Portugal has long been a favourite holiday destination – not surprising as there really is something for everyone.
For families, The Algarve offers safe, sandy beaches, reasonably priced restaurants, water parks and much, much more. Children are always welcome and as increasing number of villas now have pool fencing parents can have a relaxing holiday too! Most of the beaches have good quality, inexpensive beach bars and many of the beaches have water sports, jet ski hire, beach bananas and other fun things for older children to enjoy.
Portugal is a golfers paradise with more than 80 courses, ranging from small nine hole courses such as the one at Vale de Milho in Carvoeiro to championship courses such as Sao Lourenco in Quinta do Lago and Quinta do Peru, on the Lisbon Coast Portugal offers a wealth of other sporting activities; from tennis at places such as the prestigious Vale do Lobo Academy to horse riding, scuba diving and wind surfing.
There are first class shopping facilities, with Cascais Shopping, Quinta Shopping and Algarve Shopping all offering a wide variety of to suit every taste and pocket.
For those wishing to sample the real Portugal, a short drive to the inland towns such as Loule give a real flavour of local traditions with good markets and inexpensive restaurants serving traditional cuisine. The carnival in Loule is the oldest in Portugal and has been held for over 100 years. This year it will be held between 1st and 4th March. The town comes alive with processions, street performances, fireworks and bonfires – the atmosphere really is electric and as the carnival is held out of season flight and accommodation costs are much lower Loule also hosts a music festival each year. The festival really does get better and better with local musicians but also international artists too – last year they came from as far away as Mali and Jamaica.
Portuguese wine is massively underrated, perhaps the reds are best known but some of the whites are really first class including the Esporao, Quinta do Carma and Quinta do Cotto. Vinho Verde – green wine, so called because of the region in which it is produced and not because of it’s colour, is slightly fizzy and really refreshing and goes particularly well with the fresh fish which is to be found in abundance. There are some really good wines produced in The Algarve nowadays and a visit to the Adega’s is really interesting
The weather in Portugal is mild, even in winter – another good reason for heading south and with villa rental and flight prices so much lower in the off season months it is little wonder that Portugal is so popular.