Tucked away in the south-west corner of Europe, Portugal is home to beautiful beaches, breathtaking natural landscape, character filled towns and blissful Mediterranean weather. As one of the oldest nations in the world, Portugal could be the destination for any holidaymaker who loves to experience history and culture. The rich heritage and unique traditions of this historically seafaring country are displayed at every turn. Here you’ll find incredible medieval monuments nestled among vast golden plains, river valleys and rolling mountains.
Whatever type of holiday you’re dreaming of, whether you want to unwind and soak up the constant sunshine, get active and adventurous in the wild countryside, shop, enjoy the nightlife, or all four, you’ll find it waiting for you in Portugal. With so much on offer in this idyllic nation, it can seem almost impossible to know where to begin. Why not have a look at our handy guide to places in Portugal which may help you choose the perfect region for you?
For the ultimate ‘get away from it all’ holiday, you may want to treat yourself to an escape to the Algarve. This picture perfect region has long been amongst some of the favourite places for family holidays and relaxing beach breaks and as a result, plenty of package holidays to Portugal can be found.
The Algarve is located on the dramatic, curving coastline of Portugal‘s southern coast, dotted with sleepy, sandy bays and tiny, secluded coves. Away from the coast, the Algarve boasts countryside which has remained unchanged in the face of tourism. Keen anglers travel from far and wide to fish in the pristine Mediterranean waters around the Algarve, so if fishing is one your holiday hobbies, don’t forget to bring your gear and tackle!
Portugal’s personality-filled capital, Lisbon, is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city. You could get lost among the charming cobbled streets of Lisbon and may be amazed by what you stumble across. From the jaw dropping Jeronimos Monastery, which dates back to 1601, to the 16th century Igreja de Sao Roque, there is no end of stunning historical sites in this truly traditional city. But Lisbon is by no means stuck in the past, there is also an array of fashionable shops on offer, as well as award-winning restaurants. These atmospheric eateries could be the perfect place to sample some local cuisine outside whilst enjoying the views of the sun setting over the Atlantic Ocean.
The picturesque Portuguese island of Madeira is a little spot of paradise in the Atlantic Sea. Known as ‘the floating garden’, Madeira is renowned for its beautifully maintained floral botanical gardens. Thanks to the tranquil atmosphere and exotic array of flora and fauna, this is an idyllic destination for lovers of nature and keen sightseers. Madeira is home to swanky wine bars and several cosy, family-run tavernas, serving traditional, locally sourced cuisine. Some of the most popular and luxurious hotels in Portugal can be found in Madeira, and at just a short flight away from mainland Portugal, a convenient and easy holiday destination.
It’s no surprise that Porto, also occasionally known as Oporto, was selected as the best European destination in 2014. Nicknamed the Cidade Invicta (or unvanquished city), Porto is well-known for boasting historic architecture, vibrant cultural traditions, award-winning gastronomy and a whole assortment of hidden gems. In Porto you can take a serene stroll along the stunning River Douro (River of Gold) in the Ribeira district, or head inland to the heart of the city. The centre of Porto hosts a selection of medieval bell towers, baroque churches and 18th century townhouses, all located on narrow, zigzagging city streets.
A trip to Sintra could be like stepping into the pages of a fairy tale. This UNESCO World Heritage listed town is filled with extravagant palaces, mansions and perfectly manicured gardens, all surrounded by thick fern forestry and rugged mountains. Many of the old-fashioned, pastel-coloured town houses of Sintra have been transformed into guesthouses, and the town now boasts some of the prettiest and most colourful hotels in Portugal. The climate in Sintra is significantly cooler than in the rest of the country, which allows for a relaxed, laidback atmosphere and makes sightseeing at popular sites such as the 15th century Palacio Nacional de Sintra a peaceful and pleasant experience.