Exposed to the might of the Atlantic Ocean, a salty sea breeze and fresh ocean sprays give Portugal’s warm and sunny climate a refreshing edge during summer, making it the perfect time for a getaway. The entertainment and cultural wealth of the country’s flagship cities - like Porto, Lisbon and Coimbra - are matched by the incredible natural scenery the country boast. Tides of olive groves; immense
deserted beaches; sleepy villages bursting with character and age-old traditions; colossal craggy cliffs; and mountains that plunge into the sea all feature here. Pair all of this with an almost endless variety of escapades and you're almost guaranteed that your Portugal summer holidays will be a roaring success. From the sparkling beaches of the Algarve and Madeira to the natural beauty of the Azores archipelago; the imposing walls of Lisbon’s Belem Tower to the ornate corridors of the Pena Palace, culture and adventure is available in spades throughout Portugal. With an extensive coastline to boot, water sports are a given and the country’s kite-surfing scene is buzzing – calm waters in secluded lagoons are the perfect lure from your sun lounger and evenings spent enjoying tasty traditional cuisine are the ideal antidote to action-packed days. In a country chock-full of attractions, a Portugal trip is just the place to relax, revive and refresh.
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When it comes to beaches, the famous Algarve on the south coast of the country has some of the best in Europe. Although often crowded with sun-seekers in search of azure waters and golden beaches during summer, if you know where to look (which, naturally, we do) you can find quieter and quaint spots where you can lounge without the crowds. If you prefer your relaxation with a side of water-based fun, Portugal also has some excellent surf spots, and we can help you choose the best place at the best time, whether that's the picture-perfect Algarve or some of the lesser-known surf beaches along the northern coast, or even just outside of Lisbon if you want a city and surf break (which we highly recommend) in the trendy seaside town of Comporta.
Speaking of Lisbon, this colourful and culture-rich coastal city is a must on a summer holiday to Portugal. Take a private guided walking tour of the historic Alfama district of the city with a local historian; catch a tram through the brightly painted streets; and take a class on how to cook your very own pasteis de nata (custard tarts). For an alternative Portuguese city break, Porto - which sits on the northern part of the coast - is a wonderful maze of cobbled streets and makes an excellent city/countryside combo with the nearby Douro valley, famed for its vineyards and rolling green hills. We highly recommend exploring during the day before heading to one of the waterside port warehouses to relax in the warm summer evening with a well-earned glass of the famous local tipple - port.
If you'd prefer to leave the city behind and get back to nature on your summer holiday, then Portugal also has some exceptional spots for countryside breaks. The huge Alentejo region, which spans from just south of Lisbon, all the way down to the Algarve, is known for its unspoilt scenery and excellent food and wine. Wind your way through the famous cork oak forests (fun fact: Portugal produces around 50% of the world's cork); hop from wine estate to wine estate, tasting their produce as you go (of course); and then, for good measure, add on some time in the UNESCO-listed town of Evora which is full to the brim with intriguing architecture and historical sites.
Once you've gotten to know the sights, smells and sounds of mainland Portugal, take your Portugal summer holiday to another level with a visit to one its islands. While Madeira is made for active land-based adventures - from windsurfing and fishing to hiking and mountain biking - the remote and wild islands of the Azores are both a hiker and diver's paradise.