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Portugal Holidays

A well-established player in the tourism game, Portugal has a winning combination of sunny weather, great hospitality and fantastic family-friendly facilities.

Quick Tips

Lisbon
10.7 million
Roman Catholic
Portuguese
Euro
GMT - None

Regions

Sweeping stretches of golden sand

Sunbathing to the west of Spain, with its toes tipped in the Atlantic, Portugal is often overlooked by its bigger brother when it comes to holidays on the Iberian Peninsula. But that doesn't mean Portugal is any less culturally rich or geographically diverse. It's also the only European beach destination that shares the same time zone as the UK – perfect for fussy body clocks and forgetful types – and being just 2.5 hours from London, it's a great choice if you prefer shorter flights.

Portugal's beaches are a combination of sweeping stretches of golden sand and secluded coves that bask under 300 days of Mediterranean sunshine. The surrounding wild, craggy cliffs provide a pretty spectacular backdrop for catching some rays whilst sheltering sunbathers from the refreshing Atlantic breeze. In fact, we reckon Portugal's beaches are better looking than Spain's – but don't tell Spain we said that.

If you're a keen surfer or windsurfer you'll ride the best waves in the northern Minho region or on the shores surrounding Lisbon. The aptly named "Silver Coast" is home to soft, white beaches that are just waiting to be wandered along, whereas the almighty Algarve region takes the crown for clean, safe shores that are perfect for sandcastle-building tots.

Places to Visit

Lisbon

Portugal's stunning capital city lies on the west coast and overflows with beauty and fascinating history. Explore the city then enjoy a spot of lunch by the beautiful River Tagus.

Sir Cliff's Vineyard

Head to the Algarve and visit the vineyard owned by Sir Cliff Richard! Wander through the succulent rows of vines then learn a little about the wine and take the chance to sample some.

Ria Formosa National Park

The Ria Formosa National Park has a 60km coastline laden with lagoons, marshlands and small islands. Just put on your walking shoes, grab a map and off you go.

Golf, tapas and tanning

But beaches aren't the only reason to visit Portugal. Oh no. First of all there's the history. One of Europe's oldest capitals, coastal city Lisbon is elegant and understated and you'll only have to follow the tram tracks along narrow cobbled streets to uncover its Manueline treasures. Then there's the cuisine. From peri-peri chicken to freshly-caught fish dishes and tapas tasters, we guarantee your taste buds will be tantalised wherever you choose to eat. Other highlights include some of Europe's best golf courses, where you can practice your putting atop wave-lapped cliff tops, lazy days casting a fishing rod off a sun-soaked fishing boat and exploring rugged inner Portugal on foot, horseback or by bumpy-jumpy jeep safari – our favourite experience by far. And as sun sets sit back and relax outside one of the many waterfront bars, fine local wine in hand, and listen to the lilting sounds of traditional Fado music.

A firm family favourite

There's a resort for everyone in Portugal, from relaxing breaks in historical hamlets to stylish summer stays in modern resorts such as Albufeira and Quinta da Lago.

Sitting on the southern tip of the country the Algarve is Portugal's most famous seaside destination. It's also the most popular, with the majority of excited holidaymakers flying into the region's airport, Faro. If you're looking for a bustling resort with bucket-loads of fab facilities, a sun-baked beach and lively nightlife then flip-flop your way over to Albufeira. If crowds are your idea of holiday hell though, family favourite Praia da Rocha or historic marina town Vilamoura may take your fancy. The Algarve is great for keeping kids entertained. There's splashtastic fun to be had at the region's waterparks, such as Zoomarine, as well as go karting, mini golf and life science discovery centres.

The Lisbon Coast, or 'Costa de Lisboa', extends along the western coastline of Portugal. Beginning north of the capital city of Lisbon it stretches inland to the town of Abrantes and along the banks of the River Tagus. The river's estuary is a beautiful, protected spot that has sandy beaches and safe swimming conditions for families who book holidays in the nearby towns of Cascais and Estoril.

Year-round island escapes

If you're eager for an island adventure, Madeira and Porto Santo are both part of a North Atlantic Portuguese archipelago off the coast of Africa. They're about 250 miles from Tenerife and bask in eternal sunshine which makes them excellent year-round destinations, especially for New Year when Madeira hosts the world's biggest firework display. Madeira is famous for flowers, beaches and Madeira wine, so where better to lie back on golden sand, glass in hand, and admire the view?

Location of Portugal & Islands

Average monthly temperature (°C) for Portugal & Islands
32°C0°C
Jan
JanuaryTemp: 16°C
Feb
FebruaryTemp: 17°C
Mar
MarchTemp: 19°C
Apr
AprilTemp: 21°C
May
MayTemp: 23°C
Jun
JuneTemp: 26°C
Jul
JulyTemp: 29°C
Aug
AugustTemp: 29°C
Sep
SeptemberTemp: 26°C
Oct
OctoberTemp: 23°C
Nov
NovemberTemp: 20°C
Dec
DecemberTemp: 17°C