Dreaming of a perfect European holiday destination? Think Portugal! A place bathed in sunshine, with golden beaches and secret coves, enchanting villages and vibrant cities. Where you can eat fresh fish, sip on a glass of wine and spend your afternoons exploring museums or strolling through curious streets and alleyways. There again you might want to tuck yourself away in an eco lodge, seek out the best surfing spots, or enjoy a round of golf on one of Europe’s finest courses.
Lisbon celebrates its status with a cosmopolitan atmosphere and many cultural attractions such as the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, exhibiting over 6,000 pieces of art, and the equally impressive, Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, housing the largest collection of Portuguese paintings in the country. Enticing day-trippers from the capital is the major tourist centre of Sintra. Discover such magnificent architectural monuments as the Sintra National Palace, Pena Palace and the hilltop medieval Castle of the Moors. For the thrills and spills of surfing, sailing, wind and kitesurfing, Cascais and Peniche are close by too.
Further north on the Atlantic coast is the second largest city of Porto, situated at the mouth of the Douro River. A popular spot to head for is the old town district of Ribeira and the historical Ribeira Square, dominated by two large fountains. The Douro region has been a protected appellation since 1756, producing the famous fortified wine ‘port’, named after the city. In central Portugal you will find the charming towns of Coimbra, home to one of the oldest universities in the world, and Evora with its Roman legacy to uncover. Travel south to the Algarve for its fabulous golf resorts and stunning beaches, many of which come with Blue Flag credentials.
Away from the mainland, there are two autonomous regions of Portugal, the Atlantic archipelagos of Azores and Madeira. Composed of nine volcanic islands, the remote Azores are a great place to head for whale-watching. Madeira, “the floating garden of the Atlantic” is noted for its wine, flowers and lush green landscape - sophisticated and romantic - where you can walk hand in hand with your loved one, down the tree-lined Lido Promenade, and take in the spectacular ocean views.
Family friendly, affordable and full of fun Portugal is the perfect place to unwind.