If you could look inside Portugal you would see the sun at the heart, culture in its bones and rich wines running through its veins. With balmy winters and sun-drenched summers, Portugal is the ultimate year-round destination. Want to live life on the edge? Stay on the dramatic rocky coast. Want to hide away? Escape to one of the villages in the lush valleys. There’s so much to see! From beautiful coastlines that boast sandy beaches, excellent golf courses, delicious cuisine and friendly locals, you will fall in love with Portugal.
You don’t just get pretty beaches on your holiday to Portugal, you’ll also get your fair share of culture. Celts, Romans, Visigoths, Moors and Christians – all have left their stamp on this Iberian nation. On your way around the towns, keep your eyes peeled for relics like castles.
But away from the pristine scenery and historic villages, sun-worshippers will have the last laugh. Beach-lovers will adore the Algarve’s glorious sands. Or if you’ve had your fair share of sand, get outdoors and explore the lush, green mountains of the Island of Madeira or take it up a level and hike amongst the granite peaks of Parque Nacional da Peneda-Gerês.
Portugal has a massive coastline – 800 kilometres in fact. Because the coast is so big, you’ll always have the chance to soak up the cinematic scenery, gaze over cliffs and surf stunning waves. Whether it’s dolphin watching on the Sado Estuary, kayaking along the Rio Guadiana or memorable walks and bike rides all across the countryside, there is so much to love about Portugal.
You get it all in Lisbon. The sleek capital city of Portugal has the Mediterranean climate that you came for. There’s also some unmissable architecture like the UNESCO World Heritage protected site of the Torre de Belem. The best way to explore the city is by foot, so take time out to relax on one of the many Blue Flag beaches when you’re done or end your day at one of the stylish bars.
If you’re a beach bum, don’t forget to stop on the Algarve. With golden beaches and hidden coves we know that the whole family will love it here. If you’ve had enough of the warm waters and have sand stuck between your toes, then sneak off to a world class golf course for a round to remember.
Porto is wine country, so it would be rude not to indulge in a few glasses of wine on a tour. You’ll need to stretch your legs once you’ve tasted the famous fortified wine, so why not stroll around the picture perfect towns and villages to get a flavour of the region’s history. On your wander check out Porto’s historical centre which has been awarded a World Heritage status by UNESCO.
If it’s stunning scenery you’re after, Madeira should be top of your list. From its rugged beaches and striking mountains, to its idyllic botanical gardens, there’s plenty of landscape to uncover on your next holiday to Portugal. Fragrant flora and fauna can be found on every corner of the island, so it’s no surprise that Madeira is nicknamed the Floating Garden. While its postcard-worthy views offer something special, it’s also the perfect setting for those seeking active holidays. Winding coastal paths attract cycling fans and keen walkers, while sun-fuelled beaches provide a scenic setting for every kind of water sport imaginable.
A labyrinth of charming cobbled streets among cafés and shops, leading to a glamourous marina. For those searching for the best of both worlds, Madeira’s capital city more than fits the bill. Nestled nicely on the south coast, there’s an enticing mix of old and new that makes Funchal so appealing. Take a leisurely look around its old cathedrals and traditional restaurants, or make the most of its upscale shopping malls and laidback bars. Come sundown, Funchal keeps the party going too. There’s a number of stylish bars and clubs to keep visitors entertained, with DJs holding the decks until the sun begins to rise.
A top tourist spot in the heart of the Algarve, Albufeira appeals to all manner of holidaymakers. Its wealth of sandy beaches makes it a great place for family-friendly breaks, boasting no less than 25 along its vast coastline. Head to the smaller inlet of Fisherman’s Beach for a safe space with little ones, or head to Praia d’Oura, a Blue Flag beach with a specialism for water sports. Albufeira’s traditional old town is a prime location for keen foodies on holidays to Portugal too. Tuck into delicious Portugese cuisine al-fresco style in the main square, which really comes alive in the evening.
Explore Portugal’s history and culture
Not one to brag, but Portugal has more than one UNESCO World Heritage Site. Don’t miss out on these legendary sights - Batalha, Tomar, Alcobaça and Belém which have all been awarded for their well-preserved historical remains
Outdoor activities in Portugal
If golf is your game then you’ve come to the right place! Portugal has around 60 excellent professional courses throughout the country.
Water babies can enjoy the warm waters with a mask and snorkel, on a surfboard or by sailing boat.
If you’re up for the challenge, head to the easternmost part of the Algarve. Take a bike or just walk up to the Guadiana Grande Randonnée that links Vila Real de Santo António to Alcoutim. At 65-kilometre long, the Grande Rota do Guadiana will take you through the Algarve's three distinct types of landscape: the uplands, the Barrocal and the coast.
Rhythms of Portugal
The Portuguese love a good party. So don’t be surprised if you find yourself at one of Portugal’s many festivals. You can drink and dance the night away at Lisbon’s Festa de Santo António or Porto’s Festa de São João.
Looking for something more authentic and a little slower paced? There’s the mournful music of fado in the Alfama, a traditional music style which is often about loss. But if that’s put you on a downer, fear not. Join in the dance party in Bairro Alto or hit the bars in Porto, Coimbra and Lagos.
Go whale watching
With plenty of coastline to go around, it’s no surprise that there are some spectacular inhabitants in Portugal’s warm waters. For an experience that you won’t forget on your Portugal holiday, head out on a boat for a whale and dolphin-watching trip. These magnificent creatures really come out to play during summertime, making it the perfect time to visit the island. Boats depart from Funchal, where holidaymakers can enjoy the stunning scenery of the area and keep their eyes peeled for humpback, sperm and pilot whales. If you’re lucky, you might even spot an orca or two – or at least a few dolphins that migrate to the area.
Take a hike along the Levada trails
If your idea of fun is to don your walking boots, there’s no better place for a lengthy trek than the island of Madeira. There’s some history to be found in this part of the island too, in the spectacular levadas that you’ll stumble across on your walk. Carved by labourers in the 15th century, these irrigation paths have become a popular tourist trail. Stretching over 2,000 kilometres, you’ll need some stamina to make it to the end, but you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views across the island.
Surely the best time to visit Portugal is during its two shoulder seasons: spring or autumn. Actually a pretty quiet time of the year, February is a lovely time to visit Portugal because it’s in full bloom, with carpets of vibrant flowers (take a trip out to the Portuguese island of Maderia for their Flower Festival on 19th April). Early autumn, particularly around October, is also a good time to visit Portugal as the weather remains warm and you aren’t likely to be held up by the summer crowds.
Generally, throughout the year Portugal’s climate is mild with a touch of humidity along the coastal areas. If you go further inland however, be ready to embrace the heat during summer when temperatures get up to 34°C. In winter, away from the coast, the weather can turn harsh, with low temperatures of 5°C. Book a holiday nearer to the sea, though and you’ll enjoy winter sun and warm seas.
Because Portugal’s landscape is so varied, you need to choose what holiday vibe you fancy. In the north of the country, it’s cooler and extremely mountainous, ideal if you’re craving outdoor action in the summer. Compared to the southern cities, like Lisbon, which welcome Mediterranean temperatures year-round and in summer boast ten hours of sunshine a day.
If you’re a fan of music festivals, summer is a brilliant time to visit Portugal. From Rock in Rio Lisbon on 1st May, to Nos Primeva Sound on 8th June, and MEO Sundoeste Festival on 2nd August, Portugal puts on a great show. If you’d rather get a taste of local culture, then head to the smaller Portuguese towns in March, when loads of whacky fairs take place, featuring everything from jazz, taverns and the Feira dos Enchidos Tradicionais, also known as the sausage fair!
Wine and dine in Portugal
Portuguese cuisine centres on fresh seafood and local produce. You can expect to feast on freshly baked bread, olives, cheese and chargrilled fish, all washed down with some rich red wine. But if you want something different, try succulent espetada, think beef skewers and very tasty.
If you’re lucky, you might be able to find an empty table in Lisbon’s Bairro Alto district. Sinal is a restaurant full of local charm and huge portions. Feast on cod and salmon along with some crisp white wine. We recommend you stop for a coffee, Portugal’s favourite drink, at one of the cafes dotted around.
Whether you’re looking for a long beach holiday or a short city break, easyJet holidays has tailor made holidays in Portugal, at wonderful resorts and hotels. Whether you want to sample the wine or kick back on the beach, Portugal will give you a holiday to remember.
Save money on your Portuguese holiday by booking your hotel and flights together. With easyJet holidays you can enjoy the flexibility of no restrictions on the length of your stay.