Portugal is such an enriching destination that there are almost countless reasons to visit. While it is hard to whittle them down, we’ve put our heads together and chosen the five things we think you’ll most fall in love with on a Portugal holiday.
This one was a no brainer really. Portugal’s dramatic coastline features cliffs peppered with myriad caves and grottos. Combine the fascinating geology with the azure Atlantic Ocean and powdery white sands and you’re left with a stunning collection of beaches to visit.
Although you’ll find picturesque beaches throughout Portugal, the best are arguably located in the Algarve. There are plenty of beach side beauties to discover in the region including the charming fishing village of Tavira. A short walk from the coast, Tavira features Gothic and Renaissance churches, a Roman bridge and the ruins of a hilltop castle with expansive views of the surrounding area.
If you have a sweet tooth then you’re in for a treat. The Portuguese have always put baking at the heart of their cuisine, and mastered the art of the perfect rise long ago. Wherever you are in the country chances are you’ll not be far from a bakery selling delicious homemade cakes and breads. By far the most popular sweet snack in Portugal is the pastel de nata. Initially created by 17th Century monks, pastel de nata are egg tart pastries which are served straight from the oven with a sprinkling of sugar and cinnamon.
As you’d expect from a country so close to the Atlantic Ocean, Portugal offers seafood to die for. The beauty of seafood in Portugal is, considering its freshness and exquisite flavour, it’s remarkably inexpensive. Must try dishes include grilled Atlantic cod and prawns served in a garlic white wine sauce.
The Douro Valley
Simply stunning. The Douro Valley in northern Portugal is one of Europe’s finest natural landscapes. As if its spellbinding beauty wasn’t enough, the valley is home to a large number of vineyards producing beautiful vintages. Vinho verde, which translates as ‘green wine’, is one of the region’s chief exports. This slightly effervescent wine has not been allowed to mature in order to provide a lighter bouquet that is much easier to drink.
Located close to the vineyards and hills of the Douro Valley, Porto – Portugal’s second largest city after Lisbon – should certainly feature on your to-do list. You’ll spend countless hours perusing the city’s medieval streets and hidden boutiques. The city is also where port originated from, so be sure to try some (it’d be rude not to!). If you’re planning to spend some time here, stay at the Six Senses Douro Valley where you’ll be treated to an interactive wine library featuring samples of the local produce.
The people of Portugal certainly know how to enjoy a good time and their zest for life is very infectious. The Algarve is home to some of the best night spots in Portugal and offers something for every type of partier. A feature of going out here is bars set right down on the beach; there’s little better than dancing the night away with the sand between your toes.
Lisbon meanwhile has gained a reputation amongst trendy travel circles as a prime destination for cool clubs and bars. The bohemian Bairro Alto district of the city is set upon steep hills which are lined with places to grab a drink and a bite to eat. If you don’t fancy tackling the climb on foot don’t worry, there’s a cable car linking the bottom of the hill with the top.
Portugal is a hotbed of culture. The country is home to no fewer than fifteen UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the 8th highest amount in Europe. A particular highlight amongst these sites is Sintra. The town is less of a conurbation and more a treasure trove of whimsical castles, charming gardens and manor houses.
Sport plays a huge role in Portuguese culture with football being something of a national obsession. Famous footballers from Portugal include Eusebio, Luis Figo and, of course, the inimitable Cristiano Ronaldo. The three biggest teams in the country are Benfica and Sporting, both based in Lisbon, and Porto. Check out any of these teams at a home match and see how passionate the Portuguese are about their football.
So there you have it; five things we think you’ll love in Portugal. If you’re wondering what you’d most enjoy in this magical country, the best way to find out is to simply book a holiday and get exploring. Give one of our friendly travel experts a call on 020 7749 9220 or visit our website and book your Portugal adventure today.