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April 17, 2010

Dolphins on the Silver Coast Portugal

We took a walk on the beach at Bom Sucesso today and down to the
opening of the Obidos Lagoon. It's a pity I didn't bring the
camera as the dolphins were both the most numerous and the
closest to the shore I've seen. (the picture I've included here
is a Bottlenose courtesy of NASA)


We've seen dolphins off the coast at Foz do Arelho before, but
on this occasion there were at least fifteen clearly visible
from the beach. Both Common Bottlenose and Short-beaked
Common Dolphins
are found in our waters.

Regular boat trips are organised to the Berlengas from Peniche
and in recent years dolphin trips have been going out from
. For a few selected videos of the local dolphins seen by
others at Nazare, Peniche and the Berlengas islands, see below....

There are numerous local videos shot by amateurs from their own
boats which you can find at YouTube, I've only selected a few
which look a lot like the dolphins we saw today. If you only see
repeats of the NASA dolphin picture and no video play button
you'll need to enable your system for flash video.

We took our walk at around 2.30 in the afternoon with the tide
coming in and about halfway between low tide and high tide.
Whether that is a typical time for feeding I have no idea.
Looking from the beach out towards the Berlengas we could see
more dolphins than we could count circling around the
fishermen's buoys.

Of course this is not going to match seeing those famous
bottlenose dolphins working with fisherman in the waters off
Laguna in Brazil
, but seeing such a large pod from the shore
clearly circling and herding a school of fish was a real treat
for us. It looked to us as though they were herding their prey
around and into the fishing nets which had been put out earlier
by the boats which come out from Peniche to where the fishing boats
regularly suspend their nets from buoys just off-shore.

It took around 30 minutes for the dolphins to have their fill of
fish, presumably, before they disappeared. Hopefully I'll have
my camera with me next time.

Hope you enjoyed the amateur videos above.

This last one is from Nazare TV...

April 16, 2010

Royal Óbidos after MSF takeover is now opening May 2012.

Royal Óbidos is now projected to open May 2012 and has been a busy place since December 2009 presumably as a result of the takeover by MSF. Dumper trucks, diggers, mountains of dirt, sand and gravel are all moving to a grand plan in recent months and the golf course and roads are visibly taking shape.

Aerial view of Royal Obidos seen from south
Aerial view of the projected Royal Óbidos Spa & Golf resort

MSF has acquired the 50% stake that the Irish Oceânico group held in the Royal Óbidos Spa & Golf Resort, and MSF now holds the entire capital. As I reported in my post "Royal Obidos to start in the coming days" Royal Óbidos was then a joint venture between the Oceânico Group and MSF Tur.IM. But reports of a takeover started appearing in the media on the 16th March 2010 and was confirmed on the government business development agency website AICEP on 26th March 2010.

Gerry Fagan, director of the Oceânico Group is reported as saying "The partnership with MSF Tur.IM has been very positive and we are proud of the work we did together to promote the Oeste region of Portugal. However, the Oceânico Group wants to focus on the Algarve."

José Manuel Fortunato of MSF is reported as saying that Royal Óbidos "was led from the start by MSF, and having had the support of the Oceânico Group to this stage," gives MSF Tur.IM "guarantees of quality and success."

MSF Tur.IM has already started construction of the 18 hole golf course designed by Severiano Ballesteros, and will now build the 44 room five-star hotel, served by a spa and conference room, which will be associated with a number of studios and apartments now described as "lock-off" tourist accommodation.


(Elsewhere in the world "Lock Off" usually refers to a way of buying/renting all or part of timeshare units. When renting or buying a lock-off, the full unit may have more than one bedroom, a kitchen, sitting room, terrace and laundry area, but the locked off part is often more in line with a motel room: one bedroom, a bathroom and possibly a small kitchenette.)

In the Diário Económico of 7th April 2010, Elisabete Soares reported that "prices will be around 3200 euros m2". José Manuel Fortunato of MSF was reported as saying the construction of the eleven different types of dwellings by architects Miguel Saraiva and António Costa Lopes, will only proceed after they have been sold.


At the time of the commercial launch, two years ago, they had 150 foreign buyers, but according to José Fortunato, due to the world crisis only 30 confirmed their interest. Marketing is currently focused on Portuguese clients and for now MSF will be going ahead with the construction of the first studios and apartments, totaling 96 units, and that acquisitions are being made by investors who will put in the tourist accommodation.

The coastal resort on 136 hectares is to be low density construction, and Royal Óbidos originally planned to build a total of 630 tourist units, including hotel, leased apartments, and isolated dwellings. According to José Manuel Fortunato, director of MSF Tur.IM, they have experience in hotel management at the Marina de Lagos which will be applied at Royal Óbidos. In mid-2012 the developer plans to open the hotel, some lodging and the golf course.

Simultaneously with the full acquisition of the capital of Royal Óbidos Spa & Golf Resort, MSF Tur.IM sold its 50% stake in Royal Évora in the Alentejo, to "redirect investments and focus more resources on the project of Óbidos" with the aim of 'enhancing' the group's position in a region that has "greater potential in the medium term."

José Manuel Fortunato, director of MSF Tur.IM, said that this acquisition represents "a greater commitment of the group in the tourism sector, in a region that is exemplary in respecting the environment and quality." According to him, Óbidos is going to be a major tourist center associated with golf, and unlike other areas, will do this without spoiling the landscape while offering a cultural and historical context.


Due to the "unique location of the land", the golf course will "be one of the best in Portugal" and the hotel "innovative" Fortunato said. "As in all tourism projects in which we engage, the perspective is long term. We made a large investment in the quality of assets under management that we intend to keep."

Classified as a PIN (Project of National Interest) by the Portuguese Investment Agency, this resort is considered 'environmentally friendly' using materials and construction techniques to recognized environmental standards. Beside the golf course Royal Óbidos Spa & Golf Resort will offer private pools, shared pools, tennis courts, gym, walking and bike paths, restaurants, bars and shopping.

April 12, 2010

Buying Property in Portugal

Buying Property in Portugal (NativePortugal)

Buying a place in Portugal should be easy yet far too many people have fallen foul of the hidden dangers that can bring your property dreams crashing down around you. In this straightforward guide Gabrielle Collison shares her tips on how to minimise the risks and enjoy a trouble free purchase. Written in plain English, with none of the hype, this guide contains:

  • how to find reputable agents
  • case studies from buyers like you
  • how to get good legal advice
  • off-plan vs new-build vs resale vs self-build
  • how to carry out your own checks
  • step-by-step buying flow charts
  • renting a property in Portugal
  • selling your Portuguese property
  • how to decide where to buy
  • advice on relocating and residency
much, much more... including.... habitation licence, registo predial, land registry certificate, promissory contract, deed signing, das finanças, ficha técnica, final deed, independent translator, stage payments, local tax office...

From the Author, Gabrielle Collison:-

Gabrielle Collison

If you're thinking of buying a property in Portugal and want to get things right first time - then this straightforward little guide has been written for you.

But why should you take my advice and how does this book differ from all the other stuff you could read? Well to find out, read on...

My parents bought a property in Algarve in 2000, which inevitably meant that I began spending more and more time in Portugal.

Due to the fact that I love learning languages and had already learnt Spanish, French and some Italian, I picked up a working knowledge of Portuguese fairly quickly.

On hearing that I was conversant in the language, many non-Portuguese-speaking friends started asking me to do them small favours.

While doing these favours, I've visited more than my fair share of local government departments, authorities and businesses to sort out problems surrounding their property purchases.

I soon began to realise that a large number of my friends had been caught out by their lack of knowledge of the bureaucracy, and their unfamiliarity with the language. Several of them had also been far too trusting.

Little by little, I learnt all about property documents and the processes, and complications, involved in buying a property in Portugal.

I started to write about the potential pitfalls on various Internet forums and my reputation for being fairly knowledgeable soon spread.

Other people started to contact me for help and advice and I was invited to appear on Kiss FM's Straight Talk with Phill Gilbert; a phone-in radio show in Algarve.

Helping people has not been without its irritations and problems however. By being inquisitive, probing and asking "too many" questions of various professionals and authorities, I have, at times, been stonewalled, ridiculed and even threatened! This has not put me off, however, and writing this book seemed to be the logical next step and provides me with a way to help even more people navigate the Portuguese property market.

Now, I will warn you - this book is not your typical "Buying Abroad" book.

I've taken a somewhat cynical perspective on the whole subject and I make no apologies for this. I feel some level of "negativity" is healthy in order to balance out the "rose-tinted spectacle" stuff you'll get elsewhere.

Plus, this book isn't written to encourage you to buy a place in Portugal. If you're already keen on Portugal then you don't need me to persuade you - you just need to know what you have to do next.

There are many other books out there giving travel advice on Portugal but my aim is to give specific, and hopefully streetwise, advice that might just save you a lot of time and a little money in the process.

This book will help you get your "thinking cap on" about buying a property in Portugal and the things you should check for yourself, whether you use legal representation or not.

While I'm on the subject of legal representation, let me just make something clear. This book is not in any way advising you to shun legal advice and go it alone when buying property in Portugal. Unfortunately, mistakes can still be made despite doing exhaustive checks and searches. However, by using reputable, independent, legal advice alongside doing your own thorough checks, this will no doubt lessen your chances of running into problems.

It should also be noted that things change quite frequently in this area, so whilst I have endeavoured to make this book as accurate and up to date as possible, there might be small changes to websites and regulations.

The best advice in relation to buying a property in Portugal, or in any country in the world come to that, is only do as you would be happy to do back home.

Do not worry about appearing difficult or demanding and do not feel embarrassed to keep asking as many questions as you wish. Buying a property is obviously very expensive and a potentially risky business.

If you do not take precautions and fail to investigate thoroughly, you could end up paying dearly further down the line.

I hope this book serves as a practical and reliable resource when buying property in Portugal and I wish you Boa Sorte (Good Luck)!

Gabrielle Collison
Buying Property in Portugal (NativePortugal)

April 11, 2010

Get by in Portuguese

Get by in Portuguese: All the Portuguese You Need to Get by With Confidence (BBC Active Get By)

Review:- It's a good, colourful book to recommend to students, and is one of the better value packs currently available - The Association of Language Learners

Product Description:- Get By in Portuguese from the BBC is the ideal travel companion a quick and easy introduction to Portuguese and a phrase book covering all the essential language you'll need on your trip.

With the help of a 60-minute CD, get to grips with the basics of a conversation before you leave, then take the book away with you as a handy reference guide.

Get By in Portuguese will help you:

* Understand the basics of the language with clear and easy-to-follow explanations

* Try out what you have learned with mini role plays and activities

BBC Get by in Portuguese

* Communicate with confidence with thousands of essential words and phrases

* Get around easily with useful tips for the visitor

* Eat out the Portuguese way with the comprehensive menu reader

Also contains a two-way mini dictionary so you'll never be stuck for the right word, and a full pronunciation guide so you'll always know how to say it!

Download the tracks on to your MP3 player to learn on the move. 160-page book and 75-minute audio CD.

Get by in Portuguese: All the Portuguese You Need to Get by With Confidence (BBC Active Get By)

Try the search facility below for other guides from Amazon:-

April 10, 2010

The Rough Guide to Portugal

The latest issue of the renowned "The Rough Guide to Portugal" is to be released on April 19th 2010 but you can pre-order your copy now.

The Rough Guide to Portugal (Rough Guides) Review:-
"There is nothing rough about Rough Guides...well written, thoroughly researched"...Sunday Times

"The Rough Guide to Portugal" is the essential travel guide with clear maps and coverage of the country's unique attractions. "The Rough Guide to Portugal" guides you around the fashionable cities of Lisbon and Porto, takes you hiking in the hills of central and northern Portugal, and covers every beach along the Algarve making it the ideal companion whether you're on a city break, beach holiday, walking or driving.

The guide unearths the best sites, hotels, restaurants, and nightlife across every price range - from backpacker hostels to beachfront villas and boutique hotels. You'll find specialist coverage of Portugese history, art and literature and detailed information on the best markets and shopping for each region.

The locally-based Rough Guide author team introduce the best vineyards, country taverns and fado clubs and provide reliable insider tips from driving Portugal's roads to shopping for linen and lace. Explore all corners of Portugal with authoritative background on everything from Porto's architecture to surfing at Peniche, relying on handy language tips and the clearest maps of any guide. Make the most of your holiday with "The Rough Guide to Portugal."

There are other excellent guides available:-

April 9, 2010

The Complete Guide to Buying Property in Portugal

The Complete Guide to Buying Property in Portugal


"Aims to guide you through the legal, financial and bureaucratic pitfalls that ensnare the unwary...looks at business opportunities and includes sections on coping with the language, and health and education"...Portugal Magazine

"Discusses the pluses as well as challenges of buying property, and living and working in this country"....booknews.com

Comprehensive and up-to-date source of information. Guidance on choosing a location for your Portuguese home; working and setting up a business; the legal and financial aspects of the purchase, including mortgage. Additional information on tax and other important legal considerations. Sections on renovating, letting and selling.

About the Author:- Colin Barrow was formerly Head of the Enterprise Group at Cranfield School of Management, where he taught entrepreneurship on the MBA program. He is a visiting professor at business schools in the US, Asia, France, Ireland and Austria, and the author of "Financial Management for the Small Business," also published by Kogan Page.

The Complete Guide to Buying Property in Portugal and other useful books are also available in the panel below:-

April 7, 2010

Living in Portugal

In "Living in Portugal" Anne de Stoop shares her infectious delight for Portugal via a tour of the diverse country: the Minho and Douro regions in northern Portugal, renowned for their fertile landscapes and port wines; the busy markets of Oporto; elegant country estates and lavish gardens, whose sophisticated designs reflect a rich architectural heritage; the urban pleasures and baroque opulence of Lisbon; the sparkling white villages of the sun-drenched Alentejo; and the unspoiled beaches of the Algarve.

Anne De Stoop (Author), Jerome Darblay (Photographer), Caroline Champenois (Photographer). Anne de Stoop, director of the Musee Mathurin Meheut in Lamballe, France, previously worked at the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga in Lisbon. She published several books about the stately homes of Portugal. Jerome Darblay's photographs appear regularly in Interiors and Elle Decoration magazines and were featured in Living in Venice (Flammarion, 2000) and Living in Istanbul (Flammarion, 1994).

Caroline Champenois, an interior design specialist, collaborated with photographer Chris Baker on the book Château Cuisine. Claire Baudoin runs a tour company in Lisbon.

As well as "Living in Portugal" there are other excellent guides available below:-

April 6, 2010

Portuguese Property Guide

Portuguese Property Guide - Second Edition - Buying, Renting and Living in Portugal.
Vedna Gavaloo (Author), João Gil Figueira (Author), Marisa Leitão dos Santos (Author)

Comprehensively updated second edition of the bestselling book on Portuguese Property. A detailed and easy to follow guide to buying property and living in Portugal.

Part one of the book deals with working and living in Portugal. It explains all the bureaucratic procedures newcomers are likely to face.

In part two, on buying real estate, the book sets out all the legal formalities for purchase and sale in a straightforward and easy to follow manner.

As well as the "Portuguese Property Guide" you will find a number of other useful guides listed in the panel below:-

April 5, 2010

Working and Living: Portugal

Working and Living: Portugal (Working & Living - Cadogan)

With Cadogan's new Working and Living: Portugal at your side, the move to this striking country will go as smoothly as possible. Everything readers need to know about living and working in Portugal is covered in this invaluable guide, from obtaining visas and work permits to internet services available.

Detailed advice helps to put your dream of moving to Portugal into practice, with tips on how to buy a house, get a job, find schools, and learn Portuguese. Case studies of people who have already made the move to Portugal are dotted throughout the text, giving a personal insight into how life will change. Fascinating facts about Portugal provide some quirky snapshots of this vibrant country.

From the Back Cover:-

If your heart is set on moving to Portugal, this essential book tells you where to start and guides you through every step.

All you need to know about living in Portugal and finding work is outlined in reassuring detail, from visas and permits to tax and employment law, renting or buying a home, finding schools and learning Portuguese. Whether you're heading for Lisbon or Lagos, the Algarve or the Alentejo, it helps you fit in fast, with invaluable background on food, etiquette, politics and media, and tips on the hot topics of the moment. Engaging, readable and peppered with case studies and expert advice, this is the only guide you need. Live the dream!

Inside you will find: expert guidance on tackling red tape; everyday life explained - banking, shopping, health, education, home utilities and transport; how to find work and keep it, or start your own business, with useful contacts and bags of ideas; complete profiles of the regions; what to do on arrival - initial problems solved; 16 pages of color photographs; 7 pages of maps; scores of anecdotes and personal stories - learn from the experience of others.

As well as "Working and Living: Portugal from Cadogan" Amazon have many useful guides listed in the panel below.

April 4, 2010

Buying a Property: Portugal

Buying a Property: Portugal (Buying a Property - Cadogan)

All the practical information necessary to buy a home overseas. Whether readers are looking for an apartment or a retirement haven, a holiday home or a permanent relocation place, these guides offer all the latest information on buying property. They cover all the regions that are popular with home-buyers and provide in-depth information on what to expect from each area: its climate, economy, facilities, and even levels of English-speaking among the local population.

Buying a Property offers advice on every step of the moving process - from organizing visas and dealing with immigration and customs to negotiating with estate agents; arranging and interpreting surveys and drawing up contracts; restoring property; and finding reputable rental agencies.

In addition, this guide features anecdotes and case studies that provide insights into the realities of settling in to the Portuguese environment and getting used to its culture and pace of life.

From the Back Cover:-

The most comprehensive guide of its kind - written by local experts, illustrated by personal histories, and packed with essential information on every step of the buying process: dealing with estate agents, insurance, security, letting for income, building from scratch and renovation.

The guide examines the best places to buy, from the Algarve to the Minho, with profiles of the regions and chapters on settling in; and there's all the specialist legal advice you need: on money transfer and taxes, wills, surveys, permits and fees. For a new start, a second home, a business project or a dream retirement, this book will prove indispensable.

Inside you'll find: expert legal advice and guidance; complete profiles of the regions; 24 pages of color photographs; complete practical information on transport and services; 8 pages of maps; directory of contacts and dictionary of technical terms; tales of local cuisine and culture.

Buying a Property: Portugal (Buying a Property - Cadogan)

Other useful guides are listed in the panel below:-

April 3, 2010

Teach Yourself Portuguese

Teach Yourself Portuguese Complete Course with Audio CDs, New Edition (TY: Complete Courses)

Want to learn Portuguese? Then Teach Yourself!

With Teach Yourself Portuguese Complete Course, you can learn this language from the comfort of your own home, at your own pace.

This fully revised and updated course introduces you to practical themes, such as making travel arrangements, meeting someone new, shopping, and other every day activities.

The accompanying audio CDs include recordings of native speakers so you can hear how Portuguese is used.

About the Author:- Manuela Cook has many years of experience teaching Portuguese.

Try the search facility below for other language courses:-

April 2, 2010

Buying a House in Portugal

Buying a House in Portugal (Buying a House - Vacation Work Pub)

Portugal is one of the most popular countries in Europe with those wanting to buy a second home, or start a new life, overseas. This is in part due to its welcoming climate around the year, which on its south coast is like that of the nearby Mediterranean and further north is warmed by the Gulf Stream. But the country has further attractions; although it is fast catching up with its more sophisticated European neighbours, it still manages to retain an unspoiled picturesque charm and a relaxed, easy-going way of life, especially further away from the bustling tourist developments of the Algarve.

Buying a House in Portugal is a complete guide for anyone considering buying property. It gives essential background information on Portuguese history; culture and the economy; the visa, work permit, and residence regulations; and the way of life in general - including descriptions of the health care and education systems, plus run-downs of food, drink, and shopping.

Buying a House in Portugal

A detailed geographical guide goes on to give profiles of the different regions including their climate, topography, and attractions; the types of property available; and comparative tables of prices to help readers select the best places to look for a house.

Buying a House in Portugal also describes all the different stages of the purchasing procedure, from raising finance, tackling the red tape, and taking on legal and other experts to exchanging contracts and conveyance.

Buying a House in Portugal concludes by covering the stages after the purchase, such as employing local craftsmen, improving the house or garden, and earning money from the property by renting it out.

Part I - includes history, culture, economy; Visas, permits, residence regulations; health care and education; food, drink and shopping.

Part II - profiles of the regions of Portugal; climate, topography and attractions; types of property available; comparative tables of prices; selecting the best places to buy.

Part III - red tape, planning and surveys; securing legal and other experts; currency conversion, taxes and mortgages; conveyancing, contracts & deposits.

Part IV - restoration and renovation; dealing with local artisans; gardens, pools & security; making money from your property; removals, pets and customs.

You will also find information on making a fresh start, your dream retirement, finding a holiday home and up-and-coming areas as well as useful contacts and personal case histories.

Buying a House in Portugal

Try the search box below to find other guides:-

April 1, 2010

PORTUGUESE in 10 minutes a day®

PORTUGUESE in 10 minutes a day® with CD-ROM

132-page illustrated workbook
Full color throughout
Organized in 25 easy steps, by essential categories
150 Sticky Labels for home and office
Ready-made Flash Cards
Cut-out Menu Guide
Pronunciation Guide
Glossary of over 2,000 words, definitions and pronunciation

CD-ROM Included with the 10 minutes a day book. Special language learning software. See and hear the words as you play with them on your computer screen. PC and Mac friendly.

The ever-popular PORTUGUESE in 10 minutes a day® book now comes with a new CD-ROM, full of fun computer activities! You'll learn everything you'll need for your travels, from making reservations to ordering a meal and finding your way around town.

This book/CD-ROM combo is not just another language book for your shelf; it's a complete, and fun, hands-on language learning experience that will help you live your travel adventures!

PORTUGUESE in 10 minutes a day® with CD-ROM

Try the search box below to find other useful guides:-

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