7 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Marina park - great location; Lagos - wonderful town
"We stayed in an apartment in Marina Park for 11 days in December (including Christmas day) and had a great time.
We hired a car in Faro airport (Travelrent approx 120 euro for 12 days) and took the A22, exiting at the Lagos Este exit. Lagos is encircled by roundabouts, so don't worry about getting lost as you can always go back. In the end we probably didn't need the car as we used it so seldom.
We had a two bedroom apartment, en suite & main bathroom. The apartment is really spacious with lots of room to hang out. Decor a bit drab & facilities are somewhat limited - we had to buy egg cups, mugs, washing up liquid, soap, shampoo, shower gel, pot scubbers etc. There is a dishwasher but we never used it since there were limited dishes. As others have mentioned, there's no kettle, so we had to boil the breakfast eggs first, then boil the water for the tea. There are lifts to all floors. Since there are 27 blocks the view will depend on where the block is and what's blocking it's view (other blocks in our case); we visited one apartment which had a nice view of the swimming pool and the far off hills. The reception staff were very helpful when needed (although we didn't have any problems).
The location is great - 10 brisk minutes down to the Marina or Meia Praia beach, 15 minutes to the town of Lagos across the footbridge. The taxi fare from the main town is 3.90euro if you can't face the hill after several drinks, but it's no big deal if you're fit.
The onsite mini market is closed during the off season, but the big supermarket, Pingo Doce is at the bottom of the hill to the right & stocks everything. There are also lots of smaller supermarkets in the town which open quite late. Buy cheeses, serrano ham, pates, tomatoes & have a great healthy brunch each day.
Favourite eating places - Adega Marina (huge, noisy, very cheap & very good); Piri Piri (cheap - great cataplana); Dos Artistas (fantastically expensive, but worth the treat); Mullens (cheap to medium prices, combine good food with music & possibly dancing later in the evening); Linda's Beach Bar for middle priced & excellent breakfast, lunch or dinner on the beach; Dos Cais (on the Marina - middle price, excellent food); Dos Armous... I could go on. Would recommend Mullens for its cast of interesting characters, both staff & customers, laid back atmosphere & great canecas of beer. There is a small taverna at the bottom of the hill (to the right) which has a pool table, & lots of locals; espresso 80cents, beer 1.50euro; and lots of atmosphere. All locals dreading 1st January when no more indoor smoking allowed.
Xmas dinner was cooked in the apartment since it was difficult to find out which restaurants were to open. Delicious prawns & garlic, with steak, spuds, salad, trifle made a perfectly acceptable xmas meal.
Lots of nice walks around - down to Meia Praia, around the fishing harbour, up to Dona Ana beach. There is a cliff walk to Praia de Luz (about 7km from Marina park) but we drove and watched a most magnificent sunset.
Other trips to Sagres - higgledy piggledy town straggling down to a beautiful harbour, with Cap St Vincent and the fortalezza. Well worth a visit.
We also drove over to Vilamoura to see a more upmarket version of the Lagos Marina - beautiful beach there as well but higher prices - 18euros for a monkfish kebab?
We went dolphin watching with Bom Dia (25 euro per person). Be prepared for a thrilling ride in a very small boat; wear a sweater to keep warm out on the open sea. The dolphins put on a great show for us - one of the many highlights of the trip.
We loved Lagos town and spent many hours just wandering around the quaint streets (none of which were suitable for wheelchairs!). The Owl Story bookshop is tucked away in a back street but is good for buying second hand books very cheaply - and you can return these for more books if you're there long enough.
As the return flight was early in the morning we booked Hotel Monaco, 2kms from Faro airport to spend the last night (47.50euros). This allowed us to pack, clean up the apartment & dump the car at the airport before heading into Faro for a wander, while also giving us a few extra hours in bed the next morning. This proved a good idea since we managed to find ourselves in a very poorly signposted long term car park at the airport instead of the non signposted return area for the smaller rental companies. The minimum fee for this car park was for seven days for 53euro - reasonable if you wanted to spend seven days there, but not for when you've made a mistake & want to get out fast. We had to find the parking office (silver building in front of the airport) & ask to be released. It seems this happens fairly frequently, so for the price of 1euro to get a new ticket we were able to free ourselves & eventually get to the right section. We were glad this wasn't at 6 in the morning while rushing to catch a flight.
We'd love to go back to Marina Park - and the time was just perfect with small crowds & the weather mainly fine & sunny."
- Travel date: Tue 1st of January 2008
Great apartment, okay location, good excursion and food options
"We were a family of 5, with a 16, 9 and 5 year old. Just stayed in a two bed apartment and it was great. The apartment itself was new, fresh looking, modern, loads of space and clean. There is a large main and a small kids pool, which are okay, but freezing as is the case in Portugal in October !. The pool was 100m away and the food in the poolside cafe was okay. There is no entertainment at the site, which meant it was quiet. The downsides are the apartment should have had a kettle, there were 5 of us and the hot water didn't stretch to 5 showers. The supermarket beside the site just shut for the season, so have a 1k walk to the main one. the location is not great as although its a 2k walk to the beack and the centre, which is okay, there is a steep hill, so if you have mobility problems, this may be an issue.
Would recommend jeep safari, dolphin seafari for excursions, and slide and splash for the kids (big and small !). Best food is at Giovata Branca Veach bar and No Patio, where you will need to book."
- Travel date: Sun 21st of October 2007
"As always - Portugal has never failed. Weather great, golf great and this time stayed at the Marina Park Apartments for the first time .... loads of space, great views of Lagos, cleaned twice a week, mega balcony and 5 mins walk to the Marina. Apartment had full kitchen (but no kettle), washing mc, fridge freezer. You could live in this for months (and have your own bathroom if theres only 2 travelling. Definitely go back there next year.
Spend a night at Stevie Rays Jazz bar behind Dom Henrique restaurant (excellent food as well), buzzing night!
- Travel date: Thu 20th of September 2007
"We arived at the location just before midnight in our hire car and the night security man was expecting us. he gave us the keys to the apartment and directed us there. There was underground garage parking and lifts to all apartments. The apartment was lovely with 2 bedrooms and two bathrooms. There was a spacious lining/ dining room and a great kitchen with a washing machine and dishwasher. It had a large balcony and was faultless. There was a nice swimming pool with bar/ restaurant attached with very competative prices. The walk to the main town was pleasant but there was a steep hill on the way back. Hire a car and there is a free car park at the bottom of this hill. If you want to make the most of your stay and see the area a hire car is essential
I hired the car beforehand from HERTZ to pick it up from the airport and it was easy to find. Beware though. I'd ordered a small car ( corsa type) and the man at hertz reception did his utmost to persuade me to pay more to upgrade to a ford focus, even offering a discount for the upgrade. I stood my ground and he gave me the keys to a lovely focus ( the smallest car they had available) which we thoroughly enjoyed using.
The best sight was the Cabo se saa Vincente which is the most south westerly part of Europe. It must be viewed as the sun goes down. Unbelievable sight.
For the price paid for the accomodation it was unbelievably fantastic."
- Travel date: Wed 19th of September 2007
"i have recently returned from a holiday at the marina park apartments where i spent 1 week with 7 other girls!!!!!! there was 8 of us in total and we had booked a 3 bedroom apartment - having gone here feeling really nervous we all had a FAB time!!!! all of us are 18 years old and were worried about the holiday in general.
so the apartment ...... 3 big bedrooms, 2 bathrooms (1 ensuite) and a huge living area. there's a sofa bed in the lounge which we all had a fight over because it was the comfiest bed ( the others were great too though) there was also a pull out single bed on wheels under the sofa bed - be careful slides very easily!!! the kitchen was great - very big - all you needed - cooker, fridge, ironing board, washing machine, dishwasher.... BUT.... no kettle boiling water in a pan is essential for the hang over cure coffee!!!!! the pool here is huge and there were plenty of sun beds available for no extra charge , however when leaving we found the pool to be getting busier!!!!! restaurant on site is great for snacks throughout the day!!! the mini market on site is handy but we found more expensive than other supermarkets!!! - here comes the catch the apartments are at the top of a fairly steep and when visiting 'Pingo' (the big supermarket) it can a task carrying things back up - especially water melons!!!! there was also a supermarket very close to the taxi rank in lagos itself - we tended to go here if we were in the town during the day and take the shopping home in a taxi!!!
TAXI's - taxi's from the main centre of lagos to the Marina Park Apts were generally no more than 4 euros - sooooo worth it means the climbing of the hill is unnecessary!!! we also got a taxi's to Prai De Luz for the day BEWARE the taxi there is fairly cheap (10 euros tops) but trying to find taxi when you want to come home is difficult if you need more than one taxi (we convinced the one taxi we found to ring another driver so we could get home) - taxi rank is in front of the huge yellow church in Prai De Luz. it was easy to get a taxi from the apartments as the reception will ring one for you by you simply asking they were extremely helpful throughout the holiday!!!!
Lagos - we found it was usually about 15 minute walk tops to get to the main town and this was 8 girls all gossiping on the way down!!!! food here we found is great - apart from Spagetti Bolognese - give it a miss in most places!!!!we found a little pizzeria opposite the green tiled building - usually a queue but worth it - great value for money and the pizza and pasta is the best!!!
Nightlife - not what you expect!!!! head up the cobbled streets and wait for people to give you flyers - this way they show you where the bars are - believe me its hard to find them at first!!!!! there are loads of little bars - i emphasise little they are small but crammed with people!!! there are usually deals on drinks in most!!!! we liked 'Red Eye' (an Aussi Bar), 'whytes' and we loved the Regae Bar ( right near Grand Cafe) the longer you spend in there the more you feel like family and the better deal you get on drinks!!!! was ok and you'll find the rest !!! as for dancing - not the best place for it but if you want to like we did - we always headed to 'Grand Cafe' - gets busy and good about 2am and there is usually decent music on here too!!!!!! another thing you'll notice is the huge amount of Australian people - actaully think there maybe more of them than there is portugese!!!! all travelling europe usually!!!
NOTE TO YOUNG GIRLS - just be careful in placeslike grand cafe - we found some guys to be lets say very forward - just make sure you give them a stern NO and they usually back away!!!!!
Have to say all in all we loved the holiday and are talking of maybe going back next year!!!!!!! the hill maybe little steep - but is fine for walking down and its cheap to get taxi's up it!!!!!!"
- Travel date: Sat 28th of July 2007
Good quality if a little remote
"Stayed at this newish, large complex for a family, two-week package in July 07. The complex is on the outskirts of Lagos which is a medium-sized Algarvian resort. It is a good 20-minute hilly, walk to the town or beach (it seems a lot longer in the heat). However taxis are cheap. The complex is a condo-style group of 3-storey buildings loosely arranged around its own road. There was only one pool area - one swimming pool and one for tiny tots and it could get crowded. There is also only one bar/cafe on site. There was a small supermarket too. However the apartments themselves are large and of good quality. For 5 people (2 adults, 3 kids) we had a two-bedroomed apartment which also had two bathrooms- one even had a bath! The lounge/dining area was very big as was the balcony. The kitchen was also a good size with granite worktops, and good appliances including a large fridge/freezer, a washing machine and even a dishwasher. The largeness of the apartment meant that even after two weeks we weren't getting that stir crazy feeling we often feel on holiday. Lagos is a good part of the Algarve to visit if you don't like the high-rise concrete jungle that seemed to predominate in other parts. It has a large Marina and attracts the moneyed set and althought the shops are generally the usual resort type, there were some good restautants - the one above the Fish Market was particularly good as was Linda's Beach Bar - a very Floridian experience. The beach was, of course fantastic but the water was freezing - few people actually swam! I would recommend Lagos and Marina Park for a better quality experience than much of the Algarve seemed to offer."
- Travel date: Thu 12th of July 2007
Very nice apartment
"I was nervous booking an Easter break at the Marina Park because there were no reviews to be found anywhere on the internet. I did not have to worry. The reception staff were excellent and we we were soon walking into a large and spacious apartment in one of the many low rise blocks scattered around a hillside near the Marina at Lagos. The view looking over the river was pleasant without being stunning but we had a large balcony to sit and watch the sunsets from. Our two bedroom apartment was a good size and very well appointed with a full kitchen, two bathrooms and two large bedrooms. I would recommend the Marina Park for families or couples wanting some piece and quiet but you must have a car as it is situated just outside of Lagos and there is so much to see along the Algarve."
- Travel date: Mon 9th of April 2007