Planning Your Trip
Flights & Rental Cars
There are many direct flights from Boston but we have flown TAP and have found it to be wonderful. It's a six to seven hour flight and if you plan it right, you can arrive first thing in the morning, get to the condo, take a nap and be on Portugal time when you wake up. The local rental car company Cael has been easy to use, very professional and affordable. They pick you up at the airport and drop you off. It's very convenient and they speak English. If you like to drive manual cars, you will have a much better selection for a cheaper price.
Portugal uses Euros. And they use a lot of coins. The best way to exchange money is to simply use your United States bank card at a local ATM. Look for Santander, Millenium, Caixa Geral and similar banking kiosks. Euronet (conveniently found all over the airport and tourist spots) charges higher fees and is probably NOT the best option. There is a VAT tax on most items you buy so be aware of this additional tax.
When to Visit
Portugal is not nearly as busy as many of the well known European destinations but it can still get very busy in the summer months. In July through September Nazare is a beach town with warm weather, beautiful beaches and plenty of outdoor activities. The shoulder Seasons (Spring and Fall ) are our favorite times to visit. It's not as populated or as hot but the skies are blue and the weather is comfortable. The winter months offer the unique attraction of the largest waves in the world. The weather may not be as nice, but there's no snow or freezing temperatures, and the spectacle of surfers riding 100 foot waves will make any rain in the forecast bearable.
Things to Know
We have learned new tips and tricks every time we've traveled to Nazare, so here are just a few helpful ideas for your Retreat to the Silver Coast! Pack layers no matter what time of year you travel but pack light--there is a washing machine in the condo. The Portuguese generally don't have dryers, but even in rainy weather, our clothes dried perfectly hanging up outside. Pack good walking shoes. Everything is within walking distance but our condo is at the top of a hill so you'll get some great exercise if you decide to walk back from the village or beach. The grocery store, Pingo Doce, is close by but you have to bring your own bags or purchase them there.
Restaurants often close between 2:00pm and 7:00pm so make sure to check their hours. Appetizers like bread and olives that arrive at the table are not complementary. If you are not interested, don't touch them or just send them back. If you eat any of it, you will be charged. The amount is usually very small and the items are tasty but they are not free.
The condo has many of the comforts from home, so you don't need to pack much. We have adapters for U.S. devices, there are hair dryers, all kitchen appliances, a washing machine and toiletries. You just have to show up ready to fall in love with the Silver Coast!
Hopefully you won't need any medical care while on vacation but if you do, our experience was wonderful. There is a Clinic, Clincia do Sitio, just minutes from the condo that was very professional, clean and helpful. We showed up with a minor skin infections, no insurance and no appointment. They got us right in, spoke English and were very thorough. After 30 minutes of care and a prescription for a pharmacy next door, we were in and out for less than $25.00. There are also hospitals nearby and a state of the art Hospital in Lisbon if there was more of a need.