Disclosure: This post is written in partnership with Sunmaster.co.uk. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
If you don’t have Portugal on your list of countries to visit yet then put it on now. I was lured to this fine country after meeting a Portuguese couple in the Australian outback who told me things about cheap wine and coastal shores. It didn’t take much convincing for me but yet it is still a very much underrated destination.
You don’t have to take my word for it, even Lonely Planet has named Portugal one of their top destinations to visit in 2018. So if you dream of impressive beaches, mouth-watering food, exquisite wines and colourful cities that sit atop rolling hills then Portugal is the place that you need to be going to.
What’s even better is that Portugal is made for all types of travellers. Craving a little luxury? There are Portugal holidays that will please you. On a budget? No problem, a holiday here will cost you a fraction of what it does in other Mediterranean destinations in Europe. Even if you’re a backpacker, Portugal is somewhere that you can save a bit of extra cash.
When you’re planning your trip make sure you have these Portugal destinations are on your Portugal itinerary and plan to stay a while because you’re not going to want to miss a thing.
An obvious first choice but a must when you visit Portugal is the country’s largest city and cultural capital. The city spams across 7 hills through the historic and traditional districts that have tiny winding streets. A ride on the famous Tram 28 will show you through some of the best spots in the city and past the cutest of restaurants with small tables set out on terraces.
Lisbon is a fantastic holiday destination along the Tagus river where you can shop your heart out, listen to the traditional fado music, explore historic buildings and Gothic churches. It’s also the perfect spot to act as a jumping off point to visit some of Portugal’s other brilliant spots.
Many people choose just to visit Lisbon and skip Porto, Portugal’s second largest city. But don’t make this mistake, Porto is a gorgeous city that has a very romantic backdrop of Portugal’s signature coloured buildings that run up and along the river. The city is most famous for its port wine that comes from the nearby Douro region. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage site with buildings so gorgeous that are tiled with the traditional Portuguese blue and white tiles.
And if you’re a Harry Potter fan it’s here that you’ll find some elements that inspired costumes, set design and J.K Rowling herself who lived in Porto and started writing her first ideas for the series on a napkin in the Majestic Cafe.
3. Douro Valley
Douro Valley is one of my personal favourite places in Portugal with rolling hills covered in vineyards right down to the edge of the water of the river that runs through the valley. This region is known for the great port wine as it’s the only area where the grapes for this sweet wine can be grown. It’s a magical place where you can sip on both port and table wines and watch incredible sunsets from the top of the valley.
It’s a full day trip from Porto or it can be a place where you stay for a couple of nights to explore the wineries during the day.
READ MORE: The Best Way to See Douro Valley in Portugal
If you’ve ever wondered what fairy tales look like then make sure a trip to Sintra is on your Portugal trip itinerary. This breathtaking small town is not far from Lisbon and just off the coast. It transports you to another world where royals used to live in the most colourful palace you’ll ever see or homes with details so intricate all you want to do is stare.
Sintra was the place that the Portuguese royals went to for a break from the stifling summer heat and where the family’s summer palace is located. Sintra is a day trip from Lisbon but I highly recommend staying a night so you can explore more that this lush and stunning town has to offer.
5. The Algarve
If the sun, sand and sea are what you’re craving then a spot in the Algarve is a must and it’s one of the best holiday destinations in Portugal. The capital of the area, Faro, is like a step back in time to the 18th century and Lagos, another hot spot has history dating back to the Roman period. It’s here that you’ll find some of the best cheap holidays to Portugal to enjoy the Medeterrian weather, golf courses, scrumptious food and some of the best beaches in the country.
Aveiro holds the nickname “the Venice of Portugal” because of the bridges that cross over the river and the similar boats called moliceiro. A ride on one of these boats is the best way to explore and see the most of the city. But a stroll around will also show you the small city’s charming architecture.
From the city centre it’s easy to find your way to edge of the coast to visit the second tallest lighthouse in Europe, waves for surfing and the ever so adorable beach houses that are decorated in stripes of bold colours.
Coimbra may not be somewhere you’ll hear often about in Portugal compared to the beach destinations but it is a place worth visiting. Many people say that it is the most romantic spot in Portugal even though it’s famous for its university. The winding cobble stone streets will lead you to fado music and quaint cafes, gardens and medieval churches.
Cascais is the ideal holiday getaway in Portugal as this coastal town is only an hour away from Lisbon. Its much-loved beach is enjoyed until the sun goes down but the beach town has more to offer than sand. The small streets will lead you to museums, designer boutiques and to the marina. Make sure to try seafood at the charming restaurants and stroll through the old town.
Have I convinced you that you need a Portugal vacation? I hope so because these are just some of the destinations that you need to see while in this gorgeous country. From the stunning beaches along the coast to incredible cities packed with culture, colour and history, to the mouth-watering seafood and delicious port wine. Portugal is one holiday destination that is made for all types of travellers. Portugal travel is easy, beautiful and cheap. What more could you ask for?