Over the past few years, Airbnb has quickly grown to become one of the most popular travel websites in the world. During that time I’ve used it many times, both in Portugal and abroad. Recently, Airbnb has become extremely popular and sometimes the accommodation choices have felt a bit more limited than they should.
When it comes to booking apartments, I still tend to use Airbnb the most. It’s a good choice for both short and long-term bookings and it tends to be the cheapest option of all the sites mentioned below. However, if I’m struggling to find something that looks interesting (or I get a bit bored of Airbnb) I will have a look at these alternatives.
Note: If you haven’t used Airbnb before, it’s definitely worth giving it a try. It’s a fantastic alternative to hotels and it can save you money on eating out if you cook at home. And, you can get a discount on your first trip using this link.
HouseTrip is a European-based home rentals website just like Airbnb. In general, the properties listed seem to be a little more expensive than Airbnb but maybe that’s just because Airbnb is the largest and so has a better variety of prices. Unlike most of the other competitors, Housetrip only shows entire apartments and not properties with a spare bedroom.
- 4 bedroom mansion with swimming pool and views of the Douro (Douro – near Porto)
- 1 bedroom boutique apartment in Principe Real (Lisbon)
Owners Direct specialises in villas and holiday rentals and so is particularly useful if you’re booking family of group holidays to Portugal. This isn’t always the case, but it tends to be what Owners Direct specialises in. If you’re looking for long-term accommodation off-season, this can also be a useful place to start your search as many owners offer reduced rates.
- 5 bedroom villa with salt water swimming pool and hot tub near Carvoeiro (The Algarve)
- 2 bed property with views of St George’s Castle (Lisbon)
9Flats isn’t as well known as Airbnb, Wimdu, or Housetrip but it offers a similar service, although it doesn’t have anywhere near as many homes listed on Airbnb. If you’re on a budget when you’re making the booking, some places allow you to pay-on-arrival which can be useful if you’ve just had to pay out for other travel expenses like flights and car hire.
Wimdu looks and feels a lot like Airbnb. It has quite a few listings that you won’t find on there, so it’s always worth having a look to see what’s available. Like all of the other Airbnb competitors, it doesn’t have the same number of users which means that properties have fewer reviews from other travellers.
- Tranquil eco cabin with pool and gym near Loulé (The Algarve)
- 3 Bedroom cozy country house with pool and beautiful gardens (Leiria)
This is a fantastic little site if you’re specifically looking for something rural. It doesn’t have anywhere near the same number of guesthouses and properties to stay at that the other sites have, but it does have some very interesting properties.
- Countryside property with Jacuzzi and outdoor swimming pool (Douro)
- Farmhouse property with natural swimming pool and views of the Serra de São Mamede (Alentejo)
If you’re just looking for an apartment, Hotelscombined.com can be a good option. The website searches all of the main hotel and accommodation websites such as Booking.com, Expedia, Hotels.com, and Venere.com.
Although the site mainly focuses on hotels, you can filter the results to only include other types of accommodation like apartments, bungalows, chalets, cottages, county houses, serviced apartments, and vacation rentals.
Homeaway is most suitable for booking out entire properties, usually large ones for groups or families. From experience, property owners take a bit more time to get back to you than on Airbnb. There are some interesting properties, though, so it’s worth having a look. They also own another similar website, vacationrentals.com, which is another place to look for vacation rentals in Portugal.
- $1,000 a night family villa near the unspoiled beaches of Comporta (Alentejo)
- Traditional Farmhouse on Alentejano Cork Farm (Alentejo)
FlipKey is similar to HomeAway. It offers properties for vacation rentals, most of which are ideal for groups but there are quite a few 1 bedroom properties on there as well. The website is owned by TripAdvisor and shows reviews from TripAdvisor bookings.