Holidays in Portugal: what do I have to know
Portugal, a country located on the Atlantic side of the Iberian Peninsula, is proving to be an unmissable destination. It is distinguished by its rich culture, its atypical charm, its postcard landscapes but also for its hotels. A stay in Portugal is indeed a guarantee of an unforgettable experience for all those who set foot there.
The land of the "Oligos" is famous for its port wine, lush vegetation, idyllic beaches and iconic castles, among other things. Whether it's for a luxury day trip, or a cheap trip to Portugal, or an all-inclusive getaway to Portugal, the country suits all budgets and desires. But where to go in Portugal? What to do in Portugal?
Dive into rich culture and authentic landscapes on your travel to Portugal. While every Portuguese city has something to delight you, a few are especially worth a visit. Discover the must-see cities on your holiday in Portugal, and get a sneak preview of your dream trip.
Lisbon, a must for a trip to Portugal
Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, is the country's iconic city. Very lively, multicultural and breathtakingly beautiful, it has everything to entice you. The song of the fado, the poetry of its architecture and the friendliness of its inhabitants create a warm atmosphere. Lisbon, the pearl of a thousand monuments, is well worth a visit on a trip to Portugal. Indeed, during your trip, the city of seven hills has many places and landmarks to visit.
Castelo de S. Jorge
Perched on the highest hill in the city of Lisbon, the Castelo de S. Jorge dominates the entire Portuguese capital. The castle, once a fortress, was transformed into a royal palace in the 13th century. Discover the history of this Portuguese treasure through its museum on your trip to Portugal.
In addition to its historical appeal, the panoramic view from the ramparts remains the main asset of the castle. Lisboans meet here to picnic in the shade of the trees while enjoying the breathtaking scenery.
A symbolic monument of Lisbon, the Belém Tower was built in honour of the navigators between 1515 and 1521. Built on the initiative of King Manuel I, the Belém Tower had several functions: to protect the entrance to the city and to act as a vanguard post. With four storeys and a height of 35 metres, it consists of turrets, balconies and narrow stairways. Opt for a late afternoon visit and marvel at a beautiful sunset painting the tower a sublime pink colour.
Praça do Comércio
Lining the Tagus, the lower part of the capital, the Praça do Comércio now occupies the former royal palace square. Entirely pedestrian, it offers an idyllic place to stroll for both travellers and Lisboans themselves. The many representations of characters who have marked the history of the city will not fail to amaze you.
Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga
With over 40,000 exhibits, the National Museum of Ancient Art is a true ode to the history of Portugal. Browse through the rooms of the museum and admire sculptures, paintings, ceramics, decorative arts, furniture... The image of Portugal in the past. After your visit, stroll through the beautiful garden and enjoy the view of the Tagus River.
Porto, the city where the sweet life reigns
As the second largest city in the country, Porto is one of the destinations not to be missed during a trip to Portugal. Famous for the famous Porto wine, this city also has many historic monuments to cover. Immerse yourself in a warm atmosphere and discover the grandiose sights and picturesque neighbourhoods for which Porto is renowned.
The Ribeira district
Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ribera is the heart of the city of Porto. Its colourful facades and narrow streets are sure to delight you. A visit to the famous Dom Lui Memorial Bridge, designed by a disciple of Gustave Eiffel, is a must!
The Douro River and the cellars of Vila Nova de Gaia
Admire the city of Porto from a different perspective as you sail along the Douro River. Head to the other side of the river to taste the famous Porto wine in the cellars of Vila Nova de Gaia. And why not take a ride in a hotel for a luxurious day out in Portugal? You will be able to fully admire the terraced vineyards and the Douro River from above.
To see the true face of the city of Porto, take a stroll through the Bolhao Market. Located in a classic building, the market halls of Bolhao invite you to discover the authenticity of Portuguese gastronomy. The culinary specialities of Portugal await you in this market of a thousand and one flavours. Butcher's shops, fishmongers, fruit and vegetable stalls, all fresh products await you in this atypical place. End your stroll with a wine tasting in the small bars of the market.
Algarve, the region of idyllic beaches and lazy atmosphere
Hungry for breathtaking beaches and wide open spaces? Head down south and enjoy the country's most beautiful beaches on your travel to Portugal. Algarve, this region where the coastal landscapes are dominated by cliffs, is undoubtedly worth a visit. And for a great night's sleep, try one of our hotels in the Algarve.
Faro and the Capela dos Ossos
A lovely and popular city for travellers on a day trip to Portugal, Faro is a must-see place in the Algarve. Spend a few hours in Faro and make sure to visit Sé. Then take a break on one of Faro's beautiful beaches. Don't forget to visit the Capela dos Ossos, a chapel that looks like a real castle with walls decorated with bones. An unusual experience!
For an experience in the heart of nature, take an afternoon or a whole day at the Ria Formosa Natural Park. A real dale of cages and canals, the park covers more than 18,000 hectares. Ornithologists and bird lovers will find their happiness among the many species that come to shelter here.
Lagos, a pretty village by the sea, has managed to keep all its authenticity. You will find the most beautiful beaches of the Algarve, including Praia do Camilo, the Benagil cave, Praia da Marinha, etc. Don't miss the famous Percurso dos Sete Vales Suspensos. This hike of seven hanging valleys runs along the edge of the Lagos cliffs for about six kilometres, offering you a most amazing panorama.
To experience a luxury day in Portugal, visit Vilamoura, a resort in the Algarve. It is known for its large marina, golf courses and casino as well as its white sandy beach. There is also the Cerro da Vila archaeological museum, which houses the remains of a Roman villa with its mosaics. Visit the red cliffs that line Falésia beach for an unforgettable experience in Vilamoura.
Madeira, the floating garden in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean
Bring an exotic touch to your joruney in Portugal by opting for a stay in the Madeira archipelago. Attached to Portugal and located in the Atlantic Ocean, this island has many attractions. Madeira also appeals to lovers of idleness with its breathtaking landscapes and beautiful beaches. Do you enjoy outdoor activities such as trekking and hiking? Madeira remains an ideal destination during your stay in Portugal. Soaring peaks and mountain escarpments meet verdant plains in this Portuguese volcanic archipelago.
Sintra, the must-see destination to soak up Portugal's history
The town of Sintra, located 25 kilometres from Lisbon, is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It retraces the history of Portugal through its numerous buildings. The charm of its architecture and the beauty of the village make Sintra a must-see during a stay in Portugal. If you are a fan of walks, survey the top of the village where beautiful spots, inaccessible by car, await you.
For a total immersion in the history of the region, there is nothing like a visit to the Sintra National Palace. The Quinta da Regaleira, the Pena National Palace, and the ruins of the Moorish castle are also among the places to visit in the city.
Lesser known cities to visit in Portugal
Why settle for the most famous places when you can visit all the country’s cities on an all-inclusive trip to Portugal? You can enjoy an immersion in Portuguese nature by visiting the Serra da Estrela Natural Park and the Douro Valley.
Dive into the heart of Portuguese culture with a visit to Mértola. There are many beautiful discoveries to be made during your stay. As a charming town, Mértola is situated on the Oerias and Guadiana rivers. The small castle of Mértola stands high above the dale of whitewashed houses. The picturesque church, once a mosque, accentuates the splendour of this Portuguese town.
An hour's drive from Lisbon, Óbidos will not fail to impress. The town of Óbidos is one of the best tourist destinations in central Portugal. Be charmed by the traditional houses, the labyrinth of cobbled streets and the medieval castle that has guarded the area for over 800 years. Like the city of Sintra, Óbidos can be covered in a single day.
When to go to Portugal to fully enjoy these cities?
Portugal is a beautiful country to visit all year round. However, opt for a travel to Portugal during the summer season to cover all the cities during your stay.
- To take advantage of the beautiful daylight and warmth of the country, people flock from all over in July, August and September.
- As the winter season is relatively long, northern Portugal is best covered in late spring. So, make the most of your stay in Portugal by opting for a trip between April and September.
- On the other hand, in some parts of the country such as the Algarve, the climate is rather clear all year round. For the more adventurous, swimming can even begin in April.
- Although the winter season is intended to be less popular, some travellers in search of tranquillity walk the streets of Lisbon during this period. Indeed, Lisbon is one of the Portuguese cities that can be visited all year round. In the city of seven hills, the sun shines about 300 days a year.
- Seasoned surfers will certainly not be deterred by the occasional light rain and cold. The wind that cradles the Atlantic offers beautiful waves throughout the year.