Summer is the perfect time to travel and relax! If you’re already living in Portugal or are simply planning to visit for the first time, you’re probably wondering what the best vacation spots in Portugal are. In this article, we give you a rundown of all the greatest Portuguese holiday destinations – don’t worry, there’s something for everyone!
Portugal is small but incredibly picturesque and diverse nonetheless. Therefore, there is truly something for everyone – fresh river beaches, warm sandy ocean, mountain-y adventures, hot springs, nature sports and more. Much like in its neighbouring countries, August is the official ‘vacation’ month in Portugal – most services, such as courts, the post office and public organisations either close or severely slow down during this month, because of people going on vacation or just off work. That’s also something to think about if you need any bureaucracy taken care of during this time!
The ‘Berlengas’ are a small archipelago of just three islands off the coast of Peniche. Although consisting of three islands, only one of them is inhabited – Berlenga. This destination is perfect for fauna and flora enthusiasts, since this is a mostly untouched area of Portugal. Moreover, its rich ecosystem is protected by not only the country, but also UNESCO, being considered a World Biosphere Reserve in 2011.
Here you can find a unique panoply of bird, fish and invertebrate species – making for great exploration! If you can, this is the perfect place to go diving, snorkeling and canoeing. If that’s not for you, just walking is an amazing way to take in the island as well.
To get there you simply need to get on a boat in Peniche – it takes roughly 30 minutes to arrive.
Mira is a small town located very close to the cities of Aveiro and Coimbra, fully inserted in the Gândara region, whose culture is incredibly rich and unique.
With a good and wide accommodation capacity, Mira guarantees a stay in harmony and direct coexistence with nature. Its main characteristic is the range of options available. In Mira you can alternate the beach with lagoons, an estuary, forest and agricultural fields, which can be walked or cycled in complete safety, through a cycle path that’s longer than 20 km. After getting hungry from exploring all day, you can delight yourself with the amazing fish dishes of the area.
Costa Nova is a small town just outside Aveiro that’s known for its traditional striped houses that were once fishermen’s homes, making for an extremely beautiful coastline. The beach itself here is very wide, ensuring pleasant moments of relaxation. From there you can also walk to the neighboring Barra beach, which is just as amazing! Despite being popular, there’s plenty of space. Make sure you try a ‘tripa’ along the way – it’s a traditional beach food throughout Aveiro.
Located right at the northernmost point of Portugal, in the Viana do Castelo district, Vila Praia de Âncora is known for its long, sandy beach of the same name. Very sought after, this beach is known for its therapeutic qualities, due to the amount of iodine in the water.
Because of this, currently, Vila Praia de Âncora is a village dedicated essentially to tourism. However, it maintains its traditional spirit and is still a more off-the-beaten-path spot for vacationing in Portugal.
Figueira da Foz, in Coimbra, was once a traditional summer resort that managed to preserve its glamorous style of old. Beyond surfing, the beaches here are wide – with endless stretches of sand, making them perfect for families. Relógio Beach is a must-visit among tourists, as is ‘Buarcos’ – a cozy fisherman’s beach, where you’re sure to eat the greatest fish plate of your life!
Tavira is located in the eastern part of the Algarve, about 30 minutes from the Spanish border. A beautiful town crossed by the river Gilão, Tavira is the perfect place to stroll around, as it has a charming historic center composed of a maze of paved alleys that hide bewitching gardens and tree-lined squares, churches and palatial houses.
This town is the ideal base for exploring the eastern Algarve, as it has a wide range of excellent restaurants, hotels and other facilities but is not as saturated as central Faro.
Located just an hour away from Lisbon, the Tróia Peninsula is sure to offer you a memorable experience. The only way to get there is by ferry or boat, which is an event in itself since it gives you the opportunity to witness the famous dolphins of the Sado river.
Then, the Peninsula itself feels like a paradise, engulfed in beautiful trees and dunes. The white-sand beaches with crystal clear water are one of the main attractions here, with the most popular ones being Comporta and Soltroia. Tróia is known for being a more luxurious destination, because of the many resorts, the casino and the famous golf course, considered one of the best in Europe. But you can still vacation here while on a budget just by skipping out on the fancier activities.
Vila Nova De Milfontes is a small gem in the Alentejo that’s a very popular vacation spot for Portuguese families, but still quite unknown abroad. This is mostly due to the fact that summers in the Alentejo can get quite hot and sultry. However, it’s still worth it – especially for those looking for peace and quiet.
Milfontes is delightfully welcoming and traditional, with a great selection of restaurants and, of course, beaches, such as ‘Praia do Farol’. In fact, these beaches are especially great for water sports, since the low density of the area makes for cleaner water.
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