The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - Travel

Another reason to fall for Portugal

With beaches, hilltop castles and buzzing cities, this holiday favourite always delivers variety – and this year it offers value for money, too. Amy Blyth picks 30 of the best breaks this summer


Planning a European getaway this summer? You will struggle to beat Portugal for both traveller satisfacti­on and value for money. The country has long been lauded for its beaches, sumptuous wines and culture-soaked cities, but this year it has also emerged as Europe’s top-value holiday spot. According to surveys by Post Office Travel Money, Lisbon ranks as 2023’s best-value European city break and the Algarve as the cheapest overall holiday destinatio­n in the Eurozone.

To devotees, this may come as no surprise. Portugal’s appeal is ever-enduring, thanks to 300 days of annual sunshine and 432 Blue Flag beaches, from the cliffbacke­d coves of the Algarve to the black volcanic sands of the Azores. Then there are the buzzing cities for short breaks: Lisbon with its vintage trams and Unesco-listed landmarks; Porto and its picture-perfect Ribeira district; and Coimbra for its majestic university.

But that is only part of the story. The countrysid­e beckons, be it the rolling vineyards of the Douro Valley, the steamy thermal spas of the Serra da Estrela mountain or the rugged hiking trails through Portugal’s sole national park, Peneda-Gerês, where shepherds and wolves share the woodlands. On the remote Atlantic islands of Madeira and the Azores, you will discover smoking fumaroles, crater lakes and some of the world’s last remaining forests of emerald laurel trees.

These diverse landscapes can be explored by rail or by sea – on a whale-spotting cruise in the Azores, for example. Alternativ­ely, a road trip along the country’s west coast will offer windswept bays, whitewashe­d towns and lunches of freshly grilled sardines. Other culinary adventures include learning to bake bread in a wood-fired oven, vineyard tours and courses in how to blend and bottle your own variety of wine.

If it is a family holiday you are seeking, Portugal excels with its wealth of child-friendly resorts and its status as the world’s sixth safest country (as ranked by the Global Peace Index). Whether you are glamping on the Silver Coast, going all-inclusive in the Algarve or whizzing down flumes at a waterpark, there is no shortage of family fun to be had. Meanwhile, culture lovers will be charmed by treasures including Evora’s medieval cathedral and the fairytale palaces of Sintra.

We have picked 30 great holiday ideas that will inspire you to embrace Portugal’s charms this summer, whether for the first time or all over again.

 ?? ?? Top that! The medieval hilltop castle of Arraiolos, near Evora
Top that! The medieval hilltop castle of Arraiolos, near Evora

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom