Holiday rentals in Portugal
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Your guide to Portugal
Welcome to Portugal
Portugal is one of the most laid-back yet exciting countries in Western Europe. Cobbled medieval streets filled with supper clubs, pastry shops, and tiny restaurants sizzling with the smoke of sardines cling to the hills of Lisbon and Porto. These are wonderful cities for wandering, where elegantly dilapidated mansions and ancient wine cellars mix with cutting-edge galleries and hip new food markets. There’s historic Braga, in the north, Sintra with its superb hilltop castle, and Tomar — all of urban Portugal is a song of astonishing forts, castles, cathedrals, monasteries, and Moorish architecture, a physical reminiscence of its fascinating past.
Along the west Atlantic coast, some of Europe’s best surfing waves pound the shores, while inland rivers create steamy environments for relaxation and whitewater thrills. Summer tourism was once all about the gorgeous south coast of the Algarve, but other regions are coming into the limelight, like Comporta, a beachy hub for design-minded travelers, and the Alentejo, with its captivating rural villages and wine tours. Portugal encompasses the beautiful Azores, Madeira, and Cape Verde islands too, adding to the endless allure of this European country.
The best time to stay in a holiday rental in Portugal
With its temperate climate, hot summers, and mild spring and autumn, there’s really no bad time to visit Portugal. The south coast is one of Europe’s most reliable spots for winter sun, although it can be cooler and rainier at that time of year. Portugal’s west coast still attracts plenty of visitors in winter, who come to stay in the villas and surf the more powerful swells between October and March, or watch the world’s best surfers attempt to ride the biggest waves on the planet at Nazare. February brings Mardi Gras carnival, with street processions and parties all over the country. June is when towns celebrate their local saints for the Festas dos Santos Populares, and there are always summer music festivals and myriad other cultural fandangos filling the calendar.
Top things to do in Portugal
An hour or so south of Lisbon, Comporta is a heavenly area for a tranquil beach break. Tufted sand dunes, cork oak forest, and rice paddies back endless stretches of white sand, hiding stylish holiday pads and chic restaurants. Nearby, there’s world-class hiking in Arrábida National Park and dolphin-spotting boat trips on the Sado Estuary.
Take gastronomic tours of cool Baixa and Chiado, and explore a more traditional side of the city in labyrinthine Alfama, climbing steep alleyways for the best views, then soaking up the sounds of live fado music in a tasca restaurant.
While the Algarve region in the south of Portugal has become a centre of tourism development, there are still quiet, unspoilt spots to escape to. The Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park has dramatic cliffs and empty beaches; the Serra do Caldeirão mountains are great for hiking; and locals love to chill on the sands of the Ria Formosa lagoon, where natural canals and sandbanks are home to pink flamingos.