Cobblestoned streets, vineyards, castles and stunning beaches
Portugal is a country that effortlessly combines culture, heritage and liberal attitudes to create one of Europe’s finest holiday destinations. Once a powerful navigating kingdom that dominated the merchant routes to Africa, South America and the Orient, Portugal today is a friendly, low-key place with a laidback vibe and a fantastic coastline, much of it fringed by golden sands and endless dunes. A slow paced country that demands unhurried exploration.
Lisbon itself, in its idiosyncratic way, has more than enough diversions to please city devotees – firmly locked into contemporary Europe without entirely jettisoning its most endearing, slightly old-fashioned, qualities.
Built on a switchback of hills above the broad Tejo estuary, a fantastic network of cobbled streets links its quarters with outrageous gradients which crank trams and funiculars.
Algarve spectacular sandy beaches and picturesque rocky coves, combined with its first rate facilities make it a popular destination for quality holidaymakers. To the west of Faro, classic postcard images composed by series of tiny bays and coves, all of them broken up by weird rocky outcrops and fantastic grottoes.They’re at their most exotic around the major resort towns of Lagos, Armaçao de Pêra and Albufeira, while attractive smaller resorts include the former fishing villages of Salema or Burgau, or the historic cape of Sagres
One of the most startling and eccentric cityscapes in Europe, Lisbon is an immediately likeable city.
GOTHIC GRIT & GLAMOUR
Set across a series of hills overlooking the broad estuary of the Rio Tejo (River Tagus), Lisbon’s stunning location and effortless beauty immediately strike most first-time visitors. It’s an instantly likeable place, a big city, with a population of around two million, but one that remains human enough in pace and scale to be easily taken in over a long weekend.
Wander through the vibrant mosaics of Rossio Square where art nouveau shops and street cafés face the Baroque fountains , or the whitewahed streets of the Alfama district where medieval alleyways invite you to get lost. Wander through the adventurous contemporary architecture in the Parque das Nações. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Hieronymite Monastery or watch an amazing sunset next to the Belém Tower.
Great seafood, elegant villages, and near-deserted beaches.
SANDY BEACHES AND ROCKY COVES
The Algarve region is Portugal’s sunny southern coast, which has become the natural emblem of the country because of its alluring beaches. Lagos, in the western Algarve, one of the region’s main towns, founded on centuries of seafaring and as popular as central Albufeira, a lively port town with family-friendly beaches east and west. Faro, the area’s lovely capital.
Sagres is quite less developed as it has many nearby protected natural parks, providing a rather traditional slice of Portugal on the westernmost tip of the Algarve. The west coast of Sagres faces the powerful Atlantic Ocean, making many of the surrounding beaches great for surfers and water-sports enthusiasts. But inland the Algarve looks green. It is the home of cork forests, nature reserves and pretty hilltop authentic villages such as Alte, Monchique and medieval Silves.