When buying a permanent residence in the Algarve, it may be an idea to consider the following points and minor irritations of living in a popular tourist destination during the high season.
Taking a vacation for a few weeks a year is not the same as living in a tourist hotspot. For most people it is a fun experience but for those who don’t embrace the holiday spirit it can be hell on earth.
It’s August. School’s out and the tourists have arrived in their droves: all nationalities and all shapes and sizes.The population of some of the local local towns and villages in the Algarve swell disproportionately to the services available. Parking spaces are like hens’ teeth; the queues in the supermarkets are often halfway up the aisles as newly arrived holiday makers clear the shelves of key essentials such as bread, beer and crisps in case they are in lockdown for when the Zombies invade; our favourite cafes and restaurants are packed to full capacity so the usually high standards of some falter as overworked and underpaid staff struggle to keep up with the demand; then there is the noise, overcrowded beaches, and finally camper vans.
However, every cloud has a silver lining as revenue generated from the influx of tourists help the local business owners survive the lean winter months. There are also numerous food festas, concerts, and general entertainment.
Parking spaces, in the town and at the beaches are a rarity unless you arrive early. This year the lack of parking at the beaches in the Sudeste National Park is exacerbated b
This year lack of parking at the beaches beyond belief. If spaces were in short supply before they are now almost non-existent as rough parking areas and a general free-for-all parking attitude have been replaced with twee parking lots and raised pedestrian paved areas.
The parking along the side of the road in many areas is also not an option either due to single yellow lines, strategically placed boulders, wooden posts or ditches. A note to the powers that be: It all looks very nice but it’s not practical as there is nowhere for people to park. Do you want tourism in these areas?
Shopping in some of the more popular supermarkets remind me of queues at Sainsbury’s (pick your favourite supermarket) in the week before Christmas. Everyone is stressed and patience is in short supply.
I do feel sorry for some of the tourists as they try to order meat for a BBQ or desperately try to find products they recognise from home. I try to help when I can because we are all tourists at some point in our lives. Shopping in a country where the language is unfamiliar can be quite a challenge.
Restaurants and Cafes
When checking Trip Advisor for recommendations do check the date comments were posted. Many restaurants we frequent who offer good quality food and service out of season do not always offer the same standard of service in July and August. Meals are often not up to the usual high standards, service is variable and booking a table is a must. And, if you’ve not booked a table please don’t form a queue in front of other diners while you are waiting and they are still eating. This recently happened to us and we were made to feel quite uncomfortable as every mouthful we ate was observed.
Why do people go on holiday and think they can leave their ‘be considerate to others’ head at home?
For example, they bring their poor dogs on holiday only to leave them in a strange environment so they bark all day while their errant owners go to the beach. I understand it’s not the dog’s fault as they are lonely and confused. Far worse, and I don’ understand why the marine police do not issue fines, are those who take their dogs to ‘Blue Flag’ beaches where no dogs are allowed. Apparently because the owners are on holiday the rules do not apply to them as they allow their dogs defecate over sandcastles, towels and personal belongings, or generally cause a nuisance.
Then we have those who insist on arriving back to their accommodation a in the early hours of the morning accompanied by the dulcet sounds of thumping bass, screaming adults, slamming car doors, and revving car engines to name just a few minor irritations. Please be considerate some people still need to go to work in the morning.
This goes without saying! What do I expect – it’s high season.
I don’t object to campervans per se. What I object to is the happy campers parking in the National Park, or indeed anywhere, and then using the area as their personal toilet. We have often been for a walks only to find soiled paper and extriment strewn across the countryside. Please scoop your poop and soiled paper so we can all enjoy God’s garden.
On the plus side there is entertainment on tap!
Festas, music and general entertainment
The Algarve comes alive in July and August with a host of activities. Fayres, festas and concerts abound attracting thousands of visitors creating a great party atmosphere.
Check out Silves Medieval Fayre, Portimao Sardine Festival and Olhao Seafood Festival to name a few of the major events on offer.
Do you resent the tourists invading your space or do you 'chillax', go with the flow and embrace the holiday atmosphere?
by Carole Hill.
To discover more about life in Portugal visit Carole's blog Piglet in Portugal or follow her on Twitter at @Portugalpiglet
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