Portugal

A European favourite

Portugal’s winning combination of sandy beaches, dramatic scenery and world-class golf courses has kept it firmly on the holiday map for decades. And if all that wasn’t enough, the country also has a good weather credentials, basking in around 300 days of sunshine a year.

The Algarve

Curving round the south coast is the Algarve region, which has a dramatic coastline scalloped with sandy bays and secluded coves. Resort-wise, you can choose between large, lively towns and sleepy fishing villages. This pocket of Portugal is also one of the best places in Europe for golfers – and some of the courses are spectacular.

Madeira

The Portuguese island of Madeira is set in the Atlantic Ocean, about 1,000 kilometres away from the mainland. It’s been nicknamed the Floating Garden thanks to its flower-filled botanical gardens. The capital, Funchal, is a real mix of old and new, with cosy tavernas and traditional markets sitting next to swanky wine bars and chic boutiques.

Porto Santo

North of Madeira is tiny Porto Santo. It’s a bit of a newcomer to the travel scene, so tourists are few and far between. Vila Baleira, the only town, is a typically Portuguese affair, with cobbled lanes and whitewashed houses. It’s your gateway to the island’s 10-kilometre-long sandy beach, too.

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Lagos

Lagos is a popular town in the Barlavento region of the Algarve. Good surfing and relaxed beaches attract laid-back outdoor types, but the old town’s 16th-century walls and Arab-built castle keep architecture-lovers happy, too. There’s also a large marina with plenty of shops, bars and restaurants.

Albufeira

Albufeira is the place that put the Algarve on the map. The picturesque old town teems with pavement cafes and boutiques, and the modern resort is lined by a main strip, which sparks into action at sundown. The whole scene is framed by a 30-kilometre coastline of unspoilt beaches and little bays.

Vilamoura

Vilamoura is an all-in-one seaside town in Portugal’s Algarve region. Life revolves around the huge marina that’s filled with million-pound yachts and lined with elegant bars and authentic Portuguese restaurants. You’ve got some history here, too, courtesy of the town’s Roman ruins. And it’s all neatly packaged between protected wetlands to the north and a long strip of sand to the south.

Algarve

The Algarve is a regular winner at the World Travel Awards – the travel industry’s answer to the Oscars. In fact, over the years, it’s taken home accolades for everything from its fabulous diving and great golf resorts to its thrilling attractions and sweeping beaches.

Madeira

Nicknamed the Floating Garden, Madeira is Portugal’s answer to the Garden of Eden. Fuchsia bougainvillea, scarlet poinsettias and lilac jacaranda trees blanket the landscape, turning entire villages Technicolor.

Porto Santo Island

Measuring up at just 6 by 11 kilometres, Porto Santo is tiny. In fact, this Portuguese island is so small you might struggle to find it on a map. But once you’ve located Madeira, it’s easy – just trace your finger 40 kilometres north and there it is.

Lagos

Lagos is a popular town in the Barlavento region of the Algarve. Good surfing and relaxed beaches attract laid-back outdoor types, but the old town’s 16th-century walls and Arab-built castle keep architecture-lovers happy, too. There’s also a large marina with plenty of shops, bars and restaurants.

Albufeira

Albufeira is the place that put the Algarve on the map. The picturesque old town teems with pavement cafes and boutiques, and the modern resort is lined by a main strip, which sparks into action at sundown. The whole scene is framed by a 30-kilometre coastline of unspoilt beaches and little bays.

Vilamoura

Vilamoura is an all-in-one seaside town in Portugal’s Algarve region. Life revolves around the huge marina that’s filled with million-pound yachts and lined with elegant bars and authentic Portuguese restaurants. You’ve got some history here, too, courtesy of the town’s Roman ruins. And it’s all neatly packaged between protected wetlands to the north and a long strip of sand to the south.

Algarve

The Algarve is a regular winner at the World Travel Awards – the travel industry’s answer to the Oscars. In fact, over the years, it’s taken home accolades for everything from its fabulous diving and great golf resorts to its thrilling attractions and sweeping beaches.

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Top 5 resorts in Portugal

Top 5 hotels in Portugal

Top 5 villas in Portugal

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