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Lisbon to Salema

We are flying to Lisbon in September and plan on relaxing in Salema for a few days before returning to explore Lisbon and other destinations. Our thought was to rent a car and drive there
( there are 5 of us) but wanted to see if there are other options...bus? train? A bit concerned about driving after a VERY long flight! Thanks for any suggestions.

Posted by
18896 posts

I haven't seen a positive comment about Salema on this forum from someone who has been there recently since I began reading here in 2015. I know Rick still recommends it, but he seems to be the only one. I suggest you do some further research to see whether you can find a less spoiled/over-developed place. I know Tavira has been mentioned positively, but I haven't been there myself since the 1980s, so we need to hear from more recent visitors.

Edited to add: Try Googling photos Salema and photos Tavira, then compare the architecture. However, I don't know about the beaches in Tavira.

There is relatively fast rail service from Lisbon to Faro taking between 3 and 3-1/2 hours. There's slower rail service to some of the smaller towns and cities in the south, including Tavira.

Edited to add: Salema doesn't seem to have rail service. You can get as close as Lagos by train, then take a bus. I cannot imagine making the drive from Lisbon to Salema after an overnight flight. It would not be safe.

Posted by
1011 posts

I’m one of those people who will tell you to find someplace else besides Salema! There are beaches much closer to Lisbon that are lovely and, likely, less crowded. Depending on your length of stay in Portugal, you can find better things to do than taking the time to get to the Algarve and back.

If you must go to the Algarve, take the train and stay in Lagos. Much nicer town with more of everything. Nice beaches but the big draw to me is the rock formations. You do really need a car in the Algarve, but rent it once you get there.

Posted by
4752 posts

You shouldn’t drive after a long flight anywhere, but having driven in Portugal numerous times, the standard of driving from the locals can leave a lot to be desired, so you need to be alert.

Many standard rental cars won’t be large enough for 5 people plus luggage, so you will need a larger vehicle and you may find it difficult to find this in an automatic format, as manual is the standard in Europe.

I am another who wouldn’t recommend Salema, preferring Lagos if it must be the Algarve. Take the train there then hire a car. There are many great beach areas closer to Lisbon. I like the Comporta area or Zambujeira do Mar south of Lisbon or Caldas da Rainha to the north.

Posted by
24 posts

Oh gosh.... sounds like we may need to change our itinerary after the negative comments about Salema! We chose it because Rick has mentioned it is his favorite European beach! Thanks for the replies.