From rolling vineyards and pretty villages to sweeping mountains and endless stretches of sandy dunes, Portugal welcomes visitors with an abundance of warmth and charm. With fascinating history, stunning landscapes and mouth watering local cuisine, Portugal tours have plenty to offer at every scenic turn.
Discover hidden gems and captivating landscapes on your mesmerising holiday to Portugal. Soak up the sun on the sun-kissed shores of the south, or sip a glass of port on the banks of the River Douro in the north. From the buzzing streets of the colourful capital, to the slower-paced life on view at traditional fishing villages, the country is brimming with gorgeous vistas and ample opportunities for exploration. Beyond the cities, Portugal's scenery ranges from mountainous backdrops to dramatic windswept coasts. It's a charismatic country that offers spectacular beaches, historic cities and some of the world’s finest wines, all waiting to be explored by you. With so much to see and do, aided by lovely sunny weather all year around, the real question becomes where to start.
For those who favour the bustle of a beautiful historic city, cultural Lisbon is a real treat. Take a ride on the old trams that chug along the winding streets of and head to the city centre, where the ornate Manueline architecture of the Belem quarter tells a tale of its fascinating history. Take in the breathtaking views from one of the pleasant public gardens, do a tour of the fascinating museums or simply take advantage of the many fantastic dining and drinking spots. Make your way through the cobbled streets of Alfama, with its medieval homes and postcard-worthy views, or check out the museums and boutiques of stylish Chiado.
Pay a visit to Portugal's 'second city'; the famous port-wine-producing quintas of Oporto. Gleaming with picturesque vineyards, rich culture, and vibrant bars and restaurants, Oporto invites visitors to indulge in fine wine and delicious food in a historic location populated by charming locals. Take the opportunity to see UNESCO-listed Sintra, a former royal retreat. With its remarkable palaces set in a National Park full of dense and verdant trees and plants, it's not hard to see why it's become an integral part of many Portugal tours.
The rather glamorous beach resort of Cascais offers the chance to relax by the sea, with its stunning sandy bays drawing in locals and tourists alike. There's plenty more to see here, too; from museums and galleries to boutiques and seafood restaurants, its pleasant streets and narrow lanes are perfect for an afternoon wander. Here you'll also find the elegant seafront of Estoril, just half an hour away from Lisbon, and lined with bistros and old-fashioned cafes. For more beach time, a trip to the Algarve is a must. Enjoy its sandy coves and pristine waters, stroll through the picturesque towns with their traditional whitewashed buildings, or discover Roman sites and ruins that date back thousands of years.
Dreaming of a sunny escape? Travel with Newmarket Holidays and look forward to a holiday to Portugal that suits you. Whether you prefer a scenic train holiday along historic railway lines, want to savour the flavours produced by the local vineyards or simply wish to unwind on pristine, sun-baked beaches, our escorted tours in Portugal provide wonderful experiences for all tastes.
Stretching for nearly 1800 kilometres along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, Portugal is graced with a mixture of rugged and scenic landscapes, rolling hills and plains. From the north all the way down to the south, you’ll find something unique to enjoy wherever you choose to go.
Of course, the country's capital has plenty to offer visitors at any time of year. From its Tile Museum and gothic Monastery to the historic neighbourhoods and nearby beaches, it's certainly not hard to fill an itinerary here. Explore the glorious Douro River on a scenic train journey on one of Europe's most historic and celebrated railway lines, or see the sights from the water onboard a river cruise from the bustling city of Oporto. Don't forget to stop by one of the many local port-wine lodges and vineyards while you're here!
See the 'Venice of Portugal' - the port city of Aveiro, filled with canals, traditional boats and colourful, characterful buildings. The Algarve is also a worthy addition to most Portugal tours; soak up the beach lifestyle, do a spot of hiking or head out on a boat trip to snap photos of the dramatic cliffs and picturesque rock formations. A day trip to Sintra is another must-do. With its awe-inspiring hilltop palaces and medieval castles, a visit here is akin to stepping into a fairytale. From fishing and hiking to canoeing and golf, there are plenty of other ways to explore Portugal's quaint towns and rugged coastline, and dramatic landscapes.
There is also the opportunity to pop over to neighbouring Spain. The city of Seville, with its flamenco dancing and striking architecture, is just a couple of hours drive from the Algarve, making it a very viable day trip option - we couldn't resist adding it to one of our escorted tours in Portugal.
Portuguese cuisine is boldly rich in flavour, and often accompanied by excellent wines from the north. A typical Portuguese menu includes a variety of fish and seafood, and seems Mediterranean in style despite the nation's Atlantic location. Fruit and vegetables are plentiful, as is a choice of soups and meat-based dishes.
If you’re a fish or seafood lover, Portugal tours are a treat for your taste buds. The country has the highest fish consumption per capita in Europe. The scent of charcoal grilled sardines – barbecued with a little olive oil and salt – fills the air as you wander through the streets at lunchtime or early evening. Prawns are also plentiful along the coast, and prawn piri piri is one of Portugal’s most popular dishes. If you choose, it’s even possible to enjoy bacalhau (dried cod) a different way every day – the Portuguese have over a thousand recipes for this fish staple. Another dish to try during your visit is caldo verde – a hearty, comfort-dish soup consisting of potato, shredded collard greens, and chunks of sausage that's served in most restaurants.
If you have a sweet tooth, pastel de nata – delicious egg tarts with a wonderful, flaky crust – are a real treat. They may have become a patisserie staple across the world in recent years, but these delicious custard-filled tarts originated in Portugal, believed to have been created by Catholic monks. The first bakery to sell them was Pastéis de Belém in Lisbon back in 1837, and visitors to the city can still stop by the historic spot for a sugar fix today.
Wine lovers enjoying our escorted tours in Portugal will find many excellent, well-priced red and white wines to enjoy, including the famous Vinho Verde. And, of course, you can try any number of port-wines when visiting the lodges in the Oporto area.
First holiday to Portugal? Here are a few questions you might have.
The weather in Portugal is heavily influenced by the Atlantic. The north of the country tends to be cooler, whilst the south enjoys a warmer, more Mediterranean climate. with coastal areas slightly cooler throughout. Summer temperatures range from around 30°C in the south to 25°C in the north. Winters in Portugal are comparatively mild, although nights can be chilly. Temperatures are pleasant in spring and autumn, averaging around 20°C.
Generally speaking, the best time to visit Portugal is during the spring, when the country is in bloom, or in autumn. Both seasons enjoy pleasant temperatures, and are largely free of the summer crowds.
Portugal is famous for its breathtaking Mediterranean coastline and beaches, the wine-producing Douro Valley, and its elegant, cultural cities, including Lisbon and Porto. Surfing is popular in Portugal, thanks to its long coastline and Atlantic winds.
In Portugal they use the Euro (EUR). For the latest exchange rates, please see www.xe.com. Portugal is one of the least-expensive countries in Western Europe.
Unsurprisingly, Portuguese cuisine has a strong Mediterranean influence, and the diet consists of a lot of fresh fruit, vegetables and olive oil, along with seafood and meat. However, Portugese food does tend to be spicier than many of its neighbours. Pastries and sweets are also popular, especially churros and pastel de nata (egg tart pastry). Being a wine-producing country, wine is popular in Portugal, especially port, a fortified wine produced in the Douro Valley.
Portuguese is the national language of Portugal. However, English is widely spoken, particularly in touristy areas. Below are a few useful phrases in Portuguese:
Hello – olá
Goodbye – tchau
Thank you – obrigado
Please – por favor
Do you speak English? – você fala Inglês?
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