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.
May heralds sunny days for seaside strolls and mountain hikes, as well as the beginning of the rafting season. Wildflowers fill alpine pastures and Bohinj holds its International Wildflower Festival.
Summer brings blue skies and the festival season, with events livening town squares nationwide and Ljubljana, Lake Bled and Piran staging well-attended music festivals.
A dry month for hiking, when the Adriatic resorts are still open and you can wrap up warm in the mountains. Also, Bohinj holds its Cow’s Ball folk festival.
Triglav National Park
Cutting through the Julian Alps, the Soča and Radovna Rivers offer some of Europe’s best water sport opportunities. Options also include mountain biking, hiking, kayaking and canyoning.
Slovenia’s oldest town seems preserved in the Austro-Hungarian past, with its red roofs and baroque towers rising from cobbled streets cut by the Drava River.
Follow the 1.5 kilometre boardwalk, suspended between Vintgar’s mossy rock walls and the boulder-strewn Radovna River below, to Sum Waterfall. The path optionally carries on to Bled via the steep Hom rock to a pilgrim church.