Four themed holidays in Portugal
By Jessica Pook – August 2020 – 2 minute read
Since it was added to the government’s travel corridor list last week, Portugal is Europe’s new darling destination. With sun-soaked beaches, historic cities and sprawling vineyards, Portugal is perfect for clients looking to prolong the summer holiday season.
Algarve for a beach break
The Algarve is often lauded as having some of the best beaches in Europe. Sandy shores and clear waters are a staple here, but it's the region’s dramatic rock formations and colourful cliffs that make it a standout beach destination - and also a great windbreak!
Located between the towns of Vilamoura and Albufeira is Praia da Falesia, one of the longest stretches of sand in the Algarve. Its size makes it ideal for social distancing whilst shallow waters, good facilities and water sports score high with families. For a complete contrast, Praia do Camilo in Lagos is a beach hidden beneath a 200-step stairway. Those that make the descent are rewarded with a secluded cove, sheltered from the wind and dotted with striking sandstone rock formations.
Other dramatic coastlines in the Algarve include Praia da Rocha in Portimão, which translates to 'beach of the rock', Praia De Vale in celeb hotspot Vale Do Lobo and Praia Grande between Carvoeiro and Ferragudo, which has its own fort.
Porto for food & drink
Expect fresh food and wine by the barrel when in Porto. Surrounded by vineyards, the region’s wine, and port in particular, is world-famous. Visitors can sip their way around Porto’s many hip riverside bars or explore the Gaia side of the river where the port wine cellars are located.
A good meal here is easy to come by, from the finest dining to the most popular street snacks, always accompanied by fine wines from the vines along the Douro River or the young and fresh Vinho Verde (green wine) typical of northern Portugal. On the menu is plenty of fresh fish, cheese made from sheep’s milk and the region’s famous Francesinha, a ham and steak sandwich baked with cheese on top.
Lisbon for a city break
Lisbon's compact size and diverse attrations, all within walking distance, make it a great city break option. Those who love to meander can just follow the river bank to discover futuristic architecture and urban art in the Parque das Nações district or historic architecture, colouful tiled housed and maritime history in Belém.
Riverside bars and restaurants abound and are the perfect place to enjoy Lisbon’s cuisine and views at the same time. Picturesque Alfama is Lisbon's Old Quarter, with narrow streets and sweeping views out to sea, whilst the Alcântara district is home to the trendy Santo Amaro Docks and the LX Factory, which houses more than 50 shops, restaurants and bars inside a renovated factory building.
Madeira for nature & wildlife
If there’s one thing everyone has come to appreciate during lockdown, it's outdoor space - something that Madeira has in abundance. Located off the coast of North Africa, Madeira has a wild and untouched quality, with thick forests and craggy mountains thanks to its volcanic origins.
The island provides plenty of opportunity for hikers to stretch their legs, along the network of levadas (irrigation channels). Visitors can also explore Madeira's indigenous Laurissilva forest, occupying an area of 15 thousand hectares, or challenge themselves with a mountain hike up the Pico do Arieiro path, a five-hour trek that takes climbers up to 1,862 metres.
Other highlights include the 500 year-old city of Funchal, which offers historic arhcitecture, cafe culture and colourful markets peddling exotic fruits, flowers and local delicacies like honey cake. Just outside is the famous Botanical Gardens, bursting with exotic blooms which thrive on the so-called 'island of eternal Spring'.