan 24, 2008 edition of the Portugal Resident web-site ( provided a handy list of Chemists/Pharmacies across the Algarve; please note that this list is subject to change so it's best to give them a call and to double check their location and hours before you set out. List of Chemists/Pharmacies.

Clothing - Appropriate Attire: Casual by day; semi-formal by night for dining out; fun clothes for the bars/discos; beach attire should be covered over for roaming around town, in shops and at restaurants; dress with respect to enter churches

Clothing - What to Pack - Spring/Fall/Winter: Bathing suit; beach towel; casual pants; fleece; hat; jeans; leather jacket; sweaters; running shoes; sandals; shorts; long and short sleeve tops; sunglasses; walking shoes; umbrella; windbreaker

Clothing - What to Pack - Summer: Aqua socks; bathing suit; beach towel; beach blanket; hat; light pants; light sweaters; running shoes; sandals; shorts; sleeveless tops; sunglasses; beach umbrella; walking shoes

Country Code: +351

Credit Cards: Most major credit cards are accepted in the larger shops; check before you load up your shopping basket; also verify the credit card exchange rate with your bank before your leave on holiday; it is worth comparing your credit card exchange rate with the exchange rate from your ATM (bank machine) withdrawl in Portugal

Currency: Euro €; contact your local exchange office for current exchange rates; most foreign currency can be exchanged at local banks and exchange offices

Driving: Portuguese drivers seem to enjoy the thrill of driving on the edge, so be cautious and have your defensive driving skills tuned up. Ensure that you give your self a wider than normal birth from on-coming vehicles when overtaking. Highway driving can be dangerous at times, but you'll be fine as long as you moderate your speed

DVD: European DVDs are in a format that is different from other continents; e.g. so if you purchase a DVD in Portugal, it will not play on your DVD player in another continent e.g. North America

Electricity: Electricity in Portugal is incredibly expensive as compared to many other countries, so we are careful with our consumption. Be sensible with your usage to avoid exceeding the base electricity fee built into your apartment rental rates. Excess charges apply for most accommodation rentals.

Electricity Voltage: 220 volts

Tip: North American appliances will need a voltage converter; these converters do not work well on hair dryers, due to their high voltage and too often result in a burned-out hair dryer; avoid this frustration and leave your hair dryer at home; purchase locally at any Portuguese mega supermarket, a good quality European 220 volt hair dryer designated for your European travels

Electrical Outlets: Rounded two prong plugs; remember to bring adaptor plugs for your electrical appliances

Emergency Contact: "112" is Portugal's national emergency response telephone number for police, fire and medical emergencies; this is a free direct number from any Portuguese phone (public, landline or mobile)

Lagos Fire Department:

(282) 770 790

Lagos Police Department:

(282) 762 930

Lagos Public Hospital:

(282) 762 536

Lagos Private Hospital -
S. Gonçalo:
Near Intermarché Supermarket

(282) 790 700

Luz Doc - International Medical Service - Praia da Luz:
**Doctors & staff speak English
**Rental of Wheelchairs etc. **Tourists are often treated here
**Praia da Luz is 5km from Lagos

(282) 780 700

Rua 25 de Abril 12, Luz
8600-174 Lagos

GNR - National Police:

(282) 762 809

Festivals: Local festivals are a refreshing way to experience the Portuguese culture; they usually involve food and refreshments and music; drag yourself away from the beach and get more details at the tourist office

Film: Major brands and processing are widely available and expensive; buy your film at home

Flights: There is an abundance of reasonably priced direct flights from many European and North American destinations to Faro and Lisboa Airport; European cities tend to offer more flights to Faro vs North American cities offer more options to Lisboa; in either case, the great Portugal motorways provide easy access to Lagos via an Airport Transfer Service, Car Rental, Bus or Train.

  • From Canada: Our preferred route is with Air Transat or Sata from Montreal or Toronto, to Faro or Lisbon (depending on flight availability through the year); these direct charter flights take about 7.5 hours flying time; you cannot beat this easy route; we have also flown with British Airways via London Heathrow, with Air Canada via Frankfurt. and Air Canada/United via Newark, New Jersey. Scheduled flights make for a longer route but provide more options and flexibility
    Air Fares:
    * Air Transat or Sata:
    From low to high season we have paid approx $1000 CAD + taxes, from Toronto or Montreal to Lisbon, Faro or Porto
    * Scheduled Flights: You can expect to pay more for the convenience of scheduled flights to Portugal; we have paid approx. $1500 CAD to $2000 CAD; these flights will usually be via another European city.
  • From Europe: The choice of flights and airlines are great and too varied to mention; it's best to consult your favourite airline's website or local travel agent.
  • From the US: Direct flights are available via United/TAP Air Portugal from Newark, New Jersey to Lisbon;Sata also offers diect flights from Oakland, Boston and other cities. Consult your favourite airline's website or local travel agent.
  • From other Regions: Consult your local travel agent

Gas Stations: Gas stations are in abundance; most are self-serve and some offer service; you may shriek at the price if you are from North America; diesel is much cheaper and makes the added expense of renting a diesel car worthwhile if you plan any major road trips

Highways: Portugal's new highways are world class and have been dramatically improved over the years with the funding from the European Union (EU); these improvements make getting around Portugal quick and easy and an absolute pleasure; most have toll fees, payable on exit.

Highways - Tolls: A22 Motorway Tolls Went Live December 8, 2011 - What you need to know: There are toll gates but no toll booths. Toll costs are automatically tracked by vehicle plate. You have 2 choices to pay the tolls: Pre-purchased Vouchers or Pay After Use. Both can be made at the Post Office/Other visible vendors. Bottom line there will be a cost impact on any services that use the A22. eg. Airport Transfer, Tours, Car Rental, etc. Ask about extra fees before booking. LagoRent, our Algarve Car Rental contact, have purchased transponders for their vehicles, which record toll usage and then automatically get transferred to your final Car Rental bill, making it all very easy. Not all car rental companies do this as there is a significant cost for the transponders. Tips: A) There is a news agent 5 minutes from our Apt where toll payment can be made – on the Roundabout 7 “Old Wall Archway” just below Baluarte restaurant. Refer to our Eateries map. B) Many residents avoid the A22/tolls by using the EN125 and local roads making the service roads quite congested, especially during rush hour. C) I suggest printing this visual for Algarve highway tolls and exits on A22 and this summary from the LagoRent website for Tolls on A22.

Insects: Ants are in abundance across the Algarve during  the warmer months; ants are attracted to food scraps and garbage left lying around, so remember to put your garbage into the closed large Garbage/Rubbish receptacles located at roadside in all neighbourhoods, daily; insecticides are available at most supermarkets; use insect repellents to deter mosquitoes

Language: Portuguese is the official language; most Portuguese elders only speak their native Portuguese; the younger 40 and under generation, speak a second language (usually English or German in the Algarve; French north of Lisboa); a second language is now mandatory in Portuguese schools; enhance your Portuguese experience and Speak the Lingo

Medical Facilities: A small hospital is located at Lagos Town Waterfront; we had the unfortunate experience to test out this facility as our friend Tim cut is thumb badly, prying open a salt shaker with a knife; the hospital did a great job sewing him up and staff were very helpful; be prepared to pay cash; hospitals are also located in Portimão and Faro; private medical practices are run by doctors (British; Portuguese; German), offering personalized care and can be expensive; ensure that you have adequate medical insurance; also refer to Emergency Contact above

Medical Insurance: Based on our experience it is advisable to take out comprehensive medical insurance; you will have to pay cash for medical services, and claim a refund from your insurance provider.

Opening Hours: Most shops and businesses close between 13:00-15:00; check out specific hours for your place of interest as your roam around town; Note: The Mega Supermarkets don't close at lunch

Shops: 09:00 - 19:00
08:00 - 20:00
Large Shopping Centres: 10:00 - 23:00 (e.g. Algarve Shopping)
Tourism Sites: 10:00 - 17:00
Outdoor Markets: 09:00 - 13:00
Sundays: Supermarkets 09:00 - 13:00; Most shops and businesses are closed; it's always best to ask
Lunch Shutdown: With the exception of the large supermarkets and shopping centres, most shops close from 13:00 - 15:00

Parking: Parking is limited and a challenge throughout Portugal so you will need to allow for sufficient time to find a parking spot as you plan and enjoy your adventures. In other words, leave early!!!

Specific Lagos Tips: Avoid driving within the Lagos Old Town walls as streets are hilly and narrow and often only wide enough for one car.

Parking is limited everywhere with both local Lagos residents and visitors competing for these treasured spots. So enjoy a nice walk if you can, it will help you digest your meal later on. Also try the fantastic local Lagos buses which stop directly outside our apartment building.

If you must drive, try these: Park on the streets outside the town walls and walk. If you're lucky you may find a spot behind some apartment buildings. Alternately: At pay Parking Lots just outside the town wall at the back entrance OR the Town Waterfront OR at pay parking spots along the Town Waterfront. The spots closer to the Marina are often free, so you can park there and walk back towards town. Allow yourself time to find parking. You may have to drive around in search a few times! This is your challenge (what's new!), so be patient!!!. Please respect any parking reserved for apartment residents.

Phone Calls: International calls are more affordable at the Portugal Telecom at the Town Waterfront or via public pay phones; it's best to use your calling card and your local Country Direct Number (e.g. Canada Direct; USA Direct, etc.).

Phone - Public Pay Phones: For the very few holiday travelers who have resisted owning a mobile phone or whose mobile phones do not work on the European networks, you will appreciate a few tips on nearby public pay phones. Pay phones are located throughout Lagos and a few near our apartment building. The are generally located near the street in front of apartment complexes and restaurants. You will pass by them as you walk around. Phone Cards: You can buy pay phone cards at any newspaper stand. It is worth purchasing one at the airport, on arrival so that you have it handy. Some pay phones do still accept coins, but not many. The Lagos Post Offices sell phone cards of larger denominations than the newspaper stands. Look for the phone symbol on our Handy Maps for a few of the nearest phone booths located throughout the town.

Phone - Mobile Phone Rental Service: Check with your mobile provider to confirm that your mobile will work in Portugal and to understand the associated cost for data and voice usage. If you do not have a Europe friendly mobile phone and would like the convenience of having a mobile phone while on holidays, there are several options. These hae been used by our clients with satisfaction: OR - Both provide a mobile phone rental service for travelers. It is very much a personal preference and a cost benefit decision. We have clients who feel that a mobile phone is a "must have" when they travel and they have been very happy with their decision to rent. We have others who feel that the convenience does not warrant the cost.

Photography: Indoor shots - ensure that there are no restrictions before taking photos; people shots - be respectful and ask permission

Post Office: Main office is located at the Town Waterfront beside Portugal Telecom; look for the bright red signage "Correios"

Public Holidays: In addition to the public holidays below, each town celebrates the feast day of its own patron saint; inquire at the tourist office; as some holiday dates vary from year to year, you can get more precise dates via Holidays in Portugal - Useful International Statutory Holidays

New Years Day: 1 January
Carnival or Shrove Tuesday: Late February / Early March
Good Friday: Late March / Early April
Liberation Day: 25 April
Labour Day: 1 May
National Day: 10 June
Corpus Christi: Late May/Early June
Assumption Day: 15 August
Republic Day:
5 October
All Saints Day: 1 November
Independence Day: 1 December
Day of Our Lady: 8 December
Christmas Day: 25 December

Radio Station: Portugal has an awesome selection of radio stations; they play a variety of Portuguese and International music; tune in to get a flavour of the Portuguese culture and to get an ear for the Portuguese language; listed below, check our favourites and find yours:

88.1 --- Radio Commercial * our first choice
94.0 --- Solar FM
94.6 --- Sagres FM * one of our favourites
103.6 - Total FM
103.6 - Antena 3
104.3 - Nostalgia * one of our favourites
104.9 - RFM

Reststops: Most major highways have frequent reststops, approximately every 40 minutes; they are clean and outfitted with gas stations, snackbars, bathrooms, and lots of parking

Security: Although Lagos and surrounding areas are safe, be house smart and street smart; remember that crime is international

Condominium Apartments: Use the double lock on doors at all times; close and lock windows when going out; use the apartment safe
Cars: Don't leave any belongings visible in the car; goods attract attention; ensure that your car is locked at all times
Personal: Carry a money belt and a hidden passport/money pouch around your neck; keep a photocopy of your passport in your room; carry a roomy knapsack to hold all your purchases in one place; roaming around with a multitude of shopping bags attracts attention
Pick-Pockets: Lisboa has a population of 2 million plus; with any big city comes poverty and associated street crime; stay Street Smart; pick-pockets are prevalent throughout the city and quite well versed at spotting tourists; they seem to have a preference for the busy tramcars/buses/metro, where your hands are tied-up handing on for balance and your pockets/purses/knapsacks are unprotected; as with any big city, please be street smart and secure your valuables safely when wandering around; if you are parking your car; keep ALL items left in the car, out of sight.

Smoking: This habit is widely practiced in Portugal; some public buildings have moved to "non-smoking"; dine out on a patio if the smoke bothers you

Street Signs: You will quickly discover that in general, Portuguese streets are not well-signed; street signs may be non-existent, or printed on tiles affixed to the side/corner of a building or faintly engraved on a building or on little cement posts; as a result it makes it very difficult for a Portuguese local to provide you with any comprehendible directions; and it is even more of a challenge to navigate using a map; be ready for the adventure.

Taxis: If you are not up for renting a car, there is a taxi stand with plenty of taxis (most of which are Mercedes) at the Lagos Town Waterfront, right at Swirl Sculpture Roundabout B; see Lagos Main Map; alternately you can call for a taxi. Taxi ride from the Faro airport will cost you about 75€ one way; taxis are not metered and standard fares are based on mileage; confirm the rate before you begin your journey.
Taxi Phone: (282) 76 35 87; (800) 200 846

Telephones: See Phone above.

Tipping/Gratuities: 10-15%; check to ensure that the gratuity is not already included in your bill.

Time Zone: Greenwich Mean Time; same as the UK; Eastern Standard Time + 5 hours; this handy time zone web-site provides confirmation of time zones around the world. It is particularly useful to verify the time difference between Portugal and your home country during the time change period in the spring and fall, as many countries make the switch on different dates.

Trains - Inter-city: These trains provide a comfortable and inexpensive means of taking excursions to other cities in the Algarve or to other parts of Portugal; there are plenty of choices of trains, including a great one from Lagos to Lisbon, with several stops along the way; this offers a relaxing way to see the countryside; you can purchase either an economy or first class fare on most trains; pick-up a schedule and further details at the Lagos Train Station; see Lagos Main Map. The Portuguese Railway Network is complex. Check out our Excursions - Lisboa - Getting there from Lagos for further details on routes, fares and schedules.

Water Drinking: Stick with bottled water, available at all supermarkets and restaurants; play it safe; bottled water is available in non-carbonated "agua sem gaz" and carbonated "agua com gaz" (popular in Portugal)

Water Pressure: Water pressure is often low, so be ready to adjust your expectations and reduce your stress level early; the average rainfall in the Algarve is very low, so we are always careful to respect our water consumption

Weights and Measures: Metric; so bring a conversion table if you are more comfortable with the Imperial system

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