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Salema or???

We had planned on arriving in Lisbon and go directly to Salema ( On recommendation of RS book ) for a few days in September before returning to Lisbon to begin a tour of Portugal. But.... we have now heard several negative comments about Salema. Our intention was to enjoy the beach, rest and relax a bit before starting our tour. Any better suggestions?
Also, if we do go to Salema, we would appreciate suggestions on best way to get there, including using a private driver, if necessary.

Posted by
1653 posts

September is quite pleasant in the Algarve, so it's a good call to head there. Trains and buses from Lisbon go to basically every town.

I have not been to Salema so cannot say if it's good or bad, but I fear that it's a bit small to stay without a car. Lagos is larger, quite happening, and I find it to be a good combo of history and beach.

Now, if you just want a beach and don't necessarily want to swim, there is no need to go all the way to the Algarve. I had a lovely few days in Ericeira just by Lisbon this summer : stunning beaches, cute town, incredible historical sight nearby (Mafra Palace), excellent seafood restaurants and... 40 euro Uber ride from Lisbon Airport, so that's transfer sorted.
The water is cold and can be quite dangerous, however - hence the 'no swimming' bit.

Posted by
915 posts

I have been to Salema and would encourage you to heed the other opinions to avoid it. If you must go to the Algarve, Lagos is a better choice, IMO. Taking the train to the Algarve is easy and inexpensive. Once you are there, a car is needed.
However, as the other poster stated, there are lovely beaches much closer to Lisbon. Ericeira is lovely, and closer still are Estoril, Carcavelos and Cascais.

Posted by
3978 posts

Salema beach isn’t that exciting - if you are based there, drive to Furnas, Figueira or Zavial, depending on which direction the wind is heading. You may have to head up the west coast to Carrapateira if it’s too windy on the south coast.

Public transport in Salema is poor - you need a car. Better still, stay in Lagos or one of the beach resorts closer to Lisbon.

Posted by
24 posts

Thanks for the good advice! Looks like we will set our sights on Ericeira or Cascais instead. Any lodging recommendations would be appreciated!

Posted by
1653 posts

In Ericeira, Casa das Aguarelas had really nice rooms with comfy beds, at a perfect location seconds from the ocean but it's not a hotel, more like a collection of rooms for rent with daily cleaning service and part-time reception. No breakfast and no real luggage room, for instance.
Villa Galé looked really good too, but more expensive.

Cascais is enjoyable too, with quieter waters, but it's more posh and more urban.

Posted by
915 posts

If you decide on Cascais, let me know. I can give you information on where hotels or apartments are located. And, nice things to see and do around town.

Posted by
24 posts

Looks like we have decided on Cascais. So any lodging or other recommendations would be appreciated!

Posted by
915 posts

Try to be here on a Wednesday or Saturday - so you visit the Mercado. It’s a sight to see and a lot of fun, even if you don’t buy fruits or vegis.
Boca do Inferno and Casa da Guia, plus Guincho beach (further from town) are lovely. Just walking around town, having coffee or wine - walking The Paradao between Estoril and Cascais. All are nice things to do. There are some small museums - if you are interested in that.
The water will be as warm as it gets, so a beach visit would be good, if you are into beaches.

Regarding accommodations - depends on whether you want a hotel or apartment - and price range. There are many, many vacation rentals available. If money isn’t a factor, you might want to look at the Albatroz. For a more modest budget, the Baia has a wonderful location and the rooms are fine. For apartments, in the old town or on the Buscas route (bus around town) would be good.

Posted by
28 posts

We've never been to Salema, but just got back from Lagos yesterday. It exceeded our expectations. We found an Air B&B at Praia da Dona Ana Beach. Waking up and watching and listening to the surf pounding our very own hay stack rock formation was awesome. We walked along the beach and the cliffs early in the morning and could be "home" in minutes. The historic downtown was a few minutes away. It's only a few blocks, but my understanding is that it's larger and has more going on than Salema. There are a lot of condos in the area and I'm sure that in September the beach will not be nearly empty as it was when we were there. We had no problem getting Uber drivers in Lagos and used one to take us to Cape Saint Vincent for 35 Euros. Another 5 Euros got us to Sagres. We took the bus "home."