6 tips to save money on a trip!

How can you not love to travel? Travelling allows you to discover new cultures, new realities and new people. It makes us better and happier people. The hard part is being able to take our dream trip without spending a lot of money.

There are several factors that are essential for saving money on a trip. First off, it is important to define a plan and when you want to travel. Establishing a budget is also essential if you don’t want to spend more than you should.

Here are six tips to help you save money on your dream trip!

  1. Plan ahead

When you plan a trip in advance, the prices of flights and hotels are usually lower. In addition, there is more to choose from, which is perfect for finding the best opportunities. If you book everything closer to the travel date, the best options will no longer be available.

  1. Establish a budget

As previously mentioned, it is essential to define how much you can spend on a trip! You can establish a total budget for the trip and then split expenses according to your options. If you don’t want to miss out on any tourist attractions on your destination, leave a bigger margin for this type of activities. Don’t forget to define your budget based on the prices charged in the country you are travelling to.

  1. Avoid high season

Festive seasons, such as Easter week or the peak of summer, tend to be more expensive. Which means it is very important to look for periods that are not so popular and therefore cheaper. Opting for the start or end of summer could be an alternative for avoiding more expensive prices. Another detail to consider are important events that may be happening at your destination, such as holidays or festivals.

  1. Use public transport

When you arrive at your destination, one of the best ways to save money is to use public transport. In Portugal, there is a strong transport network that includes metro, train or buses, which are always the easiest and cheapest ways to get around. For small distances, choose to walk! After all, there is no better way to explore a city!

  1. Choose your hotel wisely

Choosing the cheapest hotel doesn’t always mean it is the wisest choice. If you choose a cheap hotel but then need to spend a lot of money and time to get downtown, maybe it is not the best option for you! Look for the best quality-price options in the cities you are considering. Another smart choice could be sharing a room with the people you are travelling with. If you are travelling with friends, why not stay in a double or triple room? In the HF Hotels group we have several typologies so that our guests can choose the best option for them.

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  1. Search for the city’s attractions

Search for the official tourism sites of the destination you have chosen, in order to discover which attractions can’t be missed. Read testimonials and reviews on blogs and forums. In every destination, there are always free options that are just as incredible as the paid ones.

With these tips, you’ll definitely be making better choices for your next trip and only spending exactly what you need. If you travel to Lisbon or Porto, discover the hotels that the HF Hotels group has to offer and feel at home!

5 tips for travelling with kids

We can’t deny that travelling with kids is a challenge. But is it really that complicated? To be truly relaxed during your holidays, check out these five tips.

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We all spend the year thinking about our holidays. But when two become three (or more), plans can change a little bit! 

We can’t deny that travelling with kids is a challenge. But is it really that complicated? To be truly relaxed during your holidays, check out these five tips.

  1. Choose your seat on the plane

Unfortunately, there aren’t many airlines with specific seats for children or babies. If you fly with one of those companies, choose the back seats of the airplane. The seats are usually larger and that area is usually emptier. Besides, you will be closer to the bathrooms and there is always a flight attendant nearby.

  1. Choose a night schedule for long flights

If your flight is a long one, book it for the evening when the children are more tired. This way, the child will sleep during most of the flight. If the flight is short and during the day, take some small toys with you. Choose toys that don’t make noise, so as not to disturb the other passengers. Bring along some of their favourite toys or even new ones to surprise and grab their attention. Two or three are more than enough, you don’t need to bring them all!

 

  1. Talk to your children

Explain to the kids what will happen during the flight and how they should behave in this type of situation. If they are scared, comfort them and explain that you will always be by their side. Be sure to share the trip’s itinerary with them, which countries you will be visiting and what type of things you will be seeing and doing. This way, they will definitely feel like they are part of this journey and be much more motivated.

  1. Plan activities for the entire family

Choose the trip’s programme taking into account the entire family. Research the best places to visit in the city with children. If you travel to Porto, you must go to Sea Life; and in Lisbon, be sure to check out the Oceanarium.

  1. Choose the perfect hotel

If planning the places to visit and what to do during your trip is essential, making sure your children get proper rest is also a key factor for the success of your trip. Book family-friendly rooms, where there are toys and a place for the children to play and rest comfortably. At the HF Hotels, we have services and spaces dedicated to young children included in our HF Family rooms. In Lisbon or in Porto, choose what’s best for your needs as a family!

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With these tips, what are you waiting for to travel with your kids? Lisbon and Porto are two wonderful cities to visit with your family! We can’t wait to welcome you! And don’t forget: feel at home!

Learn more at www.hfhotels.com

Escape from tourist tours with a trip with your better-half

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An experience that has everything to go well (apart from a few arguments on the way)!

A group tour is not always the best way to discover a city during your holidays. Besides that, if you want the trip mood to be more romantic, there are alternatives to tours that certainly will remain in your memory as special moments.

  • Picnic in a park or garden

We love this idea in addition to providing a pleasant moment with your better-half, it is an excellent way to enjoy nature together.

Spend some time planning: what to take to eat and drink? Will the weather be nice? What is the best spot?

  • Bike trip through the city

At the Riverside, at the park or in the streets of the city centre, a bike trip is an excellent way to discover more about the city that you choose for your holidays. Get lost in time and space, and enjoy this moment with your better-half.

Tip: take a break and have a refreshing and relaxing drink!

  • Watch the sunset

The sunset is one of the most romantic moments of the day, no doubt about it! It is a thoughful moment, where we can dedicate ourselves to contemplating the beauty and calm of those magical minutes. Whether at the beach, on a rooftop – HF Hotel’s rooftops are an amazing choice! – or at the top of a mountain, don’t miss the opportunity to watch a sunset in your holidays, always with the best company possible.

  • Do an extreme activity

And why not taking a chance with an unconventional plan? Look for a extreme activities in the place of your holidays and experimente something new as a couple. Plenty of ideas: parachute jumping, climbing or sliding. Lokok for an adventure!

  • Share a gastronomic experience

Discovering a new place means, besides visiting monuments, also trying the local food. Book a restaurant where they serve typical food and choose the strangest dishes in the menu. It wil be a memorable moment on your trip!

 

Do you like our suggestions? Our recommendation it is to travel – a lot – in a romantic manner, with your love, but take some aspects into account. The most importante thing in a trips as a couple is to ensure that the choices are made by the two since the place, the hotels and the type of holidays that both want to have.

Have fun!

Learn more at www.hfhotels.com

6 bars for a night out in Lisbon

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If you’re in Lisbon and are spending the day exploring the city’s fantastic historical monuments and landscapes, don’t forget to save some energy for discovering all the diversity that the Lisbon’s nightlife has to offer.

With every visit, Lisbon, one of the most coveted European capitals, opens itself up like a little box of surprises.

With breathtaking landscapes and places that overflow with culture and history, the Portuguese capital has something for every tourist or resident – as long as there is a thirst for life!

And because at night Lisbon is even more unique, if you really want to get to know this capital’s true mystique, you must have a drink at one of these (practically) mandatory spots in the city:

Lux Frágil

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Where? Avenida Infante D. Henrique, Armazém A, Lisbon

Opening hours: Thursdays and Fridays from 11.00 pm to 6.00 pm; Saturdays from 11.00 pm to 7.00 am

One of oldest nightclubs in Lisbon, Lux Frágil is a must-stop for fans of a great night out.

In 2014, The Guardian considered it one of the 25 best clubs in Europe. It is located on the banks of the Tagus river and offers 2 floors of electronic music and a magnificent balcony that invites anyone who can handle it, to dance until sunrise!

Onair

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Where? Rua Joaquim António de Aguiar, 5, Lisbon

Opening hours: Thursdays and Fridays from 11.00 pm to 6.00 pm; Saturdays from 11.00 pm to 7.00 am

Right in front of the emblematic Marquês de Pombal, on the 8th floor of HF Fénix Music, the rooftop bar Onair features a swimming pool and a lounge bar, with the best panoramic view over the city.

Although the swimming pool is only for the use of guests, this oasis is also open to the public starting at 7.30 pm and allows you to watch the sunset to the sound of concerts that occur from Thursday to Sunday, accompanied by Onair’s signature cocktails.

Red Frog

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Where? Rua do Salitre, 5A, Lisbon

Opening hours: Mondays to Thursdays, from 6.00 pm to 2.00 am; Fridays and Saturdays, from 6.00 pm to 3.00 am

Behind a discreet wooden door with a red frog hanging from it and a bell that says “Press for cocktail”, you’ll find the place that was considered the best bar in the country, the Red Frog!

Completely inspired by the clandestine bars of the United States during the 20th century – due to the Prohibition ban – this “speakeasy” is also an ode to cocktails, where all of them are signature.

This is the only Portuguese bar on the list of the best bars in the world and it’s located in a basement, without any natural light and almost no cell phone reception, which means mingling is key and where it is expected that, more than just a simple night out, the customer enjoys a true experience.

Lust in Rio

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Where? Rua da Cintura do Porto de Lisboa, Lisbon

Opening hours: Thursdays to Saturdays from midnight to 6.00 am

In the Tagus riverside, Lust in Rio comes to life during the bathing season.

Open from Thursday to Sunday during the summer months, Lust in Rio is an outdoor space in the Cais do Sodré area that attracts crowds, thanks to its theme parties and all night long animation.

It is currently one of the most sought out night spots in Lisbon and has a varied agenda with DJs and guests that make every night even more fun than the last.

Cinco Lounge

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Where? Rua Ruben A. Leitão, 17 A, Lisbon

Opening hours: Mondays to Sundays from 9.00 pm to 2.00 am

Located in Príncipe Real, is the classic – but not out of style! – Cinco Lounge.

With a London vibe and low lighting, you’ll find cocktails for everyone, alcoholic and non-alcoholic. In a quiet atmosphere with calm background music, Cinco Lounge creates a serene environment where everyone can enjoy their drink until the last drop, without having to rush.

Perfect for all ages, it’s the ideal place to start off your night or to simply enjoy a quieter evening.

Maria Caxuxa

Where? Rua da Barroca 6-12, Lisbon

Opening hours: Mondays to Thursdays, from 6.00 pm to 2.00 am; Fridays and Saturdays, from 6.00 pm to 3.00 am

Opening hours: Mondays to Thursdays, from 6.00 pm to 2.00 am; Fridays and Saturdays, from 6.00 pm to 3.00 am

What was once a cake factory is now one of the busiest bars in the mythical Bairro Alto. With a calm, relaxed and welcoming atmosphere, Maria Caxuxa is the ideal place for those looking for something a little less intrusive or for those who just want to start the night off right. It has a retro décor with antique furniture, including a wood-burning oven that belonged to the old factory, and its main stars are cocktails and caipirinhas.

At the end of a long day of sightseeing and after an evening filled with emotions, be sure that at the HF Hotels you’ll find the comfort and relaxing atmosphere you need to rest and recover your energy. Benefit from a late check-out (subject to availability) and feel ready for one more day in this addicting city!

Learn more at www.hfhotels.com

Discovering Porto by bicycle

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Discover Porto in an eco-friendly way: take a bike ride and make your visit to the city extra special!

Whether you’re a local or are just passing through the city of Porto, for the first or for the twentieth time, it’s always a pleasure to walk around and (re)discover the best places in town. If you think you’ve already visited everything or are looking for another way to explore the city, this is our healthy and environmentally friendly suggestion – opt for a bike ride and discover Porto from another perspective!

Forget the car, bus or motorcycle and hop on two wheels for a true bicycle adventure! Besides being an eco-friendly choice, this activity works wonders for your health and is an experience that will let you escape the confusion of the city and fully soak up nature and its surroundings.

Wake up early, have a hearty breakfast – HF Hotels have great choices! –, energise yourself, rent one of our bikes and, as soon as you’re ready, start cycling!

If you’re out of ideas and are staying at HF Ipanema Park or at the HF hotels in Boavista, this is our tour suggestion, so you can spend an entire day biking all over the city:

Starting at HF Ipanema Park:

Estimated duration of the tour: 9h

Leave the HF Ipanema Park, head towards Rua do Campo Alegre and discover the Botanical Garden! If you’re a botany lover, be prepared to be dazzled by the diversity of plants you’ll find here. Even if you’re not much of a plant fan, you’re really going to enjoy this!

  • Porto Botanical Garden

Distance from the previous location: 650 m

Go from botany to ornithology, which means: bird watching! When leaving the Botanical Garden, head west and go down to Largo António Calém. There you’ll find an observatory with the Arrábida Bridge and the Douro river as a backdrop. You’ll also find the starting point of a waterfront bicycle path that connects the Ribeira and Foz do Douro.

  • Lordelo do Ouro Bird Observatory

Distance from the previous location: 1.4 km

Continue on the bicycle path – which will ensure a much safer tour – and along the way you’ll find Passeio Alegre, a beautiful garden designed at the end of the 19th century, with centuries-old trees and benches inviting you to take a rest in the shade!

  • Passeio Alegre

Distance from the previous location: 1.5 km

If you follow the bicycle path to the northwest, you will come upon Porto’s beautiful beaches.

Cycling with a view of the ocean will definitely make you want to stop and take a dip! Choose the beach you like best – it won’t be an easy choice  – and enjoy a swim or simply breathe in the sea breeze and feel the sand on your feet.

  • Beaches

Distance from the previous location: 1 km

If you’re getting hungry, along the bicycle path, on the Foz line, you’ll find many of Porto’s best restaurants. Stop to enjoy lunch and recharge your batteries before you continue the afternoon part of the tour!

 

  • Foz

Distance from the previous location: 500 m

 

 

Head north along the bicycle path that travels alongside the beach front and you’ll find the São Francisco Xavier Fort or, as it is popularly known, Castelo do Queijo. Legend has it that this fort, edified in the 17th century, was built on a rock whose shape was similar to that of a cheese.

  • “Castelo do Queijo” (Cheese Castle)

Distance from the previous location: 2 km

Very close to Castelo do Queijo, you’ll find one of the entrances to the largest urban park in the country, Parque da Cidade and a new bicycle path.

With an area of 83 hectares, stretching all the way to the Atlantic Ocean – a rarity in the world – in this city park you’ll come across various lakes and animals, such as frogs, ducks or swans.

The entire tour will be even easier to navigate, with well defined paths and a unique natural diversity.

  • Porto City Park

Distance from the previous location: 500 m

After exploring the city park, head to the south exit and get back on the road, heading towards Avenida da Boavista. Be extra careful with traffic and signage.

Go east until Rua D. João de Castro, where you’ll find the Serralves Foundation. There you can finish your tour by visiting the Museum of Contemporary Art, as well as one of the most beautiful gardens in the city of Porto.

  • Serralves Foundation

Distance from the previous location: 2 km

Starting at HF Fénix Porto, HF Tuela Porto or HF Ipanema Porto:

Estimated duration of the tour: 11h

If you are in Porto, you can’t miss the emblematic Avenida da Boavista! When leaving HF Fénix Porto, HF Tuela Porto or HF Ipanema Porto, go north and head towards the city’s most emblematic artery. Enjoy some window shopping, don’t get lost among the shops, but be dazzled by the luxury brands you’ll find there!

  • Avenida da Boavista

Distance from the previous location: 2 km

Once you reach the Boavista roundabout, you will also reach the end of Avenida da Boavista. There you’ll find Casa da Música on your left. Much more than a concert hall, it is also an icon of contemporary architecture.

Guided tours to the building, which has bars and a rooftop restaurant, occur daily.

  • Casa da Música

Distance from the previous location: 2 km

After your visit to Casa da Música, access the Boavista roundabout and get off at the 4th exit, where you’ll find the Bom Sucesso Market. Completely renovated in 2013, this is a place where you can delight in an array of irresistible scents that linger in the air and choose your favourite spot for lunch.

  • Bom Sucesso Market

Distance from the previous location: 500 m

After a leisurely lunch, head southeast and descend to Rua D. Manuel II, where Palácio de Cristal is located, accompanied by an incredible 8-hectare garden. With amazing lookouts and panoramic views of the Douro river, you may even be welcomed by some species such as peacocks and other birds that wander around, keeping you company during your visit.

  • Palácio de Cristal Gardens

Distance from the previous location: 1 km

Continue in the same direction until you find the Santo António hospital. Go around the hospital building and turn right on Rua de Azevedo Albuquerque.

Right at the back of the Palácio da Justiça (Palace of Justice) is the Virtudes Garden, where you’ll come across one of the best views of the Douro river and the Alfândega do Porto (former customs house). Here you’ll also find largest Ginkgo Balboa in Portugal, which is about 35 metres tall.

  • Virtudes Garden

Distance from the previous location: 1 km

Turn back and head to Rua Dr. António de Sousa Macedo, where you should turn right. Go straight ahead until you inevitably see the Clérigos Tower, one of the city’s most characteristic monuments.

Attached to the Clérigos church and over 75 meters high, it’s possible to take a guided tour and – for those who are courageous enough – to climb to the top of the tower.

  • Clérigos Tower

Distance from the previous location: 500 m

Walk down to Praça da Liberdade and you’ll see Avenida dos Aliados on your left! This is one of the city’s most emblematic avenues. Right in the centre of Oporto, this avenue is surrounded by old buildings of incredible beauty and architecture.

Tip: Even if you’re not a fan of fast food, take a look at the McDonald’s building, one of the most beautiful in the world. You will be surprised!

  • Avenida dos Aliados

Distance from the previous location: 500 m

Cycle a bit more and head down to the legendary São Bento train station.  Go straight ahead until you see the entrance to the D. Luís I bridge.

Continue a few more metres along the bridge and end your day surrounded by pure beauty: turn off everything (except your phone’s camera) and simply enjoy the scenery and the sunset over the Douro. It will definitely be a memorable moment!

  • Luís I Bridge

Distance from the previous location: 700 m

Anxious to grab a bike and go for a ride? Take advantage of our tours to start cycling right in the morning and only stop at the end of the day!

Rest assured that all this effort will be rewarded when you reach the places and see the landscapes that we suggest! In case you get hooked and are looking for more suggestions, check out the Granja or the Prelada bicycle paths.

And don’t forget, even if you don’t have a bike and are staying at HF Hotels in Porto, all our city hotels have bicycles for rent (subject to availability), so there is no excuse for not exploring Porto on a bicycle!

Learn more at www.hfhotels.com