See more of Portugal this summer

Portugal is a brilliant summer destination for couples, friends, solo travellers and families alike, but there’s much, much more to it than the famous Algarve with its Blue Flag beaches. Elsewhere around the country, both on the coast and inland, lie an array of delights to discover: charming fishing villages and marinas, rocky coves and magnificent cultural sights from Portugal’s long history as one of the oldest countries in Europe.

Portugal’s relatively small size also makes it an easy country to travel around –meaning that you can explore more than one of its diverse regions in one trip. Here are some of our favourite spots to inspire you this summer.

See more of Portugal this summer

The Azores

Perched out in the Atlantic, this small string of lush volcanic islands – a protectorate of Portugal also bearing colonial Spanish, Flemish and North African influences – has amazing outdoors activities to lure summer visitors. Think kayaking, SUP paddle-boarding, canyoning, coasteering, hiking, biking and visits to sulphuric pools and grottoes.

A good place to start discovering the Azores is its largest, greenest island, São Miguel, but another must-visit is lovely Graciosa, where you can climb down into the crater of its extinct volcano before bathing in the Termas do Carapacho thermal waters. Last but not least, the Azores is a fabulous whale- and dolphin-watching destination.

Porto (Oporto)

As well as luring visitors with its gorgeous UNESCO World Heritage listed historic centre, the home of port dessert wine is also the gateway city to an array of wonderful, untouristy beaches and resorts and unspoilt villages that lie to the north of it – between Vila do Conde and the mouth of the Rio Minho.

There are also several parks here to explore, complete with waterfalls and vineyards; one of our favourites is Peneda-Gerês National Park with its hiking trails. Porto is also the access point for two further World Heritage sites: the Alto Douro wine region and the Côa Valley with its jeep tours to see prehistoric rock carvings.

Lisbon

We rate Lisbon as one of Europe’s most laidback capitals – while the Expat City Ranking 2022 placed it among the happiest cities in the world for its 2,800 hours of sunshine a year along with its short working week. It’s a place for simple pleasures – eating grilled sardines in the Alfama district, feasting on its famous pasteis de nata custard tarts, riding the tram or funicular to check out the different neighbourhoods, and strolling in the green and peaceful Principe Real Gardens.

But it’s not all about city life in Lisbon, however exciting: the city is just a quick hop from epic Atlantic bodyboarding and surfing beaches around Sintra, including Praia de Macas and Praia Grande, and beauty spots such as Azenhas do Mar ('Watermills of the Sea').

Alentejo

East of Lisbon, this is the most sparsely populated region, and its Tróia Peninsula is a spectacular 65km stretch of wild Atlantic beaches with an altogether different flavour to the Algarve in the south. But it also has some unique inland charms to tempt you away from the seaside. Among them are the UNESCO World Heritage listed city and regional capital Evora with its ghoulish but impressive Capela dos Ossos (with walls and pillars covered with skulls and bones), its Roman ruins and its cathedral.

Elsewhere in the Alentejo, go stargazing in the Alqueva Dark Sky Zone, take a boat out on Lake Alqueva and breathe in the fresh air at breezy hilltop Monsaraz with its views over to Spain and its ancient castle keep.

To book your summer holiday in Portugal, call your Travel Counsellor today.

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