Think holidays in Portugal and dramatic coastlines and long sandy beaches come to mind. But the country has so much more to offer – the country’s history can be felt everywhere, from the ancient university town of Coimbra to Lord Byron's favourite Portuguese haunt, Sintra. Not forgetting the Portuguese cities of Lisbon and Porto, full of riverside views, cobblestone streets and rattling trams framed by looming cathedrals. Portugal’s wild dune-covered beaches, dramatic cliffs, protected coves and long, sandy coastline, especially along the southern Algarve, make for a popular year-round holiday destination. So whether it’s a beach holiday to the popular Algarve resorts of Albufeira, Vilamoura and Praiha da Rocha or city break in Lisbon or Porto, Portugal really does have something to satisfy visitors of all ages.
Along the Algarve, the beach features at the centre of daily life along with watersports and waterparks galore. Golf is also a popular choice on the Algarve coastline. For some culture, head to the Portuguese cities of Lisbon and Porto. Shopping is a popular pastime too with everything from upmarket shops in the cities to the local markets along the coastline best buys include lace and embroidered linens, ceramics, leather goods and handcrafted gold and silver jewellery. Take a hopon hopoff bus tour in Lisbon, where you can also visit Fatima, a popular place of pilgrimage in the Catholic world where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared. Enjoy a wine tour and discover how the local wines are made from harvesting the grape to bottling the end product. Visit Evora, a UNESCO World Heritage site, housing the ruins of a Roman Temple, the Romanesque Gothic Cathedral, the Bones Chapel and the University.
There are many ways to enjoy on an evening out in Portugal with locals and visitors mingling at bars, nightclubs, theatres, concert halls and cinemas. Dont miss the traditional Fado, which is most popular in Lisbon and Coimbra, and can be heard in many restaurants and music venues late into the night. Along the Algarve coast, Albufeira has a lively nightlife with venues featuring everything from themed bars and clubs with games, DJs, drinks promotions and live acts to Jazz and Brazilian music bars.
Seafood is a tasty choice, especially in Lisbon and along the coast. Regional specialities include grilled meats and Bacalhau (dried cod) with Pastel de nata (custard tart) the national dessert. On the Algarve, British favourites of a cooked breakfast or Sunday roast feature on many a menu along with burgers, spaghetti and pizzas. International restaurants serving Chinese, Mexican, Indian and Italian fare put in an appearance too. The house wine (vinho da casa) in white (branco) and red (tinto) is always good value and you can also opt for vinho verde which is a young 'green' wine, slightly sparkling, light and refreshing or ros Mateus ros being the best known.
Popular destinations in Portugal you may be interested in: