Portugal has it all – National treasures, unspoilt beauty, colourful culture and traditional tastings.
Set in south-eastern Europe and framed by Spain and the Atlantic Ocean, the country contrasts the perfect combination of natural and manmade beauty.
From the dramatic cliffs along the southern coastline to the cobblestone pathways in Lisbon, the rolling vineyard landscapes of the Duoro Valley in the North to the ice capped peaks of Serra da Estrela. Whether it’s a tropical paradise with turquoise waters or a chilly winter wonderland, you will find it here.
Located in the National Park of Serra de Aires you will uncover the caves of Mira de Aires. The labyrinth of systems date 150 million years to the Jurassic Era and some dinosaur footprints have even been preserved in the rock. The National Park also features some of the most refreshing and clear streams, lakes and waterfalls amongst dense lush greenery that are ideal for some exploring on foot.
For a historical look into Portugal, the architecture tells many tales, dating back thousands of years. The country’s capital, Lisbon, plays host to some of the oldest buildings and stores in the country. Sintra is home to the iconic Palace da Pena, a mountain top masterpiece promising unspoilt panoramic views of the coastline and city below. Step back in time as you enter the walls of the 14th century medieval city of Evora, preserved to perfection and holding the UNESCO title of a ‘cultural landscape’.
Experiencing the outstanding yet severely underrated cuisine is a must with a visit to Portugal. Its coastal location gives prime access to the freshest seafood on offer, straight off the boat. Simple yet powerful and delicious flavours are complemented by the famous Olive Oil which forms the basis of each and every dish. Some of the best cheeses on the planet are also found here, particularly the Queijo da Serra (mountain cheese from Serra da Estrela). To top it all off, the Portuguese take their wine very seriously and it is no surprise as the original founders of Port. With cellar doors scattered throughout the country, your glass at dinner is always perfectly suited to whatever is on your plate.
When it comes to surf and sand, Portugal has no limits. The Algarve region is renowned for some of the best beaches in Europe, and 88 of the 150 were awarded the 2016 Blue Flag award for water quality, environmental management and education, safety, facilities and cleanliness. Choosing just one is no easy task.
Portugal’s Best Beach
There are no surprises as to why we chose Praia da Marinha as Portugal’s best beach, not to mention the 12 hours of sunshine you will find there each day.
Located between Armação de Pêra and Carvoeiro, the small cove of white sand is nestled at the bottom of large limestone rock stacks, providing a pretty impressive backdrop for your beachside lounging on your water and sandproof beach towel.
Known for water clarity and quality, there is nowhere quite like Praia da Marinha for taking a dip in the warm glass like waters. The conditions also make it a flawless spot for snorkelling, with a sea of colourful marine species awaiting discovery beneath the surface. If you prefer to keep dry and explore from the surface, take a boat trip or hire a paddle board to get up close to the colossal formations.
With rock pools packed with marine life, cliff side caves and grottos and large rock formations, this beachside haven is a hot spot for adventurers looking to explore Portugal’s natural gems.
During summer, a snack bar on the beach provides all the delicious goodies you could need, making it very easy to spend the entire day soaking up the surrounds.
Climate in Portugal
The climate in Portugal varies depending on the region you wish to visit. In the north, the Gulf Stream warms the coast, offering a warm summer and mild winter. Very similarly, the south experiences a Mediterranean climate, with hot summers yet mild winters that are known for having a wet season.
However, if you’re heading inland you can expect very hot summer temperatures and very cold winters, and even snow in some areas.
Regardless of where you are travelling, you can expect 11-12 hours of sunshine per day. Just be prepared with some warmer clothes for some cooler temperatures if you find yourself in Portugal in the winter months.