Staying for winter

Not a clue how to spend the dark days of winter in the Algarve? Read on.

On the next pages two couples reveal their favourite activity for when the weather is OK, but not good enough to lie on a beach. Since sometimes the weather isn’t OK at all, there’s also advice on what to do if it rains for five days in a row.

Already convinced that you want to stay in the Algarve no matter the weather? Then better start learning Portuguese and check out the top property buying tips given by real estate experts.

See original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine November 2015


What to do in winter?

No more outdoor activities once autumn has gone? Not according to these two couples who especially visit the Algarve in winter time.

Francijne (62) en Wim (68) Kreemer (first picture) have been coming to the Algarve for the last seven winters. They walk a lot, five days a week. Lucie (61) and Maurits (65) Hagenaar (second picture) have been spending the last nine winters in the Algarve. Every day they enjoy the quintessentially Dutch activity of cycling.

“We walk 15 to 20 kms a day, which takes us 3 to 4 hours. Usually we go for a coffee or have lunch inbetween. It’s nice to be active without needing more than hiking shoes, a bottle of water and a cane.
Summer in the Algarve is too hot for walking, but winter is perfect with clean air, usually clear blue skies and a temperature just below 23˚C.

The nature here is gorgeous and by walking you can get everywhere. Also, you really experience the journey: you’ve got time to smell the flowers.

We choose our routes according to the season: in spring we walk the Mimosa route near Cacela Velha. The bright yellow of the blooming mimosa together with the greyish blue of the eucalyptus is spectacular. There are many great walking tracks in the Algarve but we always find the nicest places unexpectedly, by just leaving the house and turning left and right at chance.“


“We first brought our bikes along in 2014. That winter we cycled about 2,500kms. It isn’t just a fun way to get fresh air, it also saves on petrol.

You see more of the landscape on a bike; the cycling tracks along the coast have great views of the salt pans. It’s also easier to stop at shops in a city. We do all our shopping by bike so we’ve brought panniers from Holland. Our dog Lotje always travels along in a basket on the back of Maurits’ bike. She loves it!

Our electric bikes are ideal for the hills; the motor assists with pedalling. Most Portuguese bike shops wouldn’t know what to do with them, but there’s a special support point in Almancil, Martin’s e-bike. The roads here are quite bad, so we’ve got anti-leak tyres.

To keep track of each other we’ve installed side mirrors. We always cycle behind each other if there’s a car coming as the Portuguese aren’t that used to cyclers. They are very friendly though, they all wave when we pass.”



Portuguese lesson

Step one when integrating in the Algarve? Learn Portuguese of course! The best way to do this is not by reading this magazine (sorry!), but by taking lessons. However, we’re always happy to help, so here are nine sentences that might (or might not) come in handy this winter:


1. Coffee

Could I have a coffee and a pastel de nata please? Actually, make that two pasteis de nata, they’re amazing.

Bom dia, um café e um pastel de nata, por favor. Não, traz-me dois pastéis de nata, eles são muito bons!


2. Toll

Hello man of the post office. I might have, unintentionally of course, driven over the A22 last week. Could you please let me know how much toll I need to pay?

Bom dia, senhor de correios. Inadvertidamente conduzei na A22, na semana passada. Pode me dizer quanto tenho de pagar para a portagem, por favor?


3. Estrangeiros

I’m lucky enough to spend the winter in the Algarve. Originally I come from England/Germany/Holland. That’s a country with a lot of rain, hence why I spend my winters here.

Eu tenho a sorte de passar o inverno no Algarve. Sou da Inglaterra/Alemanha/Holanda. É um país com muito chuva. É por isso que passo os meus invernos cá.


4. Toll part II

Hello man of the post office. Any chance the bill for the toll is already in? No? OK, see you next week. Have a good day!

Bom dia senhor de correios. A multa para a portagem já está? Não? Ok, vê-lo na próxima semana. Tenha um bom dia!


5. Unwanted pets

Do you maybe sell anything against mice/cockroaches/mosquitos?

Tem alguma coisa contra ratos/baratas/mosquitos?


6. Neighbours

Hello neighbour. Everything ok? Yes, I’m fine too, thanks. I don’t feel like watering the plants. Do you think it’s going to rain this week?

Olá vizinho! Está tudo bem? Eu também, obrigado. Não me apetece regar as plantas. Acha que vai chover esta semana?


7. Damp house

Do you maybe sell dehumidifiers?

Vende-se desumidificadores? 


8. Understanding

Could you please talk a bit slower? No, I don’t mean louder. I am not deaf, it’s just that I don’t speak or understand Portuguese very well.

Por favor, pode falar um pouco mais devagar? Não, não queria dizer mais alto. Não sou surdo, é so que não falo português muito bem.


9. Toll again

Hello man of the post office. Me again. Oh, still no bill I see. Well, then I suppose they’ll just send me the fine anywhere between now and three years. Thanks anyway for your help!

Bom dia, senhor de correios. Voltei! Oh, ainda não vejo uma multa. Ben, então suponho que eles simplesmente vão enviar-me a multa em qualquer altura entre agora e três anos. Seja o que for, obrigado pela sua ajuda!


How to buy a house in the Algarve?

Well, we won’t tell you that. Not only would it get very complicated, there are also already a lot of internet info guides. However, we’ve narrowed it down a bit: three experts give you their absolute best tips for buying property in the Algarve.


S.S. Tomaz

S.S. Tomaz, managing director of Algarve Property (

‘Use a local and reputable lawyer and Estate Agency, not an internet based agent’

“A buyer should engage the services of a local and long established reputable and licensed Estate Agency. Avoid internet based agents that work out of a computer and then refer you to whoever pays them the highest commission; the agent must have local offices and be in the market for ten years or more.

Also, you should use the services of a well-established bilingual and reputable local lawyer who has been in the market for the last ten years as well to represent you and perform due diligence. This way all checks on the property would normally be done and assure a safe transaction.”


Dick Knoth

Dick Knoth, estate agent with Portuguese 3-RAMi licence (

‘Realise that the Portuguese culture, mentality and laws are different from those in your home country’

“First, realise that buying a house in the Algarve isn’t the same as buying a house in your home country. In Portugal there’s a different law, culture and mentality. There are other things that should be checked when it comes to state of a property: e.g. does that new layer of paint maybe hide hairline cracks?

Also, it’s all about exact location. In the Algarve, five kilometres more north or south can make a huge different climate-wise. When possible, visit in different seasons so you know it isn’t too hot in summer or too cold in winter. In Portugal there are no water boards, so make sure that when it rains in autumn or spring, the height difference in the landscape doesn’t mean your garden becomes a swimming pool.”


Richard Mills

Richard Mills, director of Azul Properties (

‘Visit the property at different times of day and, when buying in a rural area, carry out the milk test’

“Make sure you view the property at different times of the day, and early evening. It is good to see what happens once the neighbours are home from work (are they noisy?), but it is also important to see how the light changes, and how this makes a house feel.

When purchasing property outside of urban areas, always carry out the milk test. What is that? Imagine that you are making a cup of tea or coffee, and suddenly realise you have run out of milk. How long will it take you to get to the nearest shop and back? Small things like this can make all the difference.”


See original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine November 2015

Posted in Features.

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