How to get there

Flights: Harriet O'Brien paid pounds 112.30 for a British Airways return flight from London to Lisbon; you must book this World Offer fare by next Thursday, 19 July, and travel before the end of August. A weekend supplement of pounds 5 each way applies for travel on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Similar fares are offered by TAP Air Portugal (0171-828 0262). This airline has an interesting "open-jaw" fare of pounds 282.30, whereby you can fly out to any one of Lisbon, Oporto or Faro and return from either of the others. Campus Travel (0171-730 3402) has a twice-weekly charter service on Air Azores to Lisbon for pounds 129 return, including tax.

Ferries: There are no direct ferries from Britain to Portugal but Brittany Ferries (0990 360360) has a twice-weekly service from Plymouth to Santander in northern Spain. A return crossing until 19 August for a car and two passengers costs pounds 595. The alternative is to take advantage of the fierce price war on short sea crossings between Dover/Folkestone and Calais, whereby a car and up to five people can travel for as little as pounds 99 return, and make the long haul south through France and Spain.

Trains: the lowest fare on Eurostar (0345 881881) to Paris is pounds 59 (travelling Monday-Thursday); the train to Lisbon from Paris takes 21 hours and costs pounds 155.

Buses: Eurolines (0171-730 8235) has services from London Victoria to Lisbon daily except Sundays and Tuesdays. An adult return is pounds 142.

How to get around

Trains in Portugal are cheap - if somewhat slow, except on the main line between Lisbon and Oporto. The one-way fare on this inter-city route is pounds 12, and the journey takes three hours. A wide variety of tickets is available, including Bilhetes Turisticos valid for seven, 14 or 21 days. Buses are more expensive, but usually faster. Expressos cover the long- distance routes. Local tourist information offices can give details of times and fares.

Who to ask

In the UK: Portuguese Tourist Office, 22 Sackville Street, London W1X 1DE (0171-494 1441).

In Portugal: there are helpful information offices at the airports in Faro, Oporto and Lisbon. The main office in the capital is on Restauradores square.

Rhiannon Batten