Portugal holidays have never been more popular. Whether you’re planning a whistle stop tour or laid back break, there are heaps of destinations worth visiting. From the rolling vineyards of Porto to a floating garden in the Atlantic and the sun-kissed beaches of the Algarve, here are five of the best destinations in Portugal.
Often referred to as the city of the seven hills, the winding streets of Lisbon are guaranteed to impress. The capital is served by a vintage tram system, offering the best chance to explore the many districts. Start your adventure in the down town area known as the Baixa. You’ll find some of the oldest shops in the city, many of which sell hand-crafted, locally produced clothes and jewellery. From here, visit the neighbouring district Amalfa, most famous for its Moorish castle. With a vibrant café culture, they’ll be plenty of spots to rest your legs after a day of sightseeing.
Often missed out by international visitors, the town of Coimbra remains a charming, well-kept secret. Situated in central Portugal, the historic sights and beautiful architecture overlook the scenic Modego River. The region is home to countless treasures, including one of Europe’s oldest universities and the Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha. After visiting the attractions, spend an evening listening to a live fado performance at one of the informal bars. This traditional singing actually originated from Coimbra.
Nestled along the unspoilt coastline of the southernmost region, this is the country’s most visited destination. Whether you’re staying in the historic capital Faro or the nightlife hotspot of Lagos, you’re guaranteed a relaxing stay. To avoid the crowds, be sure to visit the town of Tavira. It’s managed to retain much of its old world charm and offers an authentic taste of the region. You can admire the local attractions from a Roman era bridge to the many Gothic and Renaissance churches.
Wine fanatics should be familiar with this vibrant city on the banks of the Duoro River. Nearby vineyards offer the chance to learn more about the region’s most famous export, Port wine. After sampling this sweet red, unwind in the heart of the city at a pedestrian zone known as the Ribeira. Live music can often be enjoyed and there’s no shortage of bars and cafes serving up a seafood feast.
Otherwise known as the Floating Garden of the Atlantic, this island sits between Portugal and North Africa. As you would expect, temperatures soar in summer and long into the autumn. Be sure to explore the Laurissilva Forest and Orchid Garden. Both are home to the biggest concentration of laurel in the world. You’ll also want to set aside some time for the compact capital, Funchal. The streets are crammed with historic cathedrals, authentic restaurants and boutique shops.
With so much to see and do, there’s never been a better excuse to visit Portugal. Include one or all of these destinations in your itinerary for a memorable holiday.
Lou Archell, a writer, photographer, stylist and founder of Littlegreenshed. A UK lifestyle & travel blog
Lou is also a busy mum of two amazing boys and the founder of Sisterhood Camp – an annual creative retreat for recharging and empowering brilliant ladies, Lou is passionate about supporting and inspiring others whether through her workshops, writing, photography or lifestyle hacks.