You’d be excused for thinking that Portugal is a great place for a summer holiday. The beaches along its rugged, picture-perfect coastline are definitely idyllic hangouts for anyone looking to relax by the sea. But step away from this seaside scene, and you’ll find towns with historic, fairy-tale castles, cities with world-class restaurants, and countryside that begs to be explored, whether on foot, or by bike. Set on the Iberian Peninsula and bordering the Atlantic Ocean, this unique destination really does have it all. Over the ages it’s attracted plenty of attention from marauding enemies, all leaving their mark on the country in the form of eclectic historic landmarks and diverse cuisine. In the north, you’ll find the historic city of Porto, Lisbon is in the south, and along the southern coast there’s the famous Algarve, home to some of most popular beach destinations in Europe. International flights to Portugal tend to fly to Porto, Lisbon and Faro, covering all the main tourist bases. So getting there to start your trip couldn’t be easier.
Portugal at a glance
If you’re looking for a cultural retreat, the cities of Lisbon, Sintra and Porto are all worth checking out. In Lisbon you can explore must-see sights like St George’s Castle and the Roman Theatre Museum. Porto’s colourful, historic centre is breathtaking, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And Sintra is home to an impressive, medieval Moorish castle. Beach bunnies will find everything they’re dreaming of in the Algarve. And despite it’s big, tourist credentials, not every part is commercialised. Costa Vicentina is just one place to consider if you’d like somewhere a little more relaxed and unspoilt. And Albuferia is a top destination for those looking to party. Away from the main cities and beach destinations, curious travellers can discover some of the county’s most beautiful spots. From the quaint, historic port of Viana do Castelo, through to the more tranquil isles in Madeira and the Azores.
Food and drink
Traditional Portuguese cuisine is based on wholesome, peasant dishes, with soups, fish and grilled chicken forming a major part of their diet. And when it comes to local tipple, wine is what the Portuguese are perhaps most proud of. There are a few top wineries across the countryside, with the most famous wine being Vinho Verde, or Green Wine. This crisp, refreshing drink is served in almost every restaurant you’ll find, so make sure to give it a go. Another local speciality is port wine, and similar to Champagne, it has to come from the Porto region to earn its true name. This fortified drink is often served as an aperitif, or a full stop to a meal.
Portugal travel tips
When is the best time to go to Portugal?
Generally speaking, it is best to go to Portugal either before or after the really hot and tourist-filled summer months of June through August.
How long is a flight from England to Portugal?
It takes around 2 hours and 30 minutes to fly from England to Portugal.
What is the distance between the UK and Portugal?
The air travel distance between the UK and Portugal is around 2,602 kilometers or 1,617 miles.