With 500 miles of coastline and a lush interior Portugal is the perfect place for beach lovers, sun lovers and nature lovers. The Algarve, along the south coast, is the most visited region and has miles of sandy beaches. The resorts west of Faro are tourist orientated with seaside towns such as Vilamoura, Lagos and Albufeira. All bustle with holidaymakers in the summer who are well catered for with a good choice of restaurants, bars, shops and markets. If you keep heading west along the south coast you will reach Sagres, the most westerly point of mainland Europe. East of Faro are the more authentic towns of Tavira and Olhao to explore and it's definitely worth taking a boat trip to the pretty sand-spit islands just off the coast including Farol, Armona and Culatra.
Lisbon is a wonderful city to spend time in with its beautiful old architecture and vibrant city life. It has a great dining scene with many delicious restaurants, cafes and patisseries lining the streets and there are some rooftop options too with stunning views. Lisbon's MAAT museum of art, architecture and technology is worth a visit if only for its own spectacular architecture and position on the banks of the river. A short hop from Lisbon is the UNESCO World Heritage site of Sintra with its pastel coloured villas and palaces also worth a day day trip.
Porto, on the banks of the Douro river is charming and lovely to visit. There is a real buzz along the river which is lined with restaurants and cafes - perfect for people watching! The cable car gives you wonderful views over the city and along the river and you can still tour the old Port houses and try a tipple.
The expansive beaches along the west coast are a little more wild and rugged and have plenty of space for relaxing or action with many spots famous for surfing. The interior of Portugal often gets neglected by tourists but there are many beautiful national parks and stunning mountainous regions to discover.
In addition to the mainland the archipelago of the Azores, way out west in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, and the island of Madeira, south, are also part of Portugal. Both have direct flights form the UK and both make wonderful holiday destinations.
Overall Portugal offers good value for money and has wonderful range of different holiday experiences to suit everyone.
Travelling to and in Portugal
Flying to Portugal takes around 3 hours to Faro in the Algarve and 2.5 to Porto in the North and there are plenty of daily flights from the UK.
Travelling around by hire car is often very cheap and there is a good road network. Some of the main arteries are toll roads so check out here to get information about these. There is an extensive bus across Portugal which is good value and an efficient train network.
By land and sea:
If you want to take the train check out your options here. If you want to drive it's perfectly possible although it will take at least two days and it is probably better to get a boat to Northern Spain. See How to go on a road trip for more details.
Most popular airports:
Mainland Portugal - Faro, Lisbon and Porto
Azores - you fly direct from the UK to Ponta Delgada with Ryanair and Azores Airlines or with a connection with TAP
Madeira and Porto Santo - the are a number of direct flight from the UK
Go to How to Book a Flight for loads of flight booking tips and tools.
There's a great range of accommodation in Portugal including wonderful villas and some fabulous campsites. It tends to be good value, good quality and there is plenty to choose from particularly along the Algarve. Both Lisbon and Porto have some beautiful boutique hotel options. Further north the countryside along the River Duoro is beautiful and there are some real gems to be found.
A few recommendations:
Brown's Central Hotel - Bright airy rooms, great breakfast and an Art Deco cocktail bar bang in the middle of Lisbon.
Douro Green - a small, welcoming hotel, set on the banks of the Douro RIver with wonderful views. It's peaceful and relaxing with comfortable rooms and friendly staff.
Martinhal - Beautiful beachside hotel with luxury rooms, apartments and villas. Very family orientated with 5 different kids clubs, children's sports academy and equipment available ranging from potties to cots. Amazing staff who provide tip top customer service.
Quinta de Louca - half an hour from the coast this peaceful little campsite places you right at the heart of nature. With the Monchique mountains on your doorstep there is plenty to do from hiking to canoeing or just soaking up the peace and nature!
Bukubaki Eco Surf Resort - stunning 'glamping' option with beautiful tree houses and tents to rent. Perfect for relaxing with yoga and mindfulness or for more action with surfing and skateboarding.
Capital city: Lisbon
Area: 92,212 Sq km
Population: 10.31 million
Currency: Euros (EUR)
Official Language(s): Portuguese
Tourist Board: Portugal
Random Fact: Portuguese is the official language of 9 countries.