Flight time
2 hours and 35 minutes from the UK
time difference
UTC/GMT +0 hours
best time to go

Introducing Portugal

Beautiful beaches, a rich history and guaranteed great weather. Portugal is the sort of place that never disappoints. Whilst the tourist friendly beach destinations in Spain, the glamorous coastlines of France and Italy, or the islands of Croatia may sit at the top of your bucket list, it’s easy to forget about the slither of land that is Portugal. But this forgotten gem should never be overlooked. If you dream of golden beaches and dazzling coves, paradise grottos and deep ocean dive spots, dramatic cliff drops and hillside towns, you don’t need to dream any further than the coasts of Portugal. Facing out into the Atlantic, Portugal is a Southern European country set on the Iberian Peninsula and borders with Spain, and with more than half of its border being blessed with dreamy coastline, the sea has much influence on life here for the Portuguese. From their laidback way of life to their delicious seafood cuisine, a trip to Portugal is made for lovers of the ocean.

Portugal promotes a ‘kick back and relax’ sort of attitude and there are fewer places on the planet better suited for holidays for that much needed R&R. Less crowded than Spain’s resorts and much warmer than France, Portugal makes the ideal European travel alternative – especially if you’re looking for an experience with a difference. Most travellers will flock to the Algarve to enjoy beach life and once you discover the beauty of this area for yourself, it’s very easy to see why. But if that’s not enough to quench your thirst for travel, it’s not just beaches and undisturbed sunbathing the country has to offer. Take your journey inland and you’ll be spoilt for choice with a national park and nature reserves, mountain hikes and enchanted forests. Then there’s the lively cities of Lisbon, Porto and Sintra or the historic towns of Coimbra, Évora and Guimarães which give visitors a taste of the country’s Roman past, Medieval past and Neo Gothic past. Wherever you choose to spend your time, Portugal is set to be an unforgettable experience.


The Algarve is perhaps the most popular place for families as it’s well developed for tourists and many resorts offer child-friendly facilities with easy beach access. But wherever in the country you decide to go, kids will always be made to feel welcome. The Portuguese put a lot of importance into family life so the locals will often greet families with open arms and warm hospitality. The two things to be wary of are fast moving traffic in built up areas (the Portuguese drive very fast) and the intense sunlight so be extra vigilant near roads and always pack the highest factors of sunscreen, taking extra care to reapply between the hours of 11am and 3pm when the sun is at its hottest.


Portuguese cuisine is very much influenced by the proximity to the sea. Cod is king in Portugal and a favourite to be consumed in many different ways – locals claim that they have 365 different recognised cod recipes – their favourite being Bacalhau salt cod which is the famous national dish. The country has the highest fish consumption in Europe and popular dishes other than their extensive library of cod suppers include grilled sardines, Alentejano pork, Salmonete (Lisbon’s red mullet dish), Azores caviar, Caracois snails, and Sapateira Recheada crab.

History and Culture

Whilst the Portuguese people can understand Spanish (and often speak back in Portuguese), they don’t like to be confused with their close neighbour. Portuguese culture is very unique in this sense; they have their own unique cuisine, their own phonology, grammar, and lexicon, and they consider themselves to be much quieter, much more humble and much more modest than their neighbours in Spain. Portugal is Catholic by majority and the country is home to some of the most beautiful, traditional and idyllic looking churches in Europe.

Top Locations in Portugal

The Algarve
The country’s Southernmost region has long been a tourist favourite – but when compared to other resorts in Europe – The Algarve has very much been Europe’s best kept secret. The Algarve’s capital is beautiful Faro, a place where paradise beaches and striking churches and cathedrals dominate the coastline. And the stretch of beach taking you from Faro all the way to Lagos is conveniently lined with stylish hotels, bars and restaurants. A safe beach destination for families and a truly romantic place for couples. Read more
The city of Lisbon is totally unmissable. This hilly and colourful capital is like not like any other capital in Europe and from a distance, the entire city looks as though it’s been carved into the dramatic cliff side. Up close, it’s a labyrinth of exploration with its winding streets and historical monuments, and you can get around easily from sight to sight by tram. Read more
From Porto up to the Spanish border is the Green Coastline (Costa Verde) and here, the sun sets in the sea every single night. With the coast facing West out into the Atlantic, beautiful coastal sunsets are guaranteed. Be sure to explore the city’s wonderful architectural gems too including the Palácio da Bolsa, the Torre dos Clérigos Church, Porto Cathedral and Church of São Francisco. Read more
Peneda-Gerês National Park
This incredible national park is the only one in Portugal and it is set in the stunning Norte region. The park stretches over 700 square kilometres, is a place of national and international scientific interest, and it straddles the peaceful Lima River. There are several entrance points into the park and you will find a number of short walking trails which can be completed for within a matter of hours for day trippers.
Madeira Island
To get to the spectacular subtropical Madeira Island, you can catch a flight from Portugal’s Faro Airport in the Algarve region or hop on a ferry from various ports. Closer to the coast of North West Africa and the Canaries than the coast of Portugal’s mainland, this mysteriously beautiful volcanic island seems worlds away from the rest of the continent. Be sure take a hike around Pico do Arieiro and take the kids to Madeira Adventure Kingdom. Read more

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