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Great places to stay in Portugal

Solares de Portugal: Barcelos

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When you're looking for a place to stay in Portugal you might find that all the different names and ratings systems can get a bit confusing. The good news is that there are lots of options and there really is something for everyone including hotels, resorts, solares, pousadas, inns, bed and breakfasts, youth hostels, camp sites and rented villas and apartments.

Portugal's hotels come in all shapes and sizes and vary from the very traditional, to beautifully boutique to strikingly modern to well-known chain hotels. They are normally awarded between one and five stars but a state-of-the-art six star hotel is due to open in the Algarve in 2009. Prices vary widely depending on the level of luxury and location of the hotel and the time of the year.

Pestana Palace Hotel

There are a number of large, often up-market, resorts in Portugal, offering accommodation in either a hotel or rented apartment or villa. Their other amenities generally include excellent restaurants, luxurious spas, pools, tennis courts, golf courses and lots of opportunities for other sports and activities.

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Solares and Pousadas offer visitors a real chance to get up close and personal with Portugal's history and culture.

The Solares de Portugal are privately owned and occupied houses that are generally in more rural areas. They are often very old and may have belonged to the same family for centuries. They accept a small number of guests and feel much more personal than hotels. Types of solare include casas antigas, quintas e herdades and casas rusticás. Casas Antigas are manor houses and stately homes often dating from C17th or C18th. They preserve Portugal's heritage and offer a unique opportunity to mix with the aristocracy and surround yourself with history and traditional elegance! Quintas e Herdades are country estates and large farms- some come with their own vineyards so if you're a wine lover you could get an insight into how your favourites are made. Casas Rusticás are slightly more modest and are often cottages in beautiful, tranquil settings. The Solares de Portugal scheme was formally known as Turismo de Habitacão

Solare: Sao Pedro Pousada dos Loios

Pousadas are government owned hotels that have been carefully chosen to show case the very best of Portugal. They must either be architecturally significant or be located in a site of outstanding natural beauty or historic importance. Many are based in ancient castles, palaces, medieval townhouses, convents or monasteries. Each pousada is unique and reflects the culture, history and architecture of its region. Whether you chose to live like royalty in opulent surroundings or prefer more low-key comfort, they make for very memorable holidays and like solares they are an experience in their own right.

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Albergarias and estalagems are both inns that have been awarded four or five stars so the standard of accommodation should be high. They are generally very comfortable and in attractive locations.

Bed and Breakfast
Residencials and pensões are both similar to BandBs (although pensoes do not necessarily provide breakfast). They are rated from one to four stars. They are generally inexpensive and pleasant enough and are particularly useful to look out for when you arrive in a town without a reservation. They can be a good places to meet ordinary Portuguese people and gain an interesting insight into their life.

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Youth Hostels
There are 44 youth hostels in Portugal. If you want to stay you must have a valid YHA membership card and from October to May you have to book in advance.

VW camper van

Camping and Caravaning
There are a good number of cheap camp and caravan sites in Portugal- particularly in popular tourist regions. They are listed in the Roteiro Campista guide.

Private Rentals
More and more people are choosing to rent private villas and apartments in Portugal. This can be a particularly affordable option if you have a big family or group of friends. It may be the perfect solution if you want to enjoy the freedom of having the place to yourself and some home comforts!

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search for places to stay in Portugal

Once you've found somewhere to stay in Portugal why not check out our guide to Portugal and travel advice to make the most of your time here?

places to stay in Portugal photos copyright: Solares de Portugal, Alma Mollemans, Antonio Sacchetti, Neil Watters
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