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Yellow tram in Lisbon with a plane flying in the blue sky

Holidays to Portugal provide something for every type of holiday goer whether you love to explore or kick back or maybe a bit of both! With a long and rich history, 1700km of coastline and more delicious food and drink than you could shake a stick at, holidays to Portugal are a guaranteed slam dunk! As one of Europe’s most affordable areas and with so much to offer, it’s not surprising that Portugal was one of the most visited destinations from the U.K. in 2019.

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When is the Best Time to Visit Portugal? 

The best times to visit Portugal are in Spring (between March and June) or in early Autumn (between September and October). The summer months tend to be more busy with tourists and the heat can be stifling especially in the cities. However, even in its coldest month of January, the average temperature only drops to an average of 15° making holidays to Portugal pleasant all year round.

How to get to Portugal

Mainland Portugal has three international airports which makes accessing the entire country very easy. They are:

  • Porto in the north (IATA code: ODO), 
  • Lisbon on the west coast (IATA code: LIS)
  • Faro in the south (IATA code: FAO). 

Similar to flying direct to the Greek islands, direct flights are available all year round from:

  • London
  • Birmingham
  • Bristol
  • Manchester
  • Edinburgh

On Average, flight times are only 2.5 hours, meaning holidays to Portugal couldn’t be simpler. 

6 Types of Holidays to Portugal

Once you arrive in Portugal, the world is your oyster. There are so many different types of Portugal holidays for you to pick and choose from. If you are struggling to choose just one type of holiday, then don’t! Portugal is a small country with a well connected public transport service so you can always travel internally and see it all. Mix and match day trips to different areas of the country to customise your ideal holiday.

City Breaks

The Portuguese capital of Lisbon was proclaimed the top city break destination by the World Travel Awards in 2019 and it’s not hard to see why. Overflowing with historical monuments, jaw-dropping architecture, fascinating museums and a vibrant nightlife, there is something exciting around every corner. 

Top attractions to see, while on holiday to Portugal, include the 16th century Belém Tower,  the mesmerising Jeronimos Monastery and the National Museum of Ancient Art. The city is as enchanting by night as it is by day, with live shows, parties flowing into the streets and many spectacular rooftop bars. 

Another fantastic option for city lovers is Porto. The cobbled streets and coloured houses of this mediaeval harbour are now filled with funky bars and edgy shops begging to be explored. Not to mention this is the home of the delicious fortified wine Port. Lesser known but no less lovely is Aveiro. This city is crossed by a canal which is responsible for the area being nicknamed ‘Portuguese Venice.’ Colourful gondolas, a traditional fish market and quirky museums all contribute to the timeless feel of this city.

Beach Holidays

The glorious beaches are arguably one of the best things about holidays to Portugal. Sandy stretches and scenic seaside spots abound thanks to Portugal’s long coastline. 

The Algarve region in the south has many white sand bays with warm, calm waters which are perfect for relaxing with a good book or building sandcastles with children. The Silver Coast or Costa de Prata is a stretch of towns running along the west side of Portugal. Between the fishing villages you’ll find tons of charming beaches. Nazaré is a favourite for its great surf and Peniche is heralded for it’s excellent seafood dishes.

A bird’s eye view of a sandy yellow cove surrounding sparkling blue waters and people in kayaks in Lagos, Portugal.

Adventure Holidays

If you like your holidays a bit more action packed, then Portugal has also got that covered. Serra da Arrábida is a great area for kayaking, walking or climbing. In the Arrábida Natural Park, hikes through luscious forest covered hills will be rewarded with spectacular views. Another great area for adventurous spirits to explore is Portugal’s highest mountain range, the Serra da Estrela. In summer, there are opportunities for trekking and kayaking, and in winter there’s even some skiing! Meaning there is something to suit everybody on holidays to Portugal!  

Nature Lovers

Portugal is home to all sorts of fabulous flora and fauna which everyone from children to David Attenborough can be enthralled by! The Reserva Natural do Estuário do Sado is a magnificent nature reserve surrounding the Sado river. It is home to several colonies of birds, including storks and flamingos. If you take a boat tour here, it’s not uncommon to see a pod of rare river dwelling dolphins who have made the Sado their home! In the less populated areas of central Portugal, you can find some of the darkest skies in Europe. Where there are dark skies, there is star gazing! The Alqueva Dark Sky Reserve is one of these areas and visitors can marvel at constellations and celestial bodies with spellbinding clarity.

Wine and Recline

Holidays to Portugal can be made extra special with a retreat to one of the country’s wine regions. Arguably the best wine region in Portugal is the Douro Valley. Famed for bringing the world Port wine, the Douro Valley Vineyards are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the oldest demarcated wine region in the world. The exquisite wine is rivalled by the stunning landscape of green rolling hills dotted with mediaeval castles and romanesque churches. Here, you’ll find plenty of wine tasting tours to choose from whether you’re a wine aficionado or a complete beginner. 

Fancy a wine hopping tour? You could also try out the Alentejo or Vinho Verde regions. Relaxing and enjoying a glass (or two!) of your favourite tipple in any of these magical settings feels like a slice of heaven.

A vineyard over rolling Portuguese hills at sunset.

A Foodies Retreat

Wherever your holidays to Portugal may lead you, delicious cuisine is virtually unavoidable! The food Portugal is best known for is probably pastel de nata. Invented by monks in the 1600s, pastéis de nata are small egg custard tart pastries. You can find these scrummy treats all across the country but the most famous are baked in Pasteis de Belem in Lisbon. 

Aside from pastéis de nata, Portugal is famous for its fresh fish dishes. From Bacalhau a bras (a creamy fish dish made with salt cod, onions, potato and eggs) to Sardinhas assadas (grilled sardines), holidays to Portugal go hand in hand with mouthwatering seafood. 

An appetite for Travel? 

Thinking about holidays to Portugal may have got you hungry for more vacation inspiration. Whether you’re daydreaming about luxury Greek villas, or fantasising about Adventures around America, check out our posts to inspire your next trip. Stay up to date with our travel recommendations by following us on Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.


Jay is the owner of Wine, Travel and Song - a blog to share many eclectic adventures in taste, sight & sound

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