A trip to Portugal simply isn’t complete without a few days in Lisbon. It’s a beautifully civilised city filled with boutique hotels, vibrant nightlife and quaint, cobbled streets. We recommend combining a few days there with trips to Cascais and Douro Valley. It’s very easy to hire a car and take to the road in Portugal and these three destinations make a lovely combination for a road trip.
Douro Valley is great for wine tasting, walks, river cruising and adventure – it’s also close enough to visit in a long weekend. Cascais was once a sleepy fishing village and is today a cosmopolitan coastal resort with bustling beaches and charming restaurants.
Head to the Algarve, Portugal’s southernmost region, and you really will find something for everyone. It’s home to some genuinely family friendly resorts along with gorgeous beaches and plenty of activities for children. Golfers are well-catered for with challenging courses such as Quinta do Lago and Vilamoura. And surfers are sure to love the huge waves and breezy beaches to be found at Sagres.
If you like to walk and hike, Madeira makes an excellent choice. The archipelago is much-loved for its dramatic scenery and botanical gardens not to mention its namesake wine. Funchal, the capital city set high up on a hillside on the island’s south coast, is well worth a visit – if only to take in the view it offers of the city’s picturesque bay and cultural heritage.
When to go
Portugal and Madeira are excellent year-round destinations, with long sunny days in the summer and mild winters.