Portugal is one of the most popular destinations in Europe due to its diverse landscape, rich culture and budget-friendly options. A holiday to Portugal guarantees you not only the usual holiday highlights, but also a unique view into a completely different way of life.
Mainland Portugal is divided into four distinct regions – north, north central, south central and south. Northern Portugal is the oldest area and home to cities such as Porto and Braga. Towns such as Aveiro and Coimbra are in the north central area, while south central Portugal is where you’ll find the capital of Lisbon. The south is the popular Algarve region with the beautiful beaches of Lagos, Albufeira and Vilamoura.
There are also two island regions off the coast consisting of the Azores and Madeira, where the trendy tourist resort Funchal can be found.
Portugal Holiday Factfile
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Top Resorts and Hotels
The Algarve is perhaps the most famous region in Portugal, with its clean beaches and delicious local produce. Here you’ll find over 100 beaches, including Lagos, which was voted as one of the most attractive tourist destinations. Take a dolphin tour, or sunbathe underneath spectacular rock formations at Dona Ana Beach. Albufeira is an old fishing village that has been transformed into a pretty town with secluded beaches, a historic Old Town and modern strip known as New Town. Vilamoura is a luxurious, purpose-built resort with a large marina, casino, high-end sports clubs and a thriving nightlife.
For breathtaking scenery, a trip out to the islands of Madeira is mandatory. Known as the Islands of Eternal Spring, Madeira is just off the coast of Morocco and enjoys a mild coastal climate, hence making it feel like spring all year round. Head to the island’s capital of Funchal for lush botanical gardens, palaces, cathedrals and markets.
Attractions & Things to Do
It goes without saying that any trip to Portugal will consist of some solid beach hours! Lagos is the most well-known but there are plenty of others that are worth a visit. Surfers should head for Peniche, one of the best spots in Europe. Sign up to a surf school or watch some of the big name contests. Aside from watersports,
Portugal is also famous for its traditional cuisine – think piri piri chicken, meat stews, custard tarts and, of course, Portuguese wine. Each town has its own regional specialties, although the Algarve is particularly famed for its cuisine. As Portugal’s capital, Lisbon also has a lot to offer. This busy, bustling city is packed full of monuments, museums and parks for a cultural insight into Portugal’s past and present. Don’t miss the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Belem Tower and Jeronimos Monastery.
Annual Temperature & Rainfall
Portugal is one of the warmest countries in Europe, boasting temperatures consistently over 35ºC in summer. July and August are peak seasons with around 12 hours of sun a day and hardly any rain. Autumn and winter are often unpredictable – you can expect both rain and sun throughout the months. Snow can be sometimes found in the mountain areas to the north, however the coast experiences much milder winters.