A luxury holiday in Portugal is undoubtedly shaped by the region. In the north, visitors are drawn to the medieval coastal city of Porto and the famous wine-making valleys. On the central coast, Lisbon beckons with its celebrated architecture and vast array of historical sites, and in the south, the Algarve and Madeira Islands offer those perfect beach escapes.
Home to port wine and award-winning reds and whites, Porto and the Douro Valley are havens for foodies and lovers of idyllic scenery and grand architecture. Positioned on the coast, Porto has several pretty beaches and a wealth of must-see attractions, like the Roman Cathedral of Porto. Meanwhile, Douro Valley is a landscape of lush rolling hills and terraced vineyards, ideal for leisurely wine tours. Like Porto, Lisbon has a dense cluster of UNESCO World Heritage Sites like the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos and the Belém Tower.
Enjoy a walking tour around Chiado, a stylish district with theatres, historic monuments and exclusive shopping outlets, or wend your way up to St. George's Castle, which sits on a hilltop overlooking the city. If you fancy a little seaside fun, you can visit nearby Estoril and the sunbathe on Tamariz Beach, one of the finest stretches of sand on the Lisbon coast.
However, for the ultimate beach getaway, visit Madeira or the Algarve. Set deep in the Atlantic Ocean Madeira offers warm temperatures year-round, world-class beaches, luxury spas and great golfing facilities. You can also enjoy jeep safaris into the island’s heart or cruise the crystal-clear waters for a chance at spotting whales and dolphins. Whilst the Algarve offers golden beaches, soaring cliffs, white-washed villages, hidden coves, and a buzzing nightlife.
A popular time to visit Portugal is from June to September when the weather is gloriously hot. Temperatures often soar above 30 degrees, ideal for lounging by the sea. For a cooler climate, April, May and October work well with temperatures in the mid-20s.
Don't discount the winter season either, November to March is great for exploring, adventuring and hiking. The Madeira Islands enjoy a warm climate all year round with temperatures averaging above 20 degrees. From June to September, the islands are at their warmest, hovering around 30 degrees.
You should carry identification with you at all times and keep a photocopy of your passport. British passport holders do not need a visa to enter Portugal and can stay for up to 3 months. Visit GOV.UK for more advice on passports, visas and travel.
Portuguese cuisine is infused with both a Meditteranean influence, and ingredients procured from former colonies, such as the famed piri piri spice. Fresh seafood, smoked meats, exotic spices, and pastries define many celebrated Portuguese dishes, and tasting each and every one of them is a mission that you'll enjoy.
Don't forget to try the famous national dessert the pastel de nata (a sweet custard tart), or a glass of port wine made in the UNESCO-listed Douro Valley.