Portugal, on Europe’s southwestern tip, has been traditionally home to explorers, navigators and military heroes. Fiercely contested ground for centuries, it has seen off Roman, Arab, Spanish and finally French invaders. One can see why - Portugal is a staggeringly beautiful country boasting a vibrant, proud culture, stunning scenery and enjoying more sun than almost anywhere else in Europe. You don't.need an army to capture what makes this place so special - simply take the time to explore!
Where to go
Wander through Lisbon, one of the finest baroque cities in existence. Explore the hilltop fortifications of Pena Palace and São Jorge Castle. Hike through the wilds of Peneda-Gerês National Park with its neolithic remains. Ski the Serra da Estrela. Tour some of the many, almost-untouched medieval villages dotting the countryside. Enjoy some of the world’s best museums and galleries. Enjoy the amazing beaches of the Algarve. Relax by the beach and soak up some of that golden Portuguese sun!
Food & Drink
You will eat a lot of seafood in Portugal, in addition to beef and pork. Beans, rice and vegetables constitute the staples and tomato and olive are a fairly consistent ingredient. The Portuguese are famous for their red wines and port, in addition to the liquor known as ginginjha. To dine exceptionally well in Portugal, we recommend Vila Joya (Estrada da Galé, 8201-917 Albufeira) in the Algarve with its two Michelin stars or the ultra-modern Feitero (Doca do Bom Sucesso 1400-038) in Lisbon, for some contemporary Portuguese delights.
Like their Spanish cousins, the Portuguese like to party late into the night. Expect for thing to kick off after 10pm. In Lisbon, Pensão Amor (R. do Alecrim 19, 1200-014 Lisboa) is a hip and trendy bar, based in a former brothel. In the Algarve, Caniço (Aldeamento da Prainha, Praia dos 3 Irmãos, Alvor, 8500-072 Portimão) is a very unique bar located in a beach cove, accessible by elevator. You can dance into the small hours here with the sand between your toes!
Where to stay
Villa Joya in the Algarve is a wonderful beachside luxury hotel that hosts one of the few 2-star Michelin restaurants in Portugal and features the best of regional cuisine and local produce. Feeling sporty? Vila Joy also offers a golf course close by, tennis courts, heated pool and a Turkish bath. Coupled with the wonderfully-decorated rooms, we think this is a must-visit. Epic Sana Hotel is also in the Algarve and boasts an incredible location right on the beach. Those craving a spa treatment will be delighted with this hotel, devoted to pampering its guests. There are all manner of activities on offer here, from mixology classes to regular wine tastings. For a decadent city break in Lisbon, we recommend the Palacio Belmonte for its astounding decor (featuring paintings from the Renaissance) and unparalleled location in the medieval heart of Lisbon.
How to get there
Monarch TAP Portugal, British Airways, Easyjet and Ryanair fly to Lisbon daily.