Holidays to Portugal: From Lisbon to the Algarve
If you're considering a holiday to Portugal, you've come to the right place. Portugal is home to diverse regions that cater to every sort of holiday. From a week on the beach in the Algarve that promises some of the most gorgeous coastlines in Europe to a cultured city break in Porto or Lisbon, Portugal makes a fantastic and affordabe destination for whatever type of holiday you want. The weather isn't bad, either!
We'll keep you updated with our latest and cheapest holiday deals to Portugal as well as some travel tips and guides to help you plan your next adventure!
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Top holiday destinations in Portugal
The nation's capital, boasts superb cuisine, a fascinating history, and buzzing nightlife. Perfect for an intriguing city break! In the Bairro Alto quarter, you'll discover a vivacious nightlife where the party never seems to end. Along Avenida da Liberdade, shop at designer stores and pick up something special for a loved one. In ancient Alfama, you'll feel transported in time amid the narrow streets' friendly taverns and cosy restaurants, and you're just a short train ride away from a wealth of beautiful beaches.
For food lovers, expect to find a wide variety of places to taste Portuguese cuisine, including the Time Out Food Market in central Lisbon. Look out for the famous pasteis de nata (Portuguese custard tart) or Bifana sandwiches, a bread roll of sautéed, marinated pork. And to complete your knowledge of Portuguese cuisine: Bacalhau is salted fish and Azeitão is a Cheese made from sheep’s milk.
Porto is home to beloved port wine, as well as attractive, colourful architecture. The surrounding Douro river and region is also famous for its wine as well as providing a beautiful setting for a more relaxed holiday.
Porto - and another Northern Portuguese city, Braga - two great reasons to see the north of Portugal, have a more relaxed feel than Lisbon but still have an enormous range of sights, restaurants, bars, and shops. Literature lovers can spend hours browsing the historic Livraria Lello bookshop in Porto, or you can take photos at the gorgeous Dom Luís I Bridge and buy a bottle of port to take home.
Located in Southern Portugal, the capital of the Algarve region is the place to discover hidden beaches along the coast or go golfing with friends.
Wander the stunning old town, visit the many churches or head to the Ria Formosa, the incredible nature reserve that hugs 60km of coastline, if you're feeling more active. For a more relaxing way to see the sights of Faro, buy a ticket for the Comboio Turística - the tourist train - which takes a 45 minute route around the most famous sights.
The Central Portugal region is home to one of Europe's oldest universities. This charming little city has plenty of winding medieval streets to discover.
The botanical gardens within the university grounds are stunning, as is the famous Manuel Braga Park. The Mondego river runs through the city and the best views can be had from the Pedro and Inês bridge. Coimbra has many UNESCO Heritage sights and it also plenty of museums and galleries showcasing wonders. Check out the Museu Nacional Machado de Castro, which has roman tunnels running underneath.
Braga boasts some of Europe's most interesting churches, such as the magnificent Bom Jesus do Monte, which sits atop a grand baroque stairway. Other highlights include historic palaces such as the 11th-century Castle of Guimarães, or visit Peneda-Gerês National Park.
Outside of the many religious festivals, architecture and events, there's the regional wine, vinho verde, to enjoy. The name literally means green wine, although refers to the wine being young, rather than the colour. It's crisp and light, and makes the perfect refresher for a pitstop when exploring the city.
Where are the best beaches in Portugal?
Portugal is blessed with an enormous Atlantic coastline. Many holidaymakers flock to the beaches of the Algarve in the south, where you'll find Portugal's warmest weather. Here are some beach holiday highlights.
Praia da Oura, Albufeira
A charming old town with a vibrant beach and nightlife, Albufeira is in the Algarve in the south of Portugal. Once a fishing village, the area is now very popular with tourists, thanks mainly to the stunning sandy beaches. The Praia da Oura is located a few kilometres outside of the old town and has bars and restaurants nearby.
Meia Praia, Lagos
The Meia Praia in Lagos in the west of the Algarve is a huge sandy stretch that is still somewhat less frequented by tourists. The beach is popular with surfers thanks to the crashing waves, but is also a great place to relax thanks to its relatively undisturbed and natural setting.
Praia do Barril, Tavira
To enjoy watersports such as windsurfing and diving, along with a calmer vibe than some of the larger resorts of the Algarve, head to the Praia do Barril in Tavira. One of the most beautiful beaches in the entire Algarve region, there's crystal clear water, white sand and the calming backdrop of the flowers and salt-lagoons which make up the ecosystem here.
Cabo de Santa Maria, Faro
Close to the main regional city of Faro but secluded enough to get plenty of privacy in unspoilt surroundings is the Cabo de Santa Maria. Right on the southern tip of Portugal, the beach is a dreamy setting to escape the buzz of the city with nature reserves as a backdrop.
What is the best time to go to Portugal?
The best time to visit Portugal is in spring or autumn. Spring comes between March and May meaning that you will catch all the colours that make holidays in Portugal special. These months are not too hot and you avoid the summer crowds that the peak travel season brings. Autumn falls between September and October; these months are still warm, less crowded and the best time for a wine or port tour.
As the winter temperatures are higher in Portugal compared to the UK, the country is still an ideal destination for a winter weekend break. Even in the low season, you can still discover the monumental cities, indulge in some authentic food and relax on the beach in The Algarve.
The Algarve for Couples
The Algarve has established itself as the ultimate destination for couples and honeymooners. Naturally offering the perfect wedding venue, this picturesque mixture of beaches, islands and cliffs makes the ideal romantic getaway for any couple. Fall in love again in the romantic small town of Faro, its narrow streets and fisherman’s village atmosphere creates a warm setting that could come straight off the pages of a romantic novel.
If you enjoy partying as a couple and are looking to sip champagne and dance the night away, then head over to Albufeira. This beach town offers affordable restaurants, bars and hotels that allow couples to get the most out of their holiday. The Montechoro Strip is your one-stop street for food and night-life, the vibrant atmosphere will have you dancing till the sun comes up – with the option of a full breakfast in the morning!
The best activities in Portugal all year round
As well as its magnificent beaches and vibrant cities, the country has plenty more captivating activities that will complete your holiday in Portugal, regardless of what time of year you visit:
- In winter, you can go skiing in the Serra da Estrela, located in western Portugal
- In spring, go skydiving in Alentejo or bungee jumping in Albufeira
- In summer, learn how to surf on the Atlantic coast and catch the waves with the pros
- In autumn, visit the port wine cellars in Porto and try a glass or two