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For a small sliver of land clinging to the far west of the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal serves up an extravagant feast of luxury travel experiences for its guests.
The Algarve in the far south is saturated in sun and swept with golden sands. It remains a firm favourite for family vacations, with plenty of unspoilt areas despite its popularity.
Following the curve of the coast due north, the Atlantic shore’s craggy and weather beaten bays attract surfers with their huge rolling waves. Southern Portugal’s interior remains as idyllic as ever, flourishing with olive groves, citrus orchards, the cork forests of Alentejo and rustic whitewashed villages.
Mixing Moorish and Medieval influences, an infectious late night bar and restaurant scene, boutique hotels and a striking hilltop setting, historic Lisbon still qualifies as a ‘hidden gem’ for a European city escape. The UNESCO World Heritage sites of Belem and Sintra lie just a few hours away.
The north boasts some Europe’s most rugged and untouched scenery, including Portugal’s only National Park and Peneda-Geres, an ecotourism centre defined by rippling mountains, lakes and waterfalls.
Encircled by 14th century medieval walls, Porto is charismatic and memorable city destination. While famed for its baroque churches and the Ribeira – its UNESCO-listed historic centre – Porto remains best known as the home of port wine.
Just across the River Douro, lies Vila Nova de Gaia, where a hotchpotch of 18th century Port Lodges and wine cellars await exploration. The wider Douro Valley is one of Portugal’s most beautiful regions, where vineyard tours and river cruises are recommended for most itineraries.Read more...