Located at the Western tip of the Iberian peninsula, Portugal has grown to become one of the most desirable tourist destinations in all of Europe. If you’re planning a trip to this sunbaked country that’s rich in unique history and beautiful natural sights, here are some trip planning ideas that are sure to make your trip to Portugal a hit:
Hit The Beach
Portugal is home to one of the best beach areas of the world: the Algarve. Boasting over 5 and a half kilometres of sand and surf, this area claims the attention of well over 7 million visitors each and every year. The crystal clear waters and the soft sand aren’t the only things that tempt tourists to the area. More intrepid tourists often venture off to the Ria Formosa Lagoon nature reserve for some one-of-a-kind water bird viewing.
Visit the Village Of Fatima
If you happen to be Portugal in May or October, then you may very well bear witness to the million or so pilgrims who make the trek to shrine at Fatima year after year. The shrine gained global notoriety in 1917 after three children claimed to have repeatedly witnessed the apparition of the Virgin Mary at the shrine, and said that she spoke to them saying that she was “Our Lady of the Rosary”.
Plan Golf Holidays
Portugal has fantastic golf courses that rival those available for play in neighbouring Spain, and usually at a fraction of the cost. Most of the courses that you’ll find in Portugal are more natural than the courses to be found in Spain, and they offer great views and fantastic golfing opportunities. Some of the best in the country include:
- San Lorenzo (Faro – Designed by Joseph Lee)
- Quinta de Cima (Faro – Designed by Rocky Roquemore)
- Praia D’El Rey (Lisbon – designed by Cabell Robinson)
- Penha Longa (Lisbon – designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr)
Logistic-wise, it can be tricky organizing a holiday – especially when it’s something different, like a golf holiday. There is a specialist company called Golf Kings that specialize in all kinds of golf holidays, including a nice range in Algarve. Find more details here.
Trek through the Douro Valley
A walk through the Douro Valley is truly a one of a kind experience. While the valley itself is beautiful to visit at all times of year, most travelers enjoy visiting in September or early October when the grapes are being harvested. You can smell the pungent aroma of this sun-warmed fruit in the area. Early spring is also an ideal time to visit the valley, which is when the vines have sprung full leaves and the entire valley is then bathed in a sea of brilliant lime green.
Visit the Peneda-Geres
Portugal is home to only one National Park, which is the Peneda-Geres. Here you’ll be able to take in views of rocky mountain ridges, coastal plains, and you can enjoy the numerous streams, rivers, waterfalls and lakes that call this park home. Visitors can choose to either drive through the park, or you can stop the car and take a hike along one of the many marked hiking trails. Visitor information is provided at the entry to the park, so grab a map to make sure that you don’t get lost along the way. You can also read this article that describes ten things to do in Portugal.