Seasonal Luxury Stays in Portugal

One of the oldest countries in all Europe, with a rich history shaped by Iberian tribes, Celtics, the Romans, Germanic empires, Islamic invaders, the Christian Reconquista and world exploration, Portugal is so much more than just a beach destination. With year-round sunshine and mild winters and a location within just a few hours’ flying time of the UK, it’s great to explore in any season.

Winter: Alentejo

Just an hour from Lisbon, the Sublime Comporta Country House Retreat & Spa may have a glorious spot on wild sand dunes backed by umbrella pines and cork trees, but it’s as great for Christmas and New Year as it is for summer, with an atmosphere all its own. Think fireplace gatherings with hot chocolate and ginger cookies, seafood feasts including famous Sado oysters, tasting of Portuguese fortified wines, interactive dining experiences in the garden-to-table restaurant and live jazz accompanied by a gin trolley. As well as vast sweeps of empty beaches perfect for a wintry stroll, the Alentejo is studded with prehistoric dolmens, menhirs and burial mounds, plus impressive Roman ruins, and it’s also a great spot for stargazing.

Spring: Douro Valley

This is one of the best times to visit the world’s oldest demarcated wine region (a UNESCO World Heritage site) with its micro-climate ensuring higher temperatures than in Porto at the mouth of the river. With an intoxicating setting in the midst of all this, the converted 19th-century manor house that is the Six Senses Douro Valley has a wine library and terrace where you can taste the best local vintages, an intimate Chef’s Table, and a top-notch spa using natural and ethically produced products that can help you to restore and detox in time for summer.

Summer: The Algarve

One of the prestigious Leading Hotels of the World, Vila Vita Parc Resort and Spa amidst 54 acres of sub-tropical gardens offers everything from two-Michelin-starred dining to golf programs and fantastic family facilities. Excursions range from private yacht-hire for dolphin-spotting forays in the Atlantic to tours of the Herdrade dos Grous farm estate supplying the resort’s mighty wine cellar. 

Blissfully located within Ria Formosa Natural Park, Conrad Algarve was styled after an 18th-century palace yet has an airy, contemporary feel. This is another a great option for foodies – one of its restaurants is Michelin-starred, and there’s the opportunity for hands-on learning about local food and drink with the likes of cataplana masterclasses, market visits with a chef, vineyard trips, and oyster or olive-oil tastings.

Perched on a red sandstone cliff, the vast Pine Cliffs Resort embraces hotel rooms and suites, villas and townhouses in seven different properties. When you’re not lounging on its private section of Falésia Beach (among the world’s best according the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards), connect with the local heritage, cuisine and landscapes via concierge-crafted activities and itineraries. There’s also a golf course, an Annabel Croft tennis academy, a state-of-the-art spa, and a vast kids’ club. 

Autumn: Porto

September and October are arguably the best times to visit this coastal city in northwest Portugal, with pleasantly warm days, barely any rain and far fewer people than in high season – ideal for exploring its cobbled streets, bridges and merchants’ houses and for tours and visits learning about its port wine production (as some local vineyards you might be able to help stomp the grapes during the harvest). Le Monumental Palace, a member of Leading Hotels of the World, makes the perfect base for discovering all of this, with a sleek spa with a heated pool and hammam, a Michelin-starred restaurant and hugely cocooning rooms and suites.

To book your luxury stay in Portugal, contact your Travel Counsellor today and take advantage of exclusive benefits including full financial protection and a 24-hour duty office ready to assist you before, during and after your stay.

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