Posted by: Vista Bonita Algarve | May 8, 2013

Vegetarians & Vegans: Eating Out & Shopping in the Algarve

vegatarian

For those who adopt a vegetarian lifestyle, traditional Portuguese restaurants can be a bit limiting although most of the local restaurants do offer vegetable soup, olives, omelettes and salads. It is always worth asking if they can prepare you a vegetarian dish as we have found some restaurants to be only too happy to oblige.

If you fancy a bit of variety, try restaurants offering international cuisine. The Algarve has lots of Chinese, Indian, Italian and Mediterranean restaurants to choose from and they can be great for different vegetarian options. For vegans, it can be very difficult (or certainly restrictive) to eat out in the Algarve. Although restaurants are catering for vegetarians, most dishes include cheese and eggs and it’s hard to escape foods with any diary products in them, so you’ll often be faced with the single option of another salad!

Vegetarian and Vegan Foods in the Supermarkets:

Vegetarian products are now a lot easier to find than a few years ago. “Intermarché” and “Modelo” have a good spread of branches across the Algarve and stock a good range of tofu and soya products like sausages, burgers and grills, dried soya pieces and tofu blocks, soya spreads, soya milk plain and flavoured and soya desserts and vegetarian pate. Intermarché also stocks vegan mayonnaise. “Continente” supermarket has a particularly good health food section which includes vegan cheese, very reasonably priced fresh tofu blocks and various jars of flavoured tofu.

“Pingo Doce” has shops from Lagos to Tavira and also now has a good range of products including dried soya chunks, ‘steaks’, veggie ‘hot dog’ sausages, tofu blocks, soya desserts, soya spread and soya milk – their health food section generally is expanding. Their own brand of soya milk also works well in hot drinks and doesn’t curdle as many do.

The Portuguese use a lot of beans (“feijões”) in their cooking and these are plentiful in all supermarkets either canned or dried. Pulses are also readily available.

There are normally some vegetarian meals in the freezer section, but do check the price….we have come across a pack of 4 vegetable grills for just under 10 euros in one shop and less than 5 in another!

So far, the only places we have found to stock “Quorn” products is “Supermercardo Baptista” in Luz and “Apolonia” in Almancil and Albufeira; they also stock Linda McCartney veggie sausages, burgers etc. and a wide range of health foods plus all those ‘English’ things you might miss!

Not all food is clearly labelled as suitable for vegans/vegetarians, so some of the words to watch for in the ingredients are:

  • “ovos” (eggs), “leite”(milk), “queijo” (cheese), “manteiga” (butter)
  • “carne” (meat), “peixe” (fish), “frango” or “galinha” (chicken),
  • “gelatina” (gelatine), “gordura animal” (animal fat), “banha” (lard)
  • “derivados do leite” / “laticínios” (milk/dairy derivatives)

Useful Phrases for Eating Out in the Algarve

  • “Eu sou vegetariano” – I am a vegetarian
  • “Eu sou vegano” – I am a vegan
  • “Você poderia me prepara um prato sem carne ,peixe, derivados do leite ou ovos por favor?” – Can you make a dish without meat, fish, dairy products or eggs please?
  • “Eu não como carne, peixe ou frango” – I don’t eat meat, fish or chicken
  • “Eu não como queijo” – I don’t eat cheese
  • “Você tem algum prato vegetariano” – Do you have any vegetarian dishes?
  • “Eu como ovos, leite e queijo” – I eat eggs, milk and cheese
  • “Eu não como ovos, leite ou queijo” – I do not eat eggs, milk or cheese
  • “Isso tem algum produto animal?” – does it contain any animal products?
  • “Café sem leite” – coffee without milk
  • “Eu não como nada preparado com gordura animal” – I don’t eat anything cooked with animal fat

Just to point out, even though there is a word for “vegan” in the Portuguese language, it is so seldom used that no one seems to understand what it means, so to qualify what you say, it is probably best to say “eu sou vegano, eu não como carne, peixe, ovos, leite ou queijo (derivados do leite) ou nada produto animal”.

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Posted by: Vista Bonita Algarve | May 8, 2013

Useful Phrases When Eating Out In The Algarve

eating-algarve
 

Useful Phrases for Eating Out in the Algarve

Here are some useful Portuguese words, phrases and numbers to help you order in a bar or restaurant, identify foods, order different quantities or listen to prices.

To drink:

  • “O que você quer beber?” – What would you like to drink?
  • “Você quer beber alguma coisa?” – Would you like to drink something?
  • “E para beber?” – And to drink?
  • “Vocês têm um menú de vinhos?” – Do you have wine list?
  • “Para beber quero…” – I would like to drink…
  • “(Eu) queria uma bica / um cafezinho / um espresso” – I’d like an espresso.
  • “Uma cerveja por favor. / Duas cervejas por favor” – A beer please / Two beers please
  • “Um café, se faz favor” – A coffee, please
  • “Uma água sem gás” – Still water
  • “Uma água com gás” – Sparkling water
  • “Uma cerveja” – A beer
  • “Vinho tinto” – Red wine
  • “Vinho branco” – White wine

To Eat:

  • “O que deseja comer?” – What would you like to eat?
  • “O que os senhores(as) querem comer?” – What would you like to eat?
  • “O que você quer comer?” – What would you like to eat?
  • “O que (você) recomenda?” – What do you recommend?
  • “Faça o favor!” – Waiter!
  • “Prato do dia” – Dish of the day
  • “Para mim…” – For me…
  • “(Eu) vou comer…” – I’ll have the…
  • “Qual é a entrada / prato principal / sobremesa?” – What starters / main course / dessert do you have?
  • “(Eu) gostaria ver a ementa por favor” – I would like to see the menu please
  • O menú de sobremesas por favor – The desserts menu please
  • “Para começar quero…” – To start I would like…
  • “Como prato principal quero…” – For the main course I would like…
  • “Para sobremesa quero…” – For dessert I’ll have…
  • “Não como carne” – I don’t eat meat
  • “(Eu) sou vegetariana” – I’m vegetarian (f.)
  • “(Eu) sou vegetariano” – I’m vegetarian (m.)
  • “Uma mesa para duas pessoas” – A table for two
  • “Tenho uma reserva em nome de…” – I have a table reserved in the name of…
  • “(Eu) queria uma mesa perto da janela” – I would like a table near to the window.
  • “Isso não é o que eu encomendei” – That’s not what I ordered
  • “A conta por favor” – The bill (check) please
  • “O serviço está incluído?” – Is service included?
  • “Acho que há um erro na conta” – I think there is a mistake in the bill.

Numbers:

one – “um”
two – “dois” (doysh)
three – “três” (tresh)
four – “quatro” (kwatru)
five – “cinco” (sincu)
six – “seis” (saysh)
seven – “seite” (sayte)
eight – “oito” (oytu)
nine – “nove” (nov)
ten – “dez” (desh)
twenty – “vinte”
thirty – “trinta”
fourty – “quarenta” (kwarenta)
fifty – “cinquenta” (sinkwenta)
sixty – “seisenta” (saysenta)
seventy – “seisenta” (saysenta)
eighty – “oitenta” (oytenta)
ninety – “noventa”
one hundred – “cem” (sem)
half a kilo – “meio quilo” (mayo kilo)
200 grams – “duzentas gramas”
(doozentash gramash)

If you are buying sliced meats or cheeses you can either ask for it by weight or by the number of slices that you want, for instance:
“Seis fatias” (saysh fatee-ash) six slices; se faz favor (se fash fav-or) please.

Posted by: Vista Bonita Algarve | May 8, 2013

Food Shopping In The Algarve

Food-shopping-algarveAlgarve Supermarkets & Food Shopping

If you are staying in self-catering accommodation when you come to the Algarve, don’t worry because food shopping is just as easy here as it is for you at home. There are supermarkets and ‘mini-mercados’ everywhere, and in larger resorts you’ll find several big supermarkets to choose from, as well as lots of little supermarkets and local grocery shops which stock all the daily staples and more. And if you really miss those everyday foods from home, again don’t worry because you can find most of them in the Algarve as well… even the smaller supermarkets keep very good ranges of familiar brands: baked beans, bacon, sausages, jams and marmalades, even frozen English sliced bread is imported, (but it would be a shame not to try the delicious fresh breads which are baked locally).

Daily Food Items:

  • Milk – “leite” comes in skimmed (“magro”), semi-skimmed (“meio gordo”) and full fat (“gordo”).
  • Cheese – “queijo”; goat’s cheese “queijo da cabra”
  • Butter – “manteiga”; margarine “margarina”
  • Bread – “pão”
  • Water – “agua”
  • Tea – “chá”
  • Coffee – “café”
  • Meat – “carne”
  • Fish – “peixe”

Meat Shopping:

  • Chicken – “frango”
  • Turkey – “perú”
  • Pork – “porco”
  • Beef – “vaca”
  • Lamb – “borrego”
  • Veal – “vitela”
  • Rabbit – “coelho”
  • Duck – “pato”

Some of the other words that may come in useful are:

  • Sirloin steak – “bife de vazia”
  • Thin pork steaks – “bifanas”
  • Steak – “bife de vaca”
  • Minute steak – “bitoque”
  • Lamb chops – “costeletas de borrego”
  • Ham – “fiambre”
  • Pork steak – “febras”
  • Pork loin – “lombo de porco”
  • Mince – “picar”

Sometimes a pack of meat will indicate what type of cooking it is suitable for:

  • Grill – “grelhar”
  • Roast – “assar”
  • Boil – “cozer”
  • Stew – “estufar”

If you are buying sliced meats you can either ask for it by weight or by the number of slices that you want, for instance: “Seis fatias” (pronounced “saysh fatee-ash”) six slices.

Fish and Seafood Shopping:

There is a huge variety of fresh fish and seafood to choose from, both in the supermarkets and at local fish markets. So that you know what you are looking at:

Sardine – “sardinha”
Tuna – “atum”
Cod – “bacalhau”
Salmon – “salmão”
Sea bream – “besugo”
Small mackerel – “carapau”
Mackerel – “cavala”
Cuttlefish – “choco”
Bream – “dourada”
Swordfish – “espadarte”
Sole – “linguado”
Hake – “pescada”
Sea bass – “robalo”
Mullet – “salmonete”
Monkfish – “tamboril”
Squid – “lula”
Octopus – “polvo”
Clam – “ameijoa”
Small clam – “conquilha”
Barnacle – “perceve”
Oyster – “ostra”
Cockle – “berbigão”
Prawn – “camarão”
Crab – “Carangueijo”
Crab (large) – “sapateira”
Lobster – “lagosta”
Razor clam – “lingueirão”
Mussel – “mexhilhão”
Whelk – “búzio”

Gluten-free food:

Gluten-free products are available in ‘Intermarché’ and ‘Continente’ supermarkets as well as health shops and even some of the mini-mercados. They stock pasta, crackers and a range of biscuits and breads (Schar). Pingo Doce supermarkets also stock gluten-free foods but, as yet, no breads.

‘Continente’ stores can be found in Portimão, the Algarve Shopping Centre near Albufeira and in Tavira at the Gran-Plaza centre. Also in the same group are the Modelo Continente supermarkets which are more widely available. These shops stock some ‘gluten-free’ products but not as full a range. It is also possible to find gluten-free beer in the larger Continente supermarkets – it is well labelled so easy to spot!

Diabetic food:

All of these stores stock sugar free (‘sem açúcar’) biscuits, crackers, chocolate and preserves.

Baby foods:

It’s always difficult to know what to pack when you are travelling with babies, so we have checked brand equivalents for some popular baby milks.

  • Cow and Gate baby milks are marketed under the ‘Nutrilon’ brand in the Algarve.
  • Nutrilon 1,2 and 3 are equivalent to Cow and Gate Premium, Plus and Step-up.
  • Nutrilon Omneo 1 and 2 are equivalent to Comfort 1 and 2.
  • Nutrilon AR 1 and 2 are for babies with reflux.
  • Nutrilon HA 1 and 2 are for babies allergic to dairy products.
  • Aptamil milks are still marketed as Aptamil in the Algarve. 1, 2 and 3, being equivalent to First, Extra Hungry and 3.

All of the main supermarkets and many of the smaller ‘mini-mercados’ also stock a good range of jars of baby food.

A guide to food prices in the Algarve supermarkets.

Obviously this list is by no means exhaustive and prices will vary between shops (our list is mainly based on Pingo Doce, one of the bigger chains in the Algarve). Soya products are widely available in all the supermarkets as are health foods. We have included (at the bottom of the list – no pun intended!) the two best known UK brands of nappies knowing that they are particularly bulky items to pack when travelling with little ones. (The supermarkets have their own brands as well which are cheaper)

6 Eggs (XL) 0.99€
Orange Marmalade (local) 1.33€
100g Jar Nescafe Classic 3.45€
20 Lipton’s Tea Bags 1.29€
25 Twinings Tea Bags 2.25€
Kellog’s Cornflakes 375g 1.99€
Own Brand Cornflakes 500g 1.19€
Kellog’s Bran Flakes 500g 4.39€
Own Brand Bran Flakes 375g 1.99€
1l Fresh milk 0.79€
1l Soya Milk 0.99€
4 own brand yoghurts 1.39€
4 Activia yoghurts 2.49€
4 Alpro Soya Desserts 2.84€
Butter 250g 1.39€
Soya spread 250g 1.29€
Loaf fresh white bread 1€
Bananas 0.99€/kg
Apples 1.49€/kg
Potatoes 1.49€/3kg
Tomatoes on the vine 1.45€/kg
Tofu 260g 2.44€
Seitan 300g 1.99€
Fresh chicken 1.99€/kg
Pork ribs 2.49€/kg
Beefburgers (pack of 4) 2.20€
Fishfingers (pack of 15) 2.99€
Heinz Tomato Ketchup 342g 1.65€
Pasta spirals 500g 0.42€
Jar of black olives 0.99€
1L carton orange juice 0.66€
5l bottled water (own brand) 0.29€
1.5L fizzy soft drink 1.12€
6 x 0.33L cans of Sagres beer 3.40€
Huggies Nappies (136 x size 3) 19.29€
Dodot Nappies (equivalent to Pampers) 13.89€/76 for size 3

one – “um”
two – “dois” (doysh)
three – “três” (tresh)
four – “quatro” (kwatru)
five – “cinco” (sincu)
six – “seis” (saysh)
seven – “seite” (sayte)
eight – “oito” (oytu)
nine – “nove” (nov)
ten – “dez” (desh)
twenty – “vinte”
thirty – “trinta”
fourty – “quarenta” (kwarenta)
fifty – “cinquenta” (sinkwenta)
sixty – “seisenta” (saysenta)
seventy – “seisenta” (saysenta)
eighty – “oitenta” (oytenta)
ninety – “noventa”
one hundred – “cem” (sem)
half a kilo – “meio quilo” (mayo kilo)
200 grams – “duzentas gramas”
(doozentash gramash)

If you are buying sliced meats or cheeses you can either ask for it by weight or by the number of slices that you want, for instance:
“Seis fatias” (saysh fatee-ash) six slices; se faz favor (se fash fav-or) please.

Vegetarians & Vegans: Eating Out & Shopping in the Algarve

For those who adopt a vegetarian lifestyle, traditional Portuguese restaurants can be a bit limiting although most of the local restaurants do offer vegetable soup, olives, omelettes and salads. It is always worth asking if they can prepare you a vegetarian dish as we have found some restaurants to be only too happy to oblige.

If you fancy a bit of variety, try restaurants offering international cuisine. The Algarve has lots of Chinese, Indian, Italian and Mediterranean restaurants to choose from and they can be great for different vegetarian options. For vegans, it can be very difficult (or certainly restrictive) to eat out in the Algarve. Although restaurants are catering for vegetarians, most dishes include cheese and eggs and it’s hard to escape foods with any diary products in them, so you’ll often be faced with the single option of another salad!

Vegetarian and Vegan Foods in the Supermarkets:

Vegetarian products are now a lot easier to find than a few years ago. “Intermarché” and “Modelo” have a good spread of branches across the Algarve and stock a good range of tofu and soya products like sausages, burgers and grills, dried soya pieces and tofu blocks, soya spreads, soya milk plain and flavoured and soya desserts and vegetarian pate. Intermarché also stocks vegan mayonnaise. “Continente” supermarket has a particularly good health food section which includes vegan cheese, very reasonably priced fresh tofu blocks and various jars of flavoured tofu.

“Pingo Doce” has shops from Lagos to Tavira and also now has a good range of products including dried soya chunks, ‘steaks’, veggie ‘hot dog’ sausages, tofu blocks, soya desserts, soya spread and soya milk – their health food section generally is expanding. Their own brand of soya milk also works well in hot drinks and doesn’t curdle as many do.

The Portuguese use a lot of beans (“feijões”) in their cooking and these are plentiful in all supermarkets either canned or dried. Pulses are also readily available.

There are normally some vegetarian meals in the freezer section, but do check the price….we have come across a pack of 4 vegetable grills for just under 10 euros in one shop and less than 5 in another!

So far, the only places we have found to stock “Quorn” products is “Supermercardo Baptista” in Luz and “Apolonia” in Almancil and Albufeira; they also stock Linda McCartney veggie sausages, burgers etc. and a wide range of health foods plus all those ‘English’ things you might miss!

Not all food is clearly labelled as suitable for vegans/vegetarians, so some of the words to watch for in the ingredients are:

  • “ovos” (eggs), “leite”(milk), “queijo” (cheese), “manteiga” (butter)
  • “carne” (meat), “peixe” (fish), “frango” or “galinha” (chicken),
  • “gelatina” (gelatine), “gordura animal” (animal fat), “banha” (lard)
  • “derivados do leite” / “laticínios” (milk/dairy derivatives)

Supermarkets close to Vista Bonita

There is a large supermarket Inter Marche just a 2 minute drive away, or 10 minutes on foot.  Across the road is Supermarket Gloria, a smaller supermarket which I believe will deliver your groceries to the apartment, which is great if you have decided not to hire a car during your stay.  In the neighbouring resort of Armacao de Pera there is Pingo Doce, which does an excellent whole chicken piri piri, for just under 5€, perfect for a picnic on the beach, or lunch on the balcony.

Posted by: Vista Bonita Algarve | May 8, 2013

Eating Out In The Algarve

Eating-Out

Eating out in the Algarve

With over 200km of coastline, it’s not surprising that the fish and seafood are a staple part of the diet for people in the Algarve. With daily fishing trips bringing in huge amounts of fresh sardines, tuna, bream, cod, monkfish and many other types of fish; plentiful supplies of clams, oysters, prawns, not to mention octopus and squid, it’s easy to understand why.

The traditional Portuguese restaurants normally offer a large selection of fish dishes, one of which is almost certain to be grilled sardines, served with boiled potatoes and vegetables or salad. Also commonly on the menu are a range of omelettes, salads and some meat dishes, like thin pork slices served with a creamy mushroom sauce or chicken piri-piri.The prices are very reasonable, the food is good and the portions are generous. House wine, which is normally a local Portuguese wine, is also very good value and very drinkable! On average a 2-course meal for 2, including house wine, can cost less than €25. (Soup of the day €1.50, main course €7.00 and a bottle of house wine €8). Obviously prices can vary enormously depending on location.

As well as restaurants serving traditional Portuguese food, the Algarve has a huge choice of restaurants serving food from across the world, Chinese, Indian, Italian and English being particularly popular. You will also find Tapas, Mexican, Thai, International Cuisine and Vegetarian (occasionally). All of the popular tourist resorts have a good variety of restaurants, but the more traditional towns and villages will often just have a local Portuguese restaurant, or café-bar serving food.

Restaurants have got a lot better in offering vegetarian dishes on the menu (although don’t expect to see more than one or two in most places) and vegans unfortunately are still poorly catered for.

Starters – “Entradas”

“Couvert” is the traditional start to a meal and normally consists of fresh bread, olives, sardine paté, cheese and carrots that have been lightly cooked and marinated in garlic, olive oil and spices. Most waiters will ask before serving the couvert, but if it is brought to the table and you don’t want it, simply ask the waiter to take it back. Couvert often costs as little as 1.50€ a person, but do check as it can be rather more.

In traditional Portuguese restaurants, the choice of starters will often include soups and seafood dishes. The Portuguese are excellent at making fresh, wholesome soups. Algarve restaurants generally have a choice of vegetable soup (“sopa de legumes” or “caldo verde”), cold “gazpacho” soup made from peppers, cucumber and tomatoes, and fish soups. Generally soups tend to be served tepid, so if you like your soup very hot, then ask the waiter for it to be “Bem quente” (pronounced ‘bem kent’). “Conquilhas” (small clams) are often served as a starter, as are various prawn dishes.

Main Courses – “Pratos”

A lot of the main dishes in Algarve restaurants are based around fish and seafood. The fish is normally simply prepared and served with salad and boiled potatoes or chips. You will find lots of types of fish to choose from, such as swordfish (“espadarte”), tuna (“atum”), stone bass (“cherne”) sea bass (“robalo”) and red mullet (“salmonete”). Sometimes the price is for the dish, but a lot of fish is sold by weight (euros/kg) so it is worth checking before ordering.

“Bacalhau” (pronounced “bakel-yow”) is probably one of the most traditional dishes that you’ll find in the Algarve. It is dried salt-cod, preserved in the same way as it was in the days of the first sea voyages in the time of the Portuguese Discoveries. The cod had to be preserved with salt to provide the sailors with a substantial food source while they were on a voyage. Since then, Bacalhau has become a staple part of the Portuguese diet and the Portuguese have come up with so many different ways off eating it that you will find a different Bacalhau dish to try each time; reportedly there are 365 different ways of cooking it!

Chicken (“frango”) dishes are also popular in Algarve restaurants and you will frequently see chicken piri-piri (“frango piri-piri”) on a menu. This dish uses the tiny bright red piri-piri chilli pepper, which is used to spice up many other Portuguese dishes too and is even used as table condiment. Barbequed chicken (“frango no churrasco”) is also a favourite for the Portuguese and not surprisingly since the great all-year-round weather has created a tradition of out-door cooking.

Other Algarve specialities include “Feijoada”, a thick bean stew with pork, bacon and sausage which originally came from Brazil and “Cataplana”, a dish of Moorish influence which uses a clam shaped copper pan to cook clams, or a mix of fish and seafood, with spicy sausage, tomatoes, wine, garlic and herbs. Another popular Portuguese dish is “Bife à Portuguesa”, which is beef sirloin topped with smoked ham, cooked in a clay dish served on a bed of French fries. Wild boar, pheasant and hare are also popular during the hunting season, but tend to be found on the menu more in inland areas.

Desserts – “Sobremesas”

The Portuguese make the most wonderful desserts and pastries and a visit to the Algarve wouldn’t be complete without sampling one or two of them! The best-loved desserts are “Pudim Flan” (crème caramel), “pasties de nata” ( a creamy, custard tart) and “tarte de amêndoa” (almond tart) and are highly recommended! Figs, almonds and locally produced honey in various combinations also feature highly on dessert menus along with fresh fruit.

Dining with children

Children are always welcome, day or night, and although there may not be a special children’s menu, they are always catered for…either ask for “meia dose” (pronounced ‘maya dose’) which is a half portion, or a meal to be shared.

Places to eat near Vista Bonita

There are many places to eat out within walking distance of the apartment, catering for all tastes and  budgets. 

Posted by: Vista Bonita Algarve | May 8, 2013

Drinking In The Algarve

algarve-wines-guide-640x460

Drinks in the Algarve
Alcohol in general tends to be very reasonably priced in the Algarve (in fact, probably considered cheap compared to most countries), with bottles of wine from as little as 1€ in the supermarkets! The prices of drinks in bars and restaurants can be very reasonable, a glass of wine €1.20 to €2, spirits (normally good sized measures) about €3 and small draft beers from €1 to €1.50, however they can also be a bit extortionate, especially in popular bars in tourist season, up to €6 for a spirit and mixer. For some of the best prices, stop at one of the many local cafés because they are a lot cheaper than the bars. With so many orange trees across the Algarve, its not suprising that fresh orange juice is widely served in cafes, bars and restaurants; a glass can cost as little as €2 but may be as much as €4, but it is well worth it!

Wine – “Vinho”
A lot of the wine sold in the Algarve comes from other parts of Portugal (for example from Bairrada in the north, Estremadura near Lisbon and Alentejo) but the Algarve does also produce its own wine, most of which comes from the Lagoa, Portimão and Tavira areas. Most restaurants will only have Portuguese wines on their wine list.

The ‘house’ wine (“vinho da casa”) in white (“branco”) and red (“tinto”) is nearly always a local Portuguese wine and good value. You can also opt for “vinho verde” which is a young ‘green’ wine, slightly sparkling, light and refreshing and goes very well with fish and chicken dishes, or rosé – Mateus rosé being the best known.

Beer – “Cerveja”
If you prefer to drink beer (“cerveja”), there are really just three national brands that you will become familiar with: “Sagres” (named after the Algarve’s Sagres, but it isn’t produced there), “Super Bock” and “Cristal”. You will also find, a number of imported beers and lagers that you are used to drinking at home, but these may be a little more expensive. If you are ordering draft beer, then ask for “um imperial” if you would like a regular glass and “uma caneca” if you would like half a litre.

Port, “Aguardente” & “Medronho” Spirits
After the meal you may want to try a glass of port, Portugal’s best known drink. Produced from a blend of wines, port is available in ‘ruby’ (a young and full-bodied sweet port), ‘tawny’ (a lighter port, best served chilled) and ‘white’ (which is dry and better served over ice as an aperitif). The Algarve is also famous for its spirits – there are two main ones to look out for when you come, “Aguardente” and “Medronho”, but be warned, for both you need to have a very sturdy palette! Aguardente is a rough Portuguese brandy, which is guaranteed to warm your cockles, with a throat-burning sensation turning to warmth in your stomach. Medronho (or ‘fire water’ as it is perhaps better known) is made from the strawberry like fruit of the arbutus and can literally bring tears to your eyes as you sip it. It is said that this potent spirit can knock grown men off their legs after one too many!

There are many places to enjoy your favourite tipple, all within walking distance to Vista Bonita. Probably the best place of all is the apartment balcony!

Posted by: Vista Bonita Algarve | April 26, 2013

Vista Bonita Algarve’s What’s On Guide

vistabonita-algarve

ALBUFEIRA
Every Day From: Friday 6 September To: Sunday 8 September
Starting at: 18:00
Annual festival with live music, food and many other events.
Free entry.
Event Location
Praça dos Pescadores, Albufeira

ALMANCIL
Norway’s National Day Celebration
On Friday 17 May
A fun day to get together celebrating Norway’s special day
Event Location
Dunas Douradas Beach Club, Aldeamento Dunas Douradas s/n Sítio do Garrão, Almancil, 8135-902

FARO
Festival Adentro
On Fri, Sat From: Friday 6 September To: Saturday 7 September

Annual festival with live music, food and many other events
Free entry
Event Location
Largo Afonso III, Faro

GUIA
XXVI Festa do Frango da Guia
On Sun, Fri, Sat From: Friday 2 August To: Sunday 4 August
The annual chicken fair for the 26th year takes place. Lots of local gastronomy, beverages and sweets.
Event Location

Polidesportivo do Guia Futebol Clube – Guia, Rua Padre António Coelho 2, Guia, 8200

LAGOA
International Algarve Fair-“Love Portugal”
On Sun, Sat From: Saturday 1 June To: Sunday 2 June

Annual event with exhibitions about all things Portugal including gastronomy, international food items, wines, sports items and a dog show. Live entertainment and children’s events also held.
Event Location
FATACIL Showground, Lagoa

LAGOS
Anniversary of the Carnation Revolution
Every Day From: Saturday 20 April To: Sunday 5 May

Celebrations over the course of 2 weeks to celebrate the Anniversary.
Event Location
Various venues, Lagos

Europe Ablaze / Fusion Festival
On Sun, Thu, Fri, Sat From: Thursday 20 June To: Sunday 23 June
A 4 day festival with a fusion of Christian music, prophetic dance,
Psalm drumming, creative arts/plays, workshops including Biblical dream interpretation, destiny words, healing prayer. Hosted in an Amphitheater just 500 meters from the beach.
Weekend tickets € 50/day € 25.
Tickets bought before March 16: weekend € 30/day € 20.
Event Location
Amphitheater Lagos , Auditorio Municipal de Lagos, 8600

Feira Arte Doce 2013
On Sun, Fri, Sat From: Friday 26 July To: Sunday 28 July

Traditional fair featuring sweet treats, cakes, cookies and much more.
Event Location
Complexo Desportivo de Lagos, Lagos

XII FETAAL – Feira de Tradições e Artes do Algarve
On Sun, Fri, Sat From: Friday 9 August To: Sunday 11 August

Annual fair of arts and traditions in the region. Local gastronomy, handcrafted items, music, beverages, children’s activities and more.
Event Location
Parque Urbano de Bensafrim, Lagos

LOULE
1º Annual Loulé Food Fest
Every Day From: Friday 19 April To: Sunday 28 April

The first annual food festival featuring local restaurants and special meals for the event.

6.ª Noite Branca/6th Annual White Night
On Saturday 31 August

The end of the summer season is celebrated in Loulé city center from the old market, to the castle with everything bathed and dressed in white. Live music, food and entertainment.
Free entrance.

OLHOS DE AGUA
16.ª Festa da Sardinha de Olhos de Água
On Thu, Fri, Sat From: Thursday 8 August To: Saturday 10 August

The 16th Annual Sardine Festival of Olhos de Agua will celebrate the sardine. The festival will have entertainment, lots of food and beverages.
Free entry.

PARCHAL
Carnival of Luxury
On Sun, Mon, Thu, Fri, Sat From: Thursday 25 April To: Monday 29 April
The Carnival will feature marine, fashion, real estate, art, aviation, technology, fine drinks and much more. A high-fashion catwalk and Sunday Family Carnival will also take place.
Event Location
Pavilhão – Centro de Congressos do Arade, Centro de Congressos do Arade, Parchal, 8400-611

PORTIMAO
19.º Festival da Sardinha/19th Annual Sardine Festival
Every Day From: Friday 2 August To: Sunday 11 August
The annual festival celebrating sardines. There will be plenty of food, beverages and entertainment.
Event Location
Parque de Feiras e Exposições, Portimão

SAO BRAS DE ALPORTEL
Feira da Serra
On Sun, Mon, Sat From: Saturday 27 July To: Monday 29 July
Traditional fair with local products, gastronomy, produce, livestock, events and music,
Event Location
Escola Poeta Bernardo de Passos, Rua 1º de Junho, São Brás de Alportel, 8150-111

SILVES
10º Medieval Fair in Silves
Every Day From: Friday 2 August To: Sunday 11 August

Traditional fair designed to show the town and people as in medieval times. Games, food, music and events.
Event Location
Historical Centre, Silves

TAVIRA
Minifeira Artesananto
Every Wed, Sat From: Wednesday 19 September 2012 To: Saturday 7 September 2013

Local artisan fair with gastronomy, handicrafts, etc. each Wednesday and Saturday.
Event Location
Jardim do Coreto , Jardim do Coreto, Tavira

Mediterranean Diet Exhibition
Every Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat From: Thursday 28 February To: Tuesday 31 December

An exhibition outlining what the diet is, the concept and lifestyle surrounding the diet.
Event Location
Museu Municipal de Tavira – Palácio da Galeria, Palácio da Galeria – Calçada da Galeria, Tavira, 8800-306

X Festival de Gastronomia do Mar/10th Seafood Festival
Every Day From: Sunday 12 May To: Monday 27 May

An event full of local recipes and presentation from restaurants in the area.
More Information
Various restaurants throughout Tavira will be participating.

Verão em Tavira/Summer in Tavira
Every Day From: Monday 1 July To: Sunday 15 September

Annual Summer festival welcoming and celebrating the season. There will be music, local gastronomy, beverages, sweets, events and children’s activities.
More Information
Located in numerous venues.

VILAMOURA
Algarve Spa Week
Every Day From: Saturday 19 October To: Saturday 26 October

Several 5 star hotels in the area will be hosting special spa events and offers. See site for hotels and schedules.
More Information
Hilton Vilamoura, The Lake Spa Resort Vilamoura, Santa Eulália Albufiera, Real Marina Olhão, Crowne Plaza Vilamoura, Vila Monte Montcarapcho, Tivoli Marina Vilamoura, Tivoli Vitoria Vilamoura, Martinhal Beach Resort Sagres, Bela Vista Portimão, Epic Sana Algarve.
Event Location
See other information above and the site for hotel names and locations, Vilamoura

Posted by: Vista Bonita Algarve | April 23, 2013

A Taste Of Germany In Porches, Algarve

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Vila Vita Biergarten is a taste of Bavaria in the Algarve. One of the most prestigious and luxurious resorts recently opened a typical beer garden near the village of Porches.

The Biergarten is spacious inside and out, it is ideal for groups and celebrations or just an early evening beer. Long wooden tables and benches, large wooden kegs, colourful wall mural s complete the illusion of a true Bavarian Biergarten.

The beer is the excellent Paulaner beer from the world famous brewery in Munich. The menu features authentic German dishes such as schnitzel, pretzel, potato salad and apple strudel. There is a great variety of home-made German sausages made by Vila Vita Parc’s own butcher Thomas Weber. Next door to the Biergarten you can find Thomas Weber’s new butcher shop or Metzgerei. Once a very well kept secret, the word is now out, this is the place to find quality meat as well as traditional, home-made German sausages and delicatessen fare. You can also buy some of the excellent wines produced on Vila Vita’s Herdade dos Grous estate ( one of our favourite wines).

The location of the Biergarten is along the EN-125 in Porches, signposted on the roundabout before you turn into Porches.

Opening times from Tuesday to Friday 1 pm to 10 pm and weekends from 12.30 pm to 10 pm.

Posted by: Vista Bonita Algarve | April 3, 2013

Why Are May & June The Perfect Months To Visit Vista Bonita Algarve

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In March and April the temperatures in the Algarve have risen to around 18°C to 20°C in the shade and temperatures in the sun anywhere from mid 20’s to 30°C. By May it’s really more like summer with shade temperatures in the mid 20’s and sun temperatures staying around 28°C to 30°C. The countryside is in full bloom and the cliff tops, particularly in the western Algarve, are a mass of colour and some quite unusual plants like the giant fennels and the huge “flowers” of the Agaves.

June to September are the hottest months and the chance of rain is practically nil. June and September temperatures are around the mid 20’s in the shade and 30°C plus in the sun but July and August are hotter still with shade temperatures rarely dropping below 30°C and reaching up to 40°C (or more sometimes) in the sun. The Algarve does benefit from light sea breezes which cool things down a little! Nightime temperatures rarely fall below 18°C and are normally still in the low 20’s

May & June are the perfect months to visit the Algarve as it is not too hot to explore all those coastal paths, enjoying the breath taking views. Not only is it the perfect climate, but there are less crowds, cheaper flights and car hire. But the most important thing of all, you will be waiting less time, for that chilled glass of wine or beer!…………..cheers!!!!

If you would like to experience your little piece of ‘Portuguese Paradise’ during the next couple of months, we still have availability at http://www.sunshineretreats.co.uk

 

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Posted by: Vista Bonita Algarve | February 20, 2013

Toll Roads In The Algarve – Don’t Get Caught Out!

Vista_Bonita_AlgarveThere are some highways in the Algarve on which the tolls are electronic only. It means that there are no cabins and the passing of vehicles is detected by devices placed at the beginning of those highways.
The highways are identified at the beginning with: “Electronic toll only”.

Algarve (Via do Infante)
– A22: Lagos – Castro Marim

FOREIGN LICENSE PLATE VEHICLES (www.portugaltolls.pt)

Toll card
Pre-loaded card with a fixed amount of 5, 10, 20 or 40 € to be consumed depending on circulation in electronic only tolls. This solution allows payment in cash or with bankcard.
Where to buy: Easy Toll’s Welcome Points, at CTT post-offices or on http://www.ctt.pt / http://www.portugaltolls.pt, service areas in Portugal and Spain, member Hotel Units and tourist offices.
After purchasing the card, the driver shall proceed to its activation by sending an SMS by mobile phone with the code printed on the card and the license plate of the vehicle (instructions on the card), so that it is associated with the license plate of the vehicle. You can activate more than one card, with the accumulation of balances.
Validity: one year or until spending the amount loaded

Toll service
– prepaid ticket for light vehicles, ready to use, with a fixed charge of €20, with unlimited use for 3 days or
– acquisition of pre-paid tickets with previously defined journeys (journey from Spain – Porto Airport, via A28 or A41 (round trip) or journey from Spain – Faro Airport via A22 (round trip)).
Where to buy: http://www.ctt.pt / http://www.portugaltolls.pt, Easy Toll’s Welcome Points on border posts located at: EN13 – Vila Nova de Cerveira, A24 Chaves, A25 – Vilar Formoso and A22 – Vila Real de Santo António, Porto Airport and Faro Airport), Matosinhos IKEA, Service Areas (A28 – Viana and Modivas, A25 – Celorico da Beira, A23 – Abrantes, A22 – Olhão, A24 – Vidago) and Post-offices.

Easy Toll
Automatic payment of electronic tolls, with the association of a credit card (Mastercard and Visa) to the license plate of the vehicle.
Where to access: Welcome Points located at the border posts at the following locations EN13 – Vila Nova de Cerveira, A24-Chaves, A25 – Vilar Formoso and A22 – Vila Real de Santo António.
How to access: The driver, not having to leave the vehicle, enters the credit card in the payment terminal and the system automatically associates the vehicle’s license plate to the bankcard. The tolls rates owed are directly debited to the account associated with the card.
Validity: At the time of accession, valid for 30 days, a ticket is issued as proof and must be kept.
The driver is always able to change license plates or cancel the membership, through the Call Center 707 500 501 (National) or 00 351 212 879 555 (from abroad) or http://www.portugaltolls.pt.

Via Verde Visitors
The driver may rent a Temporary ‘Via Verde Visitors’ Device to be consumed depending on circulation that has the advantage of being also used also on traditional tolls.
Cost of rental: € 6 in the first week, and 1.50 € for each week after that; initial deposit € 27.50 (value refunded upon return of the device).
Validity: 90 days, extendable.
Where to rent: http://www.viaverde.pt, Via Verde Stores or service areas.

PORTUGUESE LICENSE PLATE VEHICLES

Car hire
When hiring a car, please ask the hire company how payment is to be made regarding electronic tolls. For their customers convenience, some car hiring companies have already installed devices on their vehicles and the costs of using the tolls are added at the client’s bill.
If the vehicles are not equipped with electronic devices, the payment of electronic tolls is normally done by the customers at Post Offices.

Payment after having circulated at the roads concerned (only available for vehicles with a Portuguese license plate)
If a vehicle does not have an electronic device when circulating at the highways concerned, a photo of the license plate will be made and saved until the payment is made.
Term for payment: the payment can be made at the second day after having circulated at the roads mentioned above and for a period of five weekdays, at the post office or at one of the shops signalized as “Payshop”.
Costs: normal toll costs + administrative costs (an amount €0,25 for every time the roads were used with a maximum of €2 for each payment made)
Note: when a payment term has passed, the driver is in violation of the rules, and fines will be added to the administrative costs.

Payment through electronic devices

In order for the vehicles to use the above mentioned highways, they should have an electronic device, which must be bought or hired beforehand at a Service Area (Área de Serviço) alongside the highways or at a post office (CTT/Correios). There are three types of electronic devices:

Electronic license plate device (Dispositivo electrónico de matrícula – DEM): the device is linked to the vehicle’s license plate and cannot be transmitted to other cars.
Obtaining: at the highway service areas or other locations like the post offices and the Via Verde Portugal-shops.
Costs: €27,50 to purchase + preloading a minimum €10 for light vehicles and €20 for heavy vehicles.
Validity: valid for 90 days as from the date of the last preload. After this period the remaining balance will be lost and the device will be deactivated. To reactivate the device it will be necessary to re-charge it with a minimum of €10.

Temporary device (Dispositivo temporário – DT): the best solution for a short stay, and as a result for vehicles with a foreign license plate; the license plate is not linked to the device, therefore, anonymity is guaranteed.
Obtaining: it is necessary to establish a lease contract with the responsible entities, at the highway service areas or other locations like the post offices and the Via Verde Portugal-shops.
Costs: deposit of €27,50 (that will be given back to the driver when the device is returned in good condition within a period of 30 days) + preloading a minimum of €10 for light vehicles and €20 for heavy vehicles. The lease has a cost of 6 euros on the first week, and at the following weeks the cost is about 1,50 euros per week.
Validity: valid for 90 days as from the date of the last preload. After this period the remaining balance will be lost and the device will be deactivated. To reactivate the device it will be necessary to re-charge it with a minimum of €10.

Devices from a toll entity (Dispositivo de uma entidade de cobrança de Portagens – DECP) like Via Verde are also accepted on these highways. Although the license plate is not linked to the device, it is necessary to establish a contract with a toll entity. This can be used by vehicles with a foreign license plate that stay in Portugal for a longer period of time.
Obtaining: Via Verde-shops (www.viaverde.pt)
Costs: €27,50 + direct debit from bank account every time the device is used.
Validity: Until the cancelation of the contract

Posted by: Vista Bonita Algarve | February 11, 2013

20% Discount Off Your Honeymoon At Vista Bonita Algarve

Algarvian Bride

With Valentines Day just arround the corner, we thought we would celebrate the fact that love is in the air, with an offer for all couples planning to tie the knot during 2013. To qualify for the 20% discount, simply quote HONEYMOON13 when enquiring about availability (proof of forhcoming marriage will be required).

Vista Bonita is the perfect retreat for a relaxing honeymoon away from the hustle and bustle of a crowded resort. With its stunning sea views, the lounge balcony is the perfect place to enjoy a romantic evening. Should you wish to drag yourselves away from the luxury apartment, you will find a good selection of bars and restaurants, within walking distance, catering for all tastes and budgets.

The apartment is equipped with everything you could possibly need for the perfect holiday, including bathrobes, slippers, toiletries and much more. If you would like to sample a slice of Portuguese paradise, then look no further…….www.sunshineretreats.co.uk

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