Guide to a Senior’s Long Term Stay in Portugal

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Award winning Portugal, Europe’s most southwestern country is a very popular long stay holiday destination. With its gorgeous coastline, picturesque towns and villages, wide assortment of leisure activities, wonderful cuisine and wines, pleasing climate, it’s the perfect destination for seniors. If you’re looking for something longer than a two week vacation, whether it’s Albufeira, the Algarve, the Azores or Madeira, you can buy a long stay holiday package or find an apartment or villa for rent on your own or through a travel agent.  I thought I’d write what could be a guide for seniors long term stay in Portugal.

What’s more, the daily cost of living in Portugal will make your money stretch further. It’s the second cheapest tourist destination for 2014, second only to Bali, according to This Money.  Other travel discounts for seniors are railway travel.  Pensioners are entitled to a 50% discount off the InterRail One-Country Pass. Visiting Lisbon? Get discounted entrance fees to tourist attractions and museums with the Lisboa Card for tourists.

Portugal is blessed with 300 days of sunshine a year, so if it’s sun you seek, you can find it.  Depending on where you decide to stay and your season of travel to Portugal you’ll find various climates. In the autumn and winter, it can be rainy and windy with an average temperature of 16°C (61°F). Summer runs from May to October.  In the south, summer temperatures can go as high as 40°C (104°F). In the North of Portugal, the average summer temperature is a little cooler at about 35°C (95°F).

There are plenty of resorts, apartments and condos set up for long term stays in Portugal. Companies such as Merit Vacations, JM Vacations in Canada offer long stay holidays. JLM Travel (www.jlmtravel.co.uk)  and OwnersDirect (www.ownersdirect.co.uk) out of the U.K. offer self-catering apartments and long term holiday packages to Portugal.  These packages include flights, accommodations, most meals, excursions, and an English speaking guide.  OwnersDirect has a large assortment of self-catering apartments and hotels for rent all over Portugal if you’re looking for something beyond the Albufeira/Algarve area. Some of these packages even offer a fly/drive option if you want to rent a car.

You can even create your own long stay holiday to Portugal or work with your travel agent to arrange flight and apartment-hotel. The apartments and condos usually come with fully equipped kitchens or kitchenettes on long stay package tours so you can head out to the market and try cooking up some of the local food.

If you’re creating your own long stay holiday, look for an aparthotel that is close to shopping, the beach and the activities you want to partake in. Check out these popular condo-hotels, aparthotels and resorts for seniors long term stays in Portugal:

  • Cerro Mar Atlantico
  • Cerro Mar Garden
  • Grande Real Santa Eulália Resort & Hotel Spa
  • Alfagar
  • Club Praia Mar
  • Forte Do Vale, Paraiso de Albufeira
  • Apartamentos do Parque
  • Alto Da Colina Aparthotel
  • Brisa Sol
  • Grand Santa Eulalia
  • Balaia Golf Village
  • Cantinho Das Das Buganvilias Resort (in the Azores)

If you love to golf as so many retirees do, you’ll be happy to know, Portugal has approximately 80 golf courses.   Many of these courses are championship courses designed by some of the most famous golf pros.  Golfing in Portugal is a very memorable experience – ask anyone who’s done it. Golf courses facing the sea or surrounded by lakes and mountains make it the ultimate golfer’s paradise.

Once you’ve settled in your “residence” in Portugal, be sure to take in some cultural excursions. First on your list should be a tour to the country’s capital city Lisbon. There’s much to see and do in this historic city on the coast, including riding the famous tram through the city. It’s a city that blends of modern and historical architecture, monuments, museums, restaurants, cafés and great shopping. If you want to tour Lisbon on your own, an excellent do-it-yourself tour can be found here on the LisbonLux website. Just print off a copy of the tour and be your own tour guide!

The culinary delights on the menu of Portugal feature some of the best fish in the world. Fresh fished and shellfish grilled to perfection will satisfy seafood lovers. Don’t miss trying “bacalhau,”  – dried and salted cod, the national dish of Portugal.  Meats include goat, pork, veal and game.  Locally grown and manufactured olive oil, mountain cheeses and freshly breads will tantalize your taste buds.  Custard tarts or cinnamon flavoured rice puddings are popular desserts. Try some of Portugal’s own version of tapas called “petiscos.”  Fresh fruits and vegetables add to the wonderful cuisine. Portuguese wines such as Madeira, Vinho Verde, Vinho do Dão and Vinho da Bairrada accompany meals, and Porto or Portuguese liquors such as Ginjinha or Beirão are sipped slowly after a meal.

Blessed by it’s close location to the Atlantic ocean, almost a full year of sunshine and rich culture, Portugal is an ideal place for seniors seeking a long term stay holiday. With it’s low cost of daily living, Portugal is an ideal place in which to escape the dreary cold winter at a reasonable price.  If you have any questions or info you’d like to share with readers on long term stays in Portugal we haven’t covered, please leave us a comment and we’ll answer it here for the benefit of our readers.