Holidays in
Portugal

Rich culture in the sun

With dramatic coastlines, rich history and buzzing cities, Portugal holidays promise plenty of adventure. This ancient kingdom – one of the oldest nations in Europe – is thoroughly unique. Sitting pretty on the southwestern tip of Europe, Portugal’s long, hot Mediterranean summers are made temperate by welcome sea breezes from the Atlantic – making it a blissful holiday destination at any time of year. Further south, the Portuguese archipelago islands of Madeira are closer to Africa than Lisbon, and provide a sun-drenched escape even in the winter months.

A visit to one of the main cities is a great way to start holidays to Portugal. Faro, Lisbon and Porto are all cultural melting pots with stunning architecture and vibrant bar scenes. But of course there’s far more to the nation than its cities. On the border with Spain are the formidable Pyrenees mountains, which attract hikers, skiers and snowboarders alike. And the Atlantic coastline to the west with its dramatic crashing waves is a draw for surfers. On the food scene, world-class local wines and port take centre stage, and you won’t want to leave without a bottle of top-quality olive oil.

Speaking of local produce – with all those miles of coastline, it’s no wonder the Portuguese are proud of their fish dishes. Those famous endless, sandy beaches are incredibly tempting. In fact, wherever you are in the country, you’re never more than a couple of hours from a stretch of shoreline. Those seeking a more relaxing break can’t do better than the Algarve, where the sun shines throughout the year and calmer seas make for the perfect beach holiday. Portugal really is a destination that has it all.

Three tips for a top trip

Pick pastel de nataThese Portuguese custard tarts are world famous – and for good reason. Flaky puff pastry with a creamy filling, you can pick them up from any good bakery or cafe.
Seek out museum freebiesMany top attractions, including cathedrals, galleries and museums, offer free entry on certain days of the week – check in advance if you’re planning a city day out.
Ditch the carAll of Portugal’s gorgeous towns and cities are easy to explore on foot – it’s the best way to spot beautiful architecture and hidden gems. Just make sure you bring comfortable shoes!

Don’t-miss dates in Portugal

Feast of St Anthony

Each year in June, Lisbon holds a huge festival celebrating its patron saint. Expect the streets to be lined with musicians, performers and grilled sardines aplenty.

Festival of St John

This city-wide street party has been held in Porto on 23 June for around 600 years. Watch the fireworks at midnight and party on the streets until dawn.

September

Beat the crowds and still make the most of warm, late summer nights. By now, Portugal’s cities are cooler and easy to explore, while southern beaches are perfect for sunbathing.

Best things to do in Portugal

Enjoy a port tasting

Portugal’s signature fortified wine is a heady number, and most regions offer tasting experiences. Learn about port’s history and enjoy some delicious local varieties.

Chill out on the beach

With almost 1800 kilometres of coastline, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Join surfers on the west coast or stroll across wide expanses of sand in the south.

Admire artisan tiles

Portugal is famous for its colourful tiles, which cover the buildings and streets of many villages and towns. Peer into workshops to see them being crafted and shop for your own.