Portugal Holidays: An Overview

Portugal packs quite a big punch for a little place. Whether you're a surfer, sun seeker or sailor, the South has a little something for everyone. The North and pit stops along the way, boast great countryside, cities and cuisines. Madeira's sub-tropical climate might even entice the more active souls. The country has it all.

Pip and Flora are here to help give you the inside track.

Why we think you’ll love it

  • Lisbon is a deeply civilised city, with excellent boutique hotels and a pumping nightlife
  • Wine tasting, be that in the Douro Valley or Alentejo. Portuguese wines are a wonder waiting to be enjoyed in situ. You can't escape the importance of Port wine in the up-and-coming city of Porto. Its production is prominent, and a visit to a cave is a must if you're on holiday in the area - followed by a glass in one of the many buzzing wine bars, of course
  • The beautiful Alentejo and West Algarve coastline boasts secluded wild sandy beaches that often, you'll just be sharing with a few surfers
More information

Luxury Portugal Holidays: The Detail

Portugal is a little place with a lot to do on a luxury holiday. The capital Lisbon is an old Original Travel favourite, and one of Europe's most attractive and accessible capitals; the Algarve is one of the sunniest places around with some of the best beaches in Europe; and Madeira is an island gem fast overcoming a perception problem. But you knew all that. What you might not know is the bits in between, such as the Alentejo, straddling the entire country from just south of Lisbon to the Algarve in the south and full of beautiful cork oak forests, elegant wine estates, miles of deserted beaches and the achingly hip beach town of Comporta, Portugal's best kept secret. Then there's the second city of Porto, a perfect city break destination and the gateway to the beautiful Douro Valley, home to chic boutique hotels and many of Portugal's finest - and hugely under-rated - winemakers.

Did you know

  • The Vasco da Gama Bridge in Lisbon is the longest bridge in Europe at almost 11 miles long
  • Portuguese is spoken by 230 million people worldwide and is the official language of nine countries
  • Portugal boasts 15 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 14 of which are cultural sites and one which is natural
  • The national flower of Portugal is lavender
  • The Portuguese eat more fish and shellfish per head than any other country in the world
  • The oldest bookshop in the world, 'Bertrand', has been open for business in Lisbon since 1732

Lisbon has several top class hotels, whether your luxury holiday requirement is grand dame or boutique chic, and we know them all. We can also recommend the best surf school, and the finest family hotel, in the Algarve, which is the perfect destination for short-breakers in need of a fix of sun, sea and sand, and also families who want pretty much guaranteed good weather.

Out in the Atlantic, Madeira enjoys a mild, sub-tropical climate that has been likened to 'eternal spring'. Once seen as a destination for senior citizens only, Madeira is shedding its fusty image, and the island's climate and landscapes make it ideal for all kinds of outdoor pursuits. As an addition to your luxury holiday itinerary, Original Travel can arrange the following methods of proving just how youthful and vigorous you are, including trekking, mountain-biking, paragliding, rock-climbing, surfing, windsurfing, sailing and diving.

Finally, and more off the beaten track, are the soon to be discovered luxury holiday gems of Alentejo, home to a range of hip hotels, and in the north the second city (but with the first nightlife), Porto and the beautiful Douro Valley.

Our fantastic Europe team are here to help with every detail of your luxury Portugal holiday, from where to taste fantastic Portuguese cuisine (at DOP restaurant nestled deep in the Douro Valley, owned by Rui Paula - Portugal's answer to Jamie Oliver) to where the best surfing beaches are. Portugal is an old Original Travel favourite, as a great destination for families, and now we are seeing more and more boutique hotels cropping up, making it an ideal holiday spot for a couple's retreat or a city break.


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Original Highlight

Head to Alentejo in September (the grape harvest season) and you'll be able to get involved in making your own wine from start to finish. It’s especially fun to participate in the moon harvest of the grapes at midnight.

Flora, Original Traveller

A note on price

A weekend getaway to central Lisbon will start from £400 per person including return flights and transfers. On the other end of the spectrum, a two week long luxury family holiday for four staying in a top hotel in Sagres in a two bedroom suite with private pool will cost around £9,000. Learn more about our pricing

More helpful tips
Weather in January January February March April May June July August September October November December
  • Average Temp. — 11°C / 51°F
  • Rainfall — 10cm / 4.1 inches
  • Water Temp. — 15°C / 59°F
Language

Portuguese

Currency

Euro

Visa Requirements

not required

Religion

Catholic

Food & Drink

Carne de Porco à Alentejana is one of the most traditional pork dishes of the Portuguese cuisine!

What to pack

comfortable shoes for the cobbled pavements and lots of sun screen!

Flight from London

2:15 hrs

Time Difference

GMT


Top picks for Portugal

Farol Design Hotel

Farol Design Hotel

Lisbon

This stylish hotel is an old Portuguese villa fused with a contemporary modern design, planted on the edge of an outcrop of rocks, overlooking the Atlantic.

Where to stay

Farol Design Hotel
Memmo Alfama

Memmo Alfama

Lisbon

Memmo Alfama is the latest boutique hotel in the city’s historic area, Alfama, concealed away down cobbled streets and close to the Cathedral and the Sao George Castle.

Where to stay

Memmo Alfama
Martinhal Beach Resort & Hotel

Martinhal Beach Resort & Hotel

The Algarve

Martinhal Beach Resort & Hotel has set itself a modest goal - to be the finest luxury family resort in Europe. We like what we see so far.

Where to stay

Martinhal Beach Resort & Hotel
Wine Tasting

Wine Tasting

Madeira

Madeira wine might not be everyone’s particular cup of grog, but the history surrounding its evolution is fascinating.

What to do

Wine Tasting
Aldeia da Pedralva

Aldeia da Pedralva

The Algarve

Just a few short years ago Pedralva was a ramshackle village full of derelict houses and one small pizzeria catering to the local surfing community. Then in 2008 along came Antonio Ferreira, an Algarvean advertising exec looking to develop a property in this beautiful unspoilt corner of the Algarve, the Natural Park of Costa Vicentina.

Where to stay

Aldeia da Pedralva
Six Senses Douro Valley

Six Senses Douro Valley

Porto & the Douro Valley

Six Senses Douro Valley is the quintessential modern boutique hotel – a tasteful and contemporary renovation of a classic 19th-century manor house offering all the mod-est cons in elegant surroundings.

Where to stay

Six Senses Douro Valley
Bairro Alto

Bairro Alto

Lisbon

The first contemporary-chic boutique hotel to open in this rapidly changing city, the Bairro Alto cannot be beaten for location. Straddling the vibrant district from which it takes its name and the more elegant shopping district of Chiado, its 18th-century façade forms part of the historical Luis de Camões square.

Where to stay

Bairro Alto
The Alentejo

The Alentejo

Portugal

The Alentejo is home to beautiful cork oak forests, rural countryside and elegant wine estates and with a mild climate it's an ideal location to visit all year round.

Where to go

The Alentejo
Porto & the Douro Valley

Porto & the Douro Valley

Portugal

The Brits have long had a penchant for port, but the vineyards where the fortified wine is created and the eponymous city of Porto are, in themselves, a delight.

Where to go

Porto & the Douro Valley
Madeira

Madeira

Portugal

Great for walking and hiking and catching some late autumn or early spring sunshine within easy reach of the UK.

Where to go

Madeira
The Algarve

The Algarve

Portugal

For those wanting to stay poolside, the Algarve that we know and love couldn’t be more perfect, but for those looking for something a bit different, there are a couple of undiscovered spots to be found off the beaten track.

Where to go

The Algarve
Lapa Palace Hotel

Lapa Palace Hotel

Lisbon

The 19th century Lapa Palace is situated on the hilltop overlooking the Tagus River in the diplomatic quarter of Lisbon. The sub-tropical gardens surrounding the hotel make it a peaceful oasis from the busy city.

Where to stay

Lapa Palace Hotel
Lisbon

Lisbon

Portugal

Historical yet accessible and great, great fun - welcome to laid back Lisbon.

Where to go

Lisbon
The Yeatman

The Yeatman

Porto & the Douro Valley

We at OT have known about Porto as a perfect Big Short Break destination for years, but always baulked at recommending it due to one crucial factor – the lack of a decent hotel. No more.

Where to stay

The Yeatman
Carro de Cesto

Carro de Cesto

Madeira

Who said Madeira was boring? If you want to try a novel form of transport, take the cable-car from Funchal

What to do

Carro de Cesto
Memmo Baleeira

Memmo Baleeira

The Algarve

This white washed cliff side hotel was first constructed in the 1960s, and has since been spruced up to quite the chic beachside oasis, and is ideal for anything from a relaxing weekend away to a family holiday.

Where to stay

Memmo Baleeira
Pine Cliffs Resort

Pine Cliffs Resort

The Algarve

Pine Cliffs is an immaculate, five-star resort set above the ochre cliffs of Portugal’s Algarve coast between Faro and Albufeira.

Where to stay

Pine Cliffs Resort
Surfing

Surfing

The Algarve

The beaches of the Costa Vincentina nature reserve are some of the most beautiful in Europe.

What to do

Surfing

Thank you so much for all of your help setting up SUCH an amazeballs holiday. I am an extremely satisfied customer and would happily recommend you to anyone and everyone interested.

Hannah

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