Why book a private holiday apartment in Portugal?
Its holiday time and you have chosen where you want to go, and good choice by the way, Portugal is amazing.
You will not be disappointed with your holiday destination, whether you are looking for the bright city lights of Lisbon or Porto, the relaxing nature in the North of Portugal with the Peneda-Gerês National Park, the monuments and castles of central Portugal, the vineyards of the Alentejo or a family seaside holiday on the Algarve.
All areas of Mainland Portugal have so much to offer and so much to see and do, add to that the beautiful Mediterranean climate and fantastic food, your only question now is where to stay.
The beach is just a stroll away from Por do Sol holiday Apartment, Porches, Algarve
Where am I going to stay in Portugal?
There are so many options available, from the all inclusive through to hotels, campsites to B&B’s, but have you considered renting a private holiday apartment?
This may be a scary prospect but with flights available world wide to 3 different airports on Mainland Portugal, Porto in the North, Lisbon for central and faro for Southern Portugal, booking your own holiday has never been easier.
You may still have some reservations and questions if you have not rented a private holiday apartment before, and we will hopefully answer many of those questions with this post.
This could be your pool if you book Ocean Villas, 2 bed apt, Praia da Luz
I don’t want to be in a tower block!
You may have reservations about being in a tower block, or a concrete jungle, but this is not the case. Yes, there are some large complexes, but you can also rent a private holiday apartment in a town or the countryside.
Here is an example of an apartment from a converted farmhouse, you can have your own space, garden and even pool! So now you have as much choice renting a private holiday apartment as you do when renting a villa.
Casa Principal Brejo Tabua An apartment in a converted farmhouse with private pool
How can I get to my private holiday apartment in Portugal?
One of the main pluses of booking a package holiday is your transport from the airport to the accommodation, it is easy and included in the price. But when you look at it, is it really included? Or is this an extra cost that is part of your price?
If you book direct there are many options open to you. Registered Taxis are readily available from all airports.
Another option is that many apartment owners will assist with transport if needed, either providing it themselves or booking it for you. Speak to your private holiday apartment owner to discuss this.
Portugal has an excellent public transport system with trains, tubes and buses, which are inexpensive, clean and regular.
Or you could hire a car, again there are so many options available and you can collect your hire car at the airport and drop it off on your way home. Many hire companies will also hire child car seats and sat navs (for a fee).
Just imagine getting off the plane and having a driver waiting there for you, no more getting on a coach and being the last drop off, wasting a couple of hours of your precious holiday time.
I want on site entertainment
There are many private apartments set in complexes, which means you can enjoy the benefits of the complex, such as swimming pools, spas, children’s areas and entertainment.
If you book a private apartment you can speak directly to the owner to find out what is available in the complex where the apartment is located.
Lots of on site entertainment can be found at Casa Freedom Clube Albufeira, Algarve apartment
How do I know what the apartment will look like?
The main difference with booking an apartment directly is, you have booked the exact apartment that you want and will not arrive and be allocated an apartment that you have never seen photos of. Remember if you are booking at a large complex they will only show photos of the best apartments on the website or in the brochure, it is not possible to show all apartments.
By booking a private apartment you have been able to speak to the owner directly and seen photographs of the actual apartment you will be staying in, you will usually see a photo of each room and be able to ask questions about the apartment before you book.
You will be guaranteed this kitchen with balcony at Apartamento de Sonho, Tavira, Algarve
I want a sea view
If you book a private apartment you can actually ask to see what the view is like, many will have a photo of the view, especially if this is a sea view, the owner will be advertising that photo. There is no worry about whether your sea view will only be available if you stand on one leg and stretch your neck to the left.
By booking a private apartment you can actually ask the owner to send you a photo of the view so you know exactly what you will be getting.
Can you imagine seeing this view every morning? (and knowing this is the view you will be getting as there are not 300 other apartments available)
The view from Ocean Villas, 1 bed apt, Praia da Luz
I want to visit a city, are there private holiday apartments available?
By booking a private apartment in one of the cities also offers you the chance of immersing yourself in city life and getting a real feel of the city, rather than staying in a tourist area.
Private apartments are available across all of Portugal, they can be found in cities, coastal resorts or in the rural areas close to monuments and castles.
Imagine going to visit Lisbon or Porto and instead of staying in a hotel, you stay in an apartment, this way you are able to eat as and when you choose. You will have the benefit of being able to visit the local markets and buy the food you choose and cook it at a time you choose. If you have an apartment with a balcony, there is no rush to get the best seats in the hotel restaurant, that best seat is yours at all times.
Private terrace Located right in the center of picturesque and historical Lisbon "Bairro" at The White House, Graça, Lisbon Centre
Where can I eat if I book a private holiday apartment in Portugal
This is one of the best reasons for booking your own private holiday apartment, the choice of where to eat is totally up to you. If you are on a complex you can still use the the site facilities and restaurants, (though check if these are included in the price). Or you can choose to eat in the local cafes or restaurants in the area and not be time bound by complex/hotel meal times.
Many restaurants in Portugal offer a menu of the day, which vary from region to region but usually offer at least 2 courses with drinks for a very special price.
Or you can choose to shop and cook for yourself at your own leisure, especially good for those with restricted diets or children.
Have you seen the local markets with the fresh fish, seafood and amazing fruit and vegetables or the little cafes selling fresh baked pastries and breads, safe in the knowledge these have not been mass baked or left sitting on a counter for hours.
You could even book yourself a cooking experience and Learn to cook like a local, such as this experience in Lisbon (click on link to find out more)
Olhao Market by the coast
Why should I book a private holiday apartment in Portugal?
Booking a private holiday apartment in Portugal has many benefits as described above, but as a quick summary:
You can choose the exact apartment that you want.
You are not limited to what a particular agency has to offer.
You will be able to speak to the owner before booking (and get advice on the best places to eat, visit and explore, after all they often live in the area)
You can still enjoy the on site benefits of a complex.
The cost can be significantly lower than booking a package holiday.
You can have the opportunity to holiday in some of the best locations, not just the tourist areas.
Are there any potential problems with booking a private apartment in Portugal?
As with everything in life there are always possible problems, but these can easily be over come.
With the rise of the tourist industry, there are some unscrupulous people that will advertise apartments, villas and houses for holiday accommodation without being fully registered and legal.
Always check that an apartment has an AL (alojamento local) license, this will prove that the apartment is fully registered, all holiday accommodation in Portugal will have this number and it should be on any advert.
If an apartment is advertised with no photographs (unlikely but possible) always ask for photographs to be sent to you before booking.
Confirm the address of the apartment to ensure that it is exactly where you are looking for.
Ensure that you are booking the right style of apartment for your needs, do you need wheelchair accessible? Do you need car parking? Is there WIFI? And for the benefit of the apartment owner, do not arrive with more guests than agreed.
To be safe you can book via one of the big advertising sites, but beware, there are often commission fees included in these sites (either advertised or included in the price of the accommodation) or you could use a commission free site such as Portugalholidays4u.com. All properties are registered and you can speak directly to the owner and pay no commission costs.
If you enjoyed this article, the following articles may also be of interest:
Bed and breakfasts (B&B’s) in Portugal - An article about Bed and breakfasts in Portugal
Holiday villas in Portugal - An article about private holiday villas in Portugal
Portugal on a budget - An article with tips and advice for holidaying on a budget
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