Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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Thank you for reading our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS). If you don’t see the answer to your question, please send us an email from our contacts page. We’re happy to help!

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Arrival & Checkin
Parking & Transportation – Lisbon
Parking & Transportation – Algarve
Policies & Rules
General Questions

Arrival and Checkin

  • How far are the houses from the airport?

    Lisbon: The houses in Lisbon are about 20 minutes from the airport.

    Armona Island: The closest airport to Casa Armona is the Faro Airport. From Faro, it is a 25 minute drive to Olhão, where you can catch the ferry to Armona Island. We can arrange for a driver to pick you up at the Faro Airport, if you’d like, to make your trip as easy as possible.

  • Can we take the metro when we arrive in Lisbon?

    We do not recommend the metro for your arrival in Lisbon. A private transfer or–if you prefer–an Uber/taxi will be much easier and less stressful after a long flight. If you really, really want to take the metro, please be sure to let us know: we have specific directions that will help you find the easiest way up the hill.

    Once you’ve settled in to your house in Lisbon, had a look at the neghbourhood and don’t have luggage to carry, the metro is a great way to get around the city.

  • How do we check-in?

    We will send you directions for reaching the property (in English for you, in Portuguese for your taxi driver), contact details, and confirmation of your specific check-in time.

    Lisbon: We are fortunate to live here year-round, so someone from our family will be waiting at the property to welcome you, deliver your keys, answer any last-minute questions and give you a quick neighborhood tour.

    Armona Island: Paulo Nunes of our Algarve team will meet you at the house and make sure you have everything you need. He can also provide information on tours, boat rentals, and all sorts of other fun things.

  • Can you tell me about this neighbourhood, please?

    Lisbon: The best thing about our Lisbon properties is that they are so close to the most visited sites, but you come home each evening to peace and quiet. This is not a high-noise, high-traffic neighborhood like the Bairro Alto. Around here, neighbors look after one other, children play ball in the street, bread is baked daily, and if you forget your wallet, well, just pay another day.

    More specifically, our townhomes, Casa Villa Serra and Casa Joaquina, are on a tiny, private lane overlooking the Praça dos Restauradores. This means that they are a 10 minute walk up from the Rossio, the very center of Lisbon. The neighbors include a famous Portuguese actor and a nephew of Amália Rodrigues.

    Four minutes away from the houses, you’ll find our apartment, Casa Santana, on a residencial street tucked just above the Rossio. Though none are jaw-droppingly famous, these neighbors are also quintessentially Portuguese, a delightfully friendly mix of old-timers and young professionals.

    For more details and photographs, please visit our introduction to Pena–Arroios.

    Armona Island: Armona Island (“Ilha de Armona”) is a pedestrian-only island, owned and managed by the Ria Formosa National Park. The walk-on ferry from Olhão, the Algarve’s largest fishing port, runs every 15 minutes. The quick boat ride keeps the Algarve crowds away… the loooooong sandy beaches on Armona are almost empty in the mornings and evenings. The more hidden of Armona’s beaches — like the one directly behind Casa Armona— have plenty of room, even in August.

    For all the other details–where to eat, shop, etc.–please see our introduction to Armona Island.

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Parking & Transportation – Lisbon

  • Is there parking?

    Parking is a challenge in our medieval neighbourhood. Street parking is not available for our Lisbon properties. The best underground parking lot–less than a 10 minute walk away–is approx €10 per day. The entrance directly in front of the German Embassy (number 39) at the Campo dos Mártires da Pátria park.

  • But, don’t we need a car in Lisbon? What about renting a car for daytrips?

    Like the guidebooks, we strongly recommend that you avoid the hassle of a car in Lisbon. Taxis, trams, buses and metro are accessible, inexpensive and easy to use. Regional trains take you to outlying towns, beaches and picturesque fishing villages. Moreover, driving in Lisbon is stressful, parking is nearly impossible and Portugal has the highest roadway accident rate in Europe.

    For daytrips outside Lisbon, there are several small, personalized tour companies such as Different Portugal. Another option is to rent a car towards the end of your trip which will require you to only park it one night at the local lot.

    Where to rent a car for the day? At the airport, please. (Downtown Lisbon rental car agencies usually have early closing hours which means you will need to fight your way back into Lisbon through rush hour traffic. Fortunately, the airport is an easy €10, 15 minute taxi ride from the properties and you can usually return your car until midnight.)

    Arriving into Lisbon via rental car? Please return the car to the airport and take a taxi to the properties with your luggage. Several guests have mistakenly decided to return their car to downtown Lisbon agencies and ended up lost and frustrated. Not a fun start to your Lisbon adventures.

  • What do we need to know about the metro?

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Parking & Transportation – Algarve

  • Wait, there are no cars on Armona Island?

    No, Armona Island is (almost) pedestrian-only. There are a few bicycles, kids with roller skates or scooters, and the occational electric buggy that the Park staff uses for maintenance. But the “streets” are really just sidwalks, and almost everybody is on foot.

  • Is there parking?

    There is parking in Olhão, near the ferry dock. Some of the street parking is free, but look carefully at the signs. There is also paid, secure long-term parking underground near the Pingo Doce grocery store.

  • What if we don’t have a car?

    It’s easy to get to Armona Island even if you don’t have a car. If you’re flying in to Faro, you can take a taxi to Olhão, or we can arrange for a private transfer. If you’re coming from another part of Portugal, the trains are excellent. Once you arrive at the Olhão train station, you can take a taxi (or even walk, if you’re feeling adventurous) down to the ferry dock.

  • How does the ferry work?

    The ferry from Olhão takes about 15 minutes and runs several times a day. In June and September, there are 9 boats per day, and in July/August there is a boat every hour. The city of Olhão posts the ferry schedule for all of the islands online; you’ll want to look at the timetable for Olhão/Armona.

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For more information about the amenities provided at our houses, please see the Ameneties page.

  • Is there wireless internet?

    Each property has a wireless network, plus an optional loaner laptop or netbook. This is provided at no extra charge as a way for you to stay in touch with friends and family via email, research local items of interest, gush about us on Facebook, etc. Each laptop also has installed for long-distance phoning. Please note that these laptops/netbooks are provided for internet/email access only. We can not support the downloading nor copying of files, photos and programs, nor are we able to provide technical support for attaching your digital camera nor mass storage devices. If you prefer to bring your own devices, we will provide a wireless network password at check-in.

  • Are sheets and towels provided?

    Yes, we provide sheets, bath towels and beach towels at all of the properties. If you would like a change of linens–or just extras–during your stay, please don’t hesitate to ask.

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Policies & Rules

For a step-by-step explanation of our reservation process and all the details of our rental policies, please see our Reservations and Booking page.

  • What payment options do you offer?

    We accept payment by credit card, either using Stripe (for automatic online booking), WorldPay or PayPal. If you have a European bank account, we can also provide details for a bank transfer. Under some very specific circumstances (mostly last-minute trips) we will even take cash.

  • Do you offer discounts for long-term rentals?

    Depending on the specifics, we sometimes offer a 15% discount for stays in excess of three consecutive weeks. However, long-term rentals are not our preference.

  • What is your cancellation policy?

    For our official cancelation policy, please see our Rental Agreement. The short version is, we strongly encourage our guests to purchase travel insurance. We understand that most cancellations are unplanned and, usually, for traumatic reasons; however, we can not provide insurance for those who opt to not purchase it themselves.

    The booking deposit is non-refundable. If you cancel at least 60 days in advance, any amount you have paid exceeding the deposit is fully refundable. After that, any refund you receive will depend on the terms of your rental insurance provider: we will provide you with any documentation you may need to make a claim, but we cannot provide a refund.

    More recently, we have had some success re-selling cancelled nights at a discount. In these cases, we have been able to refund approximately 50% of the cancelling guest’s payment. However, this is not a guarantee.

  • May I review a copy of the Rental Agreement?

    Indeed you may: VisitingPortugal Rental Agreement

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General questions

  • Are you a rental agency?

    No. Our family owns these homes. We personally care for the properties, and for our guests–with the help of friends and neighbours.

  • Why do you call these “historical” vacation homes?

    Most of the buildings in our Lisbon Historic Preservation neighborhood were built in the 1500-1800s and all our properties retain their old-world flavor: thick stone walls with deep-set, shaded windows; natural flooring (wood, cork, granite, marble, tile); and, whenever possible, the bedrooms on the lowest possible level.These “upside-down” architectural features were refined over the centuries to keep things cool in summer and warm in winter: brilliant and different! Nowhere in this neighborhood will you find McVillas with plate-glass windows… instead, prepare to step back in time.

    In addition, each of our Lisbon homes is protected by the Portuguese government because of its unique value; the exteriors look as they did in the 19th century, with even the paint color regulated to ensure authenticity.

    On Armona Island, our beach cottage is located within the confines of the Ria Formosa Natural Park, an area zealously controlled by the local government. Casa Armona was the home to one of the island’s original fishermen, and his family still lived there until about 15 years ago. While there are other rentals–and a “camping” site with rented bungalows towards the middle of the island–Armona retains a relaxed, authentic, small-town Portuguese feel.

  • Do you have an environmental policy?

    We do. We love the environment and want to keep it as healthy as possible. We recycle and provide you with the tools to recycle while you are here. (We also understand that you are on vacation, and may not want to deal with 4 types of trash…no worries.) We use environmentally friendly cleaning products as much as possible. But if we have to choose between clean and green? We confess, we’ll choose clean every time.

  • How do you pronounce “Rossio”?

    With a gutteral “r” (like the French “r” or Hebrew “h”/”ch”), the accent on the “i” and a soft “oo” as in “boo” : row-SEE-oo

  • Anything else?

    Yes, please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions. It’s important to us that our guests enjoy their time in Portugal.

Thank you for staying with us!

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