World-class beaches paired with more than 300 days of yearly sunshine is what makes Portugal holidays so special. From Lisbon’s charming city sights to seaside towns bursting with character in the Algarve, you’ll struggle choosing between the two. And we can’t forget its subtropical islands of Madeira and the Azores, both adored for their dramatic, volcanic scenery.
Things to do
Beach, city and activity breaks, this European hotspot covers them all! So if you’re looking for things to do in Portugal, your options are endless. Along the Iberian Peninsula, sightseers will love Lisbon city breaks. From its pastel-colored buildings, hilltop castle and mosaic walkways - it’s got to be one of Europe’s most beautiful capitals. And don’t forget pretty Porto, the gateway to Douro Valley (an ancient wine region). As the birthplace of port, you can’t come here without sipping this fortified favourite.
Another must-visit region is Portugal’s southernmost, the Algarve! Head straight for its sun-splashed coastline, where you’ll find beaches which have been ranked among the best in the world! The surfing town of Lagos has some spectacular spots including Meia Praia Beach, whose rock-free waters are a hit with watersport fans, while its long, white sand is perfect for romantic strolls. While here, stop by Ponta da Piedade to see its amazing cliffs and rock formations. To see more of the area’s natural beauty, book a boat trip to Algar Seco and discover the Benagil Cave, one of the world’s most impressive sea grottos. And thanks to its incredible ceiling opening you can actually sunbathe inside.
The Algarve is also a magnet for partiers, from the non-stop nightlife of Albufeira and Lagos right down to swanky Vilamoura Marina, which is packed with waterside drinking spots. This is also where you’ll find its golf courses, and they’re not just any old putting greens! In fact, holidays to Portugal are as famous for its championship courses as they are its beaches.
Want to escape to Portugal’s islands? Sitting off the coast, you’ll find Madeira which adds dramatic, volcanic scenery to the holiday equation. It’s a hiker’s paradise with cascading waterfalls hidden inside lush forests, stunning sea cliffs offering amazing coastal views and soaring mountains taking you high above the clouds. When you step away from its nature reserves, you’ve got the capital Funchal. Certainly not lacking in beauty, appreciate its Atlantic vistas with a cable car ride. Taking you to its hilltop botanical gardens, you won’t even feel like you’re in a city with the roaming swans, peacocks and chickens. And that’s just some of the wildlife you’ll spot in Madeira. Visit during April and October and do some whale watching, with three species calling its waters home.
For more scenic adventures, look no further than Portugal’s nine-island archipelago, the Azores. Swim alongside wild dolphins, explore lava tunnels and climb its biggest peaks. Then when you’ve ticked off its best activities, relax with a soak in its hot springs.
Places to stay
If you’re looking for amazing beaches, family-friendly fishing villages and fun attractions, the Algarve is for you. Albufeira gets our vote for parents with young kids thanks to its pedestrianised Old Town and day trip musts like the nearby Zoomarine.
Slightly further afield and another Algarve favourite, discover Lagos. This ancient fishing village with a modern marina and a palm-tree-lined promenade appeals to surfers, families and couples alike. Those looking to mix big city sights with beach days will prefer Lisbon. When you’re not cooling off by the Tagus River, you could be escaping the capital’s stifling summer heat in favour of its nearby shores.
Holidays to Portugal also include Madeira. Funchal is the biggest city on the island, and it’s perfect for romantic escapes with its abundance of luxurious hotels. Couples will love walking its cobbled streets, which are home to traditional restaurants, charming little shops and fascinating museums.
More Travel Guides
We also have travel guides available for destinations, including: Algarve | Lisbon | Madeira