Pack your bags and head to Portugal! It may be a small country, but there are plenty of places you can stay on the Iberian Peninsula.
Whether you want to sample fine wine, take in some amazing views, or discover the history of the country, there’s an area for you. Known for its stunning beaches, beautiful weather, cobblestone streets, medieval history, and delicious food, whatever area you stay in, the country’s charm will shine through.
Probably the most popular area, people flock to this coastal city in the southern Algarve region of Portugal. Formerly a quiet fishing village, this now major holiday hot spot boasts breathtaking beaches and a busy strip that lights up with activity in the evening. As it’s the largest resort town in the whole of the Algarve, there is a range of activities that cater for families, couples, and even groups wanting to enjoy the nightlife.
The traditional Portuguese streets of the old town offer over a hundred restaurants and bars alongside family-friendly restaurants and shops. You can even visit Praia dos Pescadores near here; it’s a calm and relaxing beach which makes it perfect for the whole family. There are plenty of amazing places to stay in Albufeira, close to the action, or further away. If you want to go at your own pace, luxury villas in Portugal are the perfect option. Other areas in Albufeira include Olhos D’agua, Vale de Parra and Guia, all perfect for a mix of activities and relaxing.
Want a bit of everything? This area is steeped in history, known for its old town, cliffs and unbelievable beaches; you can while away days just taking in the scenery. The ancient maritime town launched many naval excursions during Portugal’s extraordinary Age of Discovery. Make sure you take in the Praia do Camilo cove, the Ponta de Piedade rock formations, and lighthouse. There’s also a bunch of historical buildings including the ornate Igreja de Santo António church and the impressive Castelo dos Governadores castle. If you’re with the kids, take them to the Lagos Zoo, they can get up close to animals including dwarf goats, sheep, lemurs, and over 175 birds. You’ll also see wild cats, turtles, and monkeys on your visit.
Lagos is also my favourite little beach town in Portugal and has a surprisingly good nightlife with a lot of backpackers and surfers passing through. You can read my article about Lagos Nightlife here
Funchal is the jewel in Madeira’s crown. Just off the coast of Africa, this gorgeous island is known for its subtropical climate. Mostly volcanic with high cliffs, it has astounding views of the ocean that will make any traveller gasp. The capital Funchal is known for its botanic gardens, originally opened in 1960, the stunning display of unusual flowers are definitely a must-see. Take in the views of the centuries-old Funchal Cathedral, a mix of Gothic and Romanesque style, also notable for its carved wooden ceiling. A must-do is the Mercado dos Lavradores market in Funchal. It sells fish, flowers, fruit, and vegetables and you can even get your hands on fruit you’ve probably never seen before, such as banana passionfruit. Top tip – you don’t want to miss out on Madeira’s wine cellars!
Have you been to Portugal? Do you have any favourite spots? Then share them in the comments below