portugal

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Planning a trip to Portugal? Discover the best places to visit this summer

There are so many things to do!

Lottie Gross

Portugal is on the green list, so the green light for your summer holidays is on. But where should you go? This balmy country has it all – beaches, mountains, dynamic cities and quaint countryside boltholes. Here’s where to find the right holiday in Portugal for you.

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If a country is on the green list it means that the travel restrictions are relatively low, therefore to travel to and from a 'green list' country all you will need to do is fill in a passenger locator form, take a pre-departure test and take a PCR test two days after you return. 

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For a city break: Lisbon

The Portuguese capital is a beautiful, buzzy, artistic and historic hub that oozes Mediterranean charm. There are elegant boulevards lined by designer boutiques, old trundling trams that carry passengers up those steep hills, and glorious views out onto the Tagus estuary. Museums-wise, the city triumphs with the National Azulejo Museum, which showcases the history and tradition of those colourful, emblematic Portuguese tiles, and the Museum do Fado will shed light on the country’s musical heritage. Don’t miss a day trip to Sintra, a pretty resort town with a brightly painted castle well worth the trip.

lisbon

The capital oozes Mediterranean charm

Where to stay in Lisbon?

The Four Seasons Lisbon has just unveiled its extensive renovations, so book in here for elegant rooms, important artworks and Art-Deco touches, or reserve a room in the Bairro Alto Hotel – the best boutique property in the whole city. 

Holidays to Lisbon

Booking a package holiday is the safest way to travel right now when it comes to your holidays, so consider going to your local travel agent or booking your flights and hotels together on sites like Skyscanner

For a beach break: the Algarve

The sunny Algarve has been drawing Brits for decades thanks to its gorgeous sandy beaches and family-friendly waves. The centre of the region is Faro, which has a delightfully Portuguese feel compared with many of the towns along this coast. Start here, hire a car and head out along the coastal roads to find secluded bays and sweeping sands. Albufeira is a popular party town with a vast stretch of sand, Lagos has a pretty walled centre and plenty of nearby beaches, and Tavira has its own medieval castle.

algarve

The Algarve has the most stunning sandy beaches

Where to stay in the Algarve?

If you’re after a hotel you won’t want to leave, book into Tivoli Carvoeiro Algarve Resort where you’ll get rocky sea views, leafy gardens, a large pool and a kids’ club. Soul&Surf, based in Lagos, is a yoga and surfing retreat for those who want to really learn to relax this summer.

Holidays to the Algarve

Trusted providers of holidays to the Algarve include TUI, who have trips from £287, and Jet2 have trips from £370. Always book a package so your money is ATOL protected.

For wine-tasting: the Douro Valley

This verdant valley follows the river Douro all the way from the city of Porto on the coast inland towards Spain, winding through beautiful towns and cities and, importantly, past countless vineyards. The wines created here range from light Bordeaux-style clarets to rich, punchy reds similar to those from Burgundy in France, and in Porto itself you’ll find that eponymous fortified drink, port. The best way to travel through this region is either on foot, by bike or on a river cruise, meaning you can sample as you go. 

douro-valley

The vineyards overlook the river Douro

Where to stay in the Douro Valley?

We love the Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo. The name might be a mouthful, but once you get a mouthful of their spectacular wines you won’t mind – the hotel is on a vineyard and offers access to their newest and best bottles. For a more understated stay, try Quinta de la Rosa, a family-run vineyard with terraces right on the river.

Holidays in the Douro Valley

BSpoke Tours are doing self-guided e-bike holidays in the Douro this summer, with electric bikes as standard so you don’t have to break a sweat between vineyards. Riviera Travel are offering Douro river cruises on their two beautiful ships this summer, priced from £1,489pp.

For an active holiday: Madeira 

The island of Madeira is a Portugese territory sitting off the coast of Morocco. The island might well be small, but it packs a punch when it comes to walking trails, which are lined with some of the most intriguing exotic plants and flowers. Start your holiday in the capital, Funchal, where you’ll find brilliant restaurants and get to try the unusual local “toboggan”, which involves being pushed down a hill in a wicker basket by two well-dressed men in white, before hitting the levada trails. The levadas are irrigation waterways cut into the sides of the island’s hills and mountains and they make some of the best routes for spectacular views. 

madeira

The walking routes have the most spectacular views

Where to stay in Madeira?

Reasonably priced but brilliantly designed, The Vine is one of Funchal’s best hotels and it comes complete with a rooftop pool and city-wide views. Sé Boutique Hotel is another affordable option and it has real boutique vibes with colourful furnishings and a lovely roof terrace.

Holidays in Madeira

You can take self-guided walking holidays in Madeira with Inntravel and Ramblers Holidays, and TUI have package holidays from £315pp.

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