Best time to visit: March, April, May, September, October
Average high: 20˚C
Average low: 12˚C
Price of meals: 2/5
Holiday type: Adventure / Beach / Culture / Family / Party / Romantic
With cheap but delicious food, warm summer beaches and beautiful natural and historic sites, Portugal is one of Europe’s gems and a great place for a cheap but exciting getaway from the UK. Portugal has an interesting history, having been the home of numerous cultures and religions, including Celts, Romans, Moors and Christians, all who have left their mark in the form of grand palaces, medieval castles and cobbled roads. Numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites are dotted throughout the country, not least of which is the Torre de Belém in Lisbon, considered one of the world’s most beautiful and masterful medieval fortresses. No trip to Portugal is complete without a visit to Lisbon, which is full of beautiful architecture and entertaining attractions. However, for a better glimpse into Portugal’s Templar history and golden navigational era, head north to Tomar and Porto, respectively. The latter is also the best place to enjoy the country’s most famous export, Port Wine.
The further north you travel, the cooler the weather but the rockier and more varied the landscape. This makes for some wonderful hikes and great opportunities to explore traditional villages and to tour the country’s vineyards. Outdoor lovers will not want to miss the Gerês Mountain Range, especially in the spring when flowers and trees begin to bloom over the granite white wilderness and blue-green lakes.
Meanwhile, the most pleasant year-round weather is enjoyed in the south of the country. Sun and sand enthusiasts should target the Algarve, Lagos, Tavira and others. These destinations are highly suitable for families and groups of various travel tastes, as holidaymakers won’t only experience some of the country’s best beaches but can explore rocky outcrops and caves by land and by kayak, as well as be within touching distance of other nearby historic sites and villages.
Portugal has a Mediterranean climate, so enjoys its warmest weather in July and August. However, these are also the busiest months for tourists and when hotels and resorts are at their most expensive. Bargain hunters who don’t mind slightly cooler temperatures should consider visiting in late spring or autumn. Fortunately, Portugal’s weather is quite temperate and can be enjoyable throughout the ear. The wind is best for surfing between November and January. The historical and natural sites of the north are best enjoyed in the longer, warmer days of summer, although wine lovers should visit in the winter when the grapes are harvested.
One of Portugal’s key attractions for British tourists is the excellent food at comparatively lower prices. In Lisbon, a meal for one normally ranges between just €7 and €10. A more substantial three-course meal for two costs €25 to €40. Beer averages €1.75 to €2, coffee costs between €0.80 and €2, and a bottle of water rarely exceeds €1. You can expect prices to be lower outside of the capital and most popular tourist sites.
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