Summer in Portugal

Combine cultural city breaks with generous doses of sun, sea, sand and surf, plus plenty of idyllic countryside ripe for exploring and getting active, and you might just have the perfect Portugal summer holiday.

When it comes to beaches, the famous Algarve on the south coast of the country has some of the best in Europe. Although often crowded with sun-seekers in search of azure waters and golden beaches during summer, if you know where to look (which, naturally, we do) you can find quieter and quaint spots where you can lounge without the crowds. If you prefer your relaxation with a side of water-based fun, Portugal also has some excellent surf spots, and we can help you choose the best place at the best time, whether that's the picture-perfect Algarve or some of the lesser-known surf beaches along the northern coast, or even just outside of Lisbon if you want a city and surf break (which we highly recommend) in the trendy seaside town of Comporta.

Speaking of Lisbon, this colourful and culture-rich coastal city is a must on a summer holiday to Portugal. Take a private guided walking tour of the historic Alfama district of the city with a local historian; catch a tram through the brightly painted streets; and take a class on how to cook your very own pasteis de nata (custard tarts). For an alternative Portuguese city break, Porto - which sits on the northern part of the coast - is a wonderful maze of cobbled streets and makes an excellent city/countryside combo with the nearby Douro valley, famed for its vineyards and rolling green hills. We highly recommend exploring during the day before heading to one of the waterside port warehouses to relax in the warm summer evening with a well-earned glass of the famous local tipple - port.

If you'd prefer to leave the city behind and get back to nature on your summer holiday, then Portugal also has some exceptional spots for countryside breaks. The huge Alentejo region - which spans from just south of Lisbon, all the way down to the Algarve - is known for its unspoilt scenery and excellent food and wine. Wind your way through the famous cork oak forests (fun fact: Portugal produces around 50% of the world's cork); hop from wine estate to wine estate, tasting their produce as you go (of course); and then, for good measure, add on some time in the UNESCO-listed town of Evora which is full to the brim with intriguing architecture and historical sites.

Once you've gotten to know the sights, smells and sounds of mainland Portugal, take your Portugal summer holiday to another level with a visit to one its islands. While Madeira is made for active land-based adventures - from windsurfing and fishing to hiking and mountain biking - the remote and wild islands of the Azores are both a hiker and diver's paradise.

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Ella T and Francesca are our 'Summer in Portugal' experts and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.

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