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Portugal

Occupying an enviable position at the south-west corner of Europe facing the Atlantic, Portugal has a rich history of cultural interaction and trade that has developed a unique ethos. The astounding natural beauty of the country will captivate you with its cinematic landscape, and you’ll be overawed by the wealth of cultural treasures that this idyllic region has to offer. From the thriving nightlife in Lisbon to the wealth of golfing opportunities in the Algarve – and don’t even get us started on the wine in Porto – it’s no wonder that Portugal is one of the top destinations for  luxury holidays.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more photogenic country – your Instagram feed will be full of the bright colours that make up the Portuguese landscape and architecture. From the blue sea, golden sand and red sandstone of the Algarve coastline to the bright colours of the fairy-tale Pena National Palace in Sintra, Portugal will ensure that your holiday is vibrant and full of life. The capital, Lisbon, is a cultural gem, replete with cute, brightly-painted plazas and dramatic architecture from the modern Calouste Gulbenkian Museum to the medieval Belem Tower – designated one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal.

Porto in the north of the country makes for a wonderful city break. Think quaint yet vibrant city streets, delectable wines as well as a vivacious nightlife scene accompanied by river vistas. Perfect for exploring couples and parents who’ve managed to organise a weekend off from the kids, this award-winning city (yup, you read that correctly) will exceed all of your European expectations.

Centuries of proximity to Spain and North Africa have left their tangible impression on Portuguese cuisine and architecture, and this can be felt particularly in the Algarve region in the south. Famed worldwide for its glorious beaches, vibrant nightlife and exceptional golf courses, the Algarve is also a treasure trove of history from the Romans to the Moors to the Renaissance, perfect to explore with the whole family.

If you’re of a more athletic persuasion, the Algarve is undoubtedly the place to go. With more than 30 golf courses under its belt designed by famous names like Sir Henry Cotton and Ronald Fream, it’s one of the best places for the sport in the world. Every course guarantees a stunning backdrop as you play, from the hills to the sea to the sky, and no two courses are the same, assuring you a unique and unforgettable experience. Ideal for golfing groups and corporate affairs, a leisurely 18-holes here is bound to trump any British boardroom… that handshake is as good as done.

Of course the ultimate purpose of a holiday is relaxation, and Portugal offers the very best opportunities in that department as well. The south of the country is lined with heavenly golden sand beaches, with the longest being Praia da Falesia in the Algarve region. Thanks to the blissful sea breezes that roll in from the Atlantic, the temperature never soars to uncomfortable levels, creating the perfect atmosphere to rest and bask in the sun’s rays.


WINGED BOOTS WISDOM

 

Portugal contains both the westernmost and south-westernmost points in Mainland Europe, so don’t miss out on a trip to Cape Roca near Lisbon and Cape St Vincent in the Algarve, near the town of Sagres for some top-notch Instagram content.

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Good to know

  • Time difference: UTC +0
  • Capital: Lisbon
  • Currency: EUR
  • Instagram Opportunity: Pena National Palace

Best Time To Travel

Average Temperatures
Jan: 13°c   Feb: 14°c   Mar: 16°c  
Apr: 17°c   May: 20°c   Jun: 24°c  
Jul: 25°c   Aug: 26°c   Sep: 23°c  
Oct: 20°c   Nov: 16°c   Dec: 13°c  

Location

Portugal Articles

Portugal In A Nutshell

Soak Up The Culture
 
  • Portugal boasts some of the most gorgeous royal palaces in Europe, many of which are now open to the public. The hill-top Pena Palace looks like something out of a Disney film with its multi coloured towers, and the Palace of Mafra has an imposing baroque façade inspired by the buildings of the Vatican. The older Castle of St George in the heart of Lisbon provides dramatic views over the city centre and a rare insight into medieval Portuguese architecture, much of which was lost after the devastating 1755 earthquake.
     
  • Elsewhere, there are vestiges of the Roman Empire just waiting to be found. Visit the historic city of Évora which hosts the captivating ruins of a 2000-year-old temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Just outside Lisbon in the town of Sintra is a fountain built to honour the Emperor Augustus that is still used as a water source today, two millennia after its construction.
     
  • Experience the Age of Discovery for yourself, and walk in the footsteps of Henry the Navigator, Christopher Columbus and Vasco da Gama as you explore the town of Lagos, sat in the west of the Algarve where Europe meets the Atlantic. The fifteenth-century slave market – the first of its kind – is a fascinating remnant of a bygone era when Portuguese traders opened up the riches of Africa and Asia for European exploitation. In the harbour, you’ll find a full-size replica of the caravel Boa Esperança, the ship used by Bartolomé Diaz on the first European expedition to round the Cape of Good Hope.

Tastes to Try
 
  • Thanks to its long history of international trade and cultural interaction, Portugal offers some of the most vibrant and varied cuisines in Europe, bringing in flavours and ingredients from far-flung regions of the world. The nearby Atlantic provides some of the key components in local dishes, with many Portuguese favourites consisting of seafood. The traditional cataplana is a metal dish that can be rotated as it cooks, allowing delicious flavours to permeate the stew or casserole within.
     
  • No holiday to Portugal would be complete without sampling some of the sublime wines that the country produces. The northern city of Porto is the origin and namesake of Port wines, and it offers a number of excellent guided tours of the wine cellars, giving you the opportunity to taste the tipples as you go.
     
  • In Belem, a suburb of Lisbon, the Pasteis de Nata are so popular they’ve almost got a cult following. The delicious, smooth, sweet custard tarts are to die for and no trip to Portugal can be complete without trying some.
     
Adventure Awaits
 
  • In the far south-west of the country is the Southwest Alentejano and Costa Vincentina Natural Park – the longest coastal protected area in Europe. It offers some of the best beaches in the country, such as Praia Vila Nova de Milontes, and the cliffs to the south of the region offer spectacular views over the Atlantic, and are the perfect place to go hiking.
     
  • If you’re enjoying a relaxing break in the Algarve, don’t miss out on a trip to the Ria Formosa Natural Park just outside Faro. With winding paths through pine forests and alongside lush waterways, it’s an atmospheric paradise, bursting with life. Keep an eye out for some of the 30,000 species that frequent the area as they migrate, including flamingos, spoonbills and the rare purple gallinule.


     
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