VICTOR TEIXEIRA – LMDI
Portugal is open for business!
It’s hard not to get political over decisions made by neighbouring governments regarding their own and each other’s Covid-19 situations. The last few weeks have seen Portugal blacklisted as a holiday destination as far as the UK (and other countries) was concerned. I couldn’t help but think that this was due to the popularity of Portugal as a european holiday destination. After all, this is the current death toll per million inhabitants as of August 2020:
Belgium – 861
Spain – 617
UK – 609
Italy – 586
Sweden – 575
France – 467
Netherlands – 362
Ireland – 359
Switzerland – 231
Luxembourg – 198
*Portugal – 176*
Austria – 81
Norway – 49
Greece – 23
I am biased because I am Portuguese but the number of Covid-19 deaths in the country is amongst the lowest in Europe. As popular european destinations go, Portugal is one of the safest; and because Spain and Italy had been through a horrific pandemic, the need to boycott them as Summer 2020 destinations wasn’t so great. Anyway, this week Portugal was finally taken off the naughty list and rightly so. For the last 2 months we have had in our Lisbon home visitors from all over the country as well as from the UK (mainly relatives but also some friends willing to quarantine after the holiday as required by law). They all kept to the local and european guidelines and respected the use of masks when compulsory, observed safe social distancing and washed and disenfected their hands regularly. So even the threat of quarantine after returning to the UK wasn’t enough of a deterrent for some of them. Well, that requirement is now gone! Portugal is an extremely safe country to visit – 1st safest in Europe and 3rd worldwide, beaten only by Iceland and New Zealand. This was the finding of the Global Peace Index 2020 by the Institute for Economics & Peace. The sceptic in me thinks that British PM Boris Johnson couldn’t have this go against his “staycation” plans for all Brits. That boycott is now over and visitors from the UK to Portugal no longer have to quarantine on their return.
This is great news for Portugal, who has missed British tourists this year all over the country but especially in the Algarve. It also means that you can get in your car, drive with your pooch through France and Spain and enjoy a great holiday here without having to leave your family member behind. In this issue we bring to you a selection of hotels, B&Bs, cafés, restaurants and beaches where your dog is always welcome.
This is our August DogBlog!
The Yeatman Hotel & Restaurant *****
Vila Nova de Gaia
The Yeatman is a stunning, luxurious hotel with amazing views of the city of Porto. Located in the Port Wine quarter of Vila Nova de Gaia, it also offers a perfectly placed restaurant with breathtaking views of monuments, bridges, century-old houses and the world-renowned river Douro.
After 10 years of business, we finally got to visit it! Just look at those views… Delicious food, gorgeous wines and they’re dog-friendly!! It’s my favourite 5-star hotel in the north of Portugal and they welcome dogs…
Chef Ricardo Costa (from Aveiro) guaranteed the restaurant earned its first Michelin star within a year of opening back in 2010. This is probably due to his offer of both the most typical portuguese dishes and exquisite fast food with a twist.
Huge thanks to Ana Sofia Borges for her warm welcome and the best table on the terrace – see you again soon!
Back to Porto to celebrate S. João (our patron) and we just had to stop at Base for a quick coffee and some Portuguese folk music… Amazing place bang in the centre of town, surrounded by history! It’s all outdoors, loads of chairs, sofas and even grassed spots, so your dog is allowed in all areas.
Provided you have a mask on to walk in and walk out, even though it’s an outdoor establishment, you will ensure that passing other customers is safe at all times. Then you’re free to remove it as soon as you get to your table or as soon as you’ve left, just like in any other café or restaurant but in the open air.
Delicious lunch at Bao’s – Taiwanese Burger in central Porto (Rua de Cedofeita) where the staff are really friendly and even taught me how to pay using MB Way on my mobile phone…
The pups enjoyed a lot of attention, as well as a chunk of crabmeat… This was a welcome stop during a busy afternoon sightseeing in one of Portugal’s hilliest towns…
Alfândega do Porto
Situated opposite the old Customs building on the riverfront (Porto side), Armazém is a return to olden days which offers a relaxed yet stylish atmosphere. At first sight, it’s a dépot with old chairs, tables and mirrors for sale; but, as soon as you walk in, there is no doubt that this is a welcoming place for friends, families, pets and even business meetings. Whether you choose to sit outside or inside, there is a wide choice of chairs, leather sofas, stools and benches to sit in. You can opt for a quiet corner or a communal table. And all of this surrounded by vintage items.
Take a walk inside the store and you’ll come across vinyl LPs and deck players, old roller-skates, crystal chandeliers, stylish clocks, display cabinets and scores of other stunning items.
But their best asset is their staff who welcomed us from the moment we walked in until we left the premises. They filled a bowl of water several times until our dogs were satisfied. Lots of cuddles were also given and there were even photo opportunities.
What struck me the most was the fact that this is a café, a bar with soft drinks as well as alcohol, a vintage and antique shop, a meeting point and a cultural landmark. Highly recommended, I can’t wait to go back!
PS – A special thanks to Diogo and Vanessa for their kindness and to Carlota for her hospitality!
It was with great pleasure and hope for the future that we announced back in May the addition of 12 Cafés, 4 Bars & Pubs, 11 Hotels, 11 Restaurants and even 2 Shops to our dog-friendly lists in Portugal! A few more have been added since.
Having experienced temperatures close to 40˚C in the previous couple of weeks, you cannot blame Oscar and Ollie for embracing every opportunity to have a dip in the sea. Even if that’s a freezing cold Atlantic Ocean…
Praia do Meco
Lovely meals and beautiful sunsets are always “dish of the day” at Bar do Peixe in Praia do Meco. If you visit Lisbon, cross the bridge and explore the south side. Some of the best beaches in the country are in this area!
The food here is to die for, dogs are allowed in the esplanada (outdoors) right by the sand where you will dine while watching the sun set.
The staff are really friendly and brought Oscar and Ollie a bowl of water as soon as we arrived. Highly recommended!
This month our Facebook group reached 800 members!
Up & Down the Country
Bestguest – Mafalda Antunes & Jorge Aleixo, Pet-friendly Property Managers
BestGuest is a Local Accommodation Management Company which has been in business for 3 years now. It’s the project of Mafalda Antunes and Jorge Aleixo – she has a background in Law and a love of animals and healthy food, he used to manage his family’s properties and enjoys meeting people and offering that feel-good factor. This just had to be a successful endeavour. But add to the mix their extensive list of local, rural, beach and exclusive accommodation and you can just imagine what a good time you’ll have in their hands.
No need to imagine it, there is plenty of photo and video evidence of the Local Accommodation they manage and offer at www.bestguest.com.pt and also on their Facebook page with the same name. We often publish their posts on our Facebook group where they advertise all their pet-friendly sites.
Be sure to include BestGuest in your travel plans when in Portugal!
Pombal – Pedras 21
Flávia Leitão, Sustainable Local Accommodation
Half-way between Porto and Lisbon and conveniently placed by the A1 motorway, Pombal is a small city in the district of Leiria with around 18,000 inhabitants. And if this weren’t small enough, how about making your way to Santiago de Litém (8km south of Pombal), a village with no more than 2,500 people…
Its claim to fame was registered in the scientific world when the first ever intercontinental dinossaur was found there, the Theropods, a species previously thought to have existed only in the american continent. The town was first formed by groups of Muslim Arabs, before it was donated to the Templars.
It’s a beautiful corner of Portugal where time seems to have stopped and people still have a close relationship with nature. Back in June, Flávia Leitão opened a holiday home following a family business idea which involved recovering an old property belonging to the extended family where people would enjoy themselves, each other, nature, children and pets. It houses 4 people and, as well as a barbecue, it offers fresh seasonal fruit, a swimming pool currently under construction and beaches half an hour away. A baby bed and pool are also available there. Find more at www.pedras21.pt and on both their Facebook and Instagram accounts. We leave you a taster below…
In the last 30 days…
1,544 posts, comments and reactions
23 new members
Top contributors in the last month:
1 – Leuqar Acsat
2 – Regina Cocito
3 – Abel Cruz Talavera
4 – Kátia Cristina
5 – Marita Pari
THANK YOU! ❤️
For more ideas and recommendations, try:
Bars & Pubs – https://www.letmydogin.co.uk/bars-pubs/
Restaurants – https://www.letmydogin.co.uk/restaurants/
Photos and videos of your dogs, as well as business reviews, are always welcome on our Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Finally, if you’d like to write a piece for our monthly blog, all it needs to be is dog-related and dog-friendly.