A mild climate with more than 3,000 hours of sunshine a year, 850 km of fabulous beaches and a valuable heritage; these are just some of the things that make Portugal a perfect destination for your next holiday. And if you are a food lover, this southern European country offers a unique Mediterranean-influenced cuisine, rich in flavours and aroma. So, if you are planning a beach vacation, here are some of the country’s best regions to visit:
* Porto E Norte: It was in the Porto and in the North regions that Portugal was founded in the 12th century. The region is crossed by the River Douro which enters Portugal between the ravines and mountains of the interior to flow through the entire world heritage landscape where the Port and Douro wines are produced. In this area of mountains and natural parks, the region’s heritage is seen in its castles, such as the one in Guimaraes, and the shrines and churches which see a lot of pilgrims visit in summer.
* Centro de Portugal: In the interior of the country, there are mountains and villages of granite and schist. Serra da Estrela, the highest peak in mainland Portugal, is the star of the mountains, with its endless landscapes and glacial lagoons. But there are also the Lousa, Açor and Caramulo ranges, where you can discover nature by hiking or by bike.
* Lisboa region: Lisbon is the place to be. Frequently chosen as one of the best destinations in Europe, the capital of Portugal is an old city, full of history and vestiges of the past and yet, at the same time cosmopolitan, multicultural, full of culture and life. There are historical and heritage areas, from the Baixa Pombalina to Belem (where only yards separate the Jeronimos Monastery and Belem tower, both classified as UNESCO World Heritage sites, together with the Monument to the Discoveries). The newest part of the city — Parque das Naçoes — boasts of the fabulous Vasco da Gama bridge (the longest in Europe and one of biggest in the world), and the neighbourhoods of Alfama, Mouraria, Se and Bairro Alto, with their winding streets, centuries-old houses and traditional shops.
* Alentejo: A land of Great Plains, cork oaks, vineyards, and excellent wines, of immaculately whitewashed houses, the Alentejo is also a land of outstanding beaches, some almost deserted in the hottest summer months. The largest continuous stretch of beaches in Europe, for about 60 km long, is perfect for a few days’ rest and relaxation, but also for lovers of surfing and other water sports, who will find plenty of options here.
* Algarve: With a coastline stretching 230 kilometers and including more than 130 beaches, the beaches in Algarve are constantly ranked as some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and considered as Europe’s Best Beach Destination by the World Travel Awards. Apart from the sea, which is always inviting for a dip or a wide range of water sports, the mild temperatures, and award-winning golf courses, the Algarve also offers gastronomical experiences.
* Azores: In the middle of the Atlantic, nine small islands surprise with their absolutely stunning landscapes. The Azores are an archipelago of rare beauty, full of tradition and history, with plenty of leisure activities for the whole family, both at land and sea. In Sao Miguel, the largest island and home to the capital Ponta Delgada, you must visit the incredible volcanic lakes of Sete Cidades, Fogo and Furnas.