NEW YORK -- On the bus, off it, reboard. Check in and unpack,
repack and check out. These are routines familiar to any veteran of
Now, tour operators to Portugal are offering an alternative --
settling in and absorbing the country at leisure.
Home Away from Home, an extended resort stay from Skyline Travel
of Huntington, N.Y., places clients at select properties on
Portugal's Algarve coast for four weeks or more (shorter stays also
The area's famed beaches notwithstanding, nearby sightseeing
opportunities include not only Lisbon but Evora, Sagres and Silves.
Golf, tennis, sailing and nightlife abound.
on the warm and relatively inexpensive Iberian seashore as heating
bills soar at home can actually save U.S. travelers money, said
Liberal Lopes, president of Skyline.
"We're trying to bring our product to the attention of the
travel agent because it's a good value," Lopes said.
Skyline pays 12.5% commission on the packages.
Apartments at resorts such as the Sao Rafael in Albufeira and
the Jardim do Vau, Praia da Rocha, range from tourist class to
four-star, Lopes said.
Air fare and four weeks in a studio at the beachfront Sao Rafael
(with maid service) is priced from $945.
Repeat business is strong, said Lopes, who eschews direct
"We get over 95% of our business from agents," he said. "We'd
never bite the hands that feed us."
Leisure is key to the single-stay Discover Portugal tour from
Collette Vacations, said Melissa Snape, director of product
development at the Pawtucket, R.I., company.
"Our Discover series of tours are a response to agent feedback
that their clients are looking for more leisurely programs," she
said, adding that repeat visitors, in particular, indicated they
want longer city-center stays to more fully explore locales only
glimpsed on previous tours.
"Discover Portugal really enables people to see Lisbon in a new
light, especially cultural components such as museums," Snape
Not limited to Lisbon, the five-night program also visits the
coastal towns of Estoril, Nazare and Cascais; the walled town of
Obidos, and the Catholic pilgrimage center, Fatima.
The land-only tour is priced from $649 per person, double,
including nine meals and accommodations at Lisbon's Hotel Altis or
For more information on Skyline Travel's Home Away from Home
plans, call (800) 423-9090; e-mail [email protected], or visit www.skylinetravel.com.
For more information on Collette Tours' Discover Portugal tour,
call (888) 344-5578 or visit www.collettevacations.com.