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9 reasons why you should treat yourself to Portugal holidays

Ready for summer. Ready for travel. Ready for Portugal.

With the world preparing to reopen in 2021, we’re here to keep you dreaming and planning for your next trip. Check out the latest COVID-19 travel advice and the interactive ‘Where you can go’ map to stay informed.

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Among Portugal’s many attractions are historic cities, awe-inspiring castles, mesmerizing street art, world-renowned cuisine, diverse landscapes, and idyllic beaches. Seems like it just has it all. We’ve put together nine unbiased reasons why you may find your balance in Portugal this year.

Parque Natural Sintra-Cascais
Credit: Turismo Cascais

Reason №1: Portugal is the encapsulated mild weather

Portugal’s climate is always heart-warming. With 3000 sunny hours a year and hot weather throughout the country from June to September, it’s a great destination to have the relaxed beach holidays of your dreams.

Reason №2: Portugal is a safe and peaceful destination to visit

Did you know that Portugal is considered the 4th most peaceful country in the world after Iceland, New Zealand and Denmark?

Air baloon in Portugal
Credit: Antonio Sacchetti

To ensure that travellers can feel safe and confident while choosing Portugal as a travel destination, the Portuguese Tourism board has developed a pioneering health label for hotels, guest houses, and active tourism businesses. Portugal offers high hygienic standards and plenty of space for social distanced travel, so you can plan your next trip with ease.

Reason №3: There are plenty of outdoor experiences for all to enjoy

Madeira Nature Festival
Credit: Tiago Sousa / No Words Productions / AP Madeira

Surfing in Nazaré and kayaking in Albufeira are two of the most popular activities in Portugal for fellow adrenaline-seekers. Try cycling, hiking, or hot air ballooning across the Alentejo’s endless fields for a more relaxing experience. Most travellers have yet to discover this region, so you can enjoy it all to yourself.

Reason №4: You are free to slow down a bit in historic villages and quaint cities of the Centro de Portugal

Monsanto village, Portugal
Credit: Francisco Almeida Dias

Take a gondola ride around the canals of Aveiro, the Venice of Portugal, or wander through the alleys of the village of Monsanto. Its postcard-worthy houses growing up and around precariously balanced granite boulders in the shadow of the monstrous Mons Sanctus. What a beauty!

Reason №5: Whale watching on the Azores will surely make you feel whale well

Almost a quarter of the world’s marine mammals have been identified off the coast of the Azores, where the underwater cliffs create for them the perfect feeding ground. Throughout the year, you can see a variety of species of dolphins and whales, including pilot and sperm ones. From mid-spring to mid-summer, you might also see blue whales, humpbacks, orcas, fins, and minke. Once you are on dry land after such an encounter, it is a good idea to soak in a spa.

Reason №6: You can literally ride a wave in Algarve

Located in the south of Portugal, the Algarve region is a summer paradise with around 150 beaches and spectacular waves. Avoid the crowded south coast and head to the less developed west coast of the Algarve where huge Atlantic rollers make for excellent surfing for both beginners and experts. 

Two surfers in Algarve
Credit: AT Algarve

On Costa Vicentina, lies Portugal’s most famous surfing beach, Praia do Amado. While its impressive waves attract international surfing competitions, it is also family-friendly, with soft dunes, rock pools at low tide and its own surf school. 

The surf at Praia do Amoreira, just outside the town of Aljezur, is excellent, and there are plenty of starfish-filled rock pools for the kids to enjoy.

You can also surf, windsurf or bodyboard at Praia do Martinhal in the Bay of Baleeira, near Sagres. After a day filled with fun and sun, head to the wooden Nortada restaurant behind the dunes and be sure to try their delicious oysters and garlic prawns!

Reason №7: Lisbon region boasts immaculate castles, palaces and royal retreats

On the central-western coast of Portugal, not far from Lisbon, you’ll find the opulent palaces and castles of Sintra. The most spectacular of these is the extravagantly decadent and colourful Palácio da Pena. The palace was built in the 19th century as the summer residence of the Portuguese royal family, and it is still used for state occasions.

Quinta da Regaleira, Palace in Sintra, Portugal
Credit: Turismo Cascais

Another intriguing site in Sintra is the Palace of Quinta da Regaleira, built by famed millionaire António Augusto Carvalho Monteiro with the help of the Italian architect Luigi Manini. 

Surrounded by lush greenery, the Palácio da Regaleira was built in a Romantic revivalist style, combining Gothic, Manueline, and Renaissance architectural and decorative accents with mythical and esoteric symbolism. Make sure you pay a visit to the Capela da Santíssima Trindade. As you descend the spiral staircase into the crypt, you’ll discover the monumental initiation well that, through a mysterious grotto, leads to the lake hidden in the middle of the gardens.

Reason №8: You can drift away from the daily grind by taking a cruise along the Rio Douro Valley

Douro Valley cruise
Credit: AT Porto and the North

Douro Valley is well known for picturesque hillsides covered with vines and, occasionally, wine-making farms called Quintas

A road trip allows you to visit the wineries, spend a night or two in the quintas or even join in the grape harvest en route. There are, however, many winding roads and sometimes stomach-churningly abrupt turns. If that’s not your cup of tea, consider joining a cruise along the river.

Reason №9: The Wine

There’s surely no shortage of good wine in Portugal – discover your favourite!

Credit: Vasco Célio / Stills / PT Sabores

Raise a glass to Portugal’s best wine regions:

  • Douro Valley. Quinta de Santa Eufemia is a friendly family-run vineyard just 1-hour drive from Porto known for its deep respect for traditional ways of doing things. Yes, they stomp grapes with their feet over there.
  • Colares, Greater Lisbon. Book a wine-tasting experience at one of the local producers like Adega Regional de Colares or Adega Viúva Gomes.
  • Minho, Porto and the North. Visit Quinta de Soalheiro to taste their award-winning Alvarinho wines.
  • AlentejoAdega José de Sousa and Herdade do Rocim produce a type of wine called Vinho de Talha, which is made in huge clay pots using a method that dates back to ancient Rome.
  • Madeira. Taste some of the finest Madeira wines at Blandy’s Wine Lodge in the very heart of Funchal or Vinhos Barbeito just a 20-minute drive from the city centre.
  • Dão wine trail. Make a stop at Quinta do Cabriz where they serve the very best wines with carefully selected pairings.

Book your flight to Portugal now and check the local government advice before you go:

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