A guide to Portugal’s most popular holiday destinations
Providing buckets of sunshine, oodles of culture and lashings of great food and wine, Portugal holidays are popular for good reason. If you’re thinking about organising a break there sometime soon, check out the below brief guide to some of the top destinations.
This is probably Portugal’s best-known holiday hotspot. It’s perhaps most famous for its golfing holidays, but there are heaps of other attractions too, not least its amazing beaches, fascinating history and great selection of activities.
Since it’s such a varied destination, it’s one that has a really wide appeal. So, whether you’re travelling as a couple, family, group of friends or going solo, you’re pretty much guaranteed to find something that sparks your interest.
If by some miracle you head to the Algarve but aren’t particularly interested in golf or sunbathing, water sports are definitely one of the top things to try. Different stretches of coast are best for different sports, so work out what you fancy doing first if you can. Ria Formosa, for instance, is great for sailing and windsurfing, while Pedra de Ancora is a favourite diving spot.
Should water sports not tickle your fancy, you can try things like horse riding, tennis or even abseiling (the Monchique mountain range is particularly good for this). Alternatively, if you’re more of a culture vulture than an outdoor pursuits kind of a person, head to Lagos to get a feel for the region’s history.
As Portugal’s capital, Lisbon is the country’s cultural epicentre and it’s a really awesome place to base yourself if you’re after a culture-filled break. The city’s got a great cosmopolitan atmosphere, and since it’s divided into different districts each with its own character, it’s perfect for discovering with aimless walks.
No trip here would be complete without checking out some of the top pieces of architecture, so make sure you add that on to your itinerary. The Monastery of Jeronimos is probably the most famous landmark in Lisbon and it’s a really good place to start, since it’s a great example of the Manueline style (which basically means there are a lot of nautical-themed sculptural details and motifs).
You’ll find this site in the riverside precinct of Belem and – as you’re here already! – you should also stop off at Pateis de Belem, a lovely cafe that sells traditional Portuguese custard tarts (which have the same name as the cafe). Since they were created here, this really is the best place to sample them and, as an added bonus, they’re served warm with sugar and cinnamon – delicious!
If you fancy a good old fashioned luxury holiday, Madeira is the place to go. Famous for its flower-filled landscapes and hotels that offer a really personal service, this is an ever-popular destination among us Brits.
One of the best reasons to come here is if you’re a keen walker, thanks to its amazing coastal and countryside trails. Now, if you do decide to take a stroll in the countryside, you should look out for the levadas (that’s irrigation channels to you and me), because a lot of walkers use these in the same way as you would a normal signposted hiking path.
Have you been to Portugal lately? If so, drop us a line and tell us where you went!