Endless beaches, cliffs and coves make up the southern coastline with the Algarve area being the most popular choice for tourists. As a compact country, Portugal offers the visitor the opportunity to take in something of each of its elements in one visit and this is made even easier when using car hire for your visit.
Portugal Tourist Board: The official website for the Portuguese National Tourist Office – a useful resource for planning your trip to Portugal.
Know Before You Go: Travel advice for Portugal from the FCO.
Things to see and do
- Visit Evora, a walled medieval city where you can view roman to present day architecture.
- Check out Sintra’s magnificent castles. The Moorish Castle there dates back to the 8th century and offers stunning views from its walls.
- Fatima is a world-famous religious site, best known as the site of an appearance of the Virgin Mary in 1917.
- Lagos, on the south coast of the Algarve, is one of the country's most popular tourist resorts. Most visitors are drawn to the superb beaches, which include Meia Praia, a vast strip of sand to the east and the more secluded Praia do Pinhão to the south.
- Porto is an ancient city and its earliest name "Portucale" later gave its name to the country. There are wine producing regions in the area which are well worth a visit. Built on the slopes of the hills that overlook the River Douro, admire the typical granite houses and monuments, take a tram ride along the banks of the river, or a boat ride under the magnificent bridges of the city.
- Visit a beautiful beach or play a round of golf in the Algarve; it offers a range of holiday resorts, beautiful beaches and year round sunshine. There are plenty of golf courses, some of which are among the largest in Europe.
- The Azores consist of nine remote volcanic islands which are located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and can be reached by direct flight from Lisbon.
- Visit the cultural city of Lisbon which offers the visitor lots of things to do from magnificent architecture to botanic gardens.
Festivals and events
- Festa das Fogaceiras held annually in Santa Maria da Feira. (January)
- The Fantasporto International Film Festival is one of Portugal's oldest and longest running film festivals. (February - March)
- The Fatima Romaris (pilgrimage) is held to commemorate the anniversary of the apparition of the Virgin Mary. (May)
- The Festa de Sao Joao (John the Baptist) is big in Porto, Aveiro and Braga. In Porto there are large parties with people being hit on the head with harmless plastic hammers; in Braga expect to see dancing, illuminations, folk dramas, poems to loved ones in pots of basil, music and processions. (June)
- Estoril's world famous Classical Music Festival is simultaneous with the town's Handicrafts Fair. (July - August)
- The Week of the Sea Festival in Horta on the island of Faial in the Azores is a 7-day festa of marine sports and traditional whaling boat regattas. (August)
- All Soul's Day is a national holiday and celebrated often with processions across the country. (November)
- Independence Day is a public holiday, is usually celebrated with fireworks and joyous parties. (December)