Five tips for a cheap holiday in the Algarve

A cheap holiday in the Algarve can be an ill-inclusive bargain break in a tourist high-rise or a surf escape on the idyllic western beaches. The choice is yours. Whatever the package though, you can stay solvent by following a few money saving habits that will make your Euros stretch a little further.

Five ways to save

  1. Don't be afraid to haggle a little to obtain a cheap holiday in the Algarve. Outside of high summer, hotel rates are often negotiable and discounts can be obtained if you ask nicely and are staying for several nights.
  2. If possible travel outside the peak season. The climate is such that the Algarve is very warm in April and October, when hotel and flight costs are much lower. It's the perfect destination for an early or late break to the sun. July and August can also be uncomfortably hot.
  3. Eat your main meal at lunchtime. This is when restaurants often offer their cut-price menus. Portuguese helpings tend to be generous, and there is still a tradition of serviing rice and potatoes with a main course, so fill up by day and snack lightly at night.
  4. Avoid stopping for drinks breaks in cafes and bars. These can be expensive. Buy water or soft drinks from a supermarket instead.
  5. Think about whether you really need a hire car. These might be advisable for large families, but smaller groups can get around quite comfortably on the coastal railway. There is a fast and efficient service east and west from Faro, covering most of the Algarve coastline.

Avoid the tourist traps

To ensure you have a cheap holiday in the Algarve, shop around for the best deals. Tourist areas can be overpriced, or, if the prices seem reasonable, quality may be poor. It's invariably better to follow the locals, shop in the market, eat in the unassuming small establishments that aren't in the prominent positions on the shorefront and be wary of places obviously geared towards tourists.

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