My wife and I have never really been hostel-type people, preferring the minibars and pillow menus of good hotels, even when we can’t really afford them! However, when we first moved to Portugal a couple of years ago, we lived just around the corner from the pousada da juventude, and every time we wandered past the large windows we were always rather taken by its plush reception area and open air patio.
You see, Portugal does youth hostels rather well, with one in Lisbon being named amongst the very best in the world. In these times of economic hardship, it is easy to see the benefits of staying in these places, either for a very inexpensive holiday, or as an extended stay for those exploring the area with a view to moving to Portugal permanently. The best part is that off-season, there is a high probability of plenty of availability, which means lots of space and privacy once checked in.
The local press has drawn our attention to a couple of new hostels in the past few weeks, including a new music-themed establishment down the road from us in Tavira, with its walls adorned with murals featuring the Beatles, Bob Marley and other music legends.
Faro, the Algarve’s “capital” has also just opened the doors of its first hostel, giving people the opportunity to come and enjoy our Autumn sunshine via a cheap flight, and find a bed for the night for under 15 euros! Both of these new places offer ensuite rooms as well as traditional dormitory accommodation, so those of us insistent on our own toilet facilities can be happy too!
I like the thought that these new places will bring young people to the area, and add the certain vibrancy that they bring to Lagos, down the other end of the Algarve. And, who knows, if the local magazines and papers keep printing pictures of these shiny new establishments, I may one day “feel the fear, and do it anyway” and actually stay in one myself. Perhaps.