The oldest country in the Iberian Peninsula and one of the oldest in Europe, Portugal is a country that truly offers it all. Portugal tourism incorporates everything from deep historical roots and stories to vibrant art experiences and from scrumptious cuisine to breath taking natural beauty, making Portugal one of those rare gems that has experiences for every type of traveller.
If you have a holiday to this beautiful European holiday destination on your mind, you have come to the right place. We’ve got the round-up of everything you need to know about Portugal tourism before you visit.
Portugal is located on the Iberian Peninsula, along with Spain, in the southwest of Europe. To the north and east of Portugal lies Spain, and to the south and west of the nation lies the Atlantic Ocean. The capital of Portugal, Lisbon, is also the largest city within the country and lies to the west of the country.
Portugal offers a host of natural beauty, from beautiful golden beaches to leafy mountain terrain. The mainland is divided by the river Tagus, which also flows through Spain. The division also marks two separate terrains in Portugal – the north of the country is distinctly mountainous while the south of the country is marked by rolling plains. Portugal’s largest mountain is an active volcano and a key attraction to visit when it comes to Portugal tourism. Mount Pico, located on Pico Island in the autonomous region of Azores, is a must-visit during the winter for world-class ski slopes and other winter sports.
The Iberian nation is also known for its stunning, sunny beaches, which are popular tourist destinations for travellers from around the world. Tavira, Ferragudo, Costa Vicentina and Azenhas do Mar are some of the most beautiful seaside beach towns in the country.
Portugal has a distinctly Mediterranean climate, influenced by its proximity to ocean, and is one of the warmest countries in Europe. The pleasant weather during the spring, summer and autumn seasons, and the milder winter in comparison to other countries in Europe, have made Portugal tourism popular in recent years.
Summer runs from June to September and is the peak season for visitors to Portugal, driven by the warm weather and balmy nights. If you’re looking to frolic in the sea or soak up some sun on the sand, summer is the best time to visit Portugal’s beaches and seaside towns.
Spring in Portugal begins earlier than other parts of Europe, in February. The beginning of spring can be rainy, but the weather warms up and by April, surf schools are packed, and the beaches are buzzing. If you’re looking to enjoy the heat without high prices, visiting Portugal during the end of spring is a great option. While autumn in Portugal is not as cold as in other countries, it is rainy and can become slightly chilly in the evenings.
Winter in Portugal runs from November to February. It is relatively mild, and coastal areas tend to stay warmer than other parts of the country. If you’re interested in winter sports in Portugal, these months are the best time to visit.
Like many other countries in Europe, Portuguese culture is a melange of the various historical events that have taken place in and around the country. Today, art, architecture, literature, theatre and music are important elements of the culture, with many famous landmarks and attractions being centred around these elements. On your visit to the country, you will quickly observe that the warm and welcoming Portuguese locals are extremely proud of their country and its rich heritage.
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Portugal tourism has become increasingly popular, and the country welcomes millions of tourists from around the world, every year. Popular tourist destinations within the country include Lisbon, Porto, The Algarve, Azores and Madeira; however, lesser known Portuguese destinations such as Douro Sul, Costa Azul and Costa do Sol are quickly gaining traction.
As Portugal is a fairly small country, it is very convenient and easy to get around to different areas and cities by train and bus. The country is very well covered by the train network that links to both main cities and rural towns. Train routes can often be cheaper and more scenic than the bus journeys; but if you’re in a hurry to get somewhere, bus journeys are always the fastest option in Portugal. If you are travelling to smaller areas within the country, there are a wide range of private companies that offer reliable, well-priced services to take you almost anywhere in Portugal. The best part about travelling within the country is that fares are reasonable in comparison to other parts of Europe – ideal for travellers who want to see it all on a budget!
At SOTC, we offer a wide range of Portugal tours as part of our holiday packages, that allow you to have a standalone Portugal Tour (our Summer Best of Portugal package takes you to Evora, Porto and Lisbon in seven days) or a larger tour of the Iberian Peninsula (visit Barcelona, Seville, Madrid and Lisbon with our Summer Spanish Delights package). Whatever your desired itinerary is, we have got you covered.
If you’d like to learn more about this beautiful country and the holiday prospects it offers, look no further! Give us a call, browse through the many holiday packages on our website or simply visit us at your neighbourhood SOTC branch, and we will turn your Portugal holidays dream into a reality.