See More of Portugal on Your Next Visit

This ever-popular Atlantic Ocean destination within just a few hours’ flying time of the UK has much more to offer than the beach breaks for which it’s justifiably famous, especially in the southerly Algarve region. We’ve looked at some wonderful ways of exploring this richly historic and varied destination with its year-round sunshine and mild winters, from its maritime architecture to its world-class wine estates.

Portugal is one of the oldest countries in all of Europe, with a history molded by Iberian tribes, the Roman Empire, Islamic invaders, the Christian Reconquista and world exploration. Today it’s also one of the world’s most forward-thinking destinations and one that should be high on your list if you want your holidays to be eco-friendly and to make a difference to local communities. After being named Best European Destination for Sustainable Tourism at the ITB Berlin trade fair in 2019, it announced a new national sustainability strategy in 2020. The following destinations are all very much a part of that drive.

The South

This part of Portugal embraces the Algarve and the Alentejo regions, the first with its splendid Blue Flag beaches (88 in total), water parks, historic towns and charming whitewashed fishing villages, the second with its traditional feel, hearty, rustic cuisine, pretty cork farms and stargazing hotspots. We can offer a range of tours of southern Portugal, including the Unknown Algarve, Beaches of the Algarve, golf programmes taking in a different course each day, heritage and nature tours, and hiking, yoga retreats and gastronomic or wellness tours – the latter taking in the region’s many rejuvenating spas.

Centro

From ancient forest, mountain ranges with the highest peaks in Portugal, deep valleys and granite villages to fishing towns and cosmopolitan beaches, this region is dominated by both nature and history. Monasteries, convents, castles and churches abound, many of them listed by UNESCO. And then there’s both Fátima, religious centre of Portugal, and Lisbon, Europe’s second oldest capital, with its vintage trams, medieval remnants and lively nightlife. Tours of Centro can take different themes to suit you, including Romantic Destinations and Castles, Palaces and Fortresses. We also love the 7-night Lisbon-to-Algarve route taking in Sintra, Evora and Tavira, among other destinations.

The North

Northern Portugal is famous for its medieval villages, historic castles and spectacular mountain ranges, but above all for the Douro river that flows all the way from the Spanish border to Porto, bordered by terraced vineyards, grand wine estates and rolling hills. Indeed, the World Heritage-listed Douro is one of the world’s oldest wine regions, known above all for its Port wine and also for its wonderful gastronomy. A visit to vibrant Porto is a must, as is a hike through the greenest region in Portugal, the mountains of Peneda-Gerês National Park. Tour options in this part of the country include the round-trip Pilgrimage Route and the Wine Route.

Douro River Cruise

By water is another great way to see different parts of Portugal in one trip. This trip starts in lovely Lisbon, from where you travel on to Porto to board your Emerald Waterways Star-Ship and venture out through the enchanting surrounding countryside with its vineyards rising from river banks, historic landmarks dotting horizons and delightful hillside towns. In Pocinho you can also get even closer to the water with a spot of canoeing, while optional onboard extras during your journey include a Portuguese cooking demonstration.

Madeira

This Atlantic archipelago is full of adventurous activities for those who like to embrace the great outdoors, as well as gardens and trails to explore. In one trip, you can ride a cable-car ride up to Monte (and take a toboggan down if you wish), tour the Botanical Gardens, sign up for Madeira wine tasting, go canyoning and walk the levadas – mini-canals crisscrossing the mountains, of varying degrees of difficulty. Also popular are full-day Jeep safari tours, visits to the little village of Porto Moniz with its volcanic swimming pools, and kayaking and snorkelling in the marine nature park of Garajau.

For more information on a Portuguese itinerary, 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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