The Annual Festival of Batata-Doce ( Sweet Potato) of Aljezur

The Annual Festival of Batata-Doce ( Sweet Potato) of Aljezur

Once again the Annual Festival of Batata-Doce took place on the 25th to 27th November 2016 in Aljezur.  This area of the Algarve is worth a visit any time of the year. There are wonderful holiday rental properties all around.  If staying local maybe in an Lagos apartment or maybe one of the many Algarve villas set your satnav for Alentejano e Costa Vicentina.  A day trip into the coves and valleys can be a wonderful experience and the umpteen small cafes selling Galao and Bolas Portuguese wine vinho or a nice sopa Portuguese soup.

The Annual Festival of Batata-Doce ( Sweet Potato) of Aljezur took place over the weekend on the 27, 28 and 29 November 2015.

Sweet Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes

This event in Aljezur on Portugal Western Algarve takes place each autumn.
The official opening on the , Friday 27, at 18.30, will be conducted by the presence the President of the Regional Coordination and Development Commission of the Algarve, David Santos.Aljezur celebrates, during 3 days, the best sweet potatoes in the world, The common variety in this area is the lira, which is suitable to this geographical area.

Festival Entertainment
 Festival Entertainment

Other attractions at the festival are animation, handicrafts, sweets, craft, and many other products, are always good reason enough reason to visit this wonderful historical town of Aljezur, the heart of the Costa Vicentina. A lot of visitor coming to this area and stay in the many local self-catering holiday rental accommodation, hotels and hostels. Nearby Lagos also has a huge selection of holiday accommodation. Self-catering apartment and villas

Octopus
   Octopus salad

The sweet potato and potato are not closely relationed from a horticular viewpoint. They are not in the same botanical order, totally different families. Sweet potatoes are true root crop, it is the enlarged section of the root used by the plant to store energy, while potatoes are stem tubers, formed from the stem of the plant.
The sweet potato is regarded nowadays as a superfood. The sweet potato isn’t only nutritious being high in vitamins A and C, it’s also both tasty and versatile. Having research a little we discovered the sweet potatoes are at the top of a lot of people’s health foods list.
Once baked, medium-sized sweet potato contains 438% of your daily value of vitamin A , a white potato contains 1%, 37% of your vitamin C, and some calcium, potassium, and iron too.

Great news is all this at only 105 calories!

Another huge plus is the also provide 5 grams of dietary fiber—17% of the daily value—and they contain nothing  in terms of fat.

We give here under a recipe for Sweet Potato
What you need:
2 large red-skinned sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 sprig of coriander
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into small chunks the size can be of you choosing. Put these in a small baking dish or tray . In a small bowl mix the following olive oil, honey and lemon juice. Pour mixture over potatoes and toss to coat. Sprinkle with the salt, and bake, stirring occasionally, for about 1 hour, until potatoes are tender. Chope coriander and sprinkle over cooked potatoes. Ideal dish to accompany fish or meat maybe with another vegetable of your choice

 

Aljezur Beach
  Local Aljezur Beach

The Costa Vicentina area is another beautiful area of the Algarve.  It has wonderful unspoilt beaches loads of self-catering accommodation to choose for you holiday.  If you have a holiday rental property in this area feel free to list with www.goholidaylets.com.  It is actually free.

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Baking a Portuguese Tart Is sometimes An Art

Baking a Portuguese Tart Is sometimes An Art

Every society and community has its items of pride.  The Irish speak of Guinness with an air of supreme joy and rightly so.  The English speak of their football team as if it should wins every world cup and with their pool of talent rightly so.  But to be fair when you arrive on a holiday to Lagos in Portugal’s Algarve  one of their proudest boasts is not just their soccer team.  The humble Pastel de Nata is spoken about with reverence showing a national pride in a small custard cake.Today I would like to pass onto to you a recipe for the now wonderful famous Portuguese Tart “Pastel de Nata”

Lagos
Patio Do Convento

A friend of mine was lucky enough to go on a family-self-catering-holiday-Lagos on the Western Algarve.  All the small cafes were serving these beautiful little custards tarts.  Eventhought she was staying in her own holiday home there was no way she would or to be fair could bake.   But she was raving about these little tarts when she got home so I decided with a level of success to give them ago.  Here is the recipe I used.

Portuguese Tart
 Portuguese Tart

PORTUGUESE TART RECIPE

Key Ingredients

  • 1 whole egg + 2 egg yolks
  • 115 grams caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour
  • 200ml cream
  • 200ml milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 sheet of puff pastry

The tarts made from these ingredients serves up to twelve people.  But you can still double the ingredients if you want to make them for a large number of people, still you reduce the ingredients if the people you are serving is small.

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the egg and egg yolks, then add the required amount of sugar and cornflour till the mixture combines, then whisk in the cream and milk until the mixture has a fine texture.
  • Pre – heat the pan in low heat and cooking, ensure constant stirring, this helps in thickening the mixture and enables it to boil.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Transfer the custard into a bowl to allow it to cool. Cover the custard with a cling film to prevent another layer from forming.
  • Preheat the oven to 200C, and lightly grease a 12-hole 80ml muffin tray.
  • The oven should be set to 200c and oil the tray to avoid sticking.
  • Slice the puffed pastry sheet in sizes of half, place one half on top of the other, and put it aside for roughly 5 minutes.
  • Roll the pastry tightly and cut the pastry log into twelve 1 cm rounds. Flour the surface and roll the pasty using a rolling pin and ensure that each disc is thin and 10cm in diameter.
  • Form the pastry rounds into the muffin tin, and then spoon the custard into pastry cases.
  • Set the time to 20 minutes or until the pasty and custard are golden, the top of the custard should be blackened in some places if not then the custard is not ready.
  • Leave the tarts in the baking tin for 5 minutes or so and transfer them to wire rack to cool completely.
  • Sprinkle some cinnamon and icing sugar and the tart is ready to be served.
  • Cakes
       Portuguese Cakes

The beauty of serving your tart in your own self catering apartment is that you can sit anywhere around the house and enjoy whether alone or with guest.  We have no doubt apart from great memories the vision of those tarts will remind you of your wonder holiday in Lagos or some other great location like Albufeira where ever you rented your holiday property.

 

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A Self-Catering Sojourn in Lagos Portugal

A Self-Catering Sojourn in Lagos Portugal

A self-catering sojourn in Lagos Portugal

Lagos
                                                                                       Sea view in Lagos

Middlesboro, Nuneaton, Brighton this winter of year what have they in common “winter”.
You have options, we suggest you spend 6 weeks before Christmas in Lagos Portugal. Many apartments in complexes like Patio Do Convento available to rent at very reasonable rates. The Marina apartments are another tremendous holiday rental location. At one end of the Avenida in Lagos there are a few excellent locations for self-catering accommodation . Near the ‘Ponta da Bandeira’ Fort and ‘Potato beach’ (Praia da Batata) .
The longer you stay the better the rates as the owners have less final cleanings. Their cost savings can be passed on to tenant.

Lagso Marina
                                                                                        View of Lagos Marina

Ok weather is not perfect but it will be 5 degrees warmer than England or Ireland. Trust us that a lot this time of year. As I write another major storm is heading over England and Ireland from the Atlantic They now are giving them name making them real almost. Practically the difference is no heating bills in Lagos, far move sunshine far more opportunities to get out for walks etc.
You don’t have to go self-catering in Lagos. You can always try for a nice holiday rental in Alvor Carvoeiro or AlbufeiraTo stay with the practicalities of being here term you need among other things a solicitor, maybe an accountant , if you have a car a good mechanic. In a Short term holiday rental hopefully you wont need any of the latter. But you will need certain profession services as well. You will a doctor for instances, which will not be an issue. Its essential you have your European E111 card. Get that sorted be you travel. If you Lagos you can register with the local Helath Service and see a GP for €5. Or call to the Private Hospital your owner should be able to supply all that information for you.

One organisation worth joining is Afpop basical an expat association based in Portugal. afpop specialises in providing a comprehensive range of information services and support to foreign residents and visitors to Portugal. We can assist in keeping you up-to-date with new and existing legislation, along with social events for all of our members.

Lagos Boats
Lagos Boats at anchor

You might or might not need a bank. We would recommend Banif a very friend efficient bank.
For the ladies there are excellent hair salons Raul Milhano and his staff  come highly recommended. Then for the gents the £5 hair by Paula Cruz Cabelelreiro , Rua José Ventura Neto Cabrita 8600-385 Lagos you might have to wait your turn but the hair cut itself will be quick. Paula includes a wash for the €5.00
To get there keep an eye on the winter sales from Ryanair, Monach, Easyjet and AerLingus. The first three fly from airports like London, Birmingham, East Midlands, Manchester and Liverpool all year round. Ryanair and Aer Lingus fly from Dublin.

Your Ideal kind of holiday at Portugals Vilamoura

Your Ideal kind of holiday at Portugals Vilamoura

Vilamoura is at the heart of the Algarve in Portugal, its just 2 hours flight time  away from the UK and its one of the main tourist destination in the region. This is a place where you will be spoilt for choice in the midst many activities like sports, shopping, and the nightlife, if you want a sunny family or golfing break this is the ideal place for you. The accommodation here is superb from 5-star luxurious hotels like the famous Tivoli Marina Hotel or stunning holiday rental villas with private pool.

Beautiful Vilamoura Beach
Beautiful Vilamoura Beach

Who visits this region: Vilamoura is visited by different kinds of people i.e Celeb-spotters, shoppers, golf fanatics and people who enjoy great continental food.

When to visit:  Summer is the ideal time to visit, but if you are a Golfer you will know that Golf is played here every month of the year.

Best Attractions:  There are several golf courses to choose from and plenty of bars for a night out with your friends while enjoying the local hospitality.

What to do in Vilamoura

The Marina at Vilamoura is one of the pivotal points for activities during the day and evenings.  This is the kind of place to treat yourself or maybe buy a present or souvenirs for friends or family. Since the Marina is popular with celebrities and the jet set you ll find lots of shops to browse away the day.

As previously said Golf is another major pastime for holidaymakers in this region.  There are a total of six golf courses within which have been designed to the high standards.

Also there are beaches located in this region as well with very clear waters and clean sand. Praia da Marina is one of the most popular beaches in this area, where visitors get to relax on sofas and canopied beds at the Puro Beach Club.  The other beach to leisure is Praia da Falesia, this beach is supported by cliffs and is very sheltered ideal for the whole family.  So if a member of your family is golfing you can take off to the beach.

Victoria Golf Course Vilamoura
                                                   Victoria Golf Course Vilamoura

Exploring Restaurants in Vilamoura    

Around the marina you’ll find restaurants from all corners of the world,and the foods are affordable and of high standard. There is evening entertainment is available at the casino, with shows and gaming rooms. If you love dancing you can hit the open air club which attracts international DJs.

Accommodation Choice in Vilamoura

Villamoura provivdes a wide range of modern holiday accommodation. There is magnificent hotels for all budgets.  But self-catering apartments and self-catering villas provide the majority of the holiday rental accommodation.   Only does this ensure wonderful holiday opportunites for all the family it also bring revenue in and provides employment in the Algarve.

Vilamoura is a good place to use as a base to explore the surrounding areas.  The area is particularity popular for carnivals, gypsy markets which takes place on Saturdays, you can also have a glimpse of the Portuguese traditional life.  Albufeira is also nearby which is famous for its lively nightlife.  It also has great self-catering rental accommodation.

The Old Village, Vilamoura
The Old Village, Vilamoura

Vilamoura is an exciting place to be, offering everything you would desire for  holiday accommodation, whether you are going golfing or you just want some time on the beach.  So if you’re the kind of person that likes a holiday that means everyones dreams this is the place to be.  To list your property for Vilamoura to go to www.goholidaylets.com and click on  advertise here.

Porto do Mos Lagos area with 5 star holiday rental accommodation

Porto do Mos Lagos area with 5 star holiday rental accommodation

When you arrive in Lagos on a holiday and locate your holiday rental accommodation or hotel the next step is to familiarize yourself with the area. Most will do have searched on the internet and located popular places of interest.

Map of the Algarve showing Lagos, Alvor and many other locations
 Map of the Algarve showing Lagos, Alvor and many other locations

Places like the beach at Meia Praia a pristine stretch of sand extending from the causeway at Lagos town right up to Praia de Rocha albeit with the odd river and inlet at Alvor in between the two points. In between you ll find what we come to recognize as typical Portuguese beaches. Edges of sand area with coastal vegetation protected with timber walkways. Then flat well maintained sometimes very hot sand descending slowly down to the water. The customary sunbeds and faded grass covered circular sun shades. The yellow and red clad lifeguards in season are another familiar sight. Abundance of floatation boards and the odd quadbike parked at their stations. We have all given them at glance at time to make sure they are alert.

 

Early Morning in Lagos
                                        Early Morning or Late Night in Lagos

When you getting you bearings for Lagos it would be worth while checking out the beautiful beach of Praia do Porto de Mos. It’s the second largest beach in the Lagos area after of course the pre-mentioned Meia Praia. It is the only beach in the Lagos area that hasn’t shelter from the Atlantic. All of the others have the shelter of the headland at Ponta da Piedade.
The area at Porto do Mos is located about three miles south west of the center of Lagos. It is a quiet residential area comprising of many large luxurious villas. A number of these would be used as holiday rental, self-catering accommodation. Also in the area is the 5 star Cascade Wellness and Lifestyle Resort and the 4 star Belmar Wellness & Beach Resort both locations provide holiday rental accommodation.

Praia do Porto de Mos
                                                               Praia do Porto de Mos

Finding Porto do Mos

If you have hired a car it is very easy to drive there is adequate parking adjacent to the beach. The local bus service drops you on the beach front and picks up again during the day at regular intervals.
At either end of the small promenade in front of the beach you ll find two very good and well place restaurants. The O Antonio and the Campimar both serve a full menu of excellent cuisine. Or if you fancy just a snack or coffee you will be made welcome.
If you have property in this area might be worth while listing with www.goholidaylets.com. All self-catering accommodation has reach a certain holiday rental criteria are welcome to list. As normal the team at Goholidaylets are available to advise you on any aspect of your holiday. Please feel free to post a question or query on any of our social media channels.

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ANCIENT CITY OF PORTO HOME OF THE LEGENDARY HARRY PORTER

Ancient city of Porto home of the legendary Harry Porter

Ancient city of Porto home of the legendary  Harry Porter

Porto is an ancient coastal city sitting majestically at the mouth of the meandering Douro river, located in northwest Portugal. The Douro river valley with its rich fertile vine growing terraces, makes Porto world famous for it wine and port production. Porto is also popular for it’s splendid bridges traversing  the Douro river. The character of this great city resulted in it being chosen by author J K Rowling as home of the legendary Harry Porter.

Wonderful night view over the ancient city of Porto
Wonderful night view over the ancient city of Porto

Where to stay in Porto
Self-catering holiday apartments in Porto are easy to find and book using online travel agent like www.goholidaylets.com. In just a few clicks, you’ll have a comfortable home away from home. The holiday apartments in the area range from spectacularly refurbished properties to townhouses and studios in the areas suburbs. No matter what kind of holiday apartments you choose regardless of the amount you will find accommodation that best suits and your budget. If you book early you can get a discounted price other than booking when your travel dates are nearing.

When to visit
The best time to book a holiday to Porto is during the months of April to September when the sun is shinning and the temperatures are favourable. The off peak seasons months too are a great time to book holiday apartments in Porto since the temperatures are still favorable and there are deals on holiday apartments. No matter what time of the year you book your holiday apartment in Porto, your holiday home will be your home base during an unforgettable holiday in this vivacious Portuguese city.
Here are some of the things as a traveller you can visit while at your stay there.
Having a cup of coffee at the Majestic cafe. This café was founded several years ago and its situated in the heart of downtown Porto, this is a must on the list of things to do for all visitors. The café is a symbol of the city and you can pop in for morning pastries, lunches and dinners.

The Port Wine Lodge
The Port Wine Lodges or Cellars is situated in Vila Nova de Gaia, the place continues to be an important center for visitors because of the wine tastings and there are guided tours with multi lingual. Some of the wine tastings are free while others will charge a small entrance fee.

Porto s architectural heritage can be seen in it magnificent buildings
  Porto s architectural heritage can be seen in it magnificent buildings

Cruise tours
If you would like to have a spectacular view of the area is by taking a cruise sailing by the river, there are a number of cruises that are available from the bridges in Vila Nova de Gaia and eastwards of the port wine vineyards.
Enjoying the sunset from the beach

Porto has a good climate and is conducive for sunbathing, beach walks along the beautiful beaches. The beaches are perfect for enjoying the sunset and admiring the Atlantic Ocean while sipping a drink during the afternoons.
Enjoy a late night drink
The Galerias (as it commonly known) is situated in the centre of downtown Porto where there you can find load of open air bars, the area is the centre of night life in the city with different activities going on in the bars since most of them are open air. Most of our self-catering accommodation is located centrally.

Grapes from the Douro Valley play huge part in Porto commercial life.
     Grapes from the Douro Valley play huge part in Porto commercial life.

The Lello Bookshop
If you are a book lover, The Lello Bookshop is one of the most beautiful book shops in the world and makes another must see in Porto. The Bookshop was opened in the 1900’s and it has maintained it original carved ceiling, stained glass window and painted curved central staircase. In their you can find different genres of books and travel guides for those who want to learn more about the area, and while doing your book tour there is a coffee bar on the 1st floor. Feel free to list your holiday rental property with us www.goholidaylets.com for free.

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VISIT DOURO VALLEY IN NORTHERN PORTUGAL

VISIT DOURO VALLEY IN NORTHERN PORTUGAL

The Douro Valley is located in an area of Northern Portugal. At its centre the Douro river and the Valley consists of rich arable fertile wine growing land on its left and right river banks. We highly recommend you visit the area.The Douro river flows into the sea at Porto and its source is deep within Spain. Port wine production activities and the unique scenery sculpted by the Douro river and its tributaries are highlights not to be missed.

Douro Valley
 Douro Valley

As you follow the Douro upriver the water becomes clearer and the air fresher. The hills that surround the river banks are hand sculpted with terraces lined with grapevines that produce the famous Port Wine and the other table wines of the region.

If your reading local literature or websites like www.goholidaylets.com they use very passionate poetic language is used to describe the locality. Phraseology such as “canvas that changes with the seasons”. If you research this beautiful area you will agree with most of the flowery sentiment written by locals. This is a particularly beautiful part of the world. With the amount of lush vegetation season changes will give huge variety to the landscape.

Particular comment is made of the almond trees in blossom, white and violet blend with the green of the trees. In the autumn, the hills and valleys are covered in a carpet of copper and browns.

Douro Valley Train
    Douro Valley Train

The Douro has a number of tributaries that snake through this vast region. The river Sabor hurries through wild lands untouched by Human hands, the river Côa holds ancient treasures and the rivers Corgo Tua, Távora and Varosa encircle the heart of the wine-producing region. These are just a few examples of the Douro’s many tributaries that flow in harmony together.

The region is most famous for its wine growing and the side of the valley have been terraced to accommodate the cultivation of vines.

Douro is an internationally recognised wine-producing region. On a visit to the Portuguese Algarve on a self-catering holiday some years ago we were first introduced to Douro wine. A lady in a supermarket wine department recommended we try it and we had no regrets. In case some Algarvians are reading this article we have to say most Portuguese wine is worth a try. But Douro wine has unique characteristics and its colour, flavour and taste is excellent. The locals are clever, you can take part in the wine production process and participate in the grape harvest, which seems more like a celebration than work. This is definitely worth ago.

We will write a little about Porto maybe in a separate article but to explore the Douro you have to leave from the ancient city of Porto, where the river flows into the sea and where the Douro wines are produced on its hillside terraces, there are various ways to get to know this extraordinary landscape, listed as a World Heritage Site by road, by train, on a cruise boat and even from the sky. All will leave you breathless with the magnificent beauty of your surroundings. There various types of accommodation in Portugal, 5 star hotels, hostels and of course our preferred choice of self-catering accommodation. Both Porto and Lisbon has an array of self-catering holiday apartments within the area of both cities most will accommodate short stay.
Following a route between the viewpoints that offer the best vistas, you need to cross the river from north to south and back again. But along the way you can admire breathtaking landscapes over the river and visit vineyards, towns and villages until you reach Miranda do Douro, the point at which the river enters Portugal.

Start at Vila Nova de Gaia with a visit to the lodges where Port wine is aged. Take the opportunity to see the old rabelo boats on the river, the vessels that carried the wine from the quintas (which is a Portuguese farm) where it is produced to the mouth of river, before the various dams that made the river unnavigable were built. Before we go any further you might be interested in know a little more about the Rabelo boat is a traditional Portuguese cargo boat that for centuries was used to transport people and goods along the Douro River.

Native from the Douro region, it does not exist in any other place of the world. Its history is closely linked to the production and trade of port wine. Before the arrival of the railway, the rabelo was the fastest and the most efficient means of transport between the Douro Valley, where port wine is produced, and the city of Porto, where it was traded and exported world wide.

Porto Bridge
Porto Bridge

Although not in use anymore, still today the Douro River holds these vessels, belonging to port wine companies, in the cities of Porto and Gaia.
On the 24th of June each year, St. John’s Day, a race is held of Rabelo boats, an important and popular event of the festivities of Porto.

If you’re a fan of train travel, going alongside the Douro like in the early 20th century is an unmissable experience.

In this reencounter with the past, the stars are the steam and diesel carriages and engines which, travelling at 30 km/h, preserve the memory of a time when they provided the connection between towns and helped deliver the famous Port Wine.
You can follow the river on the Douro Line, between Régua and Tua. The Régua station was the most important in the region, and the Pinhão station is one of the most attractive in the country, with its tiled façades.

Porto
Porto

But you can also follow the Douro Line by regular train from Porto or combine a train and boat programme. You certainly have a number of options when deciding on away to explore this area.
South of Porto you will come across Fatima which is a huge place of pilgrimage for Roman Catholics. Further south you will arrive in Lisbon the spectacular capital of Portugal.
On www.goholidaylets.com you can see our Lisbon Collection.   We have a wide range of self-catering propertiesluxury rental villas  and serviced apartments in large town and cities.  Click on Advertise Here to list with us for FREE.

Self catering advice for the would be Lagos visitor

Self catering advice for the would be Lagos visitor

When choosing a self catering accommodation make sure and ask all the appropriate question to ensure you have the perfect holiday.

You have checked out self catering apartments Lagos on www.goholidaylets.com. You have heard Lagos is a great place for a family holiday. The property on our website looks great but before you make that final decision. There is an number of questions the owner agent needs to be asked.

1. Ok how do I get to the property? How easily accessible late at night will a taxi or a bus be able to park outside the door or at least nearby. The last thing you want is dragging cases up a poorly lit street with a few small children in tow. So make sure the owner of his agent is on hand to help. Goholidaylets partner will always be on hand to assist even late at night. If you’re driving make sure there is safe parking. In Lagos all our self-catering properties are easily accessible.

2. Next make sure indoors has good accessibility. Ensure if the accommodation is up a few floors the lifts are in good working order. You’ll find they are but its important to concern yourself with such issues. I know accommodation in Lagos at Patio do Convento, Quinta das Palmeiras and Marina Park have excellent accessibility. Self catering accommodation in Lagos is second to none and it is a very sought after holiday location.

3. Next within holiday apartments nowadays particularly for teenagers in family groups high speed internet is a must. It is a fact of life they will want to keep in contact with friend, so ask the question to avoid disappointment. If you have requested babies cots or highchairs ensure they will be assembled before you arrive. Again you don’t want a sleepy baby wait on an adult to assemble his or her cot. All GoHolidayLets owners are required to follow guidelines to ensure there visitors have everything they need to hand. But ask the question or contact us will act for you. Self catering accommodation in Lagos is second to none and it is a very sought after holiday location.

4. So you have settled in apartment few more question need to be answered. If there is a pool how do we access the area? You ll normally see distance from the beach but get the shortest route indicated. The same with supermarkets and get local property manager to suggest the best value. But never fear Aldi and Lidl are everywhere. This applies to suggested restaurants make ensure a street map is available with the locations of the different premises marked. They is value in exploring and find them or even finding a new one. But is nice to save time and walk directly there. Enjoy your holiday. Self catering accommodation in Lagos is second to none and it is a very sought after holiday location.