Portuguese holiday closer to home and prefer the Algarve

Many Portuguese citizens will be spending their summer holidays within the country and often close to their hometown due to economic reasons, according to a new study by Homelidays, a website for holiday rentals.

The hard economic times are prompting more people to search for a holiday solution that does not leave their wallet feeling too light. One of the most popular tendencies is the rental of private residences which can be half the price of hotel accommodation.

Preparing meals at home or choosing which kind of home they desire, and then dividing the cost between friends or family is likely to attract an increasing amount of Portuguese and also foreign tourists.

“Going on a vacation does not have to be an expensive experience. By renting a private apartment, the family budget is more easily managed,” said Sofia Dias of Homelidays Portugal.

Because of limited budgets the Portuguese are now showing a preference for a national vacation, often close to their home town, as money is saved on fuel and tolls.

The Algarve, however, continues to be the main destination for the Portuguese, representing the choice of 70% of them. Lisbon (12%) is down the list followed by the lower Alentejo (5%).

The most sought-after towns in the Algarve are Albufeira, Vilamoura, Portimão, Cabanas de Tavira and Monte Gordo.

The hospitality, climate, gastronomy and more accessible costs are the factors that make many tourists choose Portugal for a holiday.

However, for those Portuguese tourists travelling outside the country, “low cost” destinations closer to Portugal are also popular. France and Italy are the more frequently chosen countries, while Barcelona, Huelva, Málaga and the Balearic Islands are the most visited cities in Spain.

In terms of foreign tourists, the “low cost” destinations, such as Porto, Lisbon and Faro districts, are the most popular.

“There are more and more foreign tourists choosing to rent private housing in Portugal. Reservations have increased 3%, with a boost in the requests from Dutch (6%), British (5%), German (3%) and French (2%) tourists. However, the demand from the Italian and Spanish, who due to economic difficulties are also focusing on national tourism, registered a 6% and 15% drop, respectively, she said.

Dias added that there is an increasing tendency for last minute reservations by the European tourists.

August continues to be the preferred month for vacations, which are on average 10 days long. The average weekly spending varies from €790 in Portugal, €1,000 in France and €1,120 in Spain.