• Portugal


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    Home exchange in Lisbon last September was a long-waited return to Portugal for me. For a long time, we had thought about leaving Cape Verde for Europe for a while, so that my husband could get to know my background more and my friends and family. Island life in Cape Verde is relaxed and sunny, but change is always good and my longing to return to Portugal kept on growing.

    In September 2023 we put our dogs in the care of our relatives, packed our bags, jumped on a plane and finally traveled from Cape Verde to Lisbon. The feeling of happiness when we saw the already familiar orange-roofed houses of Lisbon approaching from the window of the plane!

    As accommodation we had a Home exchange home in the Campo de Ourique area. We carried all six of our overstuffed suitcases to the cozy first floor home, where we were greeted by a friend of the owner of the apartment. He introduced us to the place and gave us the keys. We settled into this traditionally cozy Lisbon holiday base well. Here we would spend the next 10 days.


    Lisbon offered us everything we hoped for. It was wonderful to return to my old home city, where I loved to live. For my husband, this was the first time in Portugal and in all Europe, so I could act as a tour guide and at the same time enjoy his happy and surprised expressions while visiting amazing places.

    We toured the center of Lisbon, admired the views of the Tejo River in the sunshine at Praca do Comercio square, got to know the old town of Alfama and the colorful Bairro Alto, where I have spent several fun evenings while living in the city. We spent time with our friends who live in Lisbon and went for a walk in my old neighborhood in Saldanha. We also went to spend a day in Sintra, because my husband had to see the famous Palacio da Pena during his first visit to Portugal. My husband is a big football fan and Benfica in particular is one of his favorites, so I had to take him to see the Benfica Stadium.

    Bairro Alto
    Bairro Alto
    Benfica Stadium

    Lisbon is a great destination for a long or a short city break and offers culture, history, sights and lots of different things to do. There are also wonderful beaches near Lisbon, so the city is an excellent choice for combining a beach holiday with an urban adventure.

    Campo Grande
    Praca do Comercio



    Home exchange is a great way to get free accommodation for your trip, but above all it’s a great way to travel differently and experience life from a local perspective. At the same time, you get the chance to meet new people from all over the world, and sometimes with good luck, these acquaintances even grow into proper friendships. Homes are ordinary people’s homes, so you shouldn’t expect any hotel experiences, and homes often show their residents in one way or another in the form of goods, interior design and personality. Those who are fond of home swapping know that these aspects are the reason why home exchange is the so amazing.

    Home Exchange in Lisbon is not our first home exchange. We have experiences already from many places and home exchange has enabled amazing travel experiences in different parts of the world, such as in San Francisco, Valencia and the Canary Islands.

    If you are interested in HomeExchange and the free accommodation it enables when traveling, check out this link to the HomeExchange website and explore wonderful homes around the world! When you join, you will also receive a gift of 250 Guest Points, which you can use in your future home changes.

    HomeExchange.com is a popular and very reliable site, which is also familiar to many from the movie The Holiday. In the movie, Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet swap homes with each other and get to know each other’s lives and homes in different parts of the world using this website, which we also use to swap homes.

    Home exchange can be done by swapping houses at the same time with another person/family, where you travel to someone’s house to stay and they come to yours. This is the most traditional form and the essence of home exchange. It is also possible to make an exchange at different times, where, for example, you travel to someone else’s home and he goes somewhere else, but comes to your home for a home exchange some other time, and then you go somewhere else.

    The third option is exchanging with using Home exchange points, the principle of which is pretty much the same as, for example, renting an apartment, but instead of money, renting is done with home exchange points, i.e. Guest Points. Staying with points also means that no one will come to your home, but you will give your points as compensation. We ourselves have tried each of these forms, always depending a little on the situation and needs of the trip. Each of these has worked admirably and I can recommend each of them very warmly as a form of Home exchange. 🙂 Grab 250 home exchange points here and join!



    <3: Tiina Johanna

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  • Cape Verde,  Ilha Do Sal


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    Sal Cape Verde is a popular holiday destination. The best hotels and accommodation tips all consist of wonderful beach hotels and amazing pool accommodations, because there are plenty of these in Cape Verde. Sal is always a sunny destination and there are plenty of turquoise sparkling ocean water and beaches along the entire length of the island. Sal is also full of magnificent hotels and different accommodations for every need and every budget, from luxury hotels and large resorts to affordable hostels, cute bed & breakfasts and private apartments.

    Living in Sal for a long time, I have also had time to get to know several of these hotels and places myself and to gain my own experience, good local knowledge and also the experiences of my friends.



    Hilton Cabo Verde Sal Resort offers five-star luxury right by the sea. The Hilton has a beautiful large pool area with red sunbeds and wonderful palm trees and a direct sea view. At Hilton, the quality of services is always quaranteed! The Hilton is also just a short walk from the cozy center of Santa Maria.

    Oasis Salinas Sea is a popular five-star hotel with two swimming pools on the same coastline as the Hilton. The services of this hotel are also amazing and the location couldn’t be better: Right on the beach and walking distance to everywhere!


    Hotel Morabeza is a beautiful and stylish hotel located right next to the center of Santa Maria, which also suits a more quiet taste. There is no entertainment services in Morabeza and entertainment can be found only outside the hotel. The hotel has no less than three swimming pools and is located right next to the beach in the best parade spots. If you want to relax in peace but close to everything. choose this!

    Oasis Belorizonte is a nice good quality four-star hotel, where you can get everything you need, from good food to an entertaining program and just relaxing by the pool.

    Halos Casa Resort is a bright and beautiful four-star hotel with a large swimming pool in the center for relaxation. Halos’ evening entertainment is highly praised by customers. The hotel is only a short road crossing to the beach and only a short walk to the services of the city center.


    Robinson Club Cabo Verde is a cozy and beautiful adult-only hotel with all amenities, right on the beach and within walking distance to everything.

    Melia Llana Beach Resort & Spa is a wonderful five-star luxury resort that consists of several beautiful swimming pools and pool restaurants. The nearby Bikini Beach beach area is a great place for swimming even on a windy day thanks to its more sheltered coves, and the Bikini Beach Club found on the beach offers entertainment every day and night for every taste. Melia Llana is for adults only.

    Design Suites Boutique Hotel is quite new in Sal’s accommodations. The modern and cozy boutique hotel is an adult-only accommodation right in the center of Santa Maria. The rooms are stylish and on the roof terrace you can enjoy sea views from the infinity pool!


    Hotel Odjo D’Agua is a local, high-quality, beautiful and cozy hotel right by the sea. The food in the hotel’s restaurant is so delicious and the hotel is the only one whose infinity pool is a seawater pool. The hotel has its own small beach coves with beach chairs on both sides of the pool, where you can swim without worries even on windier days. Tip: Locals also prefer Odjo D’Agua’s seawater pool and the restaurant’s delicacies when they want a little pampering, just like us as well!

    Hotel LIVVO Budha Beach is located near the beach of Antonio Sousa, a little further from the center of Santa Maria, but still within walking distance. The hotel is bright, relaxed and peaceful, and in its center is an attractive swimming pool, from where you can enjoy a beautiful sunset or go and admire the big seashells of Shell Cemetery Beach in front.

    Melia Dunas Beach Resort & Spa is located in the Melia hotel resort area next to the previously mentioned Llana. Melia Dunas’ swimming pools are large and you can enjoy them even a long day of swimming and chilling. You can get delicious refreshments directly in the pool from the pool bars. There are boutiques and several different restaurants in the hotel resort area. Entertainment can be found both in the hotel area and at the nearby Bikini Beach Club. We spent our wedding weekend at Melia Dunas in a private villa and totally enjoyed ourselves!


    Hotel NhaTerra is a nice small hotel right on the main pedestrian street of Santa Maria, at the intersection where you can take a taxi and go to the beaches. The hotel always has delicious food and the small swimming pool offers an opportunity to refresh yourself in the middle of a hot day.

    Ocean Suites offers stylish and original accommodation right next to the beach, along the main street and in the heart of everything. The rooms are modern and the main asset of this place is definitely the central location. The popular Ocean Cafe restaurant downstairs always has good food and evening entertainment that attracts both tourists and locals who love the fresh dance rhythms.

    Sakaroule B&B is a small and colorful bed and breakfast in the center of Santa Maria, a short walk from the main street and the beaches. The service is friendly and the breakfast is always delicious.


    Misturod is a basic, but good apartment hotel a little further from the hustle and bustle of the city center. Misturod’s apartments include everything you need and each apartment has its own small terrace with hammocks. This is where we spent the first couple of months after I moved to the island!

    Villa ao Mar is a wonderful apartment hotel right on the beach. All apartments are of good standard and quality, each one has everything you need. The absolute best is the large and comfortable terraces and the seaside location, you literally step out of the hotel door directly onto the beach! I myself spent a week here for the first time on vacation and I can warmly recommend it.

    Porto Antigo Hotel B&B is a nice apartment hotel also right by the sea. There is a private swimming pool and a private small beach cove where it is nice to swim even on a windy day.

    Branco Suites is a bit further from the beach area, but a very great choice for accommodation. The apartments are of a good standard and it’s nice to look at the sceneries from the terrace. The breakfast is excellent and one of my friends often walks here for breakfast just because!

    Aguahotels Vila Verde is a good basic apartment hotel a short distance from the center of Santa Maria. The apartments are modern and have everything you need. The hotel has its own swimming pool, with a pool bar for those who are hungry and thirsty. Vila Verde Resort has its own convenience store and restaurant. Vila Verde also offers apartments for longer-term rental. The nearest beach is Bikini Beach and there is a free shuttle bus from Vila Verde to Santa Maria several times a day. We ourselves lived here for a while, because we wanted to enjoy the pleasures of our own swimming pool and get a little change in our everyday life.

    There is also much more accommodation in Sal than just these and there are also various private holiday apartments for rent in every price range. Due to its wide range of accommodation, Sal is suitable for both luxury lovers and budget travelers, so pick your favorite from the list or find out more and find the best accommodation on Booking.com!


    <3: Tiina Johanna

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