Wintering in Portugal It is 10:30am, Sunday early December in the Algarve, Portugal, and as I go on my morning walk, one can feel the heat of the day.

The man walking along the country road just ahead of me is taking off his T shirt because of the sun's relentless rays. The temperature is 25 degrees, but feels much hotter. Portugal has again come into its own for long stay travellers. It is not just the weather that is making Portugal popular for these travellers 'in the know'. With the weakening of the Euro, from its once heady days, and the economic recession, the Algarve has become a great and inexpensive travel destination.

From November to February, you can expect bargains in both accommodation and eating out! The weather is NEVER as cold as in northern Europe (England, Ireland etc) or the USA or Canada, as a matter of fact, October till February is the preferred month for many retires to come. At the World Tourism Fair, Portugal has been awarded the prize for the 'Best HolidayDestination of Europe' and the tourists interviewed all said the same thing: "It's safe, friendly and the food and wine are good" In Portugal, there are no terrorist groups or massive demonstrations.

Portugal also gets the most sunshine of any European country, even more than Greece. In the off season from mid November until two weeks before Easter, you can do an internet search of 'Hotels, Algarve', and find Hotel rates from 20 Euros a night in a 4 star hotel. Often calling the hotel directly will get you the best rates. The favoured destinations for money savers being Alvor, still with a lovely 'small town image' and a very long beach and board walk or Praia da Rocha, with the huge beach and board walk or Carvoeiro with the many grotto type beaches. Albufeira is also popular, but much more 'touristic', however even Albufeira some tourist activity dies down in the winter. check out for bars with karaoke, quiz nights.

EATING OUT A new phenomenon has come about, many restaurants now offer 3 course lunch specials with choice of 2 to 5 dishes, including soup/salad, main meal & coffee, with choice of wine or beer for between 5.50 Euro and 8 Euro If you have your main meal at lunch, and a smaller snack at night, you could easily have all your daily food 'eating out' for under 20 to 25. Thus eliminating the need to shop at grocery stores, and no need to tidy up or do the dishes! Try some of our favourite restaurants, all listed on the FREEMAPS of each town.

A Portuguese time honoured tradition is eating in the 'coffee shops': Many of these are actually 'scaled down' restaurants, offering full menus and a warm and cosy atmosphere. Every coffee shop serves the all time favourite Portuguese 'snack' the 'toasta mista' , which is a ham and cheese toasted sandwich. You could also try the 'bifana', a fried pork sandwich, or a 'prego', a fried beef sandwich, with the spicy mustard, all these are delicious. It is not difficult to find a coffee shop for these treats, since every town has dozens of them. They are really a part of the fabric of Portuguese life. To end the meal try one of the very hard to resist divine pastries. Some restaurants are even doing specials at dinner, prices ranging from 8 to 23 for a full three course meal including wine or other drink. That is another unique advantage about the Algarve for a holiday, everyone who has a restaurant, pub or tourist oriented business is happy to speak English! So wintering in the Algarve is a very good choice!