Famed for its food, football, and favourite tipple, Portugal is a country of great variety and beauty. Our collection of Portugal holidays includes many delights, such as exploring the lively and contemporary cities of Porto and Lisbon, as well as the dramatic mountain scenery of the Douro Valley. Whatever your preference, our Portugal holidays offer something to suit every taste.
Portugal is a country with a vibrant culture and history, with its powerful empire once spanning the globe. The country is situated on the Iberian Peninsula, with a long, rich coastline that influences much Portuguese culture. The national dishes of salt cod and grilled sardines are a testament to Portugal’s maritime history, while holidays to Portugal boast some of the best beach spots on the planet.
The major cities of Lisbon and Porto bring together old and new with stunning 15th - 18th Century architecture marrying contemporary art, food and culture. Outside of the cities, Portugal’s diverse countryside boasts the mountainous Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela to the majestic Douro Valley – one of the oldest wine regions on the planet. Holidays to Portugal should also take in the historic city of Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its stunning palaces, historic estates and castles. Further from the mainland is the delightful island of Madeira, just off the northwest coast of Africa.
Our range of Portugal holidays offer something for everyone, from river tours through the iconic cities of Lisbon and Porto to the peaceful stretches of the Douro river.
If you’ve never been on a Douro river cruise, this may be the time to embark on an unforgettable voyage alongside the Douro river’s beautiful riverbanks awash with olive, almond and grape terraces. A cruise on the Douro river also allows you to sample the fine wine and port produced in the valley – so what are you waiting for?
Lisbon has almost everything you could want from your Portugal city break wishlist: unique architecture, beautiful local food, a wide vibrant river, and contemporary galleries and museums. Art is everywhere in Lisbon, and the city is awash with incredible buildings, many covered in the famous azulejo tile facades. Visit The Gulbenkian for arts and culture, and the A Vida Portuguesa Emporium for traditional Portuguese bric-a-brac. No Lisbon stay is complete without a scenic tour of the Tagus River, which winds through the city and under the stunning Vasco da Gama bridge, or picking one of Lisbon’s gorgeous landmarks like the Belem Tower or São Jorge Castle to watch the sunset over the city.
A trip along the Douro river offers some of the most stunning scenery in the world, yet this incredible region is still relatively unknown to many who decide to visit Portugal. With its dramatic cliff faces, medieval villages and beautiful groves of olives, almonds and grapes, the Douro Valley should be a feature on everybody’s bucket list. The stunning river flows to its outlet in Porto, while being renowned as one of the world’s oldest wine regions due to its exclusive production of port for centuries. Vineyards cover the hand-terraced hills of the valley which contains the perfect grape varieties needed to give port its rich, vibrant flavours, as well as contributing to some exquisite table wines which are rarely found outside of the region.
The end-point of the Douro river is the bustling city of Porto, known for its trams, churches and port cellars, with an old-worldly charm that contrasts the growing hip and happening heart of the city. Kerbside cafes and cobbled medieval streets give way to a vibrant nightlife and a raft of experimental contemporary cuisine. The city also boasts stunning gardens and cathedrals, including the Sé do Porto, a Romanesque cathedral with a gothic style and views overlooking the city, and the stunning Mateus Palace Gardens over in nearby Vila Real.
The historic city of Sintra lies within the Greater Lisbon area, and is a fantastic daytrip from the capital. Famed for its dramatic landscapes and incredible architecture, Sintra hosts several palaces and iconic landmarks. A visit to Sintra should include the eclectic 1000-year old Palacio Nacional Sintra, the gorgeous white-walled Royal Palace and the romantic, almost Disney-esque hilltop Palácio da Pena. The latter of these is surrounded by dense forest, contributing to its enchanting aesthetic and even has its own microclimate which causes the foliage to flourish.
Portugal’s most famous sound emanates from the narrow streets of Lisbon’s Alfama district, a musical mix that evolved from folk, African, and Brazilian styles. You’ll find Fado being played in bars and cafes all over the city, with live performances available to catch all across the city, but you can learn about the history of this unique music in the excellent Museu do Fado (Fado Museum) in the historic Alfama quarter. Here you’ll see artefacts, artwork, and instruments, and listen to some of the best recordings of this beautifully melancholic music.
Any trip to the Douro Valley is not complete without a spot of wine tasting, and there are plenty to choose from in this region. A visit to the Porto district of Gaia is a chance to learn more about the history of port and sample the full range of the local wine, alongside artisanal cheese and chocolate pairings. Visit Taylor's Wine Lodge for a fascinating tour of the 300-year-old cellars and a delicious tasting experience . For a truly amazing wine tasting experience, visit some of the estates on the Douro River including Quinta do Bomfim and Quinta da Pacheca.
In terms of food and drink, Portugal’s most famous exports are port and Piri Piri chicken, but the country has plenty more amazing cuisine to try. With such great access to the ocean, seafood is a big part of the Portuguese diet, with the national dish of bacalhau a family favourite in homes across the country. Portugal is also known for its sheep’s cheese, Queijo Serra da Estrela, and the hugely popular Pastéis de Nata – a crispy custard tart. For a taste of the original recipe, try a Pasteis de Belém in the Belém café in Lisbon where they were invented.
Visitors to Porto should try the city’s signature sandwich – the Francesinha – a delectable combination of sausage, chorizo, ham and steak inside white bread, encased in cheese, and doused in rich tomato sauce. For those looking for a tipple, in addition to port, you should also try Ginja – the sweet cherry liquer, which is often sold in chocolate cups, and vinho verde, the ‘green wine’ known for its fresh and fruity flavour.