Discover the best hotels in the Douro Valley with this in-depth guide. The Douro Valley is a must-add destination on any Portugal itinerary. Located about a two-hour drive from Porto, this stunning wine-growing region is famous for its rolling green vineyards, gastronomic restaurants, and luxury hotels. Douro Valley hotels provide modern comforts like room service …
I have to confess that Portugal has become one of my favourite countries in Europe. Beguiling, beautiful and buzzing – it’s the country that always leaves you wanting more.
What’s so special?
Full of history, the cool capital Lisbon has earned its place on pretty much every travel hotlist this year.
Grittier, but no less beautiful, Porto (often called Portugal’s second city) has its own charm – one aided by historic port houses, chic barrios and gorgeous architecture.
Outside of that, there’s so much to see and do – lazing on sunny beaches framed by sapphire seas, cycling around family-run vineyards and learning about traditional Portuguese crafts – any trip to Portugal is exactly what you make of it.
The Best Places to Travel in Portugal
Lisbon is the capital city that is that the top of everyone’s European bucket list. There’s a ton to see and explore – but unlike other capitals (ahem London, I’m looking at you) it’s retained a distinct charm and atmosphere that you simply can’t find anywhere else.
You’re never going to struggle to occupy yourself in the Portuguese capital – but if you’re on a tight timetable, start with my pick of awesome things to do in Lisbon.
The beautiful area of Belém is the place to start – largely untouched by the 18th-century earthquake that razed much of Lisbon’s centre to the ground, it boasts a wealth of must-see attractions.
Move from past to present and check out Lisbon’s thriving street art scene. A little out of the way, Andre Saraiva’s large-scale urban mural is worth a detour. Alternatively, the buzzy music meets art, shopping and drinks venue LX Factory has an ever-changing rotation of pieces.
Food abounds in Lisbon, but Cervajaria Ramiro is the king of super-fresh seafood and traditional Portuguese dishes. Dine like a king, pay like a pauper.
As with any capital, you’re not stuck for places to stay but the Four Seasons Hotel Ritz is an impeccable choice – complete with some of the best views in the city straight from your room.
The Algarve is a super trendy destination with a buzzing social scene.
Cast away all your preconceptions – there’s so much more to the Algarve than the pristine golf courses and flashy marinas for which it’s best-known (though of course, there are plenty of those to go round).
Hike into the arid hills of the interior – flanked by fertile valleys, they immediately offer a less-explored alternative to some of the region’s best-known spots.
Of course, the beaches are spectacular. Like, really. Think crystal-clear waters, picturesque cliffsides and hidden sea caves. Praia da Coelha is one of the best-known but there are almost endless numbers to choose from.
Looking for somewhere special to stay? The Four Seasons Fairways in Quinta do Lago offers chic villa rentals in the heart of the Algarve, while the recently-opened Anantara Vilamoura is perfect for a weekend getaway.
Porto is Portugal’s second largest city but shouldn’t be your second choice. Dotted with vibrant colourful buildings sitting atop winding streets, it offers visitors the chance to delve into the distinct culture of northern Portugal
Start with the striking azulejo (ornate Portuguese tiles) display in Sao Bento railway station, wend your way between the age-old buildings to Cathedral Se (ahem, perhaps stopping off at a few port houses along the way).
Perched above The Algarve, the Alentejo might not be as well known as it’s more southernly sister but that doesn’t mean it has any less to offer.
With a wealth of traditional Portuguese craftsmen – it’s the place to learn about the distinct azulejo tiles for which the country is famed.
The Alentejo is responsible for some of the best Portuguese wines (thanks dudes) – pair them with some locally-produced artisanal food for a true taste of southern Portugal.
If that all sounds a bit too relaxed, think about tackling the Rota Vicentina – a series of hikes along the Alentejo coast and inland – there’s no better way to discover the Alentejo’s secret treasures.
The Douro Valley
The Douro Valley might well be my favourite spot in Portugal. The Douro River winds its way through the valley, framed by steeply terraced hills on each side – it’s almost too picturesque to be real.
Occupy yourself by hopping between the hundreds of wineries and port houses that call the Douro their home.
Once you’re done exploring the vineyards (perhaps with a bottle or two stashed in your bag to bring home), finish up with lunch in Rui Paula’s esteemed DOC restaurant. Set on a terrace over the river I cannot recommend it enough – the food is divine, as is the setting.
Madeira has become a must visit destination in Portugal. Who can resist the temptation of the Christiano Ronaldo Museum for starters?
Less tongue in cheek – Madeira is brimming with epic hikes, tasty food and, of course, Madeira wine. Speaking of which, swing by the Madeira Wine Museum – based in a house that was once owned by Christopher Columbus.
Are you tired of staying in hotels with no personal touch? Discover the best Airbnbs in Porto, for an unforgettable holiday by the coast. Imagine relaxing in a cosy apartment in the heart of Porto. You’re sitting on your balcony sipping on the classic port wine from the Douro Valley as the golden sun sets …
Porto is the perfect base for exploring Portugal. From the gorgeous rolling hills of the Douro Valley to the architectural marvels of Sintra, these are the best day trips from Porto. It’s no secret that I love Porto. The sheer spectacle of the Ribeira – with its staggered terracotta roofs meandering down to the Douro …
Ready to discover the best hotels in Porto? Explore the city’s sleek and stylish accommodation. The second-largest city in Portugal, Porto has a flair few can compare with. It’s one of those places you have to see to believe. Which, if you’re reading this, I’m assuming you plan on doing. Mixing evolving industry, eye-catching ocean …
Are you planning to spend 3 days in Porto? This in-depth Porto itinerary will help you explore the best attractions this beautiful coastal city has to offer. Nestled along the Iberian Peninsula, Porto is best known for its port wine, statuesque bridges, windy cobblestone streets, and golden beaches. While historically, the coastal city has been …
Planning your trip and wondering where to stay in Porto? Discover with this in-depth guide. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or an experienced traveller, there’s one golden rule when it comes to travelling… planning is crucial. But, if you’ve only got one, two, or better yet, three days in Porto, putting together your itinerary is …
Pristine golden sands, sundowners over the Atlantic Ocean and dramatic natural amphitheatres – discover the best beaches in and around Porto. Porto really does have it all: as if the magnificent sweep of the Ribera riverfront isn’t enough, it’s blessed with a number of gorgeous beaches in easy striking distance of the city for you …
Discover the best things to do in Douro Valley for an unforgettable trip. Imagine wandering through the picturesque vineyards of Portugal with views of the meandering Douro River below. The Douro Valley is one of the most beautiful places in the world, but it’s far more than vineyards and pretty views. From ancient landscapes to …
Portugal’s Algarve is blessed with more than its fair share of spectacular beaches. From dramatic spots underneath looming cliffs to miles and miles of sandy shores, these are the best beaches in the Algarve you shouldn’t miss on your trip. The Algarve: just the words conjure up sun-drenched days, azure skies and gorgeous beaches. During …
Planning to visit The Algarve and want to know the places you shouldn’t miss? Discover the best things to do in The Algarve with this guide. The turquoise beaches and limestone cliffs that Portugal’s Algarve is famous for are definitely worth the trip. I like to say that there are two kinds of people in …