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Portugal Holidays

Between the resorts found in the Algarve or one of the islands lying off the coast of Morocco, Portugal holidays promise visitors laidback surroundings with dozens of beaches from which to enjoy the perfect sunshine setting.

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A holiday favourite

The Algarve, Madeira and Porto Santo share a terrific Mediterranean climate inspiring landscapes that are rich in nature. The culture within each of these destinations show hints of other European influences but are still proudly Portuguese.

Tourists are welcomed to each resort with some fantastic villas and hotels to choose from while idyllic beaches are never too far away. Championship quality golf courses are almost as frequent a sight as the beaches in Portugal thanks to the consistently fantastic playing conditions.

There are resorts for chilling, resorts for partying and resorts for family fun on both mainland Portugal and on the islands. You're sure to find exactly what you need with holidays here.

Where to stay in Portugal

AlgarveView on Map

Covering the entirety of Portugal's south coast, Algarve is filled with an array of resorts that cater for a range of purpose holidays. You're never more than a short walk to the beach in most resorts which is ideal for tourists wanting to make the most of this region's phenomenal climate.

Aside from the beaches you can slip and slide at two fantastic waterparks or interact with animals at Lagos Zoo or the Zoomarine.

Most resorts are perfect for relaxing but many know how to let loose with a spattering of lively nightlife found in certain areas.

MadeiraView on Map

This Portuguese island sits in line with Morocco and enjoys a hot Mediterranean climate. The landscape of this small island is a dramatic blend of magnificent volcanic mountains and beautifully formed floral displays through the gardens and forests of Madeira.

The capital Funchal appears to have it all when it comes to the holiday checklist: historic surroundings, hundreds of restaurants, plenty of shopping opportunities, a lively nightlife and four beaches to choose from.

Those who choose holidays to Madeira will not be left disappointed by the mix of relaxation and adventure that is available to all ages.

Porto Santo
Porto SantoView on Map

A tiny island lying 40km north of Madeira, Porto Santo enjoys weather that is just as glorious as its neighbour while a headlining 10km beach provides the perfect place to relax on holiday.

Along the massive beach there are plenty of resorts and towns featuring waterfront cafes, bars and restaurants. There are also water sport opportunities as well as the chance to travel inland and discover the wildlife this island hides.

During the summer this Porto Santo lets loose at the Vila Baleira port where guests will find lively bars and late night clubs.


Quick Tips

  • Roman Catholic
  • Euro
  • Portuguese
  • 10.7 million
  • GMT - None

Classic beach destinations

Praia is Portuguese for beach so follow the signs baring this word to find coastal areas filled with smooth golden sand. You're never more than a short walk or drive from the nearest beach in whichever resort you choose but there are some highlights which people gravitate towards.

Algarve's most famous space is the 25 different beaches found along the 30km coastline of Albufeira. There are many resorts found within this large town and each beach presents something different.

On the islands, Madeira's favourite spot is the four beaches of Praia Formosa while tiny Porto Santo features a long 10km stretch on the south coast. While the coasts are beautiful, both are equally as attractive across the inland terrain too.

In each destination, mountains and cliffs are regular sights and tour operators are eager to show you the best bits on a variety of different adventures. Walk by the terracotta cliffs of the Algarve and you may come across naturally formed rock pools or hidden caves by the beaches.

Laidback lifestyle

Located just north of the Canary Islands, both Madeira and Porto Santo are relative newcomers to the Portuguese lifestyle having both been founded in the 15th century. Both feature some relics or monuments from this time like Christopher Columbus's house in the capital of Porto Santo.

Madeira is renowned for its beauty and this reputation is enhanced by the beautiful gardens that are dotted around the town.

The Algarve on the other hand has a much longer history with evidence of Roman ruins and Moorish architecture found around the large region.

Family fun in Algarve

At the times that nature and culture just doesn't do it for you, you can travel to some of the terrific tourist destinations found in the Algarve. With two waterparks, a natural zoo in Lagos and an exciting park where you can swim with dolphins, Algarve has you covered for exciting family days in the sun.

Equally as exhilarating is the cable car ride offered in Funchal, Madeira. The leisurely and scenic ride up isn't the challenge though. If you choose to, you can take a fast-paced toboggan ride through the streets back down to sea level.

Wine and music or cocktails and DJs

After long days spent basking in the Portuguese sun, you can continue the relaxation trend into the evening with restaurants and bars providing outdoor seating areas where you can drink and dine under the stars. No matter where you are, you can sip on a bottle of wine which was made in a nearby vineyard.

Contrasting the serenity offered in most resorts, you can seek out other destinations where long nights spent partying is the norm. Algarve offers areas like the strip in Sao Joao, the marina in Vilamoura and the live entertainment bars of Lagos where you can enjoy a variety of drinks and stay up late.

During the summer months Funchal in Madeira and Vila Baleira in Porto Santo give guests the opportunity to party in town and by the beaches. If loud nightclubs aren't your scene, the presence of a lively nightlife won't change the overall hushed tone of a resort and there are also quieter music bars to get comfortable in.

Portuguese cuisine

Seafood is a popular theme amongst Portuguese cuisine. Sardines are a particularly popular fish to dine on in Algarve and there are even multi-day festivals based on them.

Portuguese dishes often feature spices like piri piri and black pepper. Espetadas are a delicious meat dish you have to try; it features large chunks of beef rubbed in garlic, salt and bay leaf before being marinated for hours in Madeira wine.

All of Portugal is mad on Madeira wine and you can tour where it is made on the eponymous island. The Algarve is famous for making aguardente, a heavy spirit that loosely translates to burning water.

Great shopping facilities

It is easy to pick up a local souvenir on holidays to Portugal. If you're resort doesn't feature a shopping centre or a market, you can be sure that a town or resort nearby does.

Check out the information for each resort on Holiday Hypermarket to see where you can pick up some handcrafted goods or Portuguese fashion trends.

Getting there

The flight time from the UK to the Algarve will take around three hours. Fly further south to Madeira and Porto Santo and you'll arrive in almost four hours.

Transfer times are relatively short on the smaller islands while they can vary after you land at Faro Airport in Algarve. The transfers range from 20 minutes to an hour and a half for the resorts on mainland Portugal.

Transport links are generally quite good with public busses and taxis always available. Visitors who want to utilise the shopping centres and tourist attractions across Algarve will want to hire a car.